Saturday, 22 February 2020

[Adjective] [noun] - film titles in the 1980s

Her Indoors was watching Basic Instinct as I drifted off to sleep yesterday, and it reminded me of something that has been bugging me for the last thirty years.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, a lot of film titles were just an adjective and a noun, it was a fashion that came and went. The cleverer ones were where you didn't know what the phrase referred to until somebody told you, or you watched the film.

Here's a list of The 68 Best '80s Movies Ever Made, according to Marie Claire. I have no idea why they chose the number 68, or why they caveat it with "... Ever Made" (clearly, they're not making "'80s movies" any more, but hey.

Their list includes:

Short Circuit
Lost Boys
Steel Magnolias
Evil Dead
Raging Bull
Full Metal Jacket
(OK, that's two adjectives)
Blue Velvet
Working Girl
Weird Science
Mystic Pizza
Risky Business
Top Gun
Foot Loose
(OK, that's noun-adjective, but it's my list)
Dirty Dancing

That's one fifth of the list.

Other noteables (maybe they are on the above list and I overlooked them) are:

Rude Boy (the Clash film)
Mad Max
Blue Lagoon
Red Dawn
Black Widow
(the one with Debra Winger)
Fatal Attraction
Dangerous Liaisons
Legal Weapon

UK television joined in the fun too:
Cold Feet
Silent Witness

The trend continued into the 1990s and then fizzled out again:
Hot Shots
Basic Instinct
Cool Runnings
Broken Arrow
Indecent Proposal
American Beauty

Nowadays, most films are sequels or prequels or part of a series, so they end up with very long and  punctuation heavy film titles like The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 or Deadpool: The Musical 2, or just about any Avengers film, which are all called Avengers: [brief description of plot].