Love Lessons From Teen Movies of the ’80s

In the golden age of teen flicks, it seemed like everybody got lucky on the big screen. Turns out these classic movies offer some real life lessons -- especially when it comes to dealing with the ladies. Here, five films that are entertaining and educational.



The art of love is a delicate thing. That’s why we take our cues from the experts. We’re talking about the classic big-screen, teen-steam machines … like Anthony Michael Hall, Jon Cryer, and the Pepé Le Pew of the pubescent scene, Kevin Bacon!

Yes, these high school anti-studs, who somehow bumbled their way into the hearts of some of the finest teen babes from The Breakfast Club to the Joel Goodson bordello, offer a fine road map to finding romance -- even if you’ve already made that wrong turn at Albuquerque.

Here, some of the key lessons you need to study to score an “A” in Love 101 … or just to score.

Footloose (1984)
Sex education: You may not be in the cool clique, but if you dance (like a man), baby, and stay true to thyself, you’ll step right into her heart forever!
Big-city Kevin Bacon might as well be ET when he crash-lands in a one-plow town where American civil liberties apparently don’t apply. No music! No parties! No dancing! Hell, no freakin’ Flock of Seagulls! So when the moussed-up, future Mr. Sedgwick shows up in shrink-wrapped jeans and a ripped-up sweatshirt, he executes a foolproof plan to dance his way into the heart of the hottest girl in town (Lori Singer), defeat her fire-and-brimstone-preaching pop (a dance denouncer) and bring joy to the masses in the process. But once Bacon kicks off his Sunday shoes, the town loses its oppressive laws, Pop loses his religion and Lori Singer chucks her virtue into the bargain. The lesson here: You gotta be you … unless you happen to be Kevin Bacon -- he’s stuck with being him. If you have confidence to let your freak flag fly, women will know you’re the real deal.

Weird Science (1985)
Sex education: You can manufacture confidence, and when you do, it’ll bring you action.
It would take a miraculous scientific breakthrough for super nerds Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt (Illan Mitchell-Smith) to get a girl to notice them … so they plug a program into their SUV-sized computer and … Oingo Boingo! Say hello to the hottest digital development until the iPod: virtual vixen Lisa (Kelly LeBrock). Her mere presence alongside Gary and Wyatt makes these guys the coolest kids in school and the high schoolers with the hottest chicks. But it was more than just the virtual girl that got them action; it was the real confidence she gave them to prove that geeks can get freaky with the best of them. So remember: You don’t have to be cool to draw some heat … just gotta act it.

Pretty in Pink (1986)
Sex education: If you’re a good friend, you’ll get a girl -- it just might not be the girl.
Money-challenged Andie (Molly Ringwald) is in love with richie-rich Blaine (Andrew McCarthy). But Blaine’s snobby buddy, Steff (James Spader), wants him to dump her for someone more appropriate to his social set. But even more tragic is that Andie’s Salvation Army-styled best friend, Ducky (Jon Cryer), who’s hopelessly in love with her, has to convince Blaine that she’s worth more than all his friends combined. Sadly, he’s successful and Blaine blows off the snobs for Ducky’s dream doll. But wait! Ducky then gets plucked from the prom crowd by smokin’ hot, future vampire slayer Kristy Swanson … who admires his character! The lesson here? Friendship and loyalty lead to love -- at least for Jon Cryer, who gets action that’s way over his head. So be nice, kids -- clearly it pays off!

Risky Business (1983)
Sex education: Put yourself at risk for a chick, and you can melt her heart.
Joel is a good kid with hydrogen-fueled hormones. He’s working to get on Princeton’s short list, but he’s no genius with the ladies (which is kinda weird since he looks suspiciously like Tom freakin’ Cruise). So when his friends dial up a not-quite-lady of the evening, who directs him to a sweetie with more up top and less between the legs … it’s unlikely love at first credit card swipe with superhot Lana (Rebecca De Mornay). And while Joel looks like an easy mark, his selfless efforts to save her from her somewhat menacing pimp (we actually think L. Ron Hubbard is scarier than Joe Pantoliano) cause her to fall head over hooker heels for him. Also? He gets into Princeton! Remember, though: Paying for sex never pays off … unless, you know, you’re Tom Cruise and you’re in a movie that says it does.

