Sunday, August 17, 2008

Wasn't there a hobbit in that one?

Michael Machosky writes a paean in Sunday's Trib to a particular genre of '80s movie he dubs "Goonie Movies" in honor of "The Goonies." Few of the films Machosky mention stand the test of time, but that's hot his point: They were good popcorn films, with broader appeal than today's focus-group driven blockbusters.

While we may not see another "Goonies" anytime soon (which I don't think is a bad thing), we have witnessed the rebirth of a film genre that reached full flower back in the '80s: The R-rated comedy. I'm not the first person to herald the return of this species, which lately includes "Wedding Crashers", "The 40 Year Old Virgin" and "Knocked Up." Examples from the '80s that come to mind: "Caddyshack" and "Trading Places."

Now, the '90s gave us "American Pie" and "Road Trip", (the latter technically came out in 2000), both very funny, but those films largely were aimed at the same demographic they portrayed -- high school and college students. Today, even an ostensible high school comedy like "Superbad" seems made for people who have let a few years lapse since their last keg stand.

Of course, even some of the most memorable films from the 1980s bear the cheesy hallmarks of the era, like the montage -- "Wall Street" and "Tootsie", two very different films, each featured a split-screen montage -- and the original song that sounded like it came straight out of AM radio. (Not to mention the synthesizer-driven score.) It was indeed a memorable decade -- though not necessarily for the right reasons.

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