Saturday, February 24, 2018
  • Stuck in the '80s
  • Steve Spears

Top 10 broken-heart movies of the ’80s

Ah yes, Valentine's Day. Or as I like to call it – Wednesday. I have a very checkered history with this Hallmark holiday. Easily some of the most rookie moves ever made by a male toward a female on February 14 can be atributed to "Spears, Stephen."

I particularly recall the time I'd forgotten about the occasion and was forced to buy my girlfriend-at-the-time a half-inflated heart balloon from the neighborhood drug store along with a four-pack of expired wine coolers. I did my best, but I guess my best wasn't good enough. (But at least it was a nice metaphor.)

Still, when I peruse my towering collection of dusty '80s DVDs of '80s movies, I know I'm not alone in my misery. Here are my 10 favorite "love stinks" movies from our beloved decade.

LAST AMERICAN VIRGIN (1982): Poor Gary. He too did his best, but Karen said it wasn't good enough. Probably one of the saddest endings to an '80s movie except for …

SOPHIE'S CHOICE (1982): "And so ended my voyage of discovery in a place as strange as Brooklyn. I let go the rage and sorrow for Sophie and Nathan, and the many others who were but a few of the butchered and betrayed and martyred children of the earth. When I could finally see again, I saw the first rays of daylight reflected in the murky river. This was not Judgement Day, only morning. Morning, excellent and fair."

THE RACHEL PAPERS (1989): A sadly forgotten movie with a excruciating end. Starring Dexter Fletcher and Ione Skye as a pair of aspiring Oxford students who can't make love work. Their final meeting in a museum ends with a peck on the cheek – truly the epitome of tragedy.

BIG (1988): Sure, the "romance" between grown-up Josh Baskins (Tom Hanks) and Susan (Elizabeth Perkins) is a little creepy if you over-analyze it. But the look on their faces as they say goodbye is still soul-crushing.

FATAL ATTRACTION (1987): You could argue there's little romance in the weekend affair between Michael Douglas and Glenn Close. Nobody emerges from this movie fully intact – especially the rabbit.

CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS (1989): There's a little heartbreak in every truly great Woody Allen film. In this movie, it's dealt out in double doses. First Martin Landau is forced to deal with his insistent mistress in the most heartless way imaginable. Then Woody loses Mia Farrow to Alan Alda. (At least Alda gives the always-fave line: "If it bends, it's funny. If it breaks, it isn't.")

WITNESS (1985): Let's face it: A Philly police detective (Harrison Ford) and Amish widow (Kelly McGillis) was never going to work out. "You be careful out among them, English."

THE VERDICT (1982): Any movie that ends with a woman spilling whiskey on the floor before making a last-ditch phoner to her down-and-out boyfriend lawyer has to make the list. That's right, Frank. Don't answer it.

TERMS OF ENDEARMENT (1983): Come on, Shirley MacLaine, you still think you can land Jack Nicholson? Those faring worse include poor Emma (Debra Winger) and her cheating husband Flap (Jeff Daniels). The one who really won't be able to sleep anytime soon, though, is her son Tommy. "I know you like me. I know it. For the last year or two, you've been pretending like you hate me. I love you very much. I love you as much as I love anybody, as much as I love myself. And in a few years when I haven't been around to be on your tail about something or irritating you … you're gonna realize that you love me. And maybe you're gonna feel badly, because you never told me. But don't – I know that you love me. So don't ever do that to yourself, all right?"

SOMEWHERE IN TIME (1980): Truth be told, I go back and forth on the happy/sad factor here. But any movie that results in me repeatedly sobbing into a pillow deserves to be on this list. Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour as time-crossed lovers. The final words between them – "Riiiichard! Riiiiichart!" – stab us in the heart every time. Penny for your thoughts?

Comments
Would you stay overnight at the Friday the 13th camp?

Would you stay overnight at the Friday the 13th camp?

The New Jersey summer camp that served as the location for the 1980 horror film Friday the 13th is about to start offering fans the chance to spend the night. Who wants a reservation to stay at Camp Crystal Lake?Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco is the real name of ...
Published: 02/22/18
Read these negative reviews of The Breakfast Club from 1985

Read these negative reviews of The Breakfast Club from 1985

Let's face it: Not every John Hughes flick in the '80s was an instant classic. Some never became classics at all. (We're looking at you, Curly Sue.) But can't we all basically agree that 1985's The Breakfast Club was in a class of its own? Not the Ho...
Published: 02/20/18
18 movies that turn 40 years old in 2018

18 movies that turn 40 years old in 2018

Normally Stuck in the '80s concentrates on flicks released between Jan. 1, 1980 and Dec. 31, 1989. But in reality, many of us in '80s Nation were first exposed to movies from the late '70s on HBO or home video during our beloved decade.To us, movies ...
Published: 02/19/18
Ready Player One has a new trailer – and it’s incredible

Ready Player One has a new trailer – and it’s incredible

If you haven't at least heard of Ready Player One by now, you really can't call yourself an '80s fan. In any case, as we all know by now, Ernest Cline's book is being turned into a movie by Steven Spielberg and the second trailer has just been releas...
Published: 02/15/18
Trailer: Get first look at new Cobra Kai series

Trailer: Get first look at new Cobra Kai series

Johnny and Daniel-San are ready to resume their rivalry in the new YouTube series Cobra Kai. A short teaser/trailer was released today on the Internet, and shows actors William Zabka and Ralph Macchio facing off again in a reinvigorated karate dojo. ...
Published: 02/15/18
5 things you probably didn’t know about McDonald’s Happy Meals

5 things you probably didn’t know about McDonald’s Happy Meals

Oh, McDonalds. We can't quit you – even though at our age our doctors would really like us to. Maybe with the help of changes to their Happy Meals, we won't have to.McDonalds announced this week that it will offer more "balanced" kids meals as ...
Published: 02/15/18
Top 10 broken-heart movies of the ’80s

Top 10 broken-heart movies of the ’80s

Ah yes, Valentine's Day. Or as I like to call it – Wednesday. I have a very checkered history with this Hallmark holiday. Easily some of the most rookie moves ever made by a male toward a female on February 14 can be atributed to "Spears, Steph...
Published: 02/14/18
Greatest American Hero reboot taps its new star

Greatest American Hero reboot taps its new star

Believe or not, Hollywood seems committed to rebooting The Greatest American Hero and has finally picked its new lead star: Hannah Simone from New Girl.Simone will play the reluctant superhero made famous in the '80s by William Katt. (Of course, the ...
Published: 02/13/18
John Williams’ best movie scores of the ’80s – ranked bottom to top

John Williams’ best movie scores of the ’80s – ranked bottom to top

The world of John Williams didn't start with Star Wars, whether '80s fans want to believe it or not. Truth is our favorite movie score composer had been working at his craft since 1954, when he penned the music for a tourist promo film for Newfoundla...
Published: 02/09/18
Huey Lewis and the News music to fuel new stage musical

Huey Lewis and the News music to fuel new stage musical

So it's really hip to be square these days. Rolling Stone reports that a new stage musical is in the works based on the music of Huey Lewis and the News.The musical will be called Heart of Rock and Roll and won't be focused on Lewis himself but rathe...
Updated one month ago