Monday, January 19, 2009


Spirit of '76 (and my confused brain)

I am simple, so it confuses my brain when I think about the movie Spirit of '76 (directed and written by Carl Reiner's son Lucas Reiner, from a story co-written by Roman Copolla). I was in college when the movie came out in 1990, a bit of mindless fun, kitschy nostalgia about a bygone time.

It's not a bad film at all, and if it came on late at night while I had a beer (or other intoxicant) in hand, I'd probably watch it again.

What confuses my brain is that 1990 was fourteen years after 1976, the era to which the flick looked back with nostalgia, and 1990 was eighteen years ago. So more time has passed since I watched the thing than had passed since the Bicentennial when the thing was made.

(On a related note, where are the kitschy nostalgic looks at the 80s? I can think of a few examples, but they're few and far between. Were they just not inherently interesting, or has nostalgia moved on from kitschy movies to this kind of thing?)

Hmm, funny thing is I was born in 1976, so I'm not sure whether to look this up or, you know, run in the other direction.
Are you sure that 1990 was 18 years ago? Because last time I checked it was only last week. Did some evil wizard decided to speed up time all of a sudden? 18 years? wow!
Greg, it may well be that much of it would be completely opaque to you, that being the case. I'm not sure how much mileage jokes about the Ford Pinto really have, for example.
Well, Rani, now that I stop and think about it, I realize that 1990 was actually *19* years ago. But yeah, I suspect evil wizards are to blame...
The only 1980s nostalgia movie I can think of off the top of my head is The Wedding Singer. My wife just mentioned Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion. We're both thinking Grosse Pointe Blank qualifies.

It could be that VH-1 has killed the need for 1980s kitsch, but it could also be that there are so many 1980s movies available on some cable channel or other, and so many of those are of dubious quality already, that you don't need to make a kitschy movie. Why look for 1980s nostalgia made during the oughts when on any given week you can catch The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Sure Thing, Better Off Dead, Sixteen Candles, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Top Gun, Pretty in Pink, and Bachelor Party? (Jeebus, how did I actually watch all of those?!)
And there's things like Wet Hot American Summer and Totally Awesome, but those are really more parodies of 80s movies than a nostalgic look at the time itself.

But yeah, Gross Pointe Blank could well qualify, at that.
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