HGF: 80’s Crushes

 With the passing of our beloved Swayze, who stoked many a teenage girl’s passion with the one simple phrase (“Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”), I found myself reminiscing about my teenage movie/tv crushes.  While I hadn’t been romantically swayed by the Swayze, I can still remember lots of time spent rewatching my crushes, memorizing lines, and ripping pictures out of magazines for posterboard collages dedicated to the Hawt Guyz of the 80’s.  So take the time machine back and relive a little with me…

I know Kung Fu!
I know Kung Fu!

“I must not fear, fear is the mind killer…”

 I had a crush on the Pacific Northwest before I ever moved here.  Thanks to Kyle MacLachlan.  And David Lynch.  Argue what you will about the 1984 movie Dune, I for one had borrowed my brother’s copy of the book and read it BEFORE the movie came out and was still happy with it.  Yeah it didn’t hurt that Sting was in it in that blue shiny bikini.  But it was unknown, first time actor straight out of Yakima Washington (the Palm Springs of Washington, ladies and gentleman) that made it all worth while.  Any lesser actor would have fallen under the weight of endless retakes of voiceover and ridiculous lines like “We have worm sign, Gurney.”   But I’m a sucker for the smart guy and Paul Atreides was head of the solar system, knowing his ways as if born to them.

And so did Kyle, proving you don’t have to stand in jets of steam wearing the male versionof Princess Leia slave garb to steal scenes and teenage girls’ fancy.  I really did want Paul Muad’Dib to kick Feyd’s ass and become the Kwisatz Haderach, creepy sister and all.  (Although, I’d argue that Alicia Witt is creepier still as Falacci on L&O: Criminal Intent.)  The bestest part was when he made Feyd’s entire body split apart with a word.  F’in HAWT!

Diane, we've flashbacked to the 80's!
Diane, we've flashbacked to the 80's!

The 80’s bro-mance that was Lynch/MacLachlan also spun out Blue Velvet, a strange tale dominated by gas-sniffing Dennis Hopper and ethereal whack job Isabella Rossellini.  I don’t remember too much from the movie except MacLachlan finding an ear, Dennis Hopper getting high, and Rossellini murmuring “Hit me.”  Creepy.

So to follow that up with the 90’s incarnation of smart-weirdness that was FBI Agent Dale Cooper was, Oh my God, like so cool!  I am a HUGE Twin Peaks fan and can even cop to having eaten at the Double R diner location, Twede’s Cafe, having a splendid slice of cherry pie.  Again, David Lynch’s weirdness found a home in the capable hands of Kyle MacLachlan, taking the preposterous and making it oh so plausible and sexy enough in a straight-laced way that even little Miss Understood Audrey Horne couldn’t resist.   And what wonderful weirdness it all was!

Would you like some pie with that, Agent Cooper?  Yes, have some.

“It is yet another in a long series of diversions in an attempt to avoid responsibility.”

val kilmer
I know Thermonuclear War!

Speaking of smart guy cute and the 80’s, the smartest funniest comedy ever made is Real Genius.  I have no idea what an ‘excimer’ is or have any desire to know more about bromine isotopes or conjugal tracking mirrors (which sounds naughty) but I love this movie so much, I have entire tracks of dialogue memorized.  The idea of making a nerd movie funny with smart sounding guys without spending all the time trying to find ways of cutting the nerds down (Remember ‘Revenge of the Nerds?’) would’ve been just an idea if not for Val Kilmer who always looked, at least in the 80’s, like there was an awful lot going on in that head of his.

Facetious cute, if it’s a term, was invented in this movie with humor using the over-literal observation as the meat of the joke.  Val was the guy quick with a line and totally capable of pulling of the snarky screw-off just looking for the next party.  You probably felt, as I did, that Chris Knight would be on your side in a school standoff and help you overcome the school bully with sardonic rapier wit.  You might have even tried a few Knight-inspired lines of your own at school.  When some guy called me a pregnant b*tch during my 9th grade gym class, I covered my belly and squelled, “You KNOW!” causing the classmates around me to burst into laughter.

Val Kilmer had the comic timing of a spinner shark, quick and deadly.  He pulled off satire and spoof easily, acting and singing equally in his first foray Top Secret!   Fact you may not know, and creepy coincidence for this writer as I didn’t know this either but Val turned down the roles that

Miramar, Dune, Desert Planet.
They didn't have beach volleyball on Arrakis.
landed Kyle MacLachlan on our HGF list: Dune and Blue Velvet.  Instead, he became the eye candy in Tom Cruise’s navy commercial Top Gun, callsign
Iceman.  Ice is NICE after all.
But Val seemed to come out of his haze of that role to go into the mystifying (and really spooky) turn as Jim Morrison in The Doors, again double threatin’ it.  But after Real Genius, my favorite role of his was 1993’s Tombstone, the superior Wyatt Earpp film that year and even though I thought Dennis Quaid’s Doc Holiday respectable in that other Earpp movie, Val was my huckleberry with an Oscar-worthy performance stacked against equally stellar Kurt Russel, Sam Elliot, Powers Boothe, and another all-time fav Michael Biehn.  Check it, it’s awesome.  And then go order some bad pizza and watch Real Genius until you shoot soda out your nose from laughter.
“My own brother, a goddamn, shit-sucking vampire. You wait ’till mom finds out!”
I know your blood type!
I know your blood type!

I’ve been into horror since, as a 4th grader, I was picking through the library and stumbled across Edgar Allen Poe.  Interest in vampires, though, came  first with Frank Langella and his version of Dracula in 1979.  But it kinda sat there and waited.  Vampires weren’t cool yet.  Well, not until 1987’s The Lost Boys.  Instant cult classic, Joel Schumacher, who hadn’t yet ruin Batman movies for years to come, threw together a comely cast of young males to be hip and cool…forever.  Making the entire adult male cast of The Lost Boys my final 80’s crush.  Alex Winter, Billy Wirth, Brooke McCarter, Jason Patric, and oh yeah, some guy named Kiefer Sutherland were too hawt for teenage girls to ignore.  And yeah, they were all on my wall in the form of the big poster I got from Kmart.  I even had (have) the soundtrack.  (Also note: another Jim Morrison comparison to Lost Boy lead Jason Patric in the cave scene.)

And man, did it stick, those vampires.  I picked up Anne Rice and read all the way through the main chronicles.  I enjoyed many different film incarnations of vampires, including most recently the Underworld series.  I watch “Blood Ties,” “True Blood,” hell I even gave “Moonlight” a chance.  All because of Lost Boys.  I even write a vampire blog (shameless promotion number 2) all likely traceable to the fun and frolic and hawtness that is Lost Boys.
And what’s not to love:  The Frog Brothers, the Haim/Patric bro-mance, Kiefer’s spiky hair, Grandpa and his TV Guide, even Dianne Wiest, who I ❤ in her Mom role.  All the damn vampires!  It’s vamp fabulous!  The coolest vampires EVER!  (Sorry, HGF alum Eric Northman).
And now that I’m waxing all nostalgic on my vampire roots, I think I’ll pop some corn, turn down the lights, and invite Kiefey in…for a bite!

5 thoughts on “HGF: 80’s Crushes

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  1. I loved Kyle MacLachlan’s puffy 80s hair in both Dune and Blue Velvet. And then he put a dollop of crisco on his head and slicked it all back for Twin Peaks. I like Val Kilmer. I wish he wasn’t such a doucher in Top Gun, but at least he sings real purdy in Top Secret. I think his best work was as Jim Morrison.

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