5 Crazy people, 27 Awesome Life Lessons Learned from 1980’s Movies

It’s a fairly simple fact: the 1980s marked the height of human art and civilian, particularly concerning film.

The 80s features the best action heroes (Arnold, Sly, JCVD) some of the hottest Chicks, and the best explosions all years before stupid CGI and multi-million dollar special effects studios.

I called up 4 of my best buds to ponder the life lessons we all experienced from epic 80’s movies, and no surprise we assembled an awesome list in short order.

While I  listed them in a numeric sequence, it by no means indicates importance.

So on behalf of Josh Hanagarne, Frankie Faires, Craig Keaton, Marty Lotspeich and yours truly-

80s life lessons, volume 1.

#1 Predator: You are an elite rescue squad tracking shot down troops in South America all the while an invisible Alien is hunting and skinning your team members one by one for sport. What is the correct attitude for this situation?  “If it bleeds we can kill it”

Pretty much solidified my trust in firepower at a young age.

#2 Commando: Asshole South American drug dealers kidnapped your daughter? No worries, just rob a gun store, steal a plane, sneak in and blow everyone up. As long as you deliver solid one liners you are golden. Bottom line:  if you want something done right you have to do it yourself. Finally: a chain mail shirt and tight leather pants on a fat Aussie guy are no match for a well thrown, chest-piercing pipe.

#3 First blood: Don’t fuck with homeless wandering travelers, lest they be green berets with PTSD who will fuck your world up. It’s not about who starts the fight, it’s about who ends it.

#4 Over The Top: Eating cigars makes you stronger just before a big arm wrestling pull, turning your hat around guarantees victory.

#5 Cobra: it’s always a good idea to have an unlit matchstick in your mouth, just in case you need to incinerate a yoked up psycho after impaling him on a big hook.

#6 Breakin’: Everyone gots to have a street name. 

#7 Rad:  Skipping out on SATs to race bicycles will fix all your problems and get you the girl, but only if you can win the race by doing a back flip. Also, sponsoring yourself will intimidate even the big players at a fundamental level.

#8 Heathers: High school is not reality, and you can get away with nearly anything if you can keep yourself level headed enough to not buy your own bullshit.

#9 Back To The Future:
You must be cautious when you find curiosity getting the best of you with a genius that has follow through. Watch out if you time travel and meet your mom, because she may have been a slut in her younger days.

#10 GymKata: When you combine Karate and Gymnastics not even zombies can fade you.

#11 The Karate Kid: The Crane Kick: When performed correctly, no can defend, having one old Asian teacher will prepare you to pretty much take on any obstacle in life, and simple cleaning chores can teach you everything you need to know in order to beat back Cobra Kai!

#12 Return of the Jedi: It’s OK to be attracted to your sister as long as you don’t take it too far & even if your Dad is a dick he may help you out in the end

#14 Empire Strikes Back: When a girl says I love always reply with, “I know.”

#15 Rocky Series: Fitness with 80’s music + Montages really speed up the training process, you can win any match if you allow your opponent to wear himself down punching the shit out of your face for 15 rounds.

#16 Road House: Kelly Lynch’s acting improves exponentially when she’s naked. Having Sam Elliot is pretty much a ticket to bad-assery

#17 Better Off Dead: Beware of Kung Fu inspired Howard Cosell voice over when choosing opponents in amateur street races with Asian teenagers

#18 Footloose: Whenever you are really fucking pissed off, all you need is a beer, a smoke, and a super angry multi-event gymnastics romp through an abandon warehouse to calm your nerves

#20 Dirt Bike Kid: Stereotypical raunchy best friend teaches us all something very important about cup sizes, “there is more bounce to the ounce.”

#21 Thrashin’: Two skateboarding gangs battle each other for supremacy, and a member of one gang falls in love with the sister of his rival. Shakespeare had NO idea how much better Rome and Juliet could be!

#22 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: if you flush reptiles down the toilet they really can mutate into some freaky ass creatures that can fuck you up!

#23 Say Anything: Peter Gabriel playing on a seriously rad jambox fully loaded with 12 D batteries so you don’t have to plug it in can and does pacify any woman into submission…

#24 Just One of The Guys: If a new kid comes to school and “he” goes by an androgynous name, and “he” also refuses to shower in the locker room, and even suit out for gym, you might want to investigate further because you might want to do “him”

#25 Pee Wee Herman’s Big Adventure: There actually is no basement in the Alamo

#26 Ernest Goes to Camp: When a greedy mining corporation wants to take your land to strip it for a rare mineral all you need to stop them are a group of juvenile criminals and one Ernest P. Worrell

#27 Raiders of the Lost Ark: Scientist who fight Nazis, hate snakes and win knife fights using a hand gun are pretty damn awesome.

Feel free to add to the list.

Adam T. Glass

P.S. Have you seen my list of greatest American Villians?

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48 thoughts on “5 Crazy people, 27 Awesome Life Lessons Learned from 1980’s Movies”

  1. Just wanted to ad this to #16 Road House: Dalton had 3 simple rules to bouncin’, the most pertinent being: “Be nice until it’s time not to be nice.” It also taught us that driving a monster truck through a car dealership is by far the flashiest way to scare a whole town.

  2. How can you leave out JCVD as Frank Dux in Blood Sport. “Very good. But brick not hit back!” – Chong Li

    1. “No Retreat, No Surrender” is one of the best/worst films to come out in the 80s. I think it was JCVD’s first supporting actor movie. Classic.

  3. Epic-great list by the way, maybe you guys should stop this training nonsense and get into comedy…

    1. Sounds like a plan to me, everyone is so fixed on pumping, burning, puking, and tensing, maybe we all say FUCK IT and do shows across the country. Revive the circus and everything

  4. Jesus, how many replies am I going to end up with on this?

    #1. Predator – When doing a handshake, make sure to flex your biceps and have them oiled up. Hold handshake for 17 secs.

    #2. Commando – When driving car into pole, make sure to use arm as brace against the steering wheel. You will not need to deploy an airbag. Just jump out of the car after for effect.

    #4. Over the Top – Regripping during any grueling confrontation will ensure success.

    #6 Breakin – Turbo and Ozone make the Rap Chop (Slap Chop parody)

    #15 Rocky Series – To maximize PR potential, make sure that you have an old white guy who drinks standing by you, a black guy that nods and says “no pain,” and your wife who smiles with excitement. Run up a mountain and yell “Dragoooooo” (WE’RE GONNA NEED A MONTAGE! MONTAGE!)

    #17 Better Off Dead – Just pay the kid the two dollars to have him leave you alone.

    #22 TMNT – Pizza is good for you.

    1. I may edit the article and post these back in- the predator one is golden, how did i miss that?

  5. Steven Seagal in Marked for death (1990). Arm breaking must have tested well that day, becuase I think