There are few generations as iconic as the 1980s, and though I may not have been a child of these years, I've sure grown to appreciate and love them. You might think of the '80s and remember fanny packs, Thriller, the first national syndication of the Oprah show, or discovering a hole in the ozone layer (thanks Aqua Net). But do you remember the movies? The iconic celebrities that warmed our hearts on the big screen with their close-to-home stories that audiences can still relate to decades later? In case you don't remember, here are 14 lessons that '80s movies taught you.
1. Ferris Bueller reminded us all that the most important part of life is taking time to enjoy it.
"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
Ferris had a grip on an idea the world seems to be missing - indulgence in free spirit and taking time for ourselves. We live in a 9-5 world, and often work creeps into the other hours of our life that are meant to be our personal time. Before he even got ready and left the house on his adventurous day off from school, Ferris took a second to remind us that living to work doesn't work. Ferris could have gone to school and taken his test on European Socialism, and maybe he should have; in 20 years, however, he'll look back and remember his day off much better than his day in class.
(It should be noted that Ferris also taught us that driving in reverse does not, in fact, lower your car mileage and that it's never the wrong time for a spontaneous rendition of "Twist & Shout")
2. Ren McCormick showed us that sometimes, rules are meant to be broken.
"See, this is our time to dance. It is our way of celebrating life. It's the way it was in the beginning. It's the way it's always been. It's the way it should be now."
Ren might have been standing in front of a town hall, fighting for permission to have a high school prom, but the analogy carries to so many aspects of life. Some rules serve a good purpose, but questioning the status quo and established protocols is sometimes vital to evolve as people and a community. A big city outcast in a small-town world, Ren danced to show us we are never confined to the regulations of the world around us.
3. The Breakfast Club taught us to never judge a book by its cover.
"You see us as you want to see us - in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain... and an athlete... and a basket case... a princess... and a criminal."
After seeing this movie for the first time, I wished that Saturday detention was a thing nowadays. Unfortunately, it has fallen out of practice, but the roller coaster of a day our friends in The Breakfast Club took us through with them has not. Thrown together for eight hours, knowing nothing more than the social class each belonged in, these five individuals found out they had a lot more in common than they originally thought - a lot more than they would have ever showed on a typical day in school. The Breakfast Club was the greatest example of getting to know someone before you form an opinion.
4. Andie Walsh taught us to always stand up for ourselves.
"I just want them to know that they didn't break me."
Let's review the facts: Steff was a jerk, Blane needed to grow a pair (thankfully he did), Duckie was the world's most adorable best friend and Andie never let her social outcast status define her. She braved high school every day proud of her handmade clothing and never let the rich kids' (mainly Steff) words roll right off her shoulder every time. And how can we forget her calling out Blane for being too embarrassed to be seen with her in front of his friends? Absolutely legendary. We could all take a lesson from Andie on being fearless, and never letting anybody make us feel inferior.
5. Veronica Sawyer taught us how important it is to think for ourselves.
"You know what I want? Cool guys like you out of my life."
Veronica Sawyer was the prime example that it doesn't matter how far brainwashed the world around us may be to a particular idea, independent thinking is always possible and even necessary to maintain a sense of personality, and even humanity in some cases. How easy would it have been for Veronica to be wrapped up in the world of Remington parties and being a "Heather?" Extremely easy, but she didn't let her new social status defer her, or the cute, mysterious new kid (which is probably good considering he tried to blow up the high school).
(Let's not disregard the fact that despite his homicidal tendencies, we were all secretly in love with J.D.)
6. Doc Brown taught us to believe in ourselves, even if nobody else does.
"It works! It works! I finally invent something that works!"
Doc Brown was crazy, there's no denying that fact. However, the smartest people are considered crazy and he knew exactly who he was. Through years of ridicule and being institutionalized at one point, Doc held on to his dream of making something that worked. And you know what? He did. If we're quick to give up on ourselves, how can we expect anybody else to believe in us? Our first fan, best fan, and strongest fan should be ourselves. If you don't buy tickets to fill your own grandstand, then who will? Doc is forever a lesson in self-confidence, and the ultimate form of resilience.
