My Five Fave: Movies From the 80s

With the weather heading in the cooler direction, my ideal night in would include pizza, popcorn and a movie. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it?

I love movies. I grew up renting movies regularly. We’d go to the movies as a family, and later I’d go with friends. Even now, Mike and I are movie junkies – there’s a rarely a weekend that we don’t watch at least one movie. And being born in the early 1980s, I got to enjoy a lot of what the decade had to offer… and some of my all-time favorite movies debuted between 1985-89.

Now, before anyone tries to tell me that my five fave movies from the 80s is a bad list, please know that I don’t care. Are there more movies that I love than these? Yes. But these are the ones I’ve seen so many times I know the characters inside and out, I can quote them and tell you when it’s best to pause for a bathroom break. It’s my list – not yours.


1. Steel Magnolias  2. Adventures in Babysitting  3. The Goonies  4. Back to the Future  5. Die Hard

Steel Magnolias (1989) is probably my favorite movie of all time and I quote it more often than I should. I’ve seen countless times – so many in fact that Mike can figure out with sound alone in less than 30 seconds that it’s Steel Magnolias. I love everything about it. That the leading cast is all women – with different personalities and from different walks of life – and have found support in one another. What’s not to love about Dolly Parton? In my opinion this is Julia Robert’s best movie. Hell, even Sally Field is on point. But Shirley MacLaine’s character, Ouiser Boudreaux, is my favorite. I want to be Ouiser when I grow up. She’s independent, witty and just a grump full of sass and I love her.

Movie quote to know: Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.

When I was a kid, I watched Adventures in Babysitting (1987) so many times with my friend Sam that we probably wore out the tape. There was one week that we watched it everyday! (I’m sure her parents hated us for it. There was also a full of week of The Burbs. And that one weekend we watched nothing but musicals. We kind of took over the den a lot.) But the movie has a lot to offer. It’s about finding love and finding reality, finding trouble and finding a way out. Elisabeth Shue (you also know her from The Karate Kid) plays the role of Chris – and with Brenda and Sara and Brad and Daryl, the adventures taken are some that I still enjoy watching until this day.

Movie quote to know: My stepmom is such a pain. If I don’t get out of the house, I’m gonna spike her Tabs with Drano.

Another childhood favorite: The Goonies (1985). I don’t remember watching this one with Sam as much, but we had it on Beta and I watched the heck out of it. Four misfits striking out together to find treasure only to have to deal with a bonehead brother, a couple of girls and some criminals that weren’t part of the plan. Then there’s the Truffle Shuffle, the Fratellis, Sloth and all the booby traps your heart desires. And talk about an awesome soundtrack! The whole movie can sum up the 1980s for anyone that didn’t live it: Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Corey Feldman, Martha Plimpton, Cyndi Lauper, The Bangles and REO Speedwagon. I mean, this is dream team material!

Movie quote to know: Goonies never say die!

I have my DAd and brother to thank for my love/hate of sci-fi. In our house, if you wanted to eat Pizza Hut on Saturday nights you had to watch Star Trek. But my DAd also happened to really like Back to the Future (1985) – I’ve seen it 15… 20… 25 times? That like has apparently passed on. I know this movie so well that I can tell you when there isn’t a smooth transition between scenes; costumes are different, backgrounds changed, something’s just “off.” Michael J. Fox was a favorite growing up and he made so many fun movies in the 80s and 90s. Alongside Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson and the quirky Crispin Glover and you have a fantastic cast. Biff is pretty good too… “make like a tree and go.” Ha!

Movie quote to know: What happens to us in the future? Do we become assholes or something?

Not only is it one of my favorite movies from the 80s, but Die Hard (1988) is also one of my favorite Christmas movies. I also consider the first the best of the Die Hard series. I’m always baffled when someone confesses they’ve never seen it. “What?!? You don’t about the wonderful banter that is McClane and Hans?!” While trying to win back his wife, NYPD Officer McClane is caught between a holiday party taken hostage and German terrorist Hans Gruber, and takes it upon himself to fix both situations. I like Bruce Willis OK, but Alan Rickman is what makes this movie! It’s also very well written, going back and forth between drama, action and comedy with ease.

Movie quote to know: Yippee-ki-yay, motherf*cker.