40 years ago, these movies made history

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 like Grease or Animal House feel like they’re ’80s flicks, whether the calendar says so or not.

So today on Stuck in the ’80s, we take note of 18 movies turning 40 in 2018. Some of these flicks deserve the full balloons-and-party-horns anniversary experience. Others might deserve a shallow grave. (We’re looking at you, Sgt. Pepper – if that is your real rank!)


ICE CASTLES (Jan. 1): Lynn-Holly Johnson and Robby Benson look like babies in this tale of a young figure skater who goes blind after an accident on the ice. It also gave us the Oscar-nominated tune Through the Eyes of Love by Melissa Manchester. BUY IT ON AMAZON

COMING HOME (Jan. 1): Jane Fonda and Jon Voight won Oscars in this movie released as America was still coming to grips with the end of the Vietnam war. BUY IT NOW

GREASE (June 16): With apologies to musicals of earlier decades, but I doubt there’s a more important musical to ’80s Nation than the story of Danny and Sandy. Owning the soundtrack was probably by rule of law in the early ’80s. BUY IT NOW

JAWS 2 (June 16): The movie’s tagline – “Just when you thought it was safe to back in the water” – is probably more memorable than the film. It held the title of highest-grossing sequel for a brief year before Rocky II dethroned it in 1979. BUY IT NOW

HEAVEN CAN WAIT (June 28): The story of a man taken to heaven before his time has been adapted and remake a bunch of times over the decades, but none as successfully as this Warren Beatty classic. His wobbly performance of a soprano saxophone still haunts our dreams. BUY IT NOW

CONVOY (June 28): Decades before Google hangouts, Snapchat and Facebook, there was a social media tool that our nation embraced and it was called CB radio. Ask your grandparents about it. BUY IT NOW

NATIONAL LAMPOON’S ANIMAL HOUSE (July 28): This movie was once the greatest comedy ever produced about the college experience. “See if you can guess what it is now…” BUY IT NOW

HOOPER (July 28): The ode to stuntmen and stuntwomen had an amazing cast: Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, Jan-Michael Vincent, Brian Keith, Robert Klein, James Best and Adam West. It finished in the top 10 at the box office for the year. BUY IT NOW

SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND (Aug. 12): As much as Grease saved musicals in 1978, this disastrous adaptation of the legendary Beatles sought to undo it all. What was it about? Only George Burns, as the narrator, probably had any clue. BUY IT NOW

UP IN SMOKE (Sept. 15): Believe it or not, stoner comedies were a thing way before the turn of the century. Cheech & Chong’s first feature-length film is actually credited with giving the genre its legitimacy. BUY IT NOW

MIDNIGHT EXPRESS (Sept. 20): If there’s a reason nobody in ’80s Nation wants to visit Turkey, it’s this flick starring Brad Davis as an American student who makes a very bad decision at the airport. Some guy named Oliver Stone wrote the screenplay. BUY IT NOW

ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES (Oct. 3): This spoof of B movies probably went over the heads of most theater-goers in 1978 but found its place in pop culture history through home video, spin-offs and parodies. BUY IT NOW

HALLOWEEN (Oct. 17): If you’re not a fan of slasher movies, then this is the movie can blame for the entire genre. Jamie Lee Curtis made her big-screen debut in this classic horror tale directed and scored by John Carpenter. BUY IT NOW

THE WIZ (Oct. 24): The cast alone was epic: Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, Ted Ross, Mabel King, Lena Horne, and Richard Pryor. Here, Dorothy’s adventures begin in Harlem – not Kansas. It was a box office and critical dud but lives on in cult classic status. BUY IT NOW

CALIFORNIA SUITE (Dec. 15): Neil Simon rules the movie screens at this point in history. Maggie Smith would win an Oscar in this ensemble cast piece that included Alan Alda, Jane Fonda, Michael Caine, Walter Matthau, Richard Pryor, Billy Cosby and Dana Plato. BUY IT NOW

SUPERMAN (Dec. 15): Once upon a time, superhero movies were a fairly rare thing. All the big names showed up in this cast, including Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Glenn Ford, Terence Stamp, Ned Beatty and Christopher Reeve as Superman. BUY THE SET NOW

EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE (Dec. 20): Who do you remember more from this movie: Clint Eastwood as trucker/brawler Philo Beddoe? Or his pet orangutan Clyde? BUY IT NOW

INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (Dec. 22): This remake of the 1956 movie of the same name is still considered an example of how to properly remake a classic. And as all sci-fi movies must do, it includes Jeff Goldblum in the cast. (Mr. Spock too!) BUY IT NOW