Listen, folks, the ‘80s and ’90s had some problems. Sure, there were some amazing things too. Slap bracelets, Pogs, and Hi-C Ecto Coolers were the cornerstone of my childhood. But the movies, well… there were some issues there. I’ve been re-watching some of those amazing movies that were the cornerstone of my childhood lately (mostly because of Netflix), and let’s just say, there was some scary garbage in there that might explain some of the issues we are dealing with now.
And I’ll be honest, as a father now, it’s been a pretty big letdown considering I was so excited to watch some of these with my children. But now, I just can’t and here’s why.
1. Sixteen Candles
How many times did I watch this movie as a teen? It must have been somewhere between 100 and a bazillion. But it wasn’t until I was in my 30s that I realized how disturbing that scene is when Jake (our romantic hero) suggests that The Geek “violate” the prom queen because she’s too drunk for something like, you know, consent. Sounds a lot like a certain swimmer from Stanford we all know, doesn’t it?
2. Revenge of the Nerds
How often did the edited-for-TV version of this little gem come on during the summer? Sometimes it felt like it was being shown back to back. And yeah, they edited out all the swearing and nudity. But they failed to edit out when the “nerds” place cameras in a sorority so they can watch them shower. Or that stomach-turning scene when head nerd Robert tricks a girl into having sex with him by pretending to be her real boyfriend. And how did all that rape (yes, tricking someone into thinking they are someone else to have sex is rape) turn out? She fell in love with him, and they stayed together of like 25 more films (I lost count). No, sorry. WRONG. On so many levels.
3. License to Drive
Anyone else watch this move on repeat during school vacations? I know I did. We had it on VHS, and although I thought it was epic as a teen, when I think back on that scene where Dean (the cool kid) takes a camera up Mercedes’ (the older popular girl) dress as she’s passed out drunk in the back seat of the car, I feel sick to my stomach and downright livid.
4. Dazed and Confused
This movie was a cornerstone of my high school years. Everyone talked about it. We all had to see it. And who was the coolest guy in that move? David Wooderson (Matthew McConaughey), a 20-something dude who spends his days trying to hook up with high school girls. You remember the iconic line, “That’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I keep getting older, they stay the same age.” Somehow this movie made statutory rape seem cool, and that is beyond disturbing.
5. Weird Science
If we break this movie down to it’s core, two teenagers use science to create a grown woman they can take a shower with. As if that’s not odd enough, there’s also a flip side to it. The boys are (16 and 17) and the woman they create is in her mid 20s. She’s also really into them, so actually, they created a pedophile. I must have watched this movie 800 million times as a teen, and now, after writing this very short paragraph, I’m wondering what it did to my over-all development.
6. 7 Brides For 7 Brothers
I know. I know. I’m reaching well out of the ’80s and ’90s here. This came out in the 50s, but it seems like everyone who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s watched it growing up. And if they didn’t watch the movie, they were in a high school production of it. I won’t go too far into the nitty gritty of this sucker because all I have to do is give a simple plot summary like “Seven brothers kidnap seven women. They lock them up in a cabin for the winter until they all fall in love with each other.” Pump the breaks, people! This is a comedy. But honestly, there is nothing funny about Stockholm Syndrome.
I know. I know. If you are like me, it feels like your childhood was just destroyed. And for that, I’m sorry. And sure, this just happens with time. People look back on art and it reflects how messed up society was. But the question we, as parents, are now left with is: Do we keep these ideas around by showing these movies to our children?
I’m going to say “no.” Let’s just not.