STUDIO: Paramount
MSRP: $8.99 (All)
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off:

Top Gun: PG


Some Kind Of Wonderful:

Pretty In Pink:
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: 102 minutes

Top Gun:
109 minutes
Footloose: 107 minutes
Some Kind Of Wonderful: 94 minutes
Pretty In Pink: 96 minutes
Top Gun:
• Commentary by Jerry Bruckheimer, Tony Scott & Naval Experts
• Soundtrack music videos
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off:
• Commentary by John Hughes
Bonus CD (All)

The Pitch

“Okay, So how can we repackage our millionth dips of 20 – 25 year-old-movies?”
“What decade were they released?”
“Uh…the 80s.”
“Man, I loved the 80s.”
“By Job, that’s it!!”

The Humans

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara, Jeffrey Jones, Jennifer Grey, Cindy Pickett, Lyman Ward, Edie McClurg, Charlie Sheen, Ben Stein.

“Sorry, but I gotta go, guys.  There’s an eight-year-old named Katie I’m having the Scientology boys check on for me for possible future mating…”

Top Gun: Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards, Tom Skerritt, Michael Ironside, Clarence Gilyard, Jr., Rick Rossovich, James Tolkan.

Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer, John Lithgow, Dianne Wiest, Chris Penn, Sarah Jessica Parker.

Some Kind of Wonderful: Eric Stoltz, Mary Stuart Masterson, Lea Thompson, Craig Sheffer, John Ashton, Elias Koteas.

Pretty In Pink: Molly Ringwald, Harry Dean Stanton, Jon Cryer, Annie Potts, James Spader, Andrew McCarthy.

Broderick’s recent expression when listening to Sarah Jessica give an interview as to how great their marriage is…

The Nutshells

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: Wise-ass and supreme huckster Ferris Bueller (Broderick) goes for his record 9th day of hooky from that horrible institution known as high school.  Dragging his hypochondriac best friend, Cameron (Ruck) and girlfriend, Sloane (Sara) along for the ride, Bueller embarks on a one-day whirlwind of the sights and sounds of Chicago, all the time using ingenuity and balls to outwit his parents, his jealous sister, Jeannie (Grey) and his arch nemesis, Principal Ed Rooney (Jones), who’s bound and determined to catch Bueller in the act and hold him back another year in high school under close supervision…even if it kills him.

“Hey, come on gang!  They’re playing the Bacon Brothers!!!”

Top Gun:
Ace fighter pilot Lt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Cruise) goes up against the best the armed forces have to offer at Top Gun, the military’s elite aerial dogfighting school.  Going head to head with his biggest rival, Iceman (Kilmer), Maverick has to learn to bring his wild ways – both in the cockpit and out – under more control in order to have a chance to win the competition.  Maverick also finds himself becoming involved with a civilian analyst, code-named Charlie (McGillis).  However, when tragedy strikes Maverick and his best friend and radar intercept officer, Goose (Edwards), during an exercise, Maverick must also overcome guilt and the ghost of his father’s reputation as a pilot who did it wrong in combat.

“Wait a minute…you just hit what with a swatter…?!!”

Chicago high schooler Ren McCormack (Bacon) isn’t exactly enamored of the small town he’s moved to with his parents, but he’s especially shocked when he learns that the ultra-conservative town government, headed up by Reverend Shaw Moore (Lithgow), has banned all dancing and rock music as a way to tone down the wild ways of the town’s youth.  This doesn’t sit well with the McCormack, who happens to live and breathe dancing and rock music.  So when McCormack and his new friends
decide they want to have a prom with all the trimmings, including the little things like dancing and rock music, they have to band together to fight the law.

“Okay, Jon, so which one of use is going to regret these outfits more in 20 years?”
“Ask me again when you’re bringing me a latte on the set of Two and a Half Men…”

Some Kind of Wonderful:
Blue collar high schooler Keith Nelson (Stoltz) is looking to grab the biggest brass ring in town, namely the stunning Amanda Jones (Thompson), who may be from the same side of the tracks, but runs in much ritzier company than Keith has a right to even dream of.  When an opportune break up between Amanda and her rich boyfriend, Hardy Jens (Sheffer), falls in his lap, Keith makes the most of the chance and asks Amanda out right in front of him.  She reluctantly accepts, thus spurring on a double manipulation between Amanda and Keith: Amanda to get back at the philandering Hardy, Keith to prove that he’s as good as any rich schlub with a Corvette.  In the middle of the whole affair is Keith’s tomboyish best friend, Watts (Masterson), who is hopelessly in love with Keith but can’t muster the courage to tell him.

A rare, candid shot of Jones visiting the Stand by Me set…

Pretty In Pink: Andie Walsh (Ringwald) is a blue collar, yet plucky New Wave ingenue who has a crush on the local rich beefcake, Blane (McCarthy).  Although she has a devoted friend in Duckie (Cryer), she can’t see that he’s also hopelessly in love with her.  When they invariably try to start a taboo relationship, they have to deal with their respective social circles.

