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Memorial Day box office winners in the '80s

A long time, in a galaxy far far … well, the galaxy we're in now, Memorial Day weekend used to mean one thing: box office movie madness - '80s style. Sure, we could have spent our time off at the beach, but that would have meant missing out on flicks like Rocky III or Return of the Jedi.

If you've ever been curious which movies reigned supreme - at least in box office dollars - in the '80s, this list is for you.


1980 - Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back:
Never tell me the odds of winning the weekend box office.

1981 - Bustin' Loose: The only movie on this list that isn't a household name. Richard Pryor stars as an ex-con who gets a second chance, helping relocate a group of special-needs kids cross country in an old school bus. (That's one hell of a mouthful for an elevator pitch.) 

1982 - Rocky III: My prediction for those waiting in box office lines back in 1982? My prediction? Pain…

1983 - Star Wars: Return of the Jedi: Four little words - Sorry about the Ewoks.

1984 - Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: The worst Indiana Jones film until Kingdom of the Crystal Dull was still good enough to win the box office this holiday weekend.

1985 - Rambo:  First Blood II: "Rambo, this is the theater manager, we're glad you're alive. Where the hell are you? Give us your position and we'll come to pick you up!"

1986 - Cobra: "You're the disease, and I'm the cure." Yeah, Stallone was so big that even one of his worst movies could do no wrong back in '86. 

1987 - Beverly Hills Cop II: "Uh, my name is Johnny Wish-Wishbone. And I am a psychic from the island of St. Croix. And I read in the St. Croix Gazette that Stuck in the '80s is having some trouble figuring out box office performances."

1988 - Crocodile Dundee II: Now THAT'S a box office. Roman numerals equal big box office on Memorial Day in the '80s.  Only two movies on this list aren't sequels.  Maybe we should shut up about the whole "Hollywood is out of ideas" business?

1989 - Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: Stallone may have been big, but Harrison Ford?  Monster.


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The Falcon, the Snowman, David Bowie and Pat Metheny: What do they have in common?

As we wrap up Movie Week on Lost and Found, it is fitting we feature an artist who deftly combined acting and singing in the ‘80s - David Bowie with the haunting This Is Not America.

Whether it was his pioneering days in the ‘70s creating Ziggy Stardust or reinventing himself in the ‘80s as the coolest dude on the planet, David Bowie will always be one of the most influential and revered artists of our lifetime. Even though his videos are iconic, it is ironic that our first ever post of Bowie on Lost and Found is for a video he does not appear in.  This Is Not America is a collaboration between Bowie and jazz guitarist Pat Metheny and was featured in The Falcon and the Snowman. The song reached No. 32 on the singles chart in 1985.

The video for This Is Not America is just straight movie clips from The Falcon and the Snowman that starred Sean Penn and Timothy Hutton about the true story of two Americans who sold secrets to the Soviets. Bowie would consistently star in movies during the ‘80s with a wide variety of roles in films such as Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence; The Hunger, Labyrinth and The Last Temptation of Christ.

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30 years later, critics still feel 'Brewster's Millions' isn't worth a nickel

When you saw Brewster's Millions back in 1985, did it seem familiar at all? As if you'd seen it somewhere before? Released 30 years ago, the 1985 movie was actually the seventh film based on a 1902 novel of the same name.

Written by George Barr McCutcheon, Brewster's Millions tells the story of a young man who unexpectedly inherits a fortune from a rich grandfather. But he can't keep the money; he most spend every cent of it in a short amount of time. If he does so, he inherits an even larger fortune.

The '80s version, released May 22, 1985, starred Richard Pryor as Monty Brewster, a talented but unlucky minor league baseball pitcher who inherits the money from his late great-uncle. John Candy plays his catcher and best friend, who can't understand why Brewster is unloading his fortune so carelessly. (One catch is that nobody can know about the deal for the second inheritance.)

Critics were either confused, mixed or indifferent to the film, one writing "it feels more like an extended montage sequence than a fully-fledged film  – or at least makes you realise how efficiently the 80s montage sequence functioned as a record of expenditure, an itemised receipt of cinematic pleasure, proof you’d got your money’s worth."

