5 Extremely Specific Movie Trends That Nobody Remembers
It's usually pretty easy to recall major movie trends. For a few years after Halloween came out in 1978, horror flicks were legally required to have at least one teen get stabbed every six minutes. A decade later, Die Hard proved that people liked their action stars best when they were cocky everymen and/or Bruce Willis. In the early '00s, films like X-Men and Spider-Man kicked off a wave of superhero dramas that will continue long after we are all dust.
But like middle children and those vegetables in the back of your fridge, some once-huge cinematic trends have now been forgotten by pop culture. Why were we so quick to banish them from our minds? Well, for the most part, it's questionable as to why they even became popular in the first place. For example, why in the hell were we so obsessed with ...
Trucker Movies And CB Radios
The plot of the trucker movie usually involves some salt of the earth dude in a big-ass 18-wheeler having to get from Point A to Point B, with Point A usually being trouble and Point B usually being an impossibly hot Southern lady who doesn't look down on him for his refined taste in Waffle Houses. The first movie that probably comes to mind when you bring up the art of the trucker movie is Smokey And The Bandit, which starred Burt Reynolds and Burt Reynolds' mustache. But wouldn't America have thought, "Well, that was neat, but I'm pretty much done with this whole truck thing, as there are not a lot of places that you can really go with it. I mean, it's trucks."
And this hypothetical so-and-so has a point. It is usually just trucks -- which, if you haven't noticed, don't exactly have the adventurous dexterity of a car or motorcycle. Trucks are great for having loud horns and for making 30-point turns in the middle of intersections while you're on your way to work, but as a figure in movies that are meant to pump the blood? Maybe I'm just spoiled by the fact that I've gotten more Fast & Furious movies than calls from my best friend in the past decade. But even before Smokey And The Bandit, trucker movies were abundant, as American audiences were delighted by things like White Line Fever, B.J. And The Bear, Movin' On, Hijack!, and a movie that was named specifically after my middle school fan fiction pseudonym, Moonfire.
But one thing that set Smokey And The Bandit apart from earlier trucker films was the copious use of CB radio, which truckers could use to talk to each other and service stations in intricate code that sounds like a parody of what it actually is. And maybe it's because mid '70s Burt Reynolds could look cool if he was snacking on a dog turd, but Burt made talking on a CB radio look soooooo fun. Who could he contact on that thing? The president? An animal sidekick? Luke Skywalker? It was such an integral part of the movie that they slapped a CB radio microphone in the title on the poster, as if to include a third character in it: Smokey And The Bandit And The Bandit's Radio, Chuck, Who Has Feelings.
Hollywood was so enamored of driving big vehicles and talking on little hunks of metal that they pumped out movies like Handle With Care, Convoy, and Breaker! Breaker!. Convoy was inspired by a song called "Convoy," which was a hit in its own right. That's right, CB radios were so oddly huge that they were basing whole movies off of novelty songs about them. Think about that the next time you complain about some new comic or book adaptation. People heard this song and thought "This. This is where we shall build our empire." And for a stretch of time, they were right.
Bigfoot Has Gone Through Three Different Fads
Usually, when you encounter a movie trend, no matter how awful it ends up becoming, you can find some quality stuff in it. Before Frankenstein's monster went off to fight the Nephew of the Son of the Ghost of Frankenstein, he was in Bride Of Frankenstein, which is a kickass movie. However, Bigfoot does not have one of these movies. There are no Bigfoot movies that cause people to stand up and say "You declare there to be NO good Bigfoot movies, you loathsome cad? I disagree. 1964's Of Love And Fur is a shining example of what I like to call the French New Wave Bigfoot Movement."
