Episode 529: Holiday Movie Season Showdown – 1979 vs. 1989

It’s time for another showdown on holiday movie seasons. Again we pit the plucky year 1979 vs. the stuffy but solid work from 1989. How will “The Jerk” fare against “Christmas Vacation?” Is “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” good enough to give 1979 the edge, or does Back to the Future Part 2″ put 1989 over the top? And why all the obsession over “The Black Hole?” Brad and Spearsy debate the issue.

Also this week, there’s a Listener Email from Canada and another installment of “I Want My Mystery TV Theme Song.”

Here are the Biggest One-Hit Wonders of the ’80s

Dexy's Midnight Runners

Did you know there was a National One-Hit Wonders Day? Why in the world someone would choose to honor some a dubious distinction is beyond me. I go back and forth in mind on this: Would I want to be called a one-hit wonder? On one hand, it means I did hit pay dirt with a song in my chosen profession. On the other hand, it means I ONLY hit pay dirt with one song in my chosen profession. Damned if you do or don’t in this world, amiright?

Eons ago here at Stuck in the ’80s, we did a series of podcasts on one-hit wonders in the ’80s. We went year by year and tried to single out the bands who struck gold only once. We got a lot of grief over our list, if memory serves. Yes, it’s a subjective list for sure. Here are the links to each show if you’d like to relive podcasting history.

One-Hit Wonders of the 1980s:

1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989

Vote for Stuck in the ’80s for the People’s Choice Podcast Awards

After 14 years and 511 episodes, Stuck in the ’80s has been around the track a time or two. We’ve hosted trivia sessions on four voyages of The 80s Cruise. We’ve interviewed four of the original MTV veejays. And we’ve shared a story or two (or two hundred) about how the decade we love still influences us today.

We figured it’s now time to see how we stack up against our competition. Stuck in the ’80s is competing in the “entertainment category” for the 14th Annual People’s Choice Podcast Awards. For this award, it’s all up to the listeners. You will decide if we’re worthy or not.

To vote, simply go to podcastawards.com, get your email verified (yes, I know that’s a pain – I’m sorry) and vote for Stuck in the ’80s in the entertainment category. Feel free to vote for other podcasts in other categories. The nomination period goes through July 30th. We appreciate the support!

Sad songs in disguise: ‘Together in Electric Dreams’

It’s ironic that songs that seem so positive and life-affirming can be dissected apart and suddenly seem like real kicks to the gut. That happened to me this morning when listening to Phil Oakey singing “Together in Electric Dreams.”

“I only knew you for a while, I never saw your smile
Till it was time to go, time to go away (time to go away)
Sometimes it’s hard to recognise, love comes as a surprise
And it’s too late, it’s just too late to stay, too late to stay”

What the hell, Phil? The frontman for The Human League partners with the great Giorgio Moroder for this pure slice of pop heaven, which was featured in the 1984 movie of the same name. Good luck finding a copy of the movie that will play on DVD players in the U.S. and Canada. (I did find a version of it on YouTube though.)

The movie was largely panned by critics – it has 44 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes – though Siskel & Ebert curiously gave it 3 1/2 out of 4 stars, crediting its “genuine sweetness.” That’s what I used to think of when I hear the song.

“We’ll always be together, however far it seems (love never ends)
We’ll always be together, together in electric dreams”

Aww, my heart just melts. And then, Phil and Giorgio fill it back up with air and pop it.

“Because the friendship that you gave
Has taught me to be brave
No matter where I go
I’ll never find a better prize (find a better prize)

Though you’re miles and miles away, I see you every day
I don’t have to try, I just close my eyes, I close my eyes”

Wait! She’s gone? (Or he’s gone – the specifics don’t matter.) So this is a song about being happy that true love is gone. And the vision of that love haunts you every day. And you’ll never find its equivalent? Holy hell. Are you sure this wasn’t written by Depeche Mode?

“We’ll always be together, however far it seems (love never ends)
We’ll always be together, together in electric dreams”

No, no. Too late now for the chorus again and that mumbo jumbo contradiction.

Truth by told, it’s probably best not to dissect songs you love too much. This tune – recorded in a single take, Phil once told me – was a top 10 hit in the UK and Australia. The Human League – often erroneously credited for the song – often includes it as an encore in live performances.

I’ll still play it on my headphones and quietly sob – it was also once my phone’s ring tone – but now, I just cry … and I close my eyes.

“We’ll always be together, however far it seems (love never ends)
We’ll always be together, together in electric dreams”

Listen to our ‘Planes Trains and Automobiles’ episode from 2006

Back in 2006, when the world was still new and full of wonderment, the gang at Stuck in the ’80s recorded a podcast on the movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles. It’s the standard-bearer of movies about Thanksgiving – in the ’80s or any other decade.

Some 12 years later, I honestly can’t remember a think we said in the show. My memory works great when it comes to recalling stories from the ’80s, but from the last 12 years? Eh, not so much. In any case, I figure a fair number of ’80s fans are looking for some podcasts to load onto ye olden iPhone for the holiday travel ahead this weekend, so here it is. Enjoy.