On Rotten Tomatoes, Brewster's Millions scored an unimpressive 38 percent fresh rating.

Still, 30 years later, the movie remains beloved (or at least be-liked) by the '80s generation. Here are five things you probably didn't know about Brewster's Millions.

1. The movie was directed by Walter Hill, who in 1982 directed 48 Hours. The movies had a few things in common. Both have scenes filmed in a bar named Torchy's. The main characters in both films each drive a sky-blue Cadillac convertible. Actress Margot Rose appears in both films as a waitress at Torchy's.

2. Pryor was supposed to co-star in 48 Hours, when the movie was in early development in the late '70s. By the '80s, the attention turned to some guy named Eddie Murphy.

3. Other adaptations of Brewster's Millions were released in 1914, 1921, 1926, 1935, 1945 and 1961.

4. In earlier versions of the movie, the hero was required to rid himself of just $1 million. In the 1985 version, the sum rose to $30 million. Earlier in 2015, it was announced that Robert Townsend would be making another remake of the movie and the sum will rise to $100 million.

5. Brewster's Millions was the fourth big-screen movie featuring the late John Candy that was released in 1985. Can you name the others? Summer Rental, Volunteers and Follow That Bird. …

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Can you name Meat and Tommy Turner's favorite high school anthem?

Is anybody in SIT80's Nation having a high school reunion this year? Even if you aren't attending a reunion, don't worry, you will still always have memories of your High School Nights.

Nobody will every make claim that the money you paid to see the abomination Porky's 3 was money well spent, but yet many a hormonically-charged teenage boy in 1985 did just that. Perhaps the best part of Porky's Revenge! was the song High School Nights by Dave Edmunds.

The video puts Edmunds right in the action with most of the Porky's gang including Pee Wee, Tommy Turner, Meat, Wendy and Balbricker as I am sure it was not too much of a problem for the Porky's cast to have time for a call back to recreate some of the movie scenes with Edumunds.  Even with poor reviews, Porky's 3: Revenge! was a money maker and High School Nights even cracked the Top 100 on the singles chart peaking at No. 91. …

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70 years later, love still opens the door for Pete Townshend

Pete Townshend turned 70 yesterday. Ok, I'll make the easy joke... He didn't die before he got old.

Sure, 70 might seem old, but the '60s rocker is still at as he performs with Roger Daltry on their The Who Hits 50 North American and European tour. And, this summer Pete will be releasing a "symphonised" version of the 1973 Who masterpiece ‘Quadrophenia' called ‘Classic Quadrophenia'. And, he will be performing ‘Classic Quadrophenia' at London's Royal Albert Hall in July of this year. And, yesterday, he released his first solo single in over twenty years, the politically charged Guantanamo. And, he will soon be releasing the compilation Truancy: The Very Best of Pete Townshend, which includes a second new song How Can I Help You.

Phew! Slow down, old man!

But this site is a celebration of everything 80s, so let's look again at Pete's highest charting (number 9 in the U.S.) solo single Let My Love Open the Door released in 1980. Originally, Pete meant the song to be about God offering His love to a wayward soul, but the popular notion that the song was of a hopeful lover making sweet promises to another was fine by him.

Happy belated birthday, Pete! Don't ever get old.  …

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I love 'Dune' and sandworms ... but not THIS much

"He who controls the action figures controls the universe!" I just came across this vintage 1984 "poseable" action figure of an Arrakis sandworm from the movie Dune. A very tempting purchase because I know a certain Stuck in the '80s podcast co-host that would totally nerd out for this. Only one problem.

Price tag: $219.99 on How can this be? Is this the Kwisatz Haderach!?!

We would have to have wormsign the likes of which even God has never seen for me to pull the trigger on this.

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About Sheena Easton ... Here's her almost-hit from 'About Last Night'

Which Sheena Easton do you like? Version 1.0, 2.0 or Version 3.0 featured in today's So Far, So Good from the movie About Last Night.

