REVIEWED: SEASON 1 (ALL EPISODES) | WHERE TO WATCH: NETFLIX
Ever wanted to know how a low budget kids' movie about a boy left alone at Christmas fending off two burglars managed to score John Williams as its composer? Or perhaps why Bruce Willis was omitted from an early Die Hard poster after trailers left theatres laughing rather than cheering at the thought of Willis as an action hero? Then The Movies That Made Us, a spin-off of the popular The Toys That Made Us series, has got the goods.
It's a bit of an accidental Christmas tradition to get sucked into those staple '100 movie mistakes'-type shows at 2am in the strange void between Christmas Day and New Year's Eve, but this four-part Netflix series is well worth a watch as you're taken on a behind the scenes tour of some of the best-loved movies of the '80s with plenty of tidbits to impress your family with over dinner.
Ghostbusters (very nearly called Ghostbreakers following a pricey naming rights conflict) highlights how Dan Aykroyd's real-life ties to the paranormal led to the classic ghostbusting caper, almost thwarted by some questionable decisions by motion picture behemoth… Coca-Cola? For Home Alone, remember the McCallisters' big house that filled us with wonder as kids, but as adults has us weeping over the price of the mortgage? Well, save for the exterior, the majority of filming took place in the gym of an abandoned Chicago high school which also served as the focal point of a number of classic John Hughes films. In Die Hard, we learn that the expression on Hans Gruber's face as he falls to his death wasn't just good acting. To get the shot, the film's stunt co-ordinator let go of the harness safely holding Alan Rickman to the platform ledge just a few seconds sooner than planned. That's genuine fear on Rickman's face. In Dirty Dancing, turns out some of the early dancing was carried out to a click track. Why? Because music is NOT cheap.
If you're a super-fan of any of the above cult classics, this series isn't likely to tell you much more you don't already know, but these are such well-tread movies it's not really the show's fault that it doesn't quite reach the level of detail its more niche Toys predecessor did. The narration is fun and interviews with key crew members provide interesting and often emotional perspectives on films that are so ingrained into our subconscious it's hard to believe there was ever a possibility that they may not have made the cut, let alone go on to become huge hits. If you've already played your Home Alone and Die Hard cards this Christmas, The Movies That Made Us is the perfect group viewing to give you that warm and fuzzy jolt of nostalgia with a sprinkling of festive cheer.