The Breakfast Club (1985)
Sex education: Clichés can date outside their own species.
Wondering what happens when you gather a jock, a geek, a thug, a princess and a freak in the same room for detention? To find out, you must first find some actors who are at least eight years out of high school to play them. (Hello, Judd Nelson! How’s the AARP treating you?) Then, despite the fact that they all hate everything the others stand for … they’ll just open up to each other like they never have to even their closest friends or parish priests. Once they discover they’re all just struggling, decent kids underneath their choreographed exteriors, they’ll mate like bunnies in a breeding farm -- except for the geek (Anthony Michael Hall), of course -- he’s got a girlfriend in Canada! So don’t despair! Remember there’s someone out there for anybody -- as long as you’re willing to ditch your own adorable, antisocial persona … and you’re into the ‘80s band Tears for Fears.


Photo: @iStockphoto.com/domin_domin

The 2011 Summer Movie Preview

2010 was a season of remakes, sequels and superheroes. So what’s in store for 2011? You got it: more remakes, sequels and superheroes. We run through the summer movie lineup and tell you which films look worthy of a trip to the theater.

Super 8
Release Date:
June 10
You don’t expect a train wreck when J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg collaborate, but that’s how Super 8 opens: Some local kids shooting a movie next to a railroad cause an almighty crash. And then things turn strange. Dogs go missing. The military moves in. Apparently the train was on its way from Area 51, and Elle Fanning and Kyle Chandler (Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights) are caught in the thick of it. Abrams knows his way around a crash (“Lost”) and an alien invasion (Cloverfield). This will be a wreck worth watching.

Green Lantern
Release Date:
June 17
In a strong field of superhero movies, Green Lantern does its best to shine. Ryan Reynolds receives a mysterious green ring and finds himself embroiled in an intergalactic struggle to preserve peace in the universe. Equipped with tight pants, a breakneck script and a zillion dollars’ worth of special effects, he jets off into a world of elaborate aliens and extremely high stakes. Warner Bros. threw everything at the wall for this one, and it appears that most of it stuck.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Release Date:
July 1
Reviewers hated Transformers 2, and yet it made more than $800 million worldwide. If you listen really carefully, you can still hear director Michael Bay having the last laugh. In part three of the trilogy, he dares to tamper with his winning formula. Not only has Megan Fox been replaced by Victoria’s Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, but Dark of the Moon incorporates something that Transformers 2 did perfectly well without: a proper story.

Horrible Bosses
Release Date:
July 8
Audiences were roaring at the screenings of this one -- a hard R comedy caper, in which three friends decide to get together and murder their bosses. Cue much bungling, hilarity and (if you liked The Hangover), a great night out. It’s seemingly one of those rare times that a stellar cast lives up to its billing. Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis (“SNL”), and Charlie Day (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) are the hapless killers. Look out for a degenerate Colin Farrell as one of the bosses.

Captain America: The First Avenger
Release Date:
July 22
America could use a hero about now, and if the buzz is to be believed, The First Avenger will not disappoint. For years, Marvel junkies have debated the choice of director Joe Johnston (The Wolfman) and the casting of Chris Evans (Scott Pilgrim vs the World) in the title role. But then they saw the trailer in the Super Bowl commercial break, and all doubts were set aside. Evans plays a weakling -- too puny for the army in World War II -- who is transformed into a muscle-bound, Nazi-bashing superhero. Tommy Lee Jones plays the drill sergeant.

