Sunday, March 11, 2012

I choose movies over productivity

It’s Women’s History Month! I hope that you’re celebrating accordingly—reading up on women who have changed history, taking the time to realize all the awesome women you have in your life, not using inappropriate language when describing women (even if you don’t know them or don’t agree with them).

I was at a birthday party on Friday and we got to talking about pop culture, specifically music and movies from the late 80s-mid 90s (ages 7-16 for me and the majority of the group). It turned into a discussion of the things we loved, the shows we remembered and how dorky we all were (or really, still are). I imagine that this is my generation’s version of The Big Chill or one of those emails that periodically goes around (“Remember when we collected Garbage Pail Kids and wore jellies? Remember Crystal Pepsi and New Coke?”—you know you’ve read them and laughed). The other image I had was of those I Love the 80s shows on VH1 (usually Michael Ian Black is one of the guests). One day there will be a series of I Love the 2000s shows. The same people who hate everything now will wax nostalgic about hipsters, moustaches (is it 1976?) and their love of all things Real Housewife. Being on tv sometimes makes you say things you don’t really mean.

One of the people we talked about was Molly Ringwald. One of the guys said that he was in love with Molly Ringwald and I (of course) had to share that I wanted to be Molly Ringwald for the majority of my life. I wonder how many other women out there have been attempting to be Molly Ringwald their whole lives (I even dyed my hair red for awhile and had a cat named Molly—neither of these things made much of a difference).

I no longer want to be Molly Ringwald. I've come to this realization over the years. I also realized that I don't necessarily want to be Molly Ringwald; I want to be Samantha Baker. I idolize fictional characters just as much as I idolize real women like Hallie Flanagan and Gloria Steinem (and for some of the exact same reasons). So in honor of Women’s History Month, here are my top 5 80s Movie Heroines:

5. Corey Flood, Say Anything (1989): Corey wrote 65 songs about Joe and sang them all at the party. ("Joe lies. Joe li-eyes. Joe lies when he cries. When he cries.") She had a lot of feelings and song is her way of expressing them. Do I think Corey and Joe are a disaster wrapped inside a catastrophe? Yes, and I’m sure if we met Corey today she would agree. She’s got a huge heart and wants Lloyd to be different from all the guys out there.  Every guy should have a friend like Corey; she will instantly make you feel like a genius when it comes to women (even if you are being an idiot) and every girl has a bit of Corey (even if you don’t write 65 songs about a guy). I’ve been Corey for several of my guy friends over the years. Hopefully, they were better boyfriends/husbands because of my advice. I apologize if they did anything stupid though; my intentions were good!

Best Corey quotes:
Brains stick with brains. The bomb could go off and their mutant genes would form the same cliques.”
“The world is full of guys. Be a man. Don't be a guy.”

4. The cast of Satisfaction (1988): There are so many things to love about this movie—wondering what Liam Neeson was thinking when he signed on to do this, the dog, Scott Coffey—but of course, the ladies rock it. Let’s ignore the fact that they butcher of some of the greatest songs in rock history and just focus on their collective awesomeness.

Satisfaction is about a girl band from “the city” that goes to “the coast” to play at a club and possibly go on tour in Europe. Totally plausible! You’ve got Jennie Lee (played by Justine Bateman, stepping out of her annoying role on Family Ties) as the lead singer, who falls for Liam Neeson and almost destroys the band (and has some of the most awkward scenes ever) but of course keeps them all together in the end; Mooch (Trini Alvarado) the tough girl who not only falls in love with Scott Coffey but also illustrates that dresses are okay to wear if you make them your own; Billy (Britta Phillips) provides us with our drug story line because it’s the 1980s and Nancy Reagan made this a requirement; and finally Daryle (really?) played by none other than Julia Roberts. This would be one of many roles for Julia in 80s chick flicks and she played a variation of the same role in each movie (the beautiful girl who wanted to be more than her poor upbringing and it usually involved a rich guy). From these ladies my desire to be in a rock band was magnified times 100 because they made it look so easy. All you needed was a spirit, slightly average musical ability, and the ability to not be embarrassed when you make a great song like “Satisfaction” sound somehow weak and not as cool. Add a rad 80s wardrobe and you will be a star!

Best quotes:
Billy to the dog: " Wanna know what it's like to be me dog? No? Well, I'm gonna tell you anyway. Being me is like... being me is like... ah geez I forget."
Daryle: "Okay. We're going in there now, and anybody who doesn't act elegant is a douchebag"

3. Samantha Baker, Sixteen Candles (1984): As much as I wanted to be Molly Ringwald when I was younger, the actions of her later characters (Andie in Pretty in Pink and Claire in The Breakfast Club) actually take her out of the top spot for favorite heroine. Hands down, Samantha Baker is my favorite of all of her roles because it’s the one I identified with the most. She was dorky (but not a geek—that was Farmer Ted) and she wore her heart on her sleeve (a manager of mine actually used this phrase in one of my performance reviews). I have two favorite scenes in this movie: the heart to heart in the auto shop (where she agrees to give her panties to a geek—we talked this on Friday too) and the perfect guy and his car scene at the church. I like that Samantha doesn’t believe that Jake Ryan is actually there to see her and who doesn’t get a little weepy when they hear “If You Were Here?” Samantha Baker was funny, self-conscious and nice. She also helped to perpetuate the myth that older guys go for younger girls in high school. This is usually only true if you are a cheerleader.

Best Sam quotes:
Donger's here for five hours, and he's got somebody. I live here my whole life, and I'm like a disease.”
“I loathe the bus. There has to be a more dignified mode of transportation.”

2.  Allison Reynolds, The Breakfast Club (1985): I almost put Allison as number one but I’ve always been a bit conflicted about the end of the movie. I’ve never really understood why Allison feels the need to go along with Claire's makeover and try to be the Claire version of herself. That she stays a bit defensive about her transformation makes it a bit easier to handle. Allison has always been my favorite character in this movie and it’s mostly because she was herself from the moment she walked into detention (until Claire got a hold of her). She was quirky, a little damaged, and pretty funny. I wanted so badly for her to take the makeover back and she sort of does when she steals the letter off of Andrew’s jacket. It was like she was saying, “I might be “pretty” now but I’m still a badass.” Her best quote of the movie sums up it up pretty well: “When you grow up, your heart dies.”

1. Kat Arujo, Mystic Pizza (1988): I love, love, love Annabeth Gish. (Have you seen Shag? She and Scott Coffey are so wonderful in this movie.) I even suggested she be in my Lifetime holiday movie if it ever gets made. Kat was pretty, funny, smart, dependable, responsible and awesome. Minus the affair with a married man, I’d say that I’m pretty much Kat (or at least I've always felt like the Kat of my friends). She basically proves that my 9th grade English teacher was totally wrong. Oh and she also goes to Yale, rides around town on a scooter, makes the silly bridesmaid dress look cute and is able to entertain a 5 year old (or maybe 4 year old) without pandering. Good stuff.

I could do productive things today like vacuum but instead I’ll be spending the day with Kat, Samantha, Corey and Allison. I don’t have Satisfaction or that would be on the list too. Instead, I’ll substitute Shag because it’s amazing. And yes, I’m watching at least two of these movies on VHS—don’t be jealous!

Quotes from


  1. I need a movie education because I have missed some of these films, but I whole-heartedly support the idea of a Sunday movie day. I'm actually pretty much doing the same exact thing, except I took a quick FB break and saw you had a new post!

  2. Some days the FB is useful! I'm in the middle of Mystic Pizza now and will segue to Shag, the movie. I either have watched too many movies in my life or not enough. I've never been able to decide which it is! :)