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The Hang Out: The Teen Comedies Of Yore…

by  |  May 5th, 2011  |  Blog

The 1950s through really the 1990s was a very interesting time for movies.  This time I am not talking about the individual actual, factual decades (although each one of those decades were great in their own right.)  No, in this case I am talking about the decades that individual story lines are based in.

What I mean by this is that a movie can obviously be made in the 1990s and have the movie be based in say the 1970s.

With that said I thought that I would talk about more directly the decades that the story lines are based in and how the relate to the Teen comedy sub-genre!

In movies that are based some time between the 1950s and the 1970s there is usually some central hang out for all of the kids in town, rather it is Arnold's Dinner in the 1950s TV series based Happy Days with Ron Howard (Apollo 13) and Henry Winkler (Arrested Development).

With that said, the first movie that I thought that I would mention, and one that I believe to be a true classic is The Hollywood Knights (1980):


Starring: Robert Wuhl (Goodburger) Fran Drescher (The Nanny), Tony Danza (Who's The Boss) and Michelle Pfieffer (I Am Sam) and directed by: Flloyd Mutrux (Mulholland Falls)

I don't know when the last of these Dinner-esque style Teen Comedy movies was, but in theory you could say that American Pie was the last of these types of Teen Comedy movies, as the cast does seem to spend a lot of time at that Dinner in the movie, although not near as much times as some of these earlier movies.

With that said a couple of the things that I gotta say that I truly loved about this movie is as follows:

1. I found this movie to be hilarious! And very tasteful in the brand of toilet humor that they do have in this movie (which is something that you really don''t see all that often in this day and age.)

2. Seeing all of these actors that I grew up watching as young men and women again was a real treat! I mean I grew up watching shows like (Who's The Boss with Tony Danza) and I loved Batman Returns with Michelle Pfieffer.

3. The other thing that I have to admit that I really liked about this film is that it gave me a chance to see a bygone era played on the small screen.

As a special note to this movie… This happened to be Michelle Pfieffer's first big screen appearance.

For more information, check out the first few minutes of The Hollywood Knights (1980)

The next movie that I thought that I would mention here is Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982).

Now the movie in and of itself is not an era specific movie, the movie was based in what would have been the present back in 1982.

But never the less it has to do with the lives of a group of High School kids during one School year.  During this School year, the local Mall happens to be the local place that all of these kids seem to have in common with each other and is sort of a community meeting place for all of them.

Mike Damone (Played by: Robert Romanus) and Mark 'Rat' Ratner (Played By: Brian Backer) as Mike is trying to coach Mark in to getting the local Pizza girl to go out with him. From Fast Times At Ridgemont High

Now why I liked this film and why I decided to put it on this list is for a couple of reasons:

1.  Now I was barely born the year this movie was made, but I found a certain degree of nostalgia between life for these kids in 1982, and the similarities in life in the 90s, I mean a lot of what my friends and I did in the early 90s anyway was go to Arcades, go to the movies and go pick up CDs at the local music stores, which the Mall in Fast Times seemed to have in such abundance… Except for CDs.

2. The other thing that I liked about this movie, I have to admit, is the cast… I know that I say this a lot, but it is true, most of this cast I grew up watching many years after this movie was made, so it was a real treat to see them up close and personal when they were either Teens or close to it! Also I would like to say that it really was a truly spectacular cast with such notables as Jennifer Jason Leigh, Sean Penn, Judge Reinhold, Eric Stoltz, Forrest Whitaker, along with so many more! Also during the football scene, don't be suprised if you see Nicholas Cage in their shouting for the team to win!

3. I also think that this movie may have been an extremely prolific film for its time, as it seems from everything that I remember of the 1980s, and all of the movies that I have seen since the 1980s, about that era, I have found their to be some very similar and interesting parallels between this movie and modern times…

With that said, if you would like some more information on this movie, feel free to check out this trailer for the movie, Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982):

The next up on the list, and is set in a slightly different locale then the classic Burger Joint is The Breakfast Club (1985).

Starring: Judd Nelson (Mayor Cupcake), Emilio Estevez (The Way), Anthony Michael Hall (National Lampoon's: Vacation), Ally Sheedy (Short Circuit) and Molly Ringwald (Cowboy Up) an

d directed by: John Hughes (Curly Sue)

During the 80s their was a cast of heavily talented actors and actresses that would usually play in the same teenaged romantic comedies (Later on taking on older roles such as St. Elmo's Fire.)  This cast would go on to be named after the 60's crooners 'The Rat Pack' and the actors/actress crew would go on to be known as 'The Brat Pack.'

