exulansis n. the tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because people are unable to relate to it—whether through envy or pity or simple foreignness—which allows it to drift away from the rest of your life story, until the memory itself feels out of place, almost mythical, wandering restlessly in the fog, no longer even looking for a place to land.- The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
After all, haven't we done enough to these poor icons...?
Some big league movies, music, books, video games, and TV came out of that mega-year -- some were the best of the 80s, of the 20th century, of all time.... Look it up - I'll wait.
A year of lusciously significant & satisfying pop - so much so that there are lots of crumbs left on that counter, and every particle is sacred.
So, let us skip all the stuff that has been or will be celebrated this year for the purposes of pointless nostalgia (wah ah ah--Nobody says the "B" word!) and instead turn our attention to illegal aliens, pizza points, interesting monsters, birds that talk, and fish that sing.
Daffy Duck's Quackbusters
Feature-length Looney Tunes movies have always been of poor quality - and by 'poor' I mean terrible.
This theatrically released oddity is the exception - because it cheats. Comprised entirely of all the monster and horror related shorts produced in the 50s and 60s (Transylvania 6-5000, Hyde and Go Tweet, The Abominable Snow Rabbit, etc.) with not-quite-that-seamless filler to connect the storylines, it plays like a great compilation album of their best stuff.
It was an odd concept: "Nickelodeon - for kids!"
Seriously, though... These blocks of fresh-yet-bizarre Japanese and French-Canadian cartoons (and the deplorable The Elephant Show) landed right in the middle of the afternoon - great timing for this particular Kindergartener.
It evolved and mutated into other things over the years as I outgrew it, but the severely innocent charm of the original lineup(s) was a pinnacle in candied 80s syrup - free of any cynicism or satire:
Noozles, Adventures of the Little Koala, Maya the Bee, Muppet Babies, The Mysterious Cities of Gold, and my favorite, David the Gnome.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Action Figures
When Playmates toy company was approached with the idea of producing a line of action figures based on the Ninja Turtles comic books, they felt there wasn't nearly enough of a demand for the green teens, & they insisted an animated series would most likely generate more interest... The rest is plastic (and television) history.
I collected the shit out of these - maybe more than any other action figure series - didn't matter that I wasn't familiar with 70% of the characters they produced: Mondo Gecko, Wingnut & Screwloose, Pizzaface, Tattoo, Chrome Dome, Fugitoid, Ray Fillet... They kept makin' 'em - weirder & weirder - and I kept buyin' 'em!
Ghostbusters for Nintendo
It was not one of the best games to come out that year - or any other year - nor was it even one of the better pieces of Ghostbusters merchandise. In fact, all the movie tie-in games were scarce in graphics and gameplay - especially this one.
Its frustrating pace and ambiguous objective give it some ironic charm, but that's not why we celebrate it. Basically, anything with the 'no-ghost' logo has an irresistible magnetism, and the movie's theme song actually sounds better in 8-bit beeps and boops. After all, marrying Ghostbusters with Nintendo feels as natural as Michael J. Fox endorsing Pepsi-Cola.
"Toy Soldiers" by Martika
The phrase "Power Ballad" is usually reserved for when headbangers try to crack the Top 40. For pop stars and soft rockers, it means an extra dose of melodrama and bass drum.
Martika's "Toy Soldiers" was released as a single the following year, but it appeared on her '88 self-titled album -- itself a buoyant 80s jamboree. But this standout track sounds like every John Hughes, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Karate Kid movie ever made - though it has no pop culture affiliation outside of its own bombastic merits. It would've made a great theme song (especially for the 1991 film, Toy Soldiers) but it never was - it just feels that way.
Mac and Me
Endlessly fascinating and perversely engrossing, and best enjoyed under the McInfluence of Quarter Pounders and chocolate shakes.
Because of its shameless product placement, it's often mentioned in the same breath as The Wizard (which, as any faithful reader of this site knows I find to be a grossly inaccurate comparison). Still though, any movie that not only features 1980s McDonald's culture but positively advocates it with a fully choreographed song & dance sequence(!) is worth some sort of deformed 'thumbs up.'
But what places it square in that "good bad movies" sub-genre are the clunky (and creepy) alien FX, the forced sentimentality (that only Capra and Spielberg had the talent for), and a terrifyingly manipulative third act that has to be seen to be believed. So see it!