Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Born-in-the-70s Guide to films you should watch with your tweenager.


I was born a middle class middle child (though that wouldn't be determined until a couple years later) on September 11,1974. 

This means a couple of things:
Yes, everyone gasps when I tell them my birthdate.
It was mine before that.
I started kindergarten when I was only 4, but only for a couple days.
I suffered through my adolescent and teen years in the late 80's and early 90's.
I lived to tell about it and I even found a silver lining.
 
As a teenager in the Z Cavaricci and New Kids on the Block era, I, like my contemporaries, have a lot of apologizing to do. "Everyone wore Skids", "I was 14, I didn't know better", "I thought for sure the clock-a-book would stay in style", "MC Hammer really seemed cool", "Like YOU knew Milli Vanilli were phonies!".

It was an era of bad music and worst style. It was blindingly bright and, thankfully, brief. I could STILL kiss Kurt Cobain, Eddie Vedder and Dave Grohl for breaking up the glam band, silly-hop music and style scene and bringing back flannel and garage rock, but not before me and all of the 7000 other 70's born Jens and Mikes went full neon.
And I am one of three girls, with very little time between us. Estrogen and Aquanet would be the Goulart girls' personal Yankee Candle scent if we commissioned such a thing in those days. Sleeplessness and cheap beer would be my parents'.

My poor mother and father. I'm fairly certain that between the three of us girls fighting over the bathroom before school anywhere from 1987-1995 we not only wore a hole in my parents' eardrums, there's also gotta be a CFC spawned fissure in the ozone above Hartz Street of shameful and considerable berth.

The one highlight of living through the decadent, day-glo eighties and evolving into a mini grown-up in the sulky, sad nineties is that OUR MOVIES ROCKED. Brilliant film makers like John Hughes captured the heart-wrenching moments of teenage-hood in the picture perfect burbs while authors like S. E. Hinton not only exposed class-ism through the eyes of the Soces and the Greasers, they brought today's most accomplished actors from nobody to somebody through roles so gritty that bright young faces showcased deeply emotional character acting like no actor before. Swayze, Lowe, Estevez, Macchio, DiCaprio, Howell, Sheen, Hall, Haim, Feldman, Sheedy, Gertz, Ringwald might as well be names read off at my commencement - we all GREW UP together. The words, " Stay golden, Ponyboy", will make me cry FOREVER. And that scene in Basketball Diaries, with Leonardo DiCaprio begging his mom to let him inside was my first taste of sympathy for addicts - and foreshadowed the brilliant career ahead of him.

Film got real in the 80s and 90s. We watched films about addiction, poverty, bullying, the differently-abled, and coming of age with as much openness and appreciation as we enjoyed the simple, funny films about puppy love. And I'm pretty sure I learned something.

I'm a mother now, raising a tweenager. I'm leaning on these films to augment the parental teachings about what's coming in teenager years, to guide Julz on how and why to keep on being her quirky, awesome, b-side self when society tells her to be like everyone else and how to prepare for the cruelty of boys and girls she will meet in the near future. As a parent, I'm way too lame to get this right by myself, so I made a reference list of the best films to share with your tween/teen if you were born in the 70's. We have had a TON of fun watching these and checking them off, adding new ones based on the recommendations of friends (I put the original list on Facebook and watched it grow exponentially. It is in no particular order as it literally came from a root list of what we'd seen and grew in the comment section.

And now, I'm sharing so that anyone out there who is TOTALLY MESSING UP trying to guide your kid through acne and driving lessons can have a leg up. 




BEST films of the 80's and 90's for teens
E.T.
Forrest Gump
Stand by Me
Lost Boys
What's Eating Gilbert Grape?
The Outsiders      
Rumblefish
That was then, this is now
The Water Boy
Can't buy me love
Sixteen Candles            
Reality Bites
The Wedding Singer
Footloose
Dirty Dancing
Crocodile Dundee
Spies like Us
Breakfast Club
Pretty in Pink
Jewel of the Nile
Indiana Jones
Goonies
Edward Scissor Hands
Star Wars Triology
Lord of the Rings Triology 
Beetlejuice
Clueless
Back to the Future
Teen Wolf
Adventures in Babysitting
The Dark Crystal
Pee-wees Big Adventure
Monster Squad
Ferngully
The Secret Garden 
Harry and the Hendersons
Meatballs
Field of Dreams
My Cousin Vinny
My Girl
Weekend at Bernie's
Pump up the volume
Heathers
Drop Dead Fred
Death Becomes Her
Hocus Pocus
St Elmo’s Fire
Gremlins
The Neverending Story
Labrynth
  • Say Anything
    Honey I Shrunk the Kids
    Home Alone  
    National Lampoon - all of them
The Princess Bride
Sandlot
Matilda
Hook
  • Good Will Hunting
    Dead Poet’s Society
    Shawshank Redemption

    Naturally, different kids can handle different levels of drama and gore and adult situations and lofty language at different times. Go with what feels right. You can be sure you'll be wrong (insert eye roll here)

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