Film Before ’84

The first movie I ever saw in the theater was Mac and Me. Yes, this Mac and Me:

DVD cover of Mac and Me

That's M.A.C., not E.T. Who is E.T. and what are you implying?

I sat between my parents, wide-eyed and eager as the curtains parted and the lights went down, and for the next 95 minutes, I was presented with…well, this:


And I loved it. Because I was four.

I was born in the year 1984. It was a simpler, more hopeful time. The U.S. swept the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles after a boycott by the Eastern Bloc, Stevie Wonder just wanted to call to say he loved us, and the world was introduced to and baffled by the Apple Macintosh. We were at war with Eastasia, of course—but then, we’d always been.

It was also a banner year for movies. Just take a look at the top ten highest-grossing films.

  1. Beverly Hills Cop
  2. Ghostbusters
  3. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  4. Gremlins
  5. The Karate Kid
  6. Police Academy
  7. Footloose
  8. Romancing the Stone
  9. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
  10. Splash

This was the year it happened. This was the year Hollywood became self-aware. And it just got better from there. Then it got a lot worse. Then it got a bit better.

It’s been brought to my attention, however, that while modern pop culture and I were both born in 1984, movies actually go back quite a bit farther—all the way to the days when the world was in black and white and men wore fedoras unironically.

Once a week, I’m going to sit down and watch a movie. Genre, rating, and so on will be left entirely to my own whim. The only criterion (no pun intended)? It has to have been made prior to 1984. After viewing, I will then write a review, most likely explaining how and why the movie doesn’t hold a candle to Police Academy 6: City Under Siege.

Coming next week to a screen near you: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir


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