With the release of the 22nd Step Up movie this week, I took some time to reflect. I had to ask, how could any movie (that’s not a musical) be centered around dancing and actually be good? I must have decade-term memory loss, because “*every single movie made in the 1980’s either revolved around dancing or had a significant dance number.” (*wikipedia) Because my choices, for the best 1980’s dance movies, were so vast, I decided to go with dancing scenes that were just so ridiculous that it would be an insult to not give them their proper due.
As a preface, please understand that I had a few older sisters that made me watch these chick movies with them at least once a week. It’s not my fault that I have memorized every dance from Dirty Dancing and every line from Flashdance. Not. My. Fault.
It just felt wrong to leave either of these off the list. Teen Wolf tells the story of a loser who wants to impress the hottest girl in school, and just when he changes everyone’s perception of him, he makes up a ridiculous dance that everyone else joins in because it’s so unique. Oh wait, that’s the plot of Can’t Buy Me Love as well. In “Love” Patrick Dempsey has finally reached the level of “cool” he was hoping for. And when it comes time for the school dance, he improvises and starts recreating an “African Anteater” tribal dance he saw on TV. And because he’s popular, the rest of the student body joins in to a dance that could easily be called “The Shaken Baby.”
In Teen Wolf, Scott Howard shows up as the wolf to the big school dance. Not only has his wolf form given him incredible basketball skills, but great dancing skills as well. The dance is really quite awful but at least the aptly titled “Big Bad Wolf” fits well.
If an 80’s classic didn’t end with a high school dance, then there’s a good chance it ended with a dance competition. This is one of those movies that shows just how blind I was as a prepubescent boy. I even thought Shannen Doherty and Sarah Jessica Parker were hot. How times have changed. This movie is full of classic dance montages, but I’m venturing that you don’t even need to watch the whole movie, just watch this clip. It sums it all up. Two nobodies take Dance TV’s dance competition by storm, as the their villainous rivals watch in anger. Janey’s strict father comes to stop her from competing, but when he sees how much she loves performing, his heart melts. And so will yours when they win it all. Oh no. I think I’m starting to let nostalgia cloud my judgment.
I don’t remember much about this movie other than the fact that both it and BloodSport made me an instant fan of JCVD. (Sounds like an STD) Granted, both movies were the peak of his career. If only he moved on to the dance genre with a stint on Dancing with the Stars, his career would be revitalized. It’s hard to say what’s really happening in this clip. A possible mentor demands that JCVD should start dancing like an American to show how well his balance is. Having no shame, a seemingly drunk JCVD busts it out as if he is James Brown. I swear he even forgets that he’s dancing with two girls because he gets so into it. And of course, because he’s such a good dancer, the locals want to kill him. He then proceeds to do the splits 4 times before dispatching of them. New respect for JCVD.
Rad is a movie that is very hard to find. I don’t even know if it’s on DVD yet. That is a crying shame because it is the essence of everything 80’s. All Cru Jones wants to do is conquer his rivals on the BMX race, Helltrack. Along the way he finds the love of Aunt Becky (Lori Loughlin). In this dramatic clip, you can see everyone enjoying their school dance, but Cru wants to make a grand entrance. Both he and Aunt Becky ride in on their BMX bikes. They proceed to do tricks on their bikes while circling each other as a form of cyclical lambada, while an extremely patient crowd of students and old rich white men stand and stare in amazement. I don’t think the scene would work if it wasn’t for the music of Real Life’s “Send Me an Angel” on the soundtrack.
Don’t ask me why it works. It just does. There’s just something about an angry Kevin Bacon in an abandoned factory that creates 80’s cinematic magic. They tried to duplicate this in the far inferior remake starring Julianne Hough and some other guy, but it just didn’t work. I know crumping became the popular angry dance of 2008, but some guy dancing angrily in a warehouse these days just doesn’t make him seem that tough. After watching this clip, just try to say you don’t like the Bacon. I dare you.
And just because you made it this far, you deserve this.