Life Moves Pretty Fast: The Lessons We Learned From Eighties Movies by Hadley Freeman


Top five reasons why I loved Life Moves Pretty Fast: The Lessons We Learned From Eighties Movies (And Why We Don’t Learn Them From Movies Any More) by Hadley Freeman:

1. The title – any homage to Ferris wins.

‘Ferris proved to be a mere gateway drug… I was soon mainlining the classics: Mannequin, Romancing the Stone, Good Morning Vietnam, The Breakfast Club, Short Circuit, Indiana Jones, …. anything produced by Touchstone…’

2. There are lists. Lots of lists. For example – Top Ten Power Ballads on an Eighties Movie Soundtrack*, Top Ten Fashion Moments** and Top Five Montages***.

3. The Dirty Dancing chapter. Not enough is written about Dirty Dancing in mainstream media.

‘For years I didn’t realise I was watching one of the great feminist tracts of the 1980s, easily up there with Susan Faludi’s feminist study of the eighties, Backlash. But then, Faludi’s book doesn’t come with a half-naked Patrick Swayze, so it is easier to recognise it as a contribution to the fight against misogyny.’

4. Because Freeman acknowledges that The Breakfast Club is life-changing.

5. Although Freeman takes Pretty in Pink et al. seriously, she doesn’t take herself too seriously –

‘I took a deep breath, gearing up to explain my deeply involved critical theory about Three Men and a Baby.’

‘I know people who have changed their entire lives because of a line of dialogue from When Harry Met Sally…, and when I say “people” I obviously mean “me”.’

But the reasons that I didn’t give Life Moves Pretty Fast: The Lessons We Learned From Eighties Movies five stars –

1. Oxford Blues. Hadley, you killed me by leaving out a full analysis of this eighties gem****. Where was it? Not even a mention! I reckon that any film that puts Rob Lowe in short shorts, and in a boat, is hall-of-fame gear.

2. Sorry, zero interest in Batman and Eddie Murphy (but I know some people will love those chapters).

3.5/5 This book will appeal to a very specific audience (people who were teens in the 80s and liked excellent movies) but if others could give it a go, they too will understand why Dirty Dancing is one of the great feminist tracts of the 1980s.

* Bonnie Tyler wins
** Desperately Seeking Susan
*** Obvs Baby learning to dance against Hungry Eyes.
**** Admittedly, Freeman is upfront about her own obsessions and makes no apology for only including the films that matter to her – ‘This is not an encyclopaedia of eighties moves. If you want that, buy an encyclopaedia (although probably the last time you saw an encyclopaedia was in the eighties).’

14 responses

  1. Pingback: 20 books of Summer (except that it’s Winter) | booksaremyfavouriteandbest

  2. My sisters will love this book! I’ve always been mixed on the 80’s movies, as I don’t have fond recollections of my teenage years. Agree about Dirty Dancing, and I always thought Footloose was the best of the 80s – still good today, unlike 16 Candles which now seems racist and sexist. Love the comment about the encyclopedia. Sounds like a good read!

  3. This is the book I’ve been waiting for! I fear my favourite 80s movie – the legendary Adventures in Babysitting – may not get the recognition it so richly deserves, but I hope Elisabeth Shue has her own chapter?

  4. Pingback: Finished the Summer Reading Challenge on a strong note | booksaremyfavouriteandbest

  5. Pingback: Six Degrees of Separation – from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo to | booksaremyfavouriteandbest

  6. Pingback: Non-fiction November – Book Pairings | booksaremyfavouriteandbest

  7. Pingback: #NonficNov Review: Life Moves Pretty Fast by Hadley Freeman | book'd out

Leave a Reply to Kate W Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.