February 5, 2020

Totally Funny A Look At What Made Us Laugh In The ‘80s.

Totally Funny A Look At What Made Us Laugh In The ‘80s.

Totally Funny A Look At What Made Us Laugh In The ‘80s.

By Donald Liebenson, ReMIND Magazine


What has been the funniest summer to date? It’s gotta be 1980 with the release of Airplane! and Caddyshack.

The timeless Airplane! is one of the funniest films of all time with its unrelenting barrage of jokes, outrageous sight gags and the surprising comedy stylings of dramatic actors Leslie “Don’t call me Shirley” Nielsen, Robert Stack and Lloyd Bridges.

Caddyshack is a real Cinderella story. It didn’t get great reviews when it was released, but thanks to home video and cable TV, it has become one of the most-quoted comedies ever. Think: “So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice,” “Oh, rat farts!” and basically everything Rodney Dangerfield says.

Dangerfield also went to the head of the class when he starred as a millionaire who decides to go “Back to School” in the 1986 summer hit that grossed over $90 million.

And while we’re on the subject of school, three beloved summer comedies that were set in high school got top grades. John Hughes directed two of them. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) starred Matthew Broderick in his iconic role as “righteous dude” Ferris, who taught his best friend that “life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” In Weird Science (1985), Hughes’ go-to geeks Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchell-Smith got more than they bargained for when they created the ultimate fantasy woman (Kelly LeBrock). Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) boasted a Most Likely to Succeed cast of rising stars, including Jennifer Jason Leigh, Nicolas Cage, Judge Reinhold, Phoebe Cates, Forest Whitaker, Eric Stoltz and Sean Penn as the ultimate stoner/surfer, Jeff Spicoli. It’s awesome, totally awesome!

Adults who grew up in the ‘80s can probably still quote The Goonies (1985) verbatim. Its ancient treasure map, hidden caves, basement tunnels and band of misfit kids who save the day make it the perfect summer comedy adventure, but it’s the famous and repeatable lines (“Goonies never say die,” “Hey, you guys!” and “Do the truffle shuffle”) that made it one of that year’s Top 10 box office hits and a generation-defining classic.

Speaking of great lines (“We’re on a mission from God”), The Blues Brothers (1980) delivered both those and great music as Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi brought their classic SNL characters to the big screen.

Some of the funniest summer comedies also produced the biggest stars. Tom Hanks earned an Oscar nomination as a 12-year-old who gets his wish to be “Big” (1988). As a slacker who joins the Army, Bill Murray earned his box office “Stripes” (1981) and “that’s the fact, Jack.” As an African prince looking for love, Eddie Murphy continued his box office reign in Coming to America (1988).

The only thing better was when summer laughs combined with romance, such as when Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan became the perfect couple in When Harry Met Sally… (1989).

No matter what the season, these ‘80s summer comedies still shine.

Photo Credit: Caddyshack: © Warner Bros/NBC --
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