7. Josh Baskin reminded us that we shouldn't be in such a rush to grow up.
"I wish I were big."
Josh made the same mistake all too many of us do every day: we rush growing up because we too, "just want to be big". Rushing through every stage of our lives, especially the young ones, just leaves us 40 years old and wondering where our 20s went. There's too much life to live, all around us, in every stage of life to just wish it all away. Let's take a lesson from Josh and enjoy each stage as it comes, because unlike Josh, we don't get to go back and really appreciate it.
8. Lloyd Dobbler showed us that sometimes, you just have to put your heart on the line.
"She gave me a pen. I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen."
Ah, lovable Lloyd. I'm still waiting for a guy outside my window with a boombox, but until that day comes, I'll just have to keep learning from him. Was there anything more risky than falling for beautiful, intelligent, valedictorian Diane? Well sure, telling her. But Lloyd didn't care, and he understood that the only way to end up happy was to risk it all in the first place. Love is probably the most dangerous game one could dabble in, but Lloyd wasn't afraid to take the chance and "Dobble" for love. (My apologies for this awful pun).
9. Inigo Montoya taught us that family should come before everything.
"My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."
Inigo spent his adult life chasing down the six-fingered man who killed his father when he was just a child, and left him scarred both physically and emotionally. This quest was not without results either as he was ultimately successful in seeking his revenge. Now, putting family first probably doesn't look like rigorous sword fights and blood lust; however, what is does involve is dedication, compassion, hard work, and a whole lotta love.
10. "Baby" Houseman taught us that we should never let anyone dull our shine.
"Nobody puts Baby in a corner!"
We may not have the swoon-worthy Patrick Swayze coming to our rescue, but that doesn't mean we can't rescue ourselves. If Baby could get out of her parents' ideas for her and who she should love, why can't we do the same for ourselves? Let's all agree to stop letting other people decide who and what is right for us. It's entirely cliche, but it's true none the less. Be your own knight in shining armor.
11. Keith Nelson and Watts taught us that nothing is that bad with a best friend by your side.
" Hey, it don't matter. As long as you stand by me, I'm covered."
Keith and Watts were the original #friendshipgoals, there's no argument there. Both social outcasts in their own way, this iconic duo banded together and proved to everyone that the crowd you ran with or your social status didn't mean anything. These two had a premature understanding that high school was just four years of your life, and how you felt about yourself and treated the people you cared about said a lot more about who you were than the number of parties you got invited to.
12. Alex Owens taught us to never stop chasing our dreams.
"When you give up your dream, you die."
Alex may not have been the one to say this line, but she sure lived by it. Who wasn't inspired by the daytime welder and nighttime exotic dancer? She knew what she wanted it and she was willing to go for it, and really do what it takes to get there. We could all learn a lesson in perseverance from Alex. Even when Nick came into the picture, and offered her a love that was undeniably scary (I mean dating the boss is beyond risky) Alex stayed true to herself as well and her goals, never giving up on what she was chasing.
13. Ronald Miller taught us how important it is to always be true to yourself.
"Nerds, jocks. My side, your side. It's all bullshit. Its hard enough just trying to be yourself."
Ronnie Miller, the boy next door. And a total dork. But if there's one thing Ronnie learned, and taught us along the way it's that embracing who you really are is the only way to live. Social status is great, sure. But being a great friend, great brother, son, boyfriend is a lot better. Ronnie tried to hack high school popularity, and his failures and successes both showed us all that in the end, what parties you went to on Friday night didn't mean anything in the long run, but your character and standing up for what right does.
14. And last but not least, John McClane taught us that office Christmas parties... rarely go well.
"Come out to the coast, we'll get together, have a few laughs..."
At least not when they involve Russian gangsters.