In a lot of ways as much as say Freddy did for the horror movie genre, or Arnold Schwarzenegger would for the Action/SciFi movies of the 1980s, these kids would go on to help define what was 'in'  and what wasn't from the 1980s with each one of them in some ways enjoying superstardom…

The members of the Brat Pack in The Breakfast Club: Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy.

Now what I personally liked about this film was a couple of things:

1. When I was a Teenager, Judd Nelson was on a sitcom that I really did not like all that much called Suddenly Susan.  Now this doesn't mean that this is a bad show per say, I just really was not a fan, of the show, the characters, the actors (yes that includes Judd Nelson), really any of it… When I got to watching The Breakfast Club for the first time, it gave me new found respect for Mr. Nelson, after seeing him play the rough and tough bad boy 'John Bender' in The Breakfast Club.

2. With Molly Ringwald and Emilio Estevez it was the same sort of thing that I had mentioned in the section that I laid out for Fast Times At Ridgemont High, regarding the fact that I had seen both Emilio Estevez and Molly Ringwald in 2 separate movies which I completely love, but came out years later after The Breakfast Club.  The first one being that I saw the small screen adaption of the Stephen King Novel The Stand, this one had Ringwald doing a truly excellent job of portraying Frannie Golsmith from the books… The first Emilio Estevez movie that I ever did see was Young Guns (1988)! In it Emilio Estevez played Billy The Kid so expertly, that he indirectly helped ignite for me my interest in history at a young age!

3. The last thing that I wanted to say that I personally found that I really enjoyed, is just how the movie shows how the most unlikely of people could ultimately end up being the best of friends!

For more information, please feel free to check out this trailer for The Breakfast Club (1985):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAcyZBd0lk8

The last one that I thought I would mention in this series is American Graffiti (1973)

Starring Ron Howard (Arrested Development), Richard Dreyfuss (Jaws), Cindy William (The Happiest Man Alive), Mackenzie Phillips (Radio Needles) and Harrison Ford (The Indiana Jones Series). And directed by George Lucas (The Star Wars series)

Like a lot of these movies that I have mentioned above, the 1960s (at least in movies)  was a decade where Teenagers loved to go ahead and hang out at the local Burger Joint! There is no more prolific example of this, then American Graffiti (1973)…

Steve (Played By: Ron Howard), Laurie (Played by: Cindy Williams) and John (Played by: Paul Le Mat) in American Graffiti

American Graffiti is a truly prolific example of this, rather it be the local gang of trouble makers or the local geek, jock, or the local hunk or hottie, everyone in this movie tended to gravitate to the local Hamburger Joint…. As a matter of fact the movie was such a phenomena, that even though the guy who owned the dinner from American Graffiti tore down the Restaurant… In the 80s his son re-opened a new Dinner (Modeled after the Dinner that was shown in American Graffiti) that would become such a popular sensation, that the Restaurant would become a chain!

With that said this is what I personally liked about this movie:

1. First off, I got to see this movie along with my good buddy and fellow ABMer Matthew Dowling with Legendary Filmmakers John Landis and Edgar Wright during a double bill revival on the big screen for both American Graffiti and Animal House.  This was for a series of double bill revivals that was being hosted by Edgar Wright (Shaun Of The Dead) at the New Beverly Cinema called 'The Wright Stuff.” This made the whole experience a totally AWESOME, and memorable experience that I will never forget for the rest of my life!

2. The next thing that I liked about this movie was the virtual all star cast, back before they became the director of the truly epic Apollo 13, as is the case with Ron Howard, or before he became know as Indiana Jones, as was the case with Harrison Ford who was in both movies.

3. The other thing that I like about this movie is its truly prolific status in pop culture! I mean besides the fact that this movie gave us an interesting reminder of what the world was like from the eyes of a Teenager of the 60's, this movie today is still very well known despite the fact that this movie came out nearly 40 years ago!

For more information, Feel free to check out the trailer for American Graffiti (1973):

Also, for more information on the experience we had at the Wright Stuff,  for part 1 click here: for part 2 click here:

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Nathan Strack

About

I am a huge Horror/B-Movie/Grindhouse movie fan! Rather it be Writing/Acting/Directing or just watching one I love it all!

Gangs of Film: Nathan Strack's Top 10 Gang Films (part II)
Android (1982)
Michael Keaton... Batman Forever!

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