You know the best thing about the July 4 holiday during the 1980s? We didn't say 'Merica. Call me Old Man Spearsy, but I'm not a fan.
You know what we did in the '80s? We said A-MER-I-CA and we went to the cineplex to plop down our $4 to see a new movie. Thing is, we didn't always have the greatest selection to choose from.
Boxofficemojo.com has compiled a list of the biggest movies opening Independence Day Weekend since 1982. They're ranked 1 to 72. I've included each '80s movie's ranking within their list. Check and see how many of these you remember seeing in the theater.
Highest grossing Independence Day Weekend Movies released in the '80s:
One of the first and most influential American hardcore punk bands, Black Flag was a champion of punk's do-it-yourself ethic. They had their own label (SST Records) and they followed their own ideas on the kind of music they wanted to make, sometimes to the chagrin of their own fans.
In the mid-80s, in the punk scene across America, the presence of this LA band was ubiquitous. From the punks' leather jackets festooned with Black Flag's iconic logo to their DIY handbills, flyers, and posters, references to these guys were showing up just about everywhere. At the time, I may not have known this band very well, but I certainly knew they existed. Mainstream American music listeners, however, just didn't know who these guys were.
They formed in 1976 and in 1981 their best known member, Henry Rollins, joined the band as lead singer. And, in 1981, they released their first album ‘Damaged', which features today's song TV Party. The song is a satirical poke in the eye of those who preferred to stay uninformed as to the events of the world around them. In the video, you can see a young, bearded, pre-buff and pre-tatted Rollins enjoying a couple of brews with his buds.
Is the world coming to an end? For many in the ‘80s, the escalation of the nuclear arms race sure felt that way. Today, do we feel any safer or are we heading for a Showdown At Big Sky?
On the SIT80's podcast, Steve and Brad just started a series Rockers Gone Solo! about solo albums by members of popular bands and a good nomination for that series is Robbie Robertson first solo album in 1987 after leaving The Band. While we covered Robertson and Somewhere Down The Lazy River back in 2013, there are so many good tracks off his self-titled debut album, it's time to revisit the lead single and video Showdown At Big Sky.
Showdown At Big Sky was a No.2 hit on the Mainstream Rock Charts and the video blends Native American themes with nuclear annihilation. The video was filmed at the village of Sky City on the Acoma Pueblo tribal lands in New Mexico, a place rarely seen on video since Sky City is on sacred grounds. Robertson was given permission to film due to his Indian heritage. The song is enhanced by the soaring backup vocals of The Bodeans, who also appear in the video around the campfire. …
As our county nears its birthday celebration, Civil War flags have been a hot topic of conversation. While it's been 152 years to the day since the Battle of Gettysburg, it still seems the tensions of the Civil War still simmer as we recall The Brandos and their forgotten song Gettysburg.
With Gettysburg as their most popular song, you would think The Brandos would hail from the Mason-Dixon Line, but the band was a combination of members from Seattle and New York City. In 1987, Gettysburg was a Mainstream Rock hit that made the rounds on MTV. The Brandos continued making music beyond the ‘80s, but most of their popularity was focused overseas.
The Battle of Gettysburg is considered the turning point of the Civil War when Confederate General Robert E. Lee's army was stopped and turned back in Pennsylvania. In total, 7,863 soldiers on both sides were killed in the three day's of fighting and close to 40,000 more were injured or captured. Four months later on Nov. 19, Abraham Lincoln, would speak his Gettysburg Address when dedicating Soldier's National Cemetery with the Civil War officially ending in April 1865 after four years of fighting.
Sometime this Fourth of July holiday weekend, you're doing to need some down time. Picnics, beaches, fireworks -- it's just too much. So start planning ahead for couch time with suitable movies for the occasion. Here are our top 5 favorite movies for a patriotic holiday and top 5 favorite movies for the summer in general. Oh, and of course, they're all from the '80s.
TOP 5 PATRIOTIC MOVIES:
1. RED DAWN (1984): Accept no remake! The '84 original featured the late Patrick Swayze as the leader of a gang of school kids left to fight off an invasion by Russia and Cuba. It's patriotism on steroids, especially the final line, which is read off a monument. "In the early days of World War 3, guerrillas - mostly children - placed the names of their lost upon this rock. They fought here alone and gave up their lives, so that this nation should not perish from the earth."
