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Arts & Culture(Archives)


Paula Ogonoski is… The Entertainiac

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The 80s

The 80s were dy-na-mite and in honour of this fact, I thought it was time for another walk down memory lane. It was the decade of Madonna, the Goonies, leg warmers, and my generation’s best cartoons. We often look back at the 80s with great embarrassment and shame, but when we peel back layers of righteous clothing, we discover the 80s were the best decade for entertainment. So sit back, take a chill pill, and enjoy this tubular walk down memory lane celebrating the best of the 80s.

The Best Movies
The 80s gave birth to some of the best, and most beloved Steven Spielberg directed and produced movies. From the epic adventures, to endearing aliens, to Academy Award winners, he could do no wrong. I would go as far as saying Spielberg’s 80s portfolio was more impressive than any other decade of filmmaking. It included: Back to the Future (I, II & III), The Money Pit, Harry and the Hendersons, Innerspace, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Land Before Time, The Color Purple, The Goonies, Poltergeist, and even E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. This doesn’t even cover it all. Most of these are timeless, and I triple-dog-dare any of you to change the channel when these come on your TV.

The Cartoons
I don’t care what anyone says, the 80s had the greatest cartoons of all time. They weren’t censored, and filled with an array of positive messaging like today’s Tree House shows. They were merely fun. Many of them were so good they eventually turned into blockbuster movies such as Transformers, and G.I. Joe. Even some of the more kid-friendly shows hit the big screen including Inspector Gadget and Alvin and the Chipmunks. Nothing was better than waking up on a Saturday morning wearing my Ghostbusters pajamas and watching Care Bears, Muppet Babies, the Gummi Bears, or Duck Tales; or even watching recorded He-man and She-Ra episodes on VHS when I was home sick; or rocking out to Jem and the Holograms. Now these were the cartoons worth eating a bowl of Cheerios with. I call anyone who wants to debate this point a Cyril Snear.

One of my favourite unofficial hobbies is randomly breaking out into 80s song and dance. Sure the celebrity fashion was mostly abhorred, but the lyrics were catchy, jams were rockin’, and the decade launched the careers of some of the biggest stars in music from Madonna, to a solo Michael Jackson. The 80s gave birth to at least one mega-hit per year that has stood the test of time on any North American dance floor from weddings, to clubs, to karaoke bars. Case-in-point:

1980 Funkytown, Lipps Inc. 1981 Jessie’s Girl, Rick Springfield 1982 I Love Rock n’ Roll, Joan Jett& the Blackhearts 1983 Billie Jean, Michael Jackson 1984 Like a Virgin, Madonna 1985 Take On Me, a-ha 1986 You Give Love a Bad Name, Bon Jovi 1987 Faith, George Michael 1988 Every Rose Has Its Thorn, Poison 1989 She Drives Me Crazy, Fine Young Cannibals

I have faith that even if you hated all of the above songs, you’d have to be a robot to avoid not having at least one of the songs stuck in your head.

The Fashion
With layers of jewelry, big glasses, skinny ties and even skinner jeans, the 80s were not completely unlike today’s fashion sense. Sure the giant bows, big hair and leg warmers were a huge fashion misstep, but the 80s set the scene for some of our most beloved looks of today. The difference, by 2014 we’ve learned the art of subtlety. Subtlety is not a word which would have been used in the 80s. Sure blazers have shoulder pads today; the difference is in the height and girth of the padding. The 80s also introduced the world to a new breed of supermodel. Names like Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, and Christy Turlington became recognized across the globe like never before, and paved the way for the Cindy Crawford’s of the world.

The Past Innovation
Certainly technology has advanced faster than the DeLorean but I get a bit nostalgic for the v, Jell-O puddings, and the Mr. Frosty snow cone makers of the past.That said, it’s hard to believe that in our lifetime there was an interval we didn’t stay connected 24 hours-a-day, 7 days a week on cellular phones, or could rely on debit machines, or had even coined the termed selfie. I’ve decided to refer to this time as the dark ages. That said, inventions in the 80s were the true catalyst to a multitude of the technology we rely on today. Perhaps the geek-squad that was behind many of these inventions were hiding from their Tiffany-loving peers, but I for one am sure happy for the Steve Jobs of the world.

So on behalf of the decade, I would like to say you’re welcome world for getting you out of the dark ages.


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