The Lowdown

The Lowdown for all five of these releases is fairly simple: they’re the same gift in pretty new packages.  Movies that have come out repeatedly in different mediums for over 20 years, be it video, Laser, DVD or Blu-Ray (although none of these are currently in Blu-Ray with this I Love the 80s packaging.  Now normally repeated dips are nothing but an annoyance a best, especially when brand new features that could have been made 10 years ago with the emergence of DVD are suddenly “discovered” for some special / uncut / director’s / collector’s edition.  However, I don’t really see any harm in repackaging the same thing for a new release as long as we’re not getting jobbed on the features or a quality increase from what we’ve bought previously.  In this case, taking a bunch of old titles and throwing them under the I Love the 80s banner is just a cheap marketing ploy. 

“Hey Mav, did you ever ask Viper what that Alien really did to him?”
“Trust me…you don’t wanna go there…”

Don’t sweat it that any of these have anything that you don’t already possess if you have these on your shelf.  Although there is the rub that these are pretty basic editions and therefore quite inferior to the special editions of the films like the Bueller…Bueller…Bueller edition of Ferris.  In fact, in the case of Footloose, there appears to be no improvement in the picture quality at all.  There’s noticeable grit and grain on the transfer and the film is showing its age. 

“Okay Mary, I’m here to settle up the Howard the Duck agreement.”
“Right, right…OK, how many of my children did I promise you for taking that bullet for me…?”

So considering the packaging issue closed, what are my thoughts on the movies themselves?  Well it’s just like a trip back down memory lane in most cases, although I must confess to never having previously seen Pretty In Pink. In fact, I’ve inadvertently avoided the Hughes / Ringwald holy trinity of Pink, Breakfast Club, and Sixteen Candles to date.  Not that I’d taken a conscious effort in the matter, it’s just that by the time I realized I’d missed the wagon, I was beyond caring. 

“Damnit, Charlie, where the hell is Molly?! I’ve been waiting for my bottled water forever.”
“Didn’t I send you to get my laundry…?”

Top Gun and Ferris Bueller still hold up incredibly well, the former being the big star-making turn for Cruise, the latter being the same for Broderick.  What could I add to the discussion of either film that we haven’t all kicked around for 20+ years?  Not much.  I like what you all like: for Top Gun, it’s the Kilmer, the homoerotic volleyball, the aerial scenes (which have since been b-rolled into oblivion by every production needing footage of planes blowing the shit out of each other), Goose, the need for speed, all of it.  For Ferris, I’m of the opinion that it’s among Hughes’ most endearing.  For me, this is still the role for Broderick.  The interaction with the audience is still the backbone of the film and the script is still one of Hughes’ best.  And Ferris is absolutely the last instance where Jeffrey Jones was after a boy without it ending in felony indictments. If you desire a top shelf breakdown for Ferris, check out the semi-recent You Got It All Wrong.

“Okay, remember for this next scene…spirit fingers.  Spirit fingers…

Footloose is different matter.  It’s hopelessly quaint and dated by the soundtrack, the premise and the times in which it was made.  For me it’s simply impossible to watch it now for the story without picking apart all of the pop culture that resulted from it.  Kind of hard to imagine today that an entire town’s youth were fighting for their inalienable right to listen to “Bang Your Head”…  I see why it was a big hit in 1984, and I enjoyed a lot of the music that resulted from it at the time; but in 2008, you don’t watch the movie for itself, you watch it because you need to hit off the nostalgia crack pipe.  And there are few movies that give you a high quite like this one.  Props to it though for giving the absolute most angsty of the teen angst dance numbers in film history.

“Uh…good volleyball game guys.  Gonna go…you know…find a female to lay with cause…well…that’s what us hetero fighter pilots do…and…stuff…”

Some Kind of Wonderful is a pretty decent flick, which doesn’t overly suffer as much as other 80s movies do from dating.  It’s not Hughes’ best by far, but it does feature Lea Thompson at her absolute scrumptiousiest.  I’ve always liked Mary Stuart Masterson, but she never quite seemed to entirely make it over the top, even with films like Fried Green Tomatoes and Benny & Joon on her resume.  However, this is generally the role I attribute to her the most and she’s solid in it.  And Eric Stoltz can pretty much method act as a fire hydrant and I’ll still like him.

Lori Singer after Hollow Man on continuous loop courtesy of Bacon…

Finally, we come to Pretty In Pink.  Okay, I still didn’t watch it yet.  Sue me.  A guy can only take so much friggin’ 80s at one time.  You’ve seen it.  You know your opinion already.  Anything I say is just the gravy in the taters.  There are no extras and it’s the 47th dip of the damn thing with new packaging.  You want a dissertation or something?

Broderick right before a Sex and The City marathon starts…

The Packages

All re-re-re-redips.  New Packaging.  I think I’ve mentioned this already, FYI.  If you’ve already got them, don’t bother.  The video quality isn’t any better than previous dips.  You don’t got ‘em yet?  Fine, pick one up at Amazon.  They’re less that 2.5 gallons at the pump.  Top Gun and Ferris are the only ones with extras, those being commentaries for both and four 80s-tastic music videos of the soundtrack songs on Top Gun.  Also, there’s a nifty bonus CD in each and every one of the I Love the 80s DVD cases.  The more you buy, the more copies of “Lips Like Sugar,” “Chains of Love”, Need You Tonight,” and “Take On Me” you’ll have. These five aren’t the only 80s films with this new I Love the 80s packaging.  So beware, don’t believe any and all hype.

Top Gun: 7.2 out of 10
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: 6.7 out of 10
Footloose: 5.5 out of 10
Some Kind Of Wonderful: 5.2 out of 10
Pretty In Pink: I’m sure it’s a lovely film