I was born in the early 70s, and like a lot of my contemporaries, I spent a lot of time during my middle school years at the mall/movies. One of the worst memories I have from my childhood is being all amped up to see a movie, only for it to be a complete waste of time and money. Looking back as an adult and admitted movie snob, it’s pretty obvious that most of these films never had a chance at being worth $4 to see. At the time, however, I was excited about all of them.
With a couple of exceptions, these aren’t the worst movies of the 80s, just the most disappointing.
Star Wars Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)
Why I couldn’t wait to see it: Wasn’t everybody excited about this movie? I was too young to really understand the first Star Warsmovie, but I thought it was really “neat”, had the lunchbox, the action figures, and was Darth Vader for Halloween. With The Empire Strikes Back, I understood a lot more about what was happening and was sucked in by the story. I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next.
Why I was disappointed:Just as I was starting to like the Star Wars series for the story, not just because things were getting blown up in space, someone got wise to the fact that they could make more money on merchandise than box office. Consequently, we got cuddly little teddy bears that kids would love–Ewoks. This wasn’t a bad movie at all, but it wasn’t as good as it could have and should have been. I can’t help but think that some of the story was traded in for merchandising efforts.
Desperately Seeking Susan (1985)
Why I couldn’t wait to see it:Unless you were living on another planet in 1985, you knew all about Madonna. Now, imagine you’re a 13 year old boy. You see my point.
Why I was disappointed:I was expecting to see basically an hour and a half of Madonna’s videos. Yeah, she looked hot in this movie, but this was our first clue that she can’t act. Remarkably, this didn’t stop her from starring in several movies later in her career. They were all pretty disappointing too.
Why I Couldn’t Wait to See It: Badass BMX tricks–on TEN SPEEDS!!!
Why I was Disappointed:This one actually is one of the worst movies ever. Probably the only thing that keeps this from being the absolute worst I’ve ever seen is that my cousin and I were asked to leave before the end of the movie. From what I remember, we got bored watching Kevin Bacon working as a bicycle messenger and started throwing popcorn at people. Look, there were plenty of movies in the 80s that featured bad acting, no plot, and horrible writing. However, they delivered cool stuff like tons of skateboarding and breakdancing, so we were all okay with it. This movie had nothing.
The All Nighter (1987)
Why I Couldn’t Wait to See It:Â Susanna Hoffs.Â The previews for this movie made it look like it was going to be nothing but her and her hottie friends having a tickle fight that lasted into the wee hours of the morning and culminated in all of them going out the next day and looking for a redneckÂ eighth grader (me) to hook up with.
Why I was Disappointed:Â Maybe they should have hired the guys who edited and marketed the trailer to do the whole movie, because I bought it hook, line, and sinker.Â All they did in this movie was talk!Â Maybe if I’d known anything about girls at the time I would have paid enough attention to somehow gain some knowledge in picking up some chicks on my own.Â Instead, I sat there and watched them talk about who knows what for the whole movie.Â I honestly don’t remember anything about it except that there was no tickling.Â Pam Grier was in it, but I didn’t know at the time how cool she is.
Light of Day (1987)
Why I Couldn’t Wait to See It:Â Michael J. Fox and Joan Jett.Â I love rockÂ ‘n’ roll, and Teen Wolf and Back to the Future were cool too.Â This seemed like it would be cool because Michael J. Fox actually was into playing guitar, and the idea of Joan Jett playing his sisterÂ and rocking out for an hour and a halfÂ was AWESOME.
Why I was Disappointed:Â That’s not at all what this movie was about.Â I was expecting something like what we see on Behind the Music…rock and roll craziness, drinking, drugs, boobs.Â Instead it was about stuff like relationships, personal struggles, etc.Â Instead of the cookie-cutter 80s rocker movie, this one had a real plot and was a unique story.Â Sounds like something I’d really like now.Â Now that I think about it, I should probably rent it and see if it’s really any good.