But the inability to make even a mediocre Bigfoot flick did not stop filmmakers in the '70s, as they produced films like Bigfoot, the Boggy Creek series, The Capture Of Bigfoot, Creature From Black Lake, The Legend Of Bigfoot, Snowbeast, Shriek Of The Mutilated, and Sasquatch, The Legend of Bigfoot. All of these films either portrayed Bigfoot as a beast that might eat you if you got close to it or, oh no, is probably eating you right now because you got too close to it. It's kind of hard to make a movie with any kind of positive tone, as seeing a title like Shriek Of The Mutilated means that you're just a step away from That Yeti Caused My Divorce and Help! Bigfoot Is Eating My Dick.
But a few years passed, and Hollywood decided that we were being too harsh to Sasquatch. "Maybe he is a friendly friend?" they thought. "Maybe he's so friendly that he just adores being around kids and families." And so we entered Stage 2 of Bigfoot's cinematic existence: Bigfoot as Mr. Mom. Harry And The Hendersons is the most famous of these, but we were also treated to Bigfoot: The Unforgettable Encounter, Cry Wilderness, and Little Bigfoot AND Little Bigfoot 2. If you're still having trouble guessing, the Little Bigfoot saga asks the age-old question "What if Bigfoot was something I could punt?"
This all concluded with Big And Hairy, in which not only does Bigfoot learn to play basketball, but a whole population of Bigfoots (Bigfeet?) is introduced to thousands of people. This shock is quickly forgotten by these masses, and they go on to celebrate some boring blond kid who makes a few baskets. We got to a point where we were so bored of nice Bigfoot movies that we had one in which Bigfoot playing basketball was the B plot.
Hollywood sensed this and did an about-face, and since the early 2000s, Bigfoot has gone back to being a wonder-less slaughterer of camping residents in various coniferous forests. Exists, Rage Of The Yeti, Abominable, and Willow Creek are but a few of these. However, the most notable are the two that Lance Henriksen, star of Aliens, has been in: The Untold and Sasquatch Mountain. No, they're not notable because they're good. They're notable because somewhere, Lance Henriksen is relaxing in a cabin that he partially purchased with that sweet, sweet yeti money.
Movies That Are Just About Running
Sports lend themselves to movies pretty well, because you don't have to use much plotting to build up the suspense. Just have the bad team score a lot of points, and then, at the last second, have the good team score more points. Add a few monologues about livin' in a small town and just a sprinkle of Kevin Costner, and you have your movie. I believe I'll call this one A Field To Remember. And this one will be Dreams Of The Game. You and I are gonna make a lot of money off this paragraph.
That said, sports movies don't come out very often, because people usually get their fill of them for a few years after each notable one. But that definitely did not stop Hollywood in the '70s and '80s, when they decided that we needed a new movie about running about every year. The obvious answer to this is "Well, Chariots Of Fire was pretty popular." But no, Chariots Of Fire did not start this by a long shot. It's as if Hollywood was making rough draft after rough draft in an attempt to get a movie that was 90 percent close-ups of shoes hitting the ground right.
Remember when I said "about every year"? I wasn't exaggerating. But I left out the part when in 1979, we got six track-and-field movies: Crossbar, The Jericho Mile, Our Winning Season, Running, Goldengirl, and A Shining Season. That's one coming out every two months. To compare, Marvel and DC have put out a combined five films this year. At the height of their contemporary powers, the two biggest producers of the world's most profitable genre of movie could not keep up with 1979's running film output.
As a former cross country runner, I'm not going to diss running for being "boring." Yes, you run over hills and through forests without talking to anyone or doing anything else but running. It'd be nice if, halfway through, you got to box a man in one of those T-Rex costumes for a minute, but nope, running is all you get. That said, six running movies in a year seems like it's edging juuuuuuust on the side of overkill. Luckily, Chariots Of Fire would be released in 1981, and running movies were cut back to a much more manageable schedule of one nearly every fucking year.
Movies About Taking Care Of Babies
Before the 1980s, no one had ever even heard of babies. Women got pregnant, only to find one day that they just weren't pregnant anymore. A few years later, an elementary schooler would stumble into their houses and announce, "I am your child," and they would be lovingly accepted into the family -- a family that included a mom and that's about it. Moms had not heard about babies, but dads had heard about babies even less. That's the only explanation I have for the '80s movie trend which can be summed up with "What the fuck is a baby?"
