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Movies That Define A Generation

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posted on Sep, 21 2010 @ 02:15 PM
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Last night I was fortunate enought to attend a 25th anniversary screening of The Breakfast Club. The screening was a celebration of the film as well as the genius of John Hughes. The Hughes family was present (wife and two sons), as were four of the five club members. Emilio Estevez is, according to Judd Nelson, too fat for the public eye. Afterward, a Q&A session was held, with Kevin Smith (Clerks etc) as moderator. I won't go into the details of the night as I've posted it to my blog but it had me thinking about movies such as The Breakfast Club, and filmakers such as Hughes.

I was in High School when Breakfast Club came out. 16 years old and I remember watching the movie, opening night, 8th or 9th row, a large group of my friends surrounding me. I remember my friend Jason annoying the crap out of everyone with his constant chatter about how cute Molly Ringwald was. I remember trying to figure out who I was within the group, who my friends were, who were the criminals, the brains etc.

Hughes made movies that moved beyond the typical boobfest teen comedies. They had meaning, they exposed the realities of being a teen and the awkward survival period that we call puberty. Hughes was a genius, there's no doubting that. His resume includes some of the funniest films around. Many of his movies are still relevant today, still providing the same laughs, still pulling the same heart strings.

Breakfast Club was more than just a teen comedy and is still watched by kids today. Ally Sheedy said her daughter's friends (16 year olds) and school mates approach her all the time to discuss the movie and, apparently, some film group in Argentina is planning a similar event to the one I attended last night so the impact this film had, and continues to have, is, truly global.

The Breakfast Club can be seen as one of those movies that define a generation, even if this one is multi-generational. For those of you who came before, or after, the 80's, what movies define your generation? For those of you that disagree with me regarding The Breakfast Club as being a generation defining film, I ask you, what other 80's era flick better defines that generation?

Who else managed to capture their audience so perfectly as John Hughes? What other filmmakers nailed it with as many films aimed at the same audience?




posted on Sep, 21 2010 @ 02:37 PM
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reply to post by Crakeur
 


Generation shaping/representing movies that come to mind include:
Stand By Me - a great coming of age film depicting a transition from innocence to adulthood

American Graffiti - although this one represents an era before my time, it nevertheless seems to capture the essence of the 50's youth, struggles, rebellion and independence

Network - captures the frustration of a public grown weary of deception and fear, I love the line "I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore!"

Dead Poet Society - I really liked this one and felt that it really captures the plight of dreamers and thinking outside of the box

Into The Wild - tackles a drive that so many young people have, renouncing society and living in the woods

So I would say Ron Howard was another director who successfully captures an American collective of humanity in his movies.

spec

edit on 21-9-2010 by speculativeoptimist because: cg



posted on Sep, 21 2010 @ 02:47 PM
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reply to post by speculativeoptimist
 


the problem with American Grafitti, which is an amazing film, and a classic, is that it takes place in the 60's but it was made in the 70's. It captures a generation well but it doesn't define it's own generation in that it came out during that generation.

Easy Rider was certainly a movie that defined a generation and, according to some, was one of the signals that the hippie generation was coming to an end.

The same issue with American Grafitti can be said about Stand By Me. Also a great film but it was made several decades after the era it takes place in and it didn't address a generation like Easy Rider or Breakfast Club. Like Dead Poets, it's focus is on a select group within that generation.

You named classics, all of them are in my list of favorites but none of them define a generation like Breakfast Club or Easy Rider do.

I'm looking for movies that people relate to, that people think nailed their generation to a "T", touched them when it came because they related to it, like no other movie before, or after.



posted on Sep, 21 2010 @ 05:23 PM
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Who else managed to capture their audience so perfectly as John Hughes? What other filmmakers nailed it with as many films aimed at the same audience?

I'm not sure if anyone else has done it as well as Hughes, at least with our generation.(x)
Oliver Stone does a good job of capturing paramount influential factors, but he made the films in retrospect of the events too, with the exception of Wall Street and W.
I think JFK does a good job of peering into a generations collective perspective.

Cameron Crowe might be considered for the mix, particular the end stretch of our generation's time, with movies as:
Fast Times At Ridgemont High -
Singles - This one hit me to a "T", as you say
Say Anything -
Vanilla Sky -
Change Of Heart -
Jerry Mcquire_

Again, I don't think these represent a generation as well as Hughes, but Crowe does seem target a specific audience to touch upon issues of the time that resonated with some of the changes within our generation, particularly the end stretch.