As a matter of personal preference, I like Sheena Easton 1.0 - the pure, good lassie singing Morning Train and For Your Eyes Only. Many prefer Sheena Easton 2.0 - the naughty girl singing Strut and Sugar Walls while being defiled by Prince. In the late ‘80s came Sheena Easton 3.0 - the independent career woman who stars as a plucky working girl in the video for So Far, So Good.

Whichever version you like best, it's all good as Easton can make any song a winner as shown in the video for So Far, So Good.  The video interweaves Easton as a Tess McGill-wannabe making the big presentation for the movie About Last Night, with plenty of clips thrown in of Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, James Belushi and Elizabeth Perkins (in her first film). So Far, So Good was almost a hit, stalling at No. 43 on the singles chart, but About Last Night was a box office winner in 1986 and its soundtrack also included the favorite If Anybody Had A Heart by John Waite. …

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Could this be the best 'forgotten' duet of the '80s? The story of 'Don't Box Me In'

S.E. Hinton's novels were all the rage in the early 80's, with her books spawning no less than four ‘80s movies, including Rumble Fish with the forgotten song Don't Box Me In.

The screen credits for the edgy 1983 Rumble Fish is impressive with lead honors going to Matt Dillon, Mickey Rourke and Diane Lane and supporting roles for Dennis Hopper, Nicolas Cage, Chris Penn, Laurence Fishburne and Tom Waits. Also appearing was author Hinton as a hooker and director Francis Ford Coppola's daughter Sofia.  

Equally edgy was the soundtrack music to Rumble Fish, provided by the Police's Stewart Copeland, that relied on experimental percussion production to go along with the avant-garde high contrast black and white film used to shoot Rumble Fish. For Don't Box Me In, Copeland enlisted Wall of Voodoo singer Stan Ridgway to add to the quirkiness of the music with excellent results. The video is a nice blend of Ridgway and Copeland in the studio and clips from the movie that features 19-year olds Dillon and Cage and the 18-year old Lane.     …

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Watch Simple Minds perform on Billboard Awards show to mark Breakfast Club's 30th anniversary

Thank you, Billboard Music Awards, for showing extra love for the '80s in Sunday night's telecast. First Van Halen and then a surprise appearance by Simple Minds. Introduced by Molly Ringwald, Jim Kerr and the lads were there to celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Breakfast Club and their hit song (Don't You) Forget About Me.

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Billy Idol returns to Tampa Bay for Sept. 24 show at Ruth Eckerd Hall

Raise your hand if you missed the chance to see Billy Idol back in 2013? Now keep form a fist and start dancing with yourself, because you just got a second chance. The Rebel Yeller himself will return to Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall on Thursday, Sept. 24.

The 2013 show was a sell-out, so set an iPhone reminder because tickets for this show go on sale Saturday, May 23 at noon. Tickets are priced at $83.25, $63.25 and $53.25 and are available at the Ruth Eckerd Hall Ticket Office, by calling 727.791.7400 or visiting Busy that night? He's also playing Orlando's Hard Rock Live on Set. 23.

Idol got a killer review from then-Times pop music critic Sean Daly, who wrote after the 2013 show: "The guy couldn't wait to show off his sweat-slick abs, and who could blame him? He remains a grinning, bad-boy sex symbol, and the ladies in the graying, game crowd of 2,180 couldn't get enough."

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The Church, Psychedelic Furs team up for 2015 North American tour

Can you think of a better double-billing of '80s alt-legends than The Church and Psychedelic Furs? Sure, the Furs have been touring the U.S. fairly regularly the last 6 years, but North American audiences don't often get a chance to catch Australia's The Church very often.

Thankfully, they're touring together beginning in August, reports No Florida dates, but a lineup like this is worth a plane ticket.

Here's the tour dates for The Church. An asterisk means the Furs are playing that same date together.