2. GLORY (1989): This Civil War tale of African-American troops being led into battle in the deep South might feel more emotional these days given our current political climate. Matthew Broderick sheds Ferris Bueller to portray Col. Robert Gould Shaw, who led the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. Denzel Washington would win an Oscar for best supporting actor for Glory, which also featured a haunting score by the late James Horner.
3. THE RIGHT STUFF (1983): We interrupt this stream of war movies to bring you the epic tale of America's Mercury astronauts. Based on best-seller from Tom Wolfe, The Right Stuff is part history lesson, part action flick, but 100 percent adrenalin.
4. IRON EAGLE (1986): Hear me out on this one. Louis Gossett Jr. as "Chappy Sinclair" -- classic -- leading a teenager in a jet to the Middle East to rescue his father? Campy at best. But add Queen's One Vision and Twister Sister's We're Not Gonna Take It to the soundtrack and you have Masterpiece Theater for the '80s.
5. ROCKY 4 (1985): A Soviet boxer kills Apollo Creed! Rocky travels to snowy Russia and beats him wearing Apollo's old "stars and stripes!" And James Brown singsLiving in America! Ding, ding. This fight is over.
TOP 5 SUMMER MOVIES:
1. NATIONAL LAMPOON'S VACATION (1983): Before the remake comes out later this month and taints your memories, reacquaint yourselves with the original Griswolds and the pure misery that defines any cross-country family caravan. "This is no longer a vacation. It's a quest. It's a quest for fun." 2. SUMMER RENTAL (1985): Filmed right here in St. Pete Beach, Summer Rental is the softer version of Vacation, featuring the late John Candy as the kind-hearted dad who just needs some peace and quiet this summer. Hard to believe both Summer Rental and Cocoon, another movie in which St. Petersburg stars, both came out the same year. 3. SUMMER SCHOOL (1987): Before becoming an special agent on NCIS, Mark Harmon was a chuckleheaded gym teacher who gets blackmailed into teaching remedial English to a gang of misfits. This summer flick definitely gets a passing grade. 4. MEATBALLS (1979): Bill Murray's turn as a summer camp counselor is still an all-time classic. This Canadian flick barely missed the '80s, but "It just doesn't matter! It jus doesn't matter!"
5. BEACHES (1988): Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey meet on the boardwalk and become lifelong BFFs, until something tragic happens (sniff, sniff) and Bette sings an anthem we all know by heart. Oh don't start crying yet; the song hasn't even started playing! (Too late, isn't it?) …
We have a lot of things to be fond of from the 80s, but mullets are not among them. And there are some classic 80s mullets to be found on this band from Sydney, Australia. Lime Spiders are a sort of punk, sort of retro 60s garage band with a strong element of psychedelia thrown in.
My Favourite Room is a favorite of mine, with lots of good guitar riffs and plenty of attitude. Oh, yes, and that unfortunate hairstyle.
A minor sensation in their native land down under, but never found here in the States, Lime Spiders did have their song ‘Weirdo Libido' feature in the soundtrack of the 1988 film ‘Young Einstein'. And the video for that song was the first ever played on Australia's television music show ‘rage'.
Original member Mick Blood has been with the band since its beginning and continues with them today.
Motörhead is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a U.S. tour beginning in August (including one date in Florida). The tour promotes the band's 22nd album, Bad Magic, due out Aug. 28, reports Pollstar.com.
Eighties fans probably remember the British heavy metal band for the 1980 single Ace of Spades, from the album of the same name. Both were Top 20 successes in the UK charts. (The album reached No. 37 in the States.) It remains their only gold album to date.
Motörhead 2015 Tour Dates:
Aug. 19 – Riverside, Calif., Riverside Municipal Auditorium Aug. 21 – Las Vegas, Nev., House Of Blues Aug. 22 – Los Angeles, Calif., Shrine Expo Hall Aug. 24 – San Francisco, Calif., Warfield Theatre Aug. 27 – Salt Lake City, Utah, The Complex Aug. 28 – Denver, Colo., National Western Complex (Riot Fest & Rodeo) Sept. 1 – Cedar Park, Texas, Cedar Park Center Sept. 2 – San Antonio, Texas, The Aztec Theater Sept. 4 – Dallas, Texas, The Bomb Factory Sept. 5 – Houston, Texas, House Of Blues Sept. 8 – St. Louis, Mo., The Pageant Sept. 9 – Indianapolis, Ind., Murat Theatre Sept. 11 – Chicago, Ill., Douglas Park (Riot Fest) Sept. 12 – Detroit, Mich., The Fillmore Detroit Sept. 15 – Wallingford, Conn., The Dome At Toyota Presents The Oakdale Theatre Sept. 16 – Wantagh, N.Y., Nikon At Jones Beach Theater Sept. 19 – Toronto, Ontario, Downsview Park (Riot Fest & Travelling Exposition) Sept. 22 – Upper Darby, Pa., Tower Theatre Sept. 23 – Charlotte, N.C., Fillmore Charlotte Sept. 25 – Lake Buena Vista, Fla., House Of Blues
Remakes? Where we're going, we don't need remakes. Back to the Future fans can take a deep breath. Your mother doesn't have the hots for you. There's no problem with the Earth's gravitational pull in the future. Chuck Berry never had a cousin named Marvin. Darth Vader isn't from the Planet Vulcan.
