CATEGORIES Columns, The Rundown


Big hair. Spandex. Tracksuits. Nope, I'm not talking about the fashion sensibilities of the 'Jersey Shore' crew. I'm talking about the '80s. Say what you will about the frequently mocked decade, there's no denying that it has its own distinctive personality. Gnarly, even.

That could be why so many movies and TV shows pay homage to the over-the-top period. We all love the TV flashbacks where we get to see our favorite characters '80s'-ed out in funky fresh gear. (Apparently we have a fresh flashback to look forward to in the next season of 'True Blood,' according to TrueBlood-News.com).

This week's film release, 'Take Me Home Tonight,' is the latest flick to honor all things '80s. It's set in 1988, and follows twins Matt and Wendy (Topher Grace and Anna Faris) who're trying to get their lives together after college. Matt tries to woo his dream girl (Teresa Palmer) by pretending to be a slick Wall Street player (he actually works at a video store.) I know – lying is such a like, totally bogus move, right? But chill. Remember he's living in the greed era. Dude. Totally!



The movie boasts a solid pedigree. It was directed by the most excellent Michael Dowse ('FUBAR'), and also stars Dan Fogler ('Balls of Fury'), Michelle Trachtenberg ('Gossip Girl') and Faris's real-life husband, Chris Pratt ('Parks and Recreation').

While we're engrossed in rad '80s nostalgia, why not reminisce about other memorable fake '80s flicks? Like a fake walk down Memory Lane. Here are my own top five favorite '80s period pieces.

1. 'The Wedding Singer.' No contest. This is the best fake '80s movie ever. It really ticked all of the boxes: Feathered bangs. Mullets. Hair metal. Michael Jackson-style red leather jackets. Leg warmers. Bangles. A greedy, materialistic Wall Street villain. Billy Idol. It truly had it all. And a decent plot, too, to top it all off, featuring Adam Sandler trying to woo Drew Barrymore away from the aforementioned money-hungry villain.



2. 'American Psycho.' You do not want to interrupt Patrick Bateman while he's trying to listen to the new Robert Palmer song. The egomaniacal psycho, played to perfection by Christian Bale, gets caught up in '80s greed and goes on a killing rampage. Maybe all of that hair spray and tanning set something off deep inside of him. Perhaps it was Jared Leto's shameless Gordon Gecko getup. It could have even been Reese Witherspoon's preppy little hair flip. Who knows?



3. 'Wet Hot American Summer.' It's 1981 at Camp Firewood, and Paul Rudd is wearing all denim, Bradley Cooper and Amy Poehler are sporting preppy sweater sets and Janeane Garafalo is stuck in the '70s. No fake '80s movie is complete without a talent show or dance-off of some sort, and this one certainly doesn't disappoint.



4. 'Hot Tub Time Machine.' What could be more '80s than a 'Poison' concert at a ski resort? Sure, this flick isn't entirely set in the '80s, but the bulk of it takes place in the era of onesies, mullets and Kid 'N Play hairstyles. Bonus points for starring '80s teen heartthrob John Cusack ('Say Anything'), with '80s icon Crispin Glover ('Back to the Future') in a memorable supporting role.



5. 'Donnie Darko.' Another '80s icon, Patrick Swayze, is perfect as the narcissistic motivational speaker with a painstakingly coiffed hairdo. Even though the title character, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, doesn't sport any particularly '80s hallmarks, the supporting cast more than makes up for it. Like his little sister's devotion to her cheesy dance troupe, Sparkle Motion, or his mom's penchant for wearing vests over loose-fitting shirts. Plus it co-stars Drew Barrymore, who appears to have the fake '80s market cornered.



Did I miss yours? Tell me to step off in the comments section.