I think the Cohen Bros do a good job of representing specific times, but not so much specific generations.
Maybe there is no one else that made so many good movies targeting a specific generation.
Who is the Hughes for the 90's and beginning decade of 21st century?
Where exactly does gen X end and gen Y begin? Is there a Z?

spec

edit on 21-9-2010 by speculativeoptimist because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 21 2010 @ 05:44 PM
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reply to post by speculativeoptimist
 


Gen X is the 90's no? Their film would have to be Reality Bites.

Singles and Fast Times certainly do hit their mark and provide plenty of insight into those specific generations.

I was scouring the net a bit and came across The Big Chill which I agree with as well.

I'm shocked nobody else is taking interest in this. Must be me. I've been known to kill a thread or two in my day.

Maybe they'll make a movie about it and I can claim it is the thread killer generation's defining film.

I'm curious as to how older generations view films like Blackboard Jungle and other films that fit the same type of bill. I know that those beach blanket bingo films were a big deal but I hardly think they were deemed as essential or defining. My dad does claim that The Lords of Flatbush was an accurate potrayal of his life growing up in Brooklyn but Brooklyn can't speak for the entire nation, it only thinks it can. Good movie by the way. Stallone and Henry Winkler are outstanding



posted on Sep, 21 2010 @ 05:57 PM
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Originally posted by Crakeur
I'm shocked nobody else is taking interest in this. Must be me. I've been known to kill a thread or two in my day.


I think it's because you nailed it right from the start. John Hughes is the only one I can think of that had a string of movies that defined a generation; while making those movies during the time of the generation he was defining.

I'm certainly interested in the topic; however, I'm part of the Hughes generation too. So I can't speak for other generation. I suspect that other generations will be hard pressed to find a body of work from any other director that holds a candle (16 of them
) to Hughes. Now, someone prove me wrong.



posted on Sep, 21 2010 @ 07:13 PM
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Upon further consideration I can only come up with one more director that seemed to represent not so much a generation as an era, and that would be Micheal Moore. Bowling For Columbine, Fahrenheit 911, Sicko, and Slacker Uprising all hit me right between the ears and the heart. Although these works are more documentaries than movies, as a director, I think Micheal tried to bring to light not only insight into significant events, but how they settled amongst the people. He was a pioneer in successfully bringing "behind closed doors" policies and decisions to the people in such a widely accepted medium. He put the cameras on things many/most people were unaware of, for better or worse, he woke many people up. Maybe this generation is the "waking" generation, in which case, Moore played an integral part.

spec

edit on 21-9-2010 by speculativeoptimist because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 21 2010 @ 07:51 PM
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i think nothing has really come about since 2000 that can be considered generation defining. However, influential yes. As mentioned those movies such as sicko, fahrenheight 9-11 etc. Not to mention sex and the city (which seems to be an empowering stand point for a younger generation of women). Every thing else seems to be either show casing technology (avatar) or reboots and or what I called reqeuls (sequels, prequels, reboots and reimaginings) of older movies and ideas. However im mostly speaking of the mainstream, there are some great indapendant titles running about but wouldnt call them defining really.



posted on Sep, 22 2010 @ 01:32 PM
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Movies That Define A Generation


I would also like to add a movie that, imo did a great job of defining a generation and that was Bobby, a film by Emilio Estevez about the times and assassination of RFK. He portrays the time through various lifetstyles and takes the viewer right back to the days leading up to the tragedy. The Kennedy speech at the end is the best speech I've ever heard and the movie moved me to tears. So I would highly recommend this movie for both entertainment sake as well as a historical embodiment of a generation.
Bobby
stagevu.com...

spec



posted on Sep, 22 2010 @ 09:22 PM
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For the 90's, my pick would be Slacker.

Actually, that'd be my second pick, but Clerks was already mentioned.



-TheAssoc.





edit on 22-9-2010 by TheAssociate because: Clarification.



posted on Sep, 23 2010 @ 03:29 PM
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The movie that really defined a generation was the movie classic "Easy Rider" directed by Dennis Hopper. No one had done a movie that really looked at what the young people of the time were thinking. They were either parodies or the Hollywood stereotype with kids using writers lingo.

