Tuesday, August 3, 2010
The best films of the eighties all shared one common bond. From Porky's to Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Revenge of the Nerds, Weird Science, Lost Boys and Teen Wolf to The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Some Kind of Wonderful... All were movies that captured, at times brilliantly, what it meant to be young and filled with hope. The best films of the eighties reminded us of that innocent time in our lives where anything was possible.
In the nineties Hollywood attempted to resurrect the eighties teenage film with mixed results. The best films in that period, Clueless, Scream and American Pie were either tributes or parodies. But something was still missing. By the time She's All That premiered in 1999, it was safe to say the golden age of teenage movies was officially dead.
Flash forward to February of 2006 and the release of a little film called Step Up. The movie was set in Baltimore and told the story of the troublemaker teen Tyler Gage (Channing Tatum) who falls for the privileged dancer Nora Clark (Jena Dewan.) Exactly two years later, Step Up 2: The Streets came out, this time following a new dancer, Andie West (Briana Evigan), and her dream to be a street dancer. This coming Friday, Step Up 3D will be released and I couldn't be more excited.
Yes, these films can easily be dismissed as unsubstantive fluff filled with corny dialogue and cliched plot lines. But if you go back and look at how now classic eighties films were received when they were first released, many of the same things were said. In fact, many were true... just as they are now. But just like then, it simply doesn't matter.
Whether you like it or not, Step Up has a place in the cannon of modern cinema. And it's my opinion that there's a reason people like myself are drawn to these films. Besides the fantastic dance sequences and soundtracks, the hip hop dance drama is the last modern film genre to truly recall the hope and innocence of those eighties films we grew up with and loved.
It's the last vestige of a time where we didn't have to worry about terrorism, global warming and rent checks. A time where the most important thing in our lives was our dream... and the girl.