I have friends who are new parents, and from what I've gathered, taking care of a baby is no cakewalk. Yes, you are dealing with your beloved child whom you would do absolutely anything for, but you're also dealing with something that shits seemingly at the command of some trickster demon, cries when it sees a shadow, and comes completely unhinged if you breathe around it too hard. It is a far cry from what you see in things like Three Men And A Baby and Mr. Mom, in which babies are free-spirited but ultimately tamable creatures, as long as you are able to unlock the need to sleep that is hiding in every one of them.
But the comical misadventures of what happens when you put a man in a room with an infant and tell him to care for it (gasp) wasn't the only baby-centric plot that Hollywood had up its sleeve. "What if your dead cousin left you their baby as your inheritance?" asked Baby Boom. "What if Nicholas Cage AND BABIES?" asked Raising Arizona. "What if she's having a baby?" asked She's Having A Baby.
In these films, babies were still relatively normal presences, but that couldn't last for long. Hollywood blasted forward into the realm of the fantastic with Look Who's Talking, in which Bruce Willis voiced a smarmy baby who provides commentary on the world around him. The movie in which Bruce Willis voices a goddamn baby made $300 million worldwide, and it spawned a sequel, Look Who's Talking Too, wherein Willis is accompanied by Roseanne Barr voicing another baby. For all of our readers who were born after the year 2000, just know that the sentence "There was a comedy in which the star of Roseanne pretended to play a talking baby in a sequel that made far less money than its '80s predecessor" kind of sums up the early '90s for you.
Movies About Learning To Love A Ghost
Do you have someone you love? I bet they're gross and made of flesh. I bet they've got weird traits, like a bone structure and a real face. Count. Me. Out. I've ascended. Thanks to a wave of movies in the '80s and early '90s, I know that I no longer have to put up with the limitations of falling in love with a living person, or even having to deal with living people at all. I've found ghost love, and it's the purest love of all.
What bad could happen if you started a relationship with a ghost? A lot, probably. As the DVD cover of Somewhere Tomorrow, a 1983 film starring Sarah Jessica Parker, says: "Life is confusing when you fall in love with a ghost." Which is probably putting it very lightly. A more accurate title would be "Ah, Fuck, What's Wrong With Me?" but that wouldn't sell many tickets.
Instead, Hollywood has made falling head over heels for a poltergeist seem like the best thing ever. Just ask the movie Ghost, wherein Patrick Swayze provides more awesome lovin' in death than I could ever hope to in life. Or Somewhere In Time, where Christopher Reeve gets so fucking bored of human interaction in 1980 that he falls in love with a dead person he's seen in a portrait, and he then wills himself into being able to travel through time. He time travels simply because he believes that he can time travel hard enough. On the other hand, I wanted leftover hot dogs for lunch today, but I didn't want to use the effort to microwave them, so I just didn't have lunch today.
The ghost love genre spans fairly innocuous things like Deja Vu, Kiss Me Goodbye, Always, and Truly Madly Deeply, as well as some batshit insane things like Chances Are, where a reincarnated Robert Downey Jr falls in love with his daughter from his past life and then has to psychologically deal with that. How do you psychologically deal with that? A lot of crying, probably.
As it turns out, despite many, many attempts, Hollywood never did find a way to release a string of ghost love movies that weren't the weirdest things ever. This is no truer than with the tagline for Made In Heaven, in which a guy dies, meets his love in heaven, and then has to go find her on Earth: "12,000 babies will be born in the United States today. Two will already have fallen in love."
Hey, movie. How 'bout fucking not?
Daniel and the ghost just aren't working out. Console him on Twitter.
Whether or not Bigfoot wants to eat you, one thing is certain: his nudity is offensive. Fix his disturbing nakedness by giving him some dope threads.
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