Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Chick Lit Cheerleader: Where's the popcorn?

Introduction by Melissa Amster

I recently saw a post about movies that came out 30 years ago and got all nostalgic. I can't believe Dirty Dancing, The Princess Bride, Adventures in Babysitting, Overboard, and Spaceballs are all included!

Our Chick Lit Cheerleader is here today to make us feel even more nostalgic about movies.

Movies That Shape Us

When I was eight years old, I wanted to be Olivia Newton-John. The hot pants and stilettos she wore in the hit musical Grease might’ve been a little much for me to wear as a second grader, yet I have the blonde hair going for me, which is nice. In the mid 1970’s, that was enough to win the coveted role of Sandy Olsson when playing Rydell High with the girls in my Naperville neighborhood. Some didn’t think that automatically made me Danny Zuko’s girlfriend (point taken), but that’s when I pulled the “I’m older than you so I’m making the rules” clause.  

Movies shape us—the ones we love and ones we loathe. The flicks we quote on cue. The ones we immediately freeze the T.V. on when flipping channels. The ones we wouldn’t watch again if you paid us—cough—Last Action Hero—cough. Since we’re amid awards season, let’s keep the red carpet rolling with the Films Jen Loves from Her First Twenty Years of Life category. Wouldn’t it make a stellar Jeopardy category? Probably more fitting of an SNL sketch. Probably.

  • The Natural (1984)- I grew up watching my dad play baseball in a league with his engineering cohorts. A rabid Detroit Tigers fan, my mom made sure I knew coach Sparky Anderson chewed sunflower seeds, not tobacco. And then there’s the movie’s lead, Robert Redford—swoon! He plays an extremely talented player who comes to the game at an age when most are hanging up their cleats. It’s not just about baseball; you’ll find love, mystery, and some dastardly devils as well.  
  • Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971)- This doesn’t require an explanation, right? It’s chocolate and Gene Wilder magic when a down-on-his-luck yet ever hopeful boy wins the equivalent of the 1971 HGTV dream home and an Undercover Boss career of a lifetime!
  • The Accidental Tourist (1988)- Kooky Muriel Pritchett (Gina Davis) woos a travel guide writer (William Hurt) who’s mourning the loss of his son while his marriage unravels. The frailty and strength of these characters has stuck with me for almost 30 years, as well as, “Muriel. Muriel Pritchett. Remember, Muriel Pritchett.”
  • Star Wars: Episode IV-A New Hope (1977)- A princess, a Wookiee, a suave yet cocky pilot, and a Jedi-in-training walk into a battle station… Sounds like the beginning of a joke, right? I had never seen anything like this sci-fi, cinematic masterpiece before it premiered in 1977. Let’s talk about badass princesses for a minute—Princess Leia was a rebel in the best way possible and her action figure became my favorite go-to toy, besting Barbie, for a long time. At my house, Leia commanded the Millennium Falcon, not Han Solo. Just saying.  
  • The Bad News Bears (1977)- Heh-heh. Beer chugging Coach Buttermaker and his merry band of little leaguers, who swear like sailors, team up to take us out to the ballgame. Don’t tell my parents, but I saw this movie with my cousins when it was released. Even though I’m 46-years-young, they’d be mortified.
  • Animal House (1978)- Speaking of movies that would make my mother gasp that I watched with my cousins, let’s add Animal House to the mix. Oh, the tale as old as time of a fraternity trying to escape double-secret probation. My husband has laid down the law with our son, a high school senior, that this movie is a college prerequisite. I’m so proud of his parenting choices…sometimes.    
  • Caddyshack (1980)- If you didn’t catch the earlier “Carl” reference about the time he shared space with the Dali Lama, then you just might need to watch Caddyshack. A coming of age, teen-angst comedy starring heavy hitters Chevy Chase, Ted Knight, Rodney Dangerfield, and the iconic Bill Murray—who have their own issues—show us the other side of country club living in the 1980’s. I never ate a Baby Ruth candy bar before seeing this film, and I still maintain that perfect record.  Ew!
  • Dumbo (1941) - I sobbed, and I sobbed, and I sobbed the first time I watched Dumbo as a little girl. I still do. Much like Dorothy had the power to leave Oz and return home to Kansas the entire time, Mrs. Jumbo’s baby-mine had the power to fly without Timothy Mouse’s feather. You know that one thing you feel like you can’t accomplish? If Dumbo can fly, you can fly, too!
  • St. Elmo’s Fire (1985)- “It’s not easy being me.” If you’ve ever heard me say this phrase, now you know its origin. Recent college graduates attempt to find their place in the world after graduation. In other words, adulting is hard. The ties that bind them are also the same bonds that drive wedges between these friends. And then there’s sweaty, pretty, and timeless Rob Lowe playing the saxophone. It’s a not a bad thing.
  • Herbie The Love Bug (1968)- The reason I’ve always wanted a Volkswagen Beetle. The good news is my friend, Nikki, just bought one and I plan on living vicariously through her. This slug bug had heart and soul, plenty of spunk, and seemed to always find a way to fight through the toughest of situations to cross the finish line. A nice transferable sentiment to real-life from reel life.
  • Back to The Future (1985)- Who’d a thunk you could make a time machine out of a DeLorean! Michael J. Fox takes the epic journey we’ve all been curious about. If we could travel back in time, what future occurrences might we disrupt in our lives or the lives of others? For better or for worse? “You are my density.”   

It’s difficult for me to keep the list abbreviated yet must for editorial reasons. I’m hoping you’ll chime in with some of your favorites! Mainstream or obscure, I want to hear all about those one-liners you know and love, and the flicks you feel defined a specific time in your life. Remember, what makes us all amazing is our diversity. It’s OK if you don’t have the same passion for Jaws, The Wizard of OZ, Weekend at Bernie’s, or Nightmare on Elm Street that I do. I hope you’ll mention some flicks I’ve forgotten about—my grey matter isn’t what it used to be.

You heard Jen! Please comment about your favorite films. We'd love to hear from you.

Jen Tucker is the author of the funny and true stories, The Day I Wore My Panties Inside Out and The Day I Lost My Shaker of SaltIn September 2012, she had her children's book, Little Pumpkin published as an e-book. She also blogs monthly for Survival for Blondes. She currently lives in Indiana with her husband, three kids and two dogs. You can find her at TwitterFacebook, her blog and on her website. And in case you missed them. check out her previous Chick Lit Cheerleader posts here.


Janine said...

I remember when I was a little kid and my parents would load us kids into the back of the station wagon and we would go to the drive in. I always thought that was fun. I don't remember the movies we saw, but I remember the experience.

Unknown said...

Oh the days of the station wagon! I remember those well, along with the drive-in theaters. There's one not too far from where I live. I need to put that on my summer to-do list, thank you for the memory, Janine!

Janine said...

We have one too, but it's about an hour away. But maybe we will try to do it too in the summer. I don't miss the station wagon though. LOL!

Unknown said...

American Graffiti! One of the best.

SusanLovesBooks said...

Grease was my favorite movie back then!! I could sing every song and recite every line!!