Hadley Freeman brings us her personalised guide to American movies from the 1980s - why they are brilliant, what they meant to her, and how they influenced movie-making forever.
For Hadley Freeman, American moves of the 1980s have simply got it all. Comedy in Three Men and a Baby, Hannah and Her Sisters, Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, and Trading Places; all a teenager needs to know in Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Say Anything, The Breakfast Club, and Mystic Pizza; the ultimate in action: Top Gun, Die Hard, Young Sherlock Holmes, Beverly Hills Cop, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom; love and sex in 9 ½ Weeks, Splash, About Last Night, The Big Chill, and Bull Durham; and family fun in The Little Mermaid, ET, Big, Parenthood, and Lean On Me.
Born in the late 1970s, Hadley grew up on a well-rounded diet of these movies; her entire view of the world, adult relations, and expectations of what her life might hold was forged by these cult classics.
In this personalised guide, she puts her obsessive movie geekery to good use, detailing the decades key players, genres and tropes, and how exactly the friendship between Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi influenced the evolution of comedy. She looks back to a cinematic world in which bankers are invariably evil, despite this being the decade of Wall Street, where children are always wiser than adults, and science is embraced with an intense enthusiasm, and the future viewed with excitement.
She considers how the changes between movies then and movies today say so much about pop culture's and society's changing expectations of women, young people and art, and explains why Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles should be put on school syllabuses immediately.
"Freeman manages to be both scathing and serious about being awesome in a way no British writer could ... The writing is fresh, original. It is tempting to gorge on this collection at breakneck speed. But it works better as a series of witty polemics on women's place in society" (Observer)
"Reading this memoir-cum-conversation is like sitting in a pub with a group of girlfriends, setting the world to rights and suddenly becoming aware of another group talking about the same issues - hair removal, abortion, the tyranny of tiny knickers, the state of female sexuality - only they are more raucous, cooler, ruder and more intellectually engaged" (Sunday Times)
"Freeman writes with real passion and cold fury ... and she writes warmly and kindly about dating, sex and how to cope when all your friends suddenly disappear into the baby-making void ... it's good to know you have someone that fearless, funny and - yes - awesome in your corner" (Stylist Magazine, Book Wars)
"Though angry she is rueful, though witty she admits her complicity. Fiercely she recommends books, films, female role models, sexual attitudes and nutritional advice to women marching along the high road towards redemption" (The Times)
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