Cowboys and Aliens
Release Date:
July 29
Fresh from Iron Man II, director Jon Favreau had a question: What if aliens landed in the Wild West? It’s the sort of question that writers mull over in coffee shops instead of working. Like: What if zombies took over Nazi Germany? Or: Who would win in a fight -- vampires or the Mafia? Except this time, Favreau actually made the movie. And with a cast that includes Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford and Olivia Wilde, Cowboys and Aliens may just have “blockbuster” written all over it.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Release Date:
August 5
Between earning his Ph.D., debuting his art installations and sawing his own arm off with a tiny knife, James Franco has somehow found time to play the lead scientist in the prequel that explains how Planet of the Apes came about in the first place. A drug test on chimpanzees leads to a dramatic increase in their intelligence until they escape their laboratories and vie against humans for supremacy. Forget the Charlton Heston movie of 1968 -- this time, the apes look like apes.

Conan the Barbarian
Release Date:
August 19
For years, the story of Conan has been inextricably linked to another myth -- that of a young Austrian muscleman who became governor of California. It was Conan that launched Arnie more than any other movie. So Jason Momoa, the former “Baywatch” star, has his work cut out for him. But he has the muscles, he wields a good sword, and his lines are juicy: “I live, I love, I slay, and I am content.” Worth a look, if only because Momoa may be headed for bigger things.

Photos: DreamWorks Pictures & Warner Bros. Pictures/ Wikimedia Commons

Olympic Hopefuls: A Roundtable Discussion (Part 2)

Last week, we talked to three U.S. Olympic hopefuls, all affiliated with the New York Athletic Club, about their training regimens. This week, we talk to them about the challenges of being Olympic-caliber athletes; what their individual sports demand of them; and how they motivate themselves to compete at such a high level.

Our athletes:

Jake Herbert, wrestler, age 26, from Naperville, Ill.; 2009 World Freestyle, silver medalist

Seth Kelsey, fencer, age 29, from Colorado Springs, Colo.; 2010 World Championships, silver medalist

Jarrod Shoemaker, triathlete, age 28, from Maynard, Mass.; 2008 Olympian, USA Triathlon 2010 Elite National Champion

 

MLT: What’s your biggest challenge as an Olympic athlete?

Kelsey: “It’s always a struggle to balance everything. I’m in the [Air Force] Reserves and work one weekend a month. I’m really fortunate in that my unit has been supportive of my Olympic dreams and working around my travel and training schedule.”

Shoemaker: “The biggest challenge is definitely balance. Training can’t become everything in your life.”

MLT: Name one thing about your sport that most people probably don’t know.

Herbert: “Olympic wrestling is different than high school or collegiate. In the Olympics, you could win -- or lose -- a match in 40 seconds.”

Shoemaker: “People hear triathlon, they think Iron Man. In that kind of really long-distance event, your goal is to stay under your anaerobic threshold -- basically to be as comfortable as possible for the time you have to be out there. In the Olympic triathlon, the distances are a little shorter, so our goal is to go hard. It’s all about power and speed.”

Kelsey: “Fencing is like a game of tag, except with sharp weapons.”

MLT: How do you perform your best when the pressure’s on?

Kelsey: “I’ll be a little nervous before competition, and that’s a good thing. It means I care. It’s when I’m not nervous that it’s time to worry. But I think one way to keep your poise during competition is by having a routine. Before each match, our warm-up is the same. Having a routine helps focus you.”

Shoemaker: “I know where I am, and I know there are still people better than me. So what motivates me is figuring out what I have to do to make myself that much better -- to achieve that small percentage of improvement I need to win that race.”

MLT: Do you have a quote that epitomizes your philosophy on training and competition, something that helps you stay motivated?

Kelsey: “I go with my favorite [paraphrased] quote from Teddy Roosevelt: ‘Ease in the present is due to great effort in the past.’ If you put in the hard work, you can make it look really easy.”

