The Wide Angle: ‘Push it to the Limit’

Published 6:50 am Saturday, September 21, 2019

I grew up in what I consider the Golden Age of movies: the 80s.

I realize that the 80s were not the “Golden Age” of movies. That’s probably reserved for a time when Slyvester Stallone wasn’t punching people into oblivion, but rather people were dancing and singing in the rain … silly.

It could be argued, I suppose, that he’s still doing it, but there is a big difference from those movies and those hits of the 80s. That’s what I want to talk to you about today.

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On the surface, you can see the pedigree of today’s movies in comparison to the 80s. Action movies? Thanks Marvel.

But action movies today are trying to do one thing and one thing only — create mindless action with explosions and ridiculous scenes of a car jumping from one skyscraper to another. Thanks “Fast and the Furious.”

They are also doing it to ensure that there is room for a sequel that nobody really wanted. While sequels were a thing in the 80s with movies like “Romancing the Stone” and it’s follow-up “The Jewel of the Nile,” they were a given. We didn’t really need a squel to Jean-Claude Van Damme’s “Hard Target,” but we certainly could enjoy the first if for no other reason than that amazing mullet and ridiculous motorcycle stunt. Look it up.

The 90s are simply a continuation because the 80s did mindless action with big explosions way before Vin Diesel. Thanks “Fast and the Furious.”

Does anybody else remember Arnold Schwarzenegger striding onto some random island of bad guys carrying more weapons and body armor than the country of France in “Commando?” The last 15 minutes of that movie was literally one large explosion.

But movies today are missing what the the 80s found: amazing soundtracks.

I was thinking about this the other day when I was listening to music from “Young Guns,” which eventually tumbled over into “Top Gun,” which in turn ended up at “Rocky.” You know what they say, “There’s no easy way out … there’s no short cut home.” Look it up, One of the best songs to come out of the Rocky series.

Before we get going, I fully understand that there are good movies with good soundtracks these days, but the major difference is schlock. The 80s was filled with corny synthed revved and driving rock sounds and piano-themed ballads talking about walking lonely streets and seeing a lover’s face in the rain.

The rock songs in turn always talked about taking that next step, of pushing forward until the end. “Danger Zone,” from “Top Gun” was one of those songs. It had danger, you know, because it’s in the title. “Scarface” gave us another in “Push it to the Limit” … LIMIT!

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You could really look up any action movie from the 80s and find one of those songs. They were memorable. There aren’t many movies these days where the songs are memorable.

They were over the top and pretty simplistic lyrically, but man they were hokey and great. The movie scores were even better. Not many scores could pull off a western theme with a heavy amount of 80s synths. And yes, in case you didn’t know, I’m a huge “Young Guns” fan … fight me.

These movies and their soundtracks were the 80s. Over the top, more than a little ridiculous and awesome in every way.

I’m not about to argue for the 80s as a decade though, because the 80s in and of itself was ridiculous. Way too much neon and pastel clothes and horrible hairstyles.

But in the ocean of stupid that the decade was (and yes, I have some good memories so it’s not all bad) the movies and the music was an island of awesome and really that’s what we should all want.

An island of awesome.