When a movie combines mammoth shoulder pads, “Back to the Future” posters, “Video Killed the Radio Star” and angst with one long party, you know what’s coming: a trip back to the ‘80s.
“Take Me Home Tonight,” which opens Friday, resurrects the era’s high-school movie in all its awkward glory.
Topher Grace plays recent college graduate Matt Franklin, floundering as a video-store worker while most of his ex-high-school mates have begun ascending the corporate ladder.
A reunion party offers him one last shot at the girl of his dreams (Teresa Palmer) and the chance to finally make something of himself.
In the film’s honor, we decided to take a look at the top lessons that such classics as “The Breakfast Club” teach us about high-school life in the Age of Reagan:
Before Facebook, there were shopping malls
The shopping mall is the community’s nerve center, the place where friends are made, romantic relationships are formed and lasting life lessons are learned. To understand high school in the ‘80s, study malls.
See: “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” “Take Me Home Tonight”
Beware the preppy cad
A recipe for villainy: Take “slick blond hair,” add a touch of “fancy car,” sprinkle on some “captain of a sports team” (a little James Spader never hurt) — and you’ve uncovered the formula for all that’s unholy.
See: “Pretty in Pink,” “Better Off Dead”
Teachers just don’t get it
Inspirational teachers spent most of the decade on cinematic hiatus. Instead, “Ferris Bueller’s” Edward R. Rooney and “The Breakfast Club’s” Richard Vernon are the standard-bearers for the elder generation’s utter cluelessness and sheer inability to connect with their rebellious charges.
See: “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “The Breakfast Club”
Big parties equal closure
Parties are not just parties. Over one long, crazy night, they’re your last chance to reconnect with your best buds, find the girl of your dreams, take on the resident preppy jerk and relive the glory of high school before adulthood comes calling.
See: “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Take Me Home Tonight”
We heart pop songs
Many an ‘80s teen fell head over heels for John Cusack when he held up that boombox and blasted “In Your Eyes” outside Ione Skye’s window in “Say Anything.” “Don’t You (Forget About Me) and “The Breakfast Club” are inseparable. The “Take Me Home Tonight” soundtrack is a virtual ‘80s Top 40 compilation, featuring one hit song after another.
See: Pretty much every ‘80s high-school movie you can think of.