And there will be NO REMAKE of Back to the Future while Robert Zemeckis is alive.
Zemekis, who directed the original 1985 movie and its sequels, told the U.K. Telegraph this week that as one of the two rights holders of the film, he will refuse to approve any remake of the '80s classic. (Co-writer Bob Gale is the other rights holder.)
"That can’t happen until both Bob and I are dead. And then I'm sure they'll do it, unless there's a way our estates can stop it," Zemeckis said. "I mean, to me, that's outrageous. Especially since it's a good movie. It's like saying 'Let's remake Citizen Kane.' "
Another reason Zemeckis is against any remake: It probably couldn't include Michael J. Fox, who has cut down considerably on his acting roles in the last 20 years after being diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease.
Perhaps you've heard of him. His name is George Hrab. His friends and fans call him Geo.
Geo is a man of many talents. He's a professional musician, singer, and songwriter. Those things would be enough for most mortals, but he's also a podcaster. Geo does a weekly show called the Geologic Podcast, on which he displays how ridiculously talented he truly is. He's funny, witty, occasionally acerbic, insightful, thoughtful, skeptical, and a lover of science. One could do worse than to catch his show each week.
But what will interest SIT80s fans, especially those who are fans of Yes, is his podcast episode #414. As a gift for his listeners, on the occasion of his birthday, Geo has posted his acoustic version of Yes' ‘90125', one of the seminal albums of the 1980s. He covers the entire album, singing and playing every part! And it's clear he's a big Yes fan.
I think you'll enjoy it.
You know, it's people like this Hrab guy who make me feel like I'm not doing enough.
"Well it ain't written in the papers, but it's written on the walls. The way this country is divided to fall."
The following was song lyric was not written about America, but was written about ‘80s England. Americans may fight amongst ourselves and we often rail against corporate America, but in the ‘80s that activity was not isolated to the U.S., as The The shows the discontent in Britain too with the beautiful, yet stinging, Heartland.
We covered Matt Johnson (aka The The) before on Lost and Found in 2013 with his more optimistic This Is The Day, but today we get the agitator Matt Johnson as he dresses down of the English middle class and their perception that everything was just fine when the British economy decayed in the ‘80s. From 1979 to 1984, unemployment swelled in England from 1.5 million to 3.3 million under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and provided the inspiration for Heartland that was a Top 40 hit in the U.K. in 1986. …
Great balls of fire, there's going to be another Top Gun movie! Oh sure, you've read that rumor before (probably here), but now two movie execs have gone on the record about reviving a project that has crashed and burned several times before takeoff.
Speaking to Collider.com, Skydance CEO David Ellison and CCO Dana Goldberg said Top Gun 2 will feature the return of Tom Cruise as "Maverick," the tortured but brilliant Navy aviator who stared down a few Russian MiGs in his days after graduating from the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School in Miramar back in 1986.
"Justin Marks is writing the screenplay right now. He has a phenomenal take to really update that world for what fighter pilots in the Navy has turned into today," Ellison told Collider. "There is an amazing role for Maverick in the movie and there is no Top Gun without Maverick, and it is going to be Maverick playing Maverick."
But who will Maverick be fighting? And what will he be flying? It could be a drone, Ellison hinted.
"When you look at the world of dogfighting, what’s interesting about it is that it’s not a world that exists to the same degree when the original movie came out," he said.
So Cruise could be piloting drones from the comfy confines of a military trailer outside Vegas? Will there be fly-by's on the tower outside Baghdad? Will he and a new wingman regain that lovin' feeling (or will they be flying rubber dog you-know-what in a cargo plane to Hong Kong?) Guess we'll have to wait and see. There's no set timetable on production yet.