Aug. 7: Toronto, Ontario (The Danforth)
Aug. 8: Buffalo, NY (Town Ballroom) *
Aug. 9: Silver Springs, MD (The Fillmore) *
Aug. 11: New Haven, CT (College Street Music Hall) *
Aug. 12: Albany, NY (Northern Lights) *
Aug. 13: Hamton Beach, NH (Hampton Beach Casino) *
Aug. 14: Portland, ME (The Asylum)
Aug. 15: Philadelphia, PA (Keswick Theater) *
Aug. 16: Hyannis, MA (Cape Cod Melody Tent) *
Aug. 18: New York, NY (Irving Plaza) *
Aug. 19: Westbury, NY (Theater at Westbury) *
Aug. 21: Pittsburgh, PA (Altar Bar)
Aug. 22: Royal Oak, MI (Royal Oak Music Theatre) *
Aug. 23: Louisville, KY (Mercury Ballroom) *
Aug. 25: Minneapolis, MN (First Avenue) *
Aug. 26: Milwaukee, WI (Turner Hall Ballroom)
Aug. 27: Kansas City, MO (Croassroads) *
Aug. 28: Urbana, IL (Sweet Corn Festival) *
Aug. 29: Chicago, IL (Old Town School of Folk)
Aug. 31: Denver, CO (Ogden Theater) *
Sept. 2:  Portland, OR (Crystal Ballroom) *
Sept. 3:  Seattle, WA (Showbox at The Market) * w:
Sept. 6: Saratoga, CA (Mountain Winery) *
Sept. 8: Las Vegas, NV (Brooklyn Bowl) *
Sept. 9: San Diego, CA (North Park Theater) *
Sept. 10: Los Angeles, CA (The Roxy)

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Did you miss Van Halen on Billboard Awards? No worries. Watch it here

Van Halen turned Las Vegas on its side Sunday night for the Billboard Music Awards, playing Panama for the assembled set of today's music phonies. I'm sure being introduced by Taylor Swift wasn't on Eddie's or Diamond Dave's bucket list. In any case, while most people our age were watching the series finale of Mad Men, this happened:

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In the '80s, B.B. King scored soundtrack royalty with 'Into The Night'

Summer is so close, you can almost taste it. The arrival of summer brings the summer movie season which also brings us our third annual Lost and Found Movie Week as we look for great soundtrack songs beyond the usual Footloose and Top Gun hits. This year we start off with a man getting plenty of tributes this past week - the late, great B.B. King and Into The Night.

With a career starting in the 1940s, B.B. King was still relevant in the ‘80s and beyond. With his trademark guitar Lucille, he is considered one of the best guitarists to ever pick up a six-string. The B.B. stood for Blues Boy and King was idolized by many ‘80s artists including U2 which featured their duet When Love Comes To Town on the Rattle and Hum documentary and soundtrack.   …

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Never Found in the '80s - That Petrol Emotion

In 1984, Northern Irish musicians from various other bands (most notable among them was The Undertones) along with an American vocalist formed the London-based band That Petrol Emotion. They combined political messages with music that could be darkly punkish to songs that were the catchiest pop. They were universally acclaimed by music critics the world over, but American Top 40 stations didn't touch them.

Today's song Big Decision is awfully catchy and pretty damned political. Listen for the lines referring to plastic bullets and scum booting down doors.

Since forming in 1984, the band released five albums and gained a small but loyal fan base. In 1994 they decided to call it quits. There have been a number of reunions to play a few gigs and short tour runs beginning in 2008, but there has been no activity since 2010. 

- Jim ‘Dr. Dim' Fitzsimons


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Best Coneheads revival yet: Watch 'Jake from Planet State Farm'

Saturday Night Live's Coneheads sketch wasn't really an '80s phenomenon, but '80s Nation knows it well. So how cool is this latest State Farm commercial, featuring Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin reprising their famous roles (along with "Jake ... from State Farm.")

According to Variety, the commercial is part of a partnership between State Farm and Broadway Video, owned by SNL producer Lorne Michaels.

“Use of these nostalgic characters really allows us to reach a bigger and broader audience,” said Patty Morris, director of marketing brand content at State Farm, in an interview with Variety.

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