Pretty In Pink: The Golden Age of Teenage Movies

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9780312151942: Pretty In Pink: The Golden Age of Teenage Movies

Jon Bernstein, film critic for Spin magazine critiques his favorite teen movies from the golden age of the '80s. The Brat Pack and their contemporaries have grown up, but celluloid has them flickering forever, angst-ridden, haunted, guileless, cocky, stripped to their briefs, and all dressed up "pretty in pink." 25 photos, 8-page color insert.

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From Booklist:

The 1980s were a time, Bernstein notes, when "Hollywood gave up any pretense of engaging the emotions and challenging the intellect, concentrating solely on meeting the demands of the marketplace." He keeps that firmly in mind as he celebrates and critiques the period's teen-oriented movies, wallowing happily in the inanities of his subject, as whimsical chapter titles indicate. The golden age of teenage movies, he says, extends roughly from Porky's in 1981 ("the Pulp Fiction of its day") to Heathers in 1989 (the genre's "unanswerable Last Word"). Most of them feature middle-and upper-middle-class white kids whose biggest concerns were personal appearance, popularity, and coolness. Bernstein cheerfully rehearses plots, complete with their idiocies, inconsistencies, and interesting incidentals (e.g., Teen Wolf, made before Back to the Future, was released later, much to the consternation of the star of both, Michael J. Fox). Lacking a detailed filmography, this is really a fan's, not a film student's, book, and as such, a lot of fun. Mike Tribby

Review:

"The defining Porky's set piece, the moment burned into the memory circuits of a generation: the legendary girls' shower room scene."

"It's ridiculously sentimental, utterly inconsequential and only a sharp tug on my nostril hairs can bring me quicker to tears."

"John Hughes' directional stance comes perilously close to that of the parent who wants to be your buddy. . . . The Ferris delineated in the shooting script is a malign cross between J.M. Barrie's printed-page, parent-hating Peter Pan and the young hippy-bashing Johnny Rotten."

"Spicoli is up there with Belushi's Bluto as a bad influence of heroic proportions. The character has continued to reverberate down the years, detectable in the personas of Bill and Ted, Wayne and Garth, Pauly Shore and Kato Kaelin."

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