Let’s hop into our time machine and travel back to the 1980s. It was a time of neon, perms, and some of the most iconic movies… right? But amidst those blockbuster hits were a few hidden gems that didn’t quite sparkle as brightly in the public eye. They’ve been lost to the dusty shelves of old video stores or maybe hidden in your uncle’s VHS collection. Let’s remember those forgotten flicks.
Electric Dreams (1984)
Miles buys a state-of-the-art computer that starts expressing human-like emotions toward Madeline, his upstairs neighbor. This film, laced with synthesizer music, gives viewers an oddly sweet love triangle between a man, a woman, and a tech-savvy computer. The jealous P.C. even serenades Madeline! While dating apps are our norm today, back then, the concept of a computer rivaling a man for a woman’s affection was innovative.
Local Hero (1983)
Mac, an oil company executive, travels from Houston to a small Scottish coastal village with a mission: buy it out for his employer. However, the quirky village residents and enchanting northern lights quickly charm him. The Scottish coast’s gentle humor and ethereal beauty play a pivotal role. However, this quietly beautiful film was eclipsed in the golden age of cinema.
My Bodyguard (1980)
Clifford, a young teen, has it rough in his new school. Enter Ricky, a misunderstood, silent guy rumored to have a violent past. Clifford hires Ricky to be his protector. What ensues is a beautiful depiction of unexpected friendships and facing fears. But with the ’80s fashionably loud in every sense, this poignant portrayal of high school struggles wasn’t the talk of the town.
Real Genius (1985)
A group of prodigious students at a science university, led by the charmingly irreverent Chris Knight, unwittingly work on a high-powered laser project for their ambitious professor. With popcorn explosions and a house transformed into an ice rink, the shenanigans are endless. But with college movies like “Animal House” already setting standards, “Real Genius” found it hard to laser-beam through the competition.
The Secret of NIMH (1982)
Mrs. Brisby, a field mouse, goes on a journey filled with sorcery and secrets to save her ill son. The animation’s dark undertones and hauntingly beautiful art set it apart. While Disney was creating fairy tale dreams, this movie wove a more mature, intricately detailed story. However, since cheery tunes were dominating the scene, people missed out on its somber elegance.
The Last Starfighter (1984)
Alex, a trailer-park teen, becomes a master at a video game, only to discover it was a test to recruit pilots to save the universe. What’s better than living every gamer’s dream? But as Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker were having their iconic father-son moments, Alex’s starfighting journey didn’t chart the same cinematic course.
Midnight Madness (1980)
Imagine a wild, city-wide treasure hunt through Los Angeles’ iconic spots, orchestrated by a game master named Leon. Teams compete in a frenzy of puzzles and goofy challenges. With L.A.’s vast sprawl and cinema’s vast galaxy of superstars, this comedic race struggled to finish first in people’s memories.
Three young boys have a shared dream of a circuit board. Acting on it, they end up creating a functional spaceship. Their intergalactic escapades are fun-filled, but with another iconic extraterrestrial named E.T. landing around the same time, these young explorers’ space adventures took a backseat.
Without a Trace (1983)
In the heart of New York, a mother’s worst nightmare unfolds as her son vanishes without a trace. The pursuit to find him unveils numerous city stories. But with Indiana Jones whisking viewers on globe-trotting escapades, this heartfelt urban search didn’t capture as many hearts.
Repo Man (1984)
Otto, a punk rocker, morphs into a car repossessor in the bizarre landscapes of Los Angeles. With UFO conspiracies, glowing cars, and a rocking punk soundtrack, it’s a wild ride. But with iconic rock anthems and big-stage musicals reigning supreme, this punk-rock cinema road trip took a detour from mainstream memory.
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984)
Meet Buckaroo Banzai: a neurosurgeon with nimble fingers, a rock star with killer riffs, and a comic book hero with larger-than-life tales. This film packs a punch with its unique fusion of sci-fi and rock-n-roll. Yet, the 1980s ushered in a deluge of cape-wearing, super-powered titans. While they soared, our multi-talented Buckaroo was left in obscurity.
Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)
Set in a small town, this film unveils a haunting carnival led by the enigmatic Mr. Dark. This carnival preys on your deepest desires, but at a price. Dark and atmospheric, it’s a mesmerizing ride from start to finish. Sadly, the Ghostbusters busting phantoms with their witty one-liners stole the limelight, relegating this enchanting tale to the shadows.
Time Bandits (1981)
Imagine a band of dwarves with a map of all of history’s riches. Watch them trot through time, from the Titanic to Napoleon, on a wild treasure hunt. Directed by Terry Gilliam, this film brings a blend of humor and fantasy. Yet, with cinematic giants like “Back to the Future” zooming around in DeLoreans, these petite plunderers’ escapades faded from movie history.
The Journey of Natty Gann (1985)
Set against the backdrop of the Great Depression, this film chronicles young Natty Gann’s cross-country quest to reunite with her father. Brimming with determination and heart, Natty encounters hobos, wolves, and the raw realities of the 1930s. But with the glitzy ’80s in full swing, this poignant period piece got buried beneath a pile of shoulder pads and leg warmers.
A fantasy realm threatened by darkness, a hero, and a quest to find a unicorn. Toss in a young Tom Cruise and the sinister Tim Curry, and you’ve got “Legend.” It’s a visual masterpiece teeming with ethereal beauty. But with cinematic behemoths like “Star Wars” conquering galaxies, this enchanting tale settled into the realm of forgotten dreams.
Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985)
Remo Williams is no ordinary cop. After a bizarre accident, he’s trained by a martial arts maestro to become a covert operative. From scaling the Statue of Liberty to dodging bullets, Remo’s antics are a treat. However, in a decade dominated by bandana-wearing action stars like Rambo, Remo’s uniquely choreographed stunts went under the radar.
Better Off Dead (1985)
Dumped by his girlfriend, Lane Meyer embarks on zany misadventures to win her back, from reckless skiing to battling paperboys. A comedy riddled with surreal gags and quirky characters, it’s a laugh riot from start to finish. Yet, the era was brimming with rom-coms, and this comedic diamond got misplaced amidst the overflow of love stories.
The Dark Crystal (1982)
Welcome to the world of Thra, where mystical creatures, the Gelflings, embark on a quest to restore balance by healing a powerful crystal. Crafted entirely with puppetry, it’s a visually captivating masterpiece by Jim Henson. But with the charming Muppets capturing hearts worldwide, this darker, more intricate narrative went unnoticed by many.
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