Herbert: “The one I like best I heard from Tom and Terry Brands, Olympic wrestlers and [University of] Iowa wrestling coaches: ‘You have to hate losing more than you love winning.’”

Shoemaker: “‘There is no such word as ‘can't’!’”

Photos: Courtesy of New York Athletic Club


The Ultimate Gift Guide for Dad

Do you even remember what you gave your dad last Christmas, or the Christmas before that? If you don’t, then he probably doesn’t either -- or doesn’t want to, anyway. This year, gift him one of the father-son experiences described below, or come up with one of your own. Either way, neither one of you will forget it anytime soon.

Rent a Beast
There may be a dad in America who doesn’t get a kick out of a Mercedes-Benz SLS with the gullwing doors or a gleaming new Porsche Panamera. It’s possible. But so is life on Venus. So why not take your dad’s car into the garage for a full wash, wax and detail, and rent some dream wheels for a day? Pick a cozy restaurant 200 miles away, set the GPS and just drive. Remember to bring a camera. He’ll want it framed.
BWRentACar.com

Get Tickets for Game Day
Whether it’s football, baseball or college basketball, there’s a sport that gets your dad’s blood pumping. So get tickets one day for just you and him. It doesn’t matter if they’re in the nosebleeds; you’ll yell and cheer and eat hotdogs. After all, this is why sport was invented: for fathers and sons to bond. Let it happen. 

Catch a Gig
Not all of the bands in your dad’s record collection are getting wheeled around nursing homes. Many are still performing. Bob Dylan, the Beach Boys, Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen all played this year -- and that’s just the B’s. Your dad will never forget the day you sent him down memory lane. And you know what? It beats Justin Bieber.
TicketLiquidator.com

Go Fish
Just because the snow’s thick on the ground doesn’t mean you and dad can’t go fishing. You just need to pack differently: mittens instead of a sunhat, a thermos instead of a cooler. To spend an afternoon on the ice, bobbing through crust for walleye or perch, has all the lazy bliss of summer fishing -- but with a dangerous edge. Quality time slows down on a lake, and conversation often veers into uncharted waters. As Herbert Hoover said, “All men are equal before fish.”

TakeMeFishing.org

Fix It
Fathers long for the day that their sons might ask to help build or mend something around the house. It doesn’t matter what it is -- fixing a motorbike, laying down some tile, mending a fence or building shelves. What matters is that you build more than just shelves when you work on a project like that together. Find that project, mention it to the old man and watch the happiness spread across his face. 

Shoot and Score
Here’s a Second Amendment remedy you can believe in: Shooting. It’s a blast. And it’s as American as apple pie. Spend a father-and-son afternoon on the firing range unloading with every kind of gun you ever saw on TV. If dad’s the NRA type, a day on the firing range is nothing short of a slice of heaven. But even if he’s not, he’ll still have the time of his life. Because all men are boys and all boys love guns.
NRAHuntersRights.org

Spend a Day at the Races
The sport of kings and degenerate gamblers, horse racing is also a great day out for the family. The sheer spectacle of the crowds, the thoroughbreds, the thundering hooves. The surge of excitement when the gates snap open and the galloping begins. Share a little flutter with the old man and shout yourself hoarse. If either one of you wins, it’ll be a day he’ll talk about for years. 

IlDado.com ; FrontRowKing.com

Be a Chef
The father-son team is a beautiful thing. At the holidays, even more so. So here’s how to do it, to be the son of all sons. Just as the giant family dinner looms, suggest to your dad that you and he make the dinner for a change. Just the two of you, a team of two. Your mother will love putting her feet up, and your dad, just watch him swell with pride. Top it off with matching aprons and chef’s hats.

Fly
Now, here is a good time that everyone should try at least once: Indoor skydiving in a vertical wind-tunnel. As a giant fan blows up at you, you’re above the ground, supported by a cushion of air. An instructor teaches you how to do somersaults, flips and tricks. You and your father can be an acrobatic sky troupe together, tumbling in unison.

