As the unthinkable happens (well, for your highbrow cineastes anyway) and even popular films from the 1980s start to gain critical acceptance, there’s some serious writing being done on them now. If you’re a genre fan there’s plenty out on there on horror, sci-fi and the like.
Now comes Lane Myer (a suitably decade-relevant pseudonym) with 80 From the 80s. Myer had spent years as a box office reporter, producing breakdowns of the performances of films good, bad and terrible. As he explains in the introduction, when the opportunity came to write a book on films he actually likes, the ‘80s was the obvious choice. Most people hold a special place of affection for the films they grew up with, and for Myer it’s classics like Raiders of the Lost Ark and Beverly Hills Cop.
The book is split into themed chapters collecting four similar films together, usually because they share a loose kind of grouping of genre or approach. So Cobra heads up Die Hard, Commando and Predator, or The Lost Boys leads The Goonies, Big Trouble in Little China and The Monster Squad. Although it says 80 films in the title, the big focus is on the twenty leading films, each one having another couple of pages after with the remaining three.
Here’s where Myer’s book stands out. Whilst he acknowledges all the expected classics, it’s more likely his lead essay will focus on the most cult film of the group. This means long pieces on Krull, Romancing the Stone, The Last Starfighter, Fright Night and Clue amongst others.
Starting off with some basic details including an adjusted box office revenue, a short synopsis then leads into what amounts to a mini-biography of each film, detailing the genesis, production and release of the movies, as well as his own critical analysis. For fans of some of these lesser known or loved films (take Dragnet for example), it might be the first time you’ve come across this amount of information in one place.
If you want to know pretty much all you need to know about The Sure Thing, this is your book, but it’s not a dry scholarly text. Myer knows all of the films extremely well, having done plenty of research but also because these are films he personally comes back to time and time again, and his genuine affection for many of his choices makes this a lively and easy read. If you’re interested in this period of film and want a book that gives it some love, you need search no further.
80 FROM THE 80S / AUTHOR: LANE MYER / PUBLISHER: CREATESPACE INDEPENDENT PUBLISHING PLATFORM / RELEASE DATE: MAY 24TH