We spend so much time reflecting on the 90s that sometimes other decades don’t seem to matter. Luckily, while the internet’s been busy recalling the Spice Girls and slap bracelets, Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key were doing the Lord’s work: preserving the 80s.
TACKLE & GRAPPLE
With Iran Contra, crack and the rise of Mötley Crüe, the 80s were a time of social anxiety for many. Rather than stand by and allow themselves to be victims of crime, many Americans took self-defense and martial arts classes. As Jordan and Keegan demonstrate, turning your body into a lethal weapon can also be sexy and fun.
Exercise wasn’t just about defending yourself, though — sometimes it was about looking good. And spandex can’t look good unless you look good. Aerobics workouts became essential for people trying to stay fit without the hassle of going outside. It also became a very competitive business; the lengths someone would go to in order to dominate the sport knew no bounds, and by merely competing, you could put your family in danger. And you thought boxing was dangerous.
Speaking of going outdoors: In the 80s, you couldn’t leave your house without hearing the music of global superstar Michael Jackson. Come Halloween, between “Where’s the Beef?” lady and failed Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork costumes, you could be sure to see several Kings of Pop. While those other costumes came and went, M.J. was a perennial favorite. But not everyone’s a fan of the costumes or the impersonations that often came with them. This Halloween, proceed with caution.
RAY PARKER JR.
While Michael Jackson was dominating the pop music world, Ray Parker Jr. was occupying a smaller niche. His “Ghostbusters” theme was more than just a catchy tune; it was an anthem. While he never quite replicated its success, this video suggests that the wild-eyed songwriter never stopped trying. His musical takes on later films may not have had the same impact as that world-conquering hit — but his enthusiasm never wavered.
STRIKE FORCE EAGLE 3
Ghosts weren’t the only thing being busted in 80s movies. Heads, bones and necks were cracked as well. Action films of the era allowed the muscle-bound and denim-clad stars to take justice to a new, rather aggressive level. The key to these films (and to this clip) is that they made doling out justice look suspiciously easy.