15 Bodacious Facts About the '80s
Stranger Things and Top Gun both return this week, which got us thinking a lot about the '80s. With Stranger Things, we've been looking into the "real"-life story behind it, and with Top Gun, we saw that some people really weren't into the movie at the time.
We looked at other '80s movies too, like Fast Times At Ridgemont High, and also music and video games from the decade. The '80s were also a time of new tech from Apple and Sony, food trends (terrible food trends), and scary politics that might have killed us all.
Here's look back at the facts we learned. The links all lead to full articles with much more info, so click every one that interests you, and with luck, maybe we'll never have to deal with '80s nostalgia again.
1. Fast Times At Ridgemont High was based on an undercover teen investigation.
Cameron Crowe spent a year posing as a high school student, to write a book about kids' sex lives.
2. An IRL urban legend inspired Stranger Things.
It's called the Montauk Project, and there are people today who (falsely) claim the government experimented on them as kids, resulting in monsters and portals.
3. Reagan and Gorbachev agreed to team up against aliens.
At a 1985 summit, Reagan asked if the USSR would help the US if aliens attacked, and Gorbachev replied, "No doubt about it."
4. Saturday Night Fever kicked off the trend of movie soundtracks.
Soundtracks had always existed in some form, especially for musicals, but following this release in the late '70s, for a few decades, these albums really became a thing.
5. Before the Walkman, there was the Stereobelt.
A German inventor claimed Sony ripped off his invention, and though courts laughed at him, Sony ended up paying him off.
6. Back To The Future has a joke you'll only understand if you know your porn movies.
7. In the '80s, Apple followed up their famous "1984" ad with a disaster.
"Lemmings," featuring goofy mass suicide, pleased no customers.
8. Roger Ebert didn't much care for Top Gun.
“Cruise and McGillis spend a lot of time squinting uneasily at each other and exchanging words as if they were weapons, and when they finally get physical, they look like the stars of one of those sexy new perfume ads. There's no flesh and blood here."
9. The U.S. Military used "Danger Zone" to annoy an actual dictator.
When Manuel Noriega fled to the Vatican embassy following America's invasion, they played music through loudspeakers to intimidate him into surrendering.
10. Stranger Things threw in a betrayal years ago and never followed up on it.
Hopper gave up Eleven to the evil scientist in season one, and then we all just forgot about that, with him becoming her surrogate father.
11. Kellogg's made an orange juice cereal.
12. Full orchestras perform Nintendo music in concerts.
These are the compositions of Nintendo's Koji Kondo, whose first game was 1983's Punch-Out!!!.
13. All the actors in Top Gun threw up flying those planes.
The production filmed them all flying for real, but the footage was unusable, thanks to all the vomit.
14. McDonald's briefly tried selling McPizza.
Quality aside, the pizza proved too slow and too expensive to work in the McDonald's menu.
15. The next nostalgia cycle is going to be much weirder.
We're due for 2000s nostalgia now, but this century's pop culture has been so derivative—and 20-year-old properties never went away to give us a chance to miss them.