IFlySFBay.com ; IFlyUtah.com ; IFlyHollywood.com

Go Rock ’n’ Roll Bowling
There are some things in life that are universally popular, regardless of age, gender or background -- like ice cream. Or a night of rock ’n’ roll bowling. Your dad may be a bowling fanatic, in which case this is a slam dunk. But even if he’s not -- and this is the beauty of bowling -- he’ll have a great time. It’s said that the families who bowl together, stick together. You could make it just a father-son thing, or get the whole family involved. Either way, Dad’s the team leader, needless to say.

Your Costume Party Playbook

Think of the last party you attended. There was probably music, a lot of people in skinny jeans standing around talking and drinking. Perhaps there was a buffet. In other words, it was like every other party you’ve ever attended.

If you’re ready to shake things up, then consider a costume party. “They’re liberating, and make contact between people so much easier,” says Pierre Sorrant from party store Festimania in Lille. Indeed, a costume not only allows you the freedom to be a different person for a night; it shows your interests, creativity and personality a whole lot better than a button-down and Converse kicks could ever do. To help you jump-start your fiesta, we present to you our favorite themes. Pick the one that speaks to you, or use this guide to get your own creative juices flowing.

Use-Your-Imagination Themes

Part of a costume party's fun is seeing what your friends come up with. If you really want to be surprised, pick an open-ended theme. "You could throw a party around a letter -- like the first letter of your name -- or a country or region," says Thierry Reig from Lyon party store Coti Déco. A Wild West party, for example, might pull in Mexican bandits, hot peppers and Lucky Luke-style cowboys with lassos to rope in the saloon girls.

Gael Tremblay, 31, from Paris, is a banker by day and party connoisseur by night. Of the many costume parties he’s hosted/attended, he particularly remembers one métro theme fête; one guest came as the hunchback of Notre Dame, another came as a pharaoh to represent the Pyramides stop. And Tremblay? "There's a station called Rue des Boulets, so the friend I went with was the boulet -- we told everyone he was annoying and wouldn't leave my side. So we didn't technically have a costume... but at least it was funny!"

Crazy Themes

Although any costume party allows you to let loose, there are a few themes that really put your kooky side on display -- like a crazy hair party. “I went to a really funny one last year at my friend's place," says Tremblay. “He kept bottles of colored hairspray in the bathroom for punishing lazy guests. People showed up with everything from Bob Marley wigs to geek-style hair, parted down the middle and gelled flat."

Or you can show your animal side -- literally -- with a farm party. A homemade rooster costume is super simple: Buy some red and yellow felt from a fabric store and cut or glue it onto the hood of a cheap sweatshirt to create a comb and beak. Draw two big cartoon eyes and throw on some yellow shoes. With any luck, you might even attract a cute chick (sorry, couldn’t resist).

Skin-Baring Themes

For a costume party with the least amount of, well, costumes, try a pin-up theme (way classier than the better-known “pimp-and-ho” party). Girls don push-ups and high heels while guys dress like dapper gents -- i.e., retro suits and shiny shoes. The ladies are the real stars of this theme, but is that really a problem?

If you want to make things a little more gender equal, try a swimsuit party. Tremblay hosted one eight years ago that remains legendary. "Everyone was in a bathing suit or towel. We pumped the heat to its max and filled the bathtub with shaving cream!"

Decade Themes

Party-ready eras range from les années folles (Al Capone and flapper girls) to Roman antiquity, which is rife with cool costume options for guys -- you could be Cesar, a Roman senator, a gladiator...

"Our number one seller by far is ’70s costumes," says Sorrant. But that doesn't mean you can't be original. Dig through your dad's closet or a thrift store for disco or hippy looks, or, even better, choose a celeb from the era. Dress like Claude François, for instance, and put one of his romantic ballads on the playlist. When that song comes on, you'll be the hit of the party.