Films of my Youth

Working with the DVD collection here at the library has reacquainted me with some of my favorite movies from childhood. My early years were firmly planted in the 80s which means most of these films are known more for their nostalgia-inducement and less for artistic merit, but at that point in my life, all I wanted was to be entertained and these fit the bill perfectly.

  • Pee-Wee's Big Adventure - This was a classic in my house (although trying to incessantly laugh like Pee-Wee became strongly discouraged). I can still recite way too much of this movie. Until recently, I had no idea it was directed by Tim Burton.
  • Honey, I Shrunk The Kids - If my memory is correct, I managed to see this three times at the theater. Later we traded our school bus driver a dubbed copy of a New Kids on the Block tape for a bootleg VHS of it with the scrambled marks running at the bottom. This one did make me think about the world differently in that I had to think of survival strategies should I be shrunk in my own backyard.
  • Ghostbusters - It's hard to decide if I love this movie more now or then. Then I was more interested (and quite spooked) by the ghosts and marshmallow man. Now the witty dialog throughout the film, most notably from Bill Murray and Dan Ackroyd, still makes me laugh out loud.
  • Back to the Future - This movie had a cool factor that I couldn't resist. Sure there are gaping holes in the plot, but who has time to learn the science. It also prompted me to to look up the terms plutonium and Libyans so it was educational too.
  • Harry and the Hendersons - I had a moderately unhealthy obsession with Bigfoot as a child. I read everything I could (most of it coming from my local library) and sufficiently freaked myself out. This movie helped balance my fears by showing Bigfoot in such an endearing light. The scene with John Lithgow trying to make Harry return to the woods is still one of the most heart wrenching in cinema history.
  • Flight of the Navigator - I'm always surprised by how many folks of my generation remember this movie. For a long time I thought I was the only one. The scene where he's flying the spaceship to the Beach Boys' I Get Around looked like the most fun thing in the entire world to the 6 year old me.
  • Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure - Let's just say that until late into my college years, I still had the hardest time correctly remembering how to pronounce the name Socrates (mostly because I had never heard it before this movie). Thanks Bill & Ted.
  • Gremlins - I'd love to know how this film was originally marketed. It's a unique mix of cute, funny, suspenseful, and disturbing. The part where Gizmo gets wet and starts shooting little Mogwai balls was more upsetting to me than the actual gremlins. Do you remember the three rules?
  • Teen Wolf - I'd forgotten about this one until recently when I was compiling a list of basketball movies. Watching it again I realized how much of a teen party movie this was. Somehow I'd only remembered the basketball scenes.
  • Crocodile Dundee - Between this movie and Foster's beer commercials, I feel sorry for all Australians who come to the U.S. I can't imagine how many times they've heard, "That's not a knife...That's a knife" and had people do the water buffalo hand thing to them.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit? - While Roger Rabbit was somewhat of a movie milestone, I can understand why a lot of parents hated it. Roger is annoying, Jessica shows off a bit more chest than most cartoons, and the ending was disturbing. Looking back, it's not meant to be a kid's movie, but intentionally sought to put the assumptions that come with animated films on edge.
  • Beetlejuice - Strange to think that Tim Burton went from Pee-Wee to Beetlejuice. And I don't think I've ever fully appreciated the range of Michael Keaton until I realized he filmed this and Batman right around the same time.

What childhood favorites have you stumbled upon at the library? Were they as great as you remember or were you left wondering why you ever liked them?

Written by Bobby on October 17, 2012


K.Renee on October 18, 2012


Candleshoe! I loved Jodie Foster in this movie--her character was cool, tough and smart, and I wanted to be just like her. Great cast and just a fun adventure overall. I still love it, and now my kids get to enjoy it too!

Thanks for this fun post!

Anonymous on October 18, 2012


Pee Wee is a classic i probably watch it once a year! much to my husbands chagrin

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