Read Remark book review - The Ultimate History of the '80s Teen Movie by James King

Book Review: The Ultimate History of the ‘80s Teen Movie, Plus Infographic

Do you love teen movies from the 1980s? Then The Ultimate History of the ‘80s Teen Movie by James King is for you.

This book goes beyond the quintessential teen movie, though, often including movies about burgeoning adults, families, and social issues. In addition to Porky’s, Sixteen Candles, and Adventures in Babysitting, we also get the more adult Wall Street, Terms of Endearment, Torch Song Trilogy, and She’s Gotta Have It.

At the same time. King gives us a full scope of that movie’s place and time. We explore what’s happening in society and how the movie reflects Hollwood’s corresponding trends. For movie lovers like me, it’s a treat to delve into this in-depth history.

And because I am such a movie nerd, I’ve made this comprehensive infographic of my own favorite ‘80s teen movies. I put a lot (meaning a whole hour) of thought into this list, so give me your own updates. Agree? Disagree? I want to hear it! I’ll probably make a TBW (To Be Watched) list out of your recommendations.

Many thanks to Netgalley and Diversion Books for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

Check out my Ultimate ‘80s Teen Movie infographic!

Silly Teen Movies

Teen Witch

I mean, how can you Top That? I don’t even love this movie ironically. It feeds my abiding love of cheese.

Real Genius

Somewhat raunchy without going over the edge, this movie has it all. Nerds, a secret basement, and popcorn.

Girls Just Want to Have Fun

Dancing!! This movie features a young Helen Hunt. Sarah Jessica Parker, Shannen Doherty, and a dancing show.

Sixteen Candles

(errr, aside from the date rape and racism)
This movie is wonderfully fun and so quotable! You know, except for the date rape and racism.

Adventuresome Teen Movies

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure

This is one of the best movies ever. It transcends age and reminds us to be excellent to each other.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

This is another movie I quote quite a bit. If my boys aren’t paying attention to me, I start in with, “Bueller? “¦ Bueller?”

Risky Business

This movie has Tom Cruise at the beginning of his cocky phase (still waiting for him to grow out of that one).

Back to the Future

How can this Michael J. Fox movie not be on the list? Its enduring popularity and ubiquity is well-deserved.

Serious Teen Movies

Say Anything

Probably the best of the lot. Every piece of this movie is divine and every character is complex, flawed, and redeemable.

Can’t Buy Me Love

This movie could have gone a lot more cheesy. Instead, they made a statement on popularity, appearances, and the social caste of high school.


Dancing!! But this time it includes a fight against conservatism and moving past grief and trauma.

The Karate Kid

This ‘80s Teen Movie is more than just your average teen movie. It’s an icon of a cinematic masterpiece for any age, any era.

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