Thirty years ago, the phenomenon of St. Elmo's Fire was thrust upon the '80s generation. And three decades later, we're all still trying to decide what to make of it.
The movie, starring a gang of actors that would become known as The Brat Pack, followed a gang of friends as they ascend (or descend) into their professional lives following college graduation at Georgetown.
At the time, having just graduated from high school the previous month and having just started summer semester at college, I thought St. Elmo's Fire was both unexpectedly clever and simultaneously horrifically depressing. We suffered through all this schooling for THIS?!? Are we ever going to be happy again? (And yet, on the other hand, aren't we so well dressed!)
The Stuck in the '80s gang covered St. Elmo's Fire back in May 2007. It's episode 85. Click here to listen. Even then, we were far apart on our impressions.
Released June 28, 1985, St. Elmo's Fire was savaged by the critics, who weren't impressed with the offspring of a cross-pollination between The Big Chill and The Breakfast Club. Rob Lowe would even earn a Razzie for his supporting acting work. St. Elmo's Fire holds a despicably low 48 percent "fresh rating" on Rotten Tomatoes.
Here are five more things you probably didn't know about St. Elmo's Fire, according to IMDB.com.
1. The title of the movie, as we learn late in the film, is based on the weather phenomenon where sailors see lights or sparks in the sky. It's also known as St. Elmo's Light. However, the bar in the movie, St. Elmo's, is fictional. It was located on the back lot of Universal, two lots down from the Hill Valley clock tower from Back to the Future. It's based on "The Tombs," a popular bar with Georgetown students.
2. Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy and Judd Nelson are college graduates in St. Elmo's Fire. That same year (1985), they were high school students in The Breakfast Club.
3. Did you enjoy the witty and wise prose of Andrew McCarthy's character? His lines were largely "borrowed" from Ian Shoales, a fictional pop-culture critic who appeared on All Things Considered and MTV.
4. Mare Winningham, who played Jewish virgin in the film, was actually pregnant at the time (and raised a Roman Catholic.) She was the oldest member of the lead cast; Lowe was the youngest.
5. Urban legend has it that Jodie Foster, Tatum O'Neal and Joan Cusack were all offered the role of Jules, and they all turned it down (leaving it for Demi Moore). Meanwhile, Robert Downey Jr. was considered for the part of Billy - ultimately filled by Lowe. …
Well, last week was just another ho-hum week where nothing happened in the news and on social media. Don't worry, here at Lost and Found we are not pushing the envelope. However, some hot button issues like racism have been around for ages, including the ‘80s as we learn from Mr. Lenny Kravitz and Mr. Cab Driver.
Lenny Kravitz first appeared on our ‘80s radar in 1987 when we first saw his long dreadlocks appear in tabloids when he eloped with the eldest Cosby Show kid Lisa Bonet. He was also a trivia footnote as the son of an interracial marriage between actress Roxie Roker (also kin to weatherman Al Roker), better known as Helen Willis on TheJeffersons and Sy Kravitz, a NBC news producer. With a unique perspective on the treatment of race in America, Lenny Kravitz's debut album, Let Love Rule, drew accolades in 1989 and won new fans with songs like Mr. Cab Driver. …
It's very rare that we get a chance anymore to do podcasts where at least two of the co-hosts are in the same room together. But we got lucky on Memorial Day weekend when Lost & Found columnist Kevin Wuench came to Orlando for a family vacation. (I guess Orlando is a vacation hot spot? Who knew...) Here's the show we did: a tribute to Kevin's favorite Lost and Found moments.
All the songs we have played in our week of humor have been comedians playing music, but let's flip roles today and close out the week with the a serious rock-n-roller that might be even funnier than professional comedians - Joe Walsh and his video for I Can Play That Rock N Roll.
The video for I Can Play That Rock N Roll is a hoot as Joe Walsh is an exterminator in hot pursuit of a pesky house fly at a motel. Destruction, mayhem and comedy ensue in this rocker that is the lead track of his 1983 album You Bought It - You Name It. It is the same album that featured another Lost and Found song Space Age Whiz Kids back in 2014. Unfortunately we will not be featuring a third video off the You Bought It - YouName It as there is no official video for the song I.L.B.T's - which stands for ... well as the cool kids all say, "Just google it, Steve!"
Relive the '80s music, movies and culture with Tampa Bay Times correspondent Steve Spears. A teen during the greatest decade ever, Steve is obsessed with everything from Duran Duran to Journey, John Hughes to John Cusack, and parachute pants to big hair.