"Easy Rider" is a fascinating movie to watch from start to finish with an awesome soundtrack.

I was not a big fan of "The Breakfast Club" as the characters all blamed their parents for everything. Also, they were the one note type characters that didn't define my friends at my high school (I graduated in 1982). Still, it has its fans, but Mr Hughes tended to focus on the wealthier north suburbs of Chicago instead of the blue collar south suburbs where I was from.

"Kids" by Larry Clark is a disturbing look at alienated teenage life. It is not for everyone, but it does look at the bleakness of many young people at the time. While it did not represent all of the youth (no movie really can), it is a good cautionary film for parents to look at what their teenagers are doing.

The best movie that nobody saw on teenage life is called "Over the Edge":

www.imdb.com...

While Matt Dillon is used to sell it, the main character is a 15 year old boy named Carl (played by Michael Kramer). It is an excellent movie that was made in 1979 and I always identify with the characters in here. I was 16 at the time when this one was made. An excellent look at a movie that is not sugar coated like John Hughes tended to do.



posted on Sep, 23 2010 @ 03:31 PM
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Yes, Clerks! Yes Breakfast Club!

But how can this thread be as far along as it is without anyone having said the word....

Porkys!!!!



posted on Sep, 23 2010 @ 03:35 PM
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Originally posted by kidflash2008
The movie that really defined a generation was the movie classic "Easy Rider" directed by Dennis Hopper. No one had done a movie that really looked at what the young people of the time were thinking. They were either parodies or the Hollywood stereotype with kids using writers lingo.

"Easy Rider" is a fascinating movie to watch from start to finish with an awesome soundtrack.


Agreed, thus I mentioned it somewhere above.


Originally posted by kidflash2008
While Matt Dillon is used to sell it, the main character is a 15 year old boy named Carl (played by Michael Kramer). It is an excellent movie that was made in 1979 and I always identify with the characters in here. I was 16 at the time when this one was made. An excellent look at a movie that is not sugar coated like John Hughes tended to do.


One of my favorite movies. I was just talking about Over The Edge with some friends. A great movie and Matt Dillon's first role (he was discovered while cutting class and cast in the movie as a result). I need to find Over The Edge so I can watch it again. River's Edge is another movie, like Kids, Over The Edge and a few others, that give you a glimpse of what can go wrong with your kids if you're not paying attention to them.



posted on Sep, 23 2010 @ 03:42 PM
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reply to post by Crakeur
 


The best thing about those movies is they were contemporary. They showed the reality of teenage life, warts and all.

I did try to look for a reference to Easy Rider, but was scanning some of the responses. I should of paid better attention, but that movie is worth more than one message as it was truly the first one to really get what it was like to be young in a very changing world. Before that, Hollywood and the Hays code would not allow any such movie to be made.

Orion Movies released Over the Edge, so I think Warner Brothers might own the library as they started to distribute the movies when that small studio was facing problems. I think they purchased the films in the library too, but am not sure about it.

Just found it:

turnerclassic.moviesunlimited.com...



posted on Sep, 23 2010 @ 03:46 PM
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I always liked Wargames for it's commentary on the absurdity (and very real danger we all felt) during the cold war, and even with the emergence of personal computers and hackers.

It really defined the fears we had growing up with the threat of nuclear war as a very real concern....something that the current generation just has no concept of.

As far as one other director though....definitely Spielberg.

E.T., Goonies, and many others captured the 80's kids' sense of imagination and wonder, while also dealing with the kids' relationships with each other. Kind of redefined our ideas of what movies could be, and truly expanded our imaginations.




edit on 23-9-2010 by Gazrok because: Added info



posted on Sep, 23 2010 @ 04:17 PM
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I was also in high school when the BC came out ... I must concede that being new to American culture at the time I wasn't aware enough to understand the social dynamics it portrayed, although it did clarify them. Same with 16 candles, though the soundtrack was more of an influence on me than the movie itself.

Being There was a generational film for the few who saw it. Many films in the Italian 'neo-realism' genre such as Ladri di Biciclette, Umberto D, and later on La Dolce Vita equally so for those who came out of the war.

Too many to mention really ... few films made as much of an impression on me as Clockwork Orange and The Killing Fields.

But in an American popular culture context films such as Breakfast Club, Diner, The Big Chill, The Outsiders, were also quite defining of their era.

edit on 23 Sep 2010 by schrodingers dog because: memory often fails



posted on Sep, 23 2010 @ 04:24 PM
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Another thought is that my generation (born in '66) also came to be defined by movies that weren't statements about reality at all.

My generation will always be, and feel directly attached to Star Wars, for example. As well as to movies like "The Blues Brothers", "Jaws", "Carrie", "The Road Warrior"etc. This films had very strong reflections upon pop culture mentalities of my generation.

Personally the movie I most relate to in a realistic sense is a totally unrealistic movie called "The Lost Boys". I relate to this movie because I was a headbanger with long hair, like some of the characters in the movie, and I spent my youth hanging out at Santa Cruz beach and boardwalk, where much of the "Lost Boys" was filmed.



posted on Sep, 23 2010 @ 07:32 PM
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reply to post by Crakeur
 





the problem with American Grafitti, which is an amazing film, and a classic, is that it takes place in the 60's but it was made in the 70's. It captures a generation well but it doesn't define it's own generation in that it came out during that generation.

I do not think American Graffiti defines the sixties and my generation that well, at least not the way I remember it. I was there and lived it. I wasn't a hippie, flower child, in fact pretty straight with the exception of being an activist and protesting the Viet Nam war, I am proud to say I got arrested on the Wayne State University Campus where I went to college. My spare time was spent in Coffee Houses singing anti-war folk songs. Looking back now it was an amazing time in our history, the good and the bad.

The Breakfast Club is OnDemand right now so think I may watch it again, it's been a long time. I don't remember being that impressed but maybe today I will think differently.



posted on Sep, 24 2010 @ 12:17 AM
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Citizen Kane
Do The Right Thing
This Is Spinal Tap - Agree or not but that is the 80's, for me. Not a very popular flick, either.
American Beauty

I dunno, I'm just thinking and throwing out what I can come up with and see if it sticks to the wall.



posted on Sep, 24 2010 @ 11:59 AM
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movies might not only reflect the generation but also the culture, country and gender of the one judging the movie.

although europe and germany are both very much influenced by american movies, i guess i have a different idea abou the movies that have been important to me than you guys.

for sure my generation - female germany - is influenced by movies like "saturday night fever" and "dirty dancing".
the time they showed up in the cinema (we had just one!) in my hometown was the time where it took ages for an american movie to get dubbed in.

later on same old cinema, we all a little older - about the time getting the abiture - "pretty woman"
i mean every girl even those with the highest iq and best certificates wanted to be rescued by a knight with a milk white horse if this knight was richard gere


he never show up


later on end of the 90s beginning of the 21st century i got catched by some german movies dealing with the latest german history. situation in the former gdr - i am a girl from so called western-germany - falling of the berlin wall in 1989 and the reunification in 1990.

one of this movies is Sonnenallee by leander haussmann.
this was very interesting for me since i used to live a couple of years close to this road "Sonnenallee", my bus passed it everyday.
part of the script is written by the wonderful detlev buck.

the road "sonnenallee" is a long road in berlin which runs through the boroughs of "neukölln" and "treptow" so it was a connection of west and east - a connection that was no connection because of the berlin wall.

the movies main subject was the way of living of young people from eastern germany behind the wall knowing about the western life!

the second movie is Good bye, Lenin
most parts of the movie spanns from october 1989 - one month before the wall was tored down! - to june 1990 - before the reunification.

the mother of the "hero" got injured and falls to coma of which she wakes up in june 1990.
she has become after all a great supporter of the ideals of the former gdr (east germany).

mom.s health is weak, and so they don.t want to bother her, and try to built up the illusion that the gdr still exists.
which is not easy at that time



Christiane occasionally witnesses strange occurrences, such as a gigantic Coca-Cola advertisement banner unfurling on a building outside the apartment. With Dennis, Alex edits old tapes of East German news broadcasts and creates fake reports on TV (played from a video machine hidden in an adjacent room) to explain these odd events. Since the old news shows were fairly predictable, and Christiane's memory is vague, she is initially fooled.



although it is tragic somehow it is also hilarious. maybe much more hilarious for somebody who had had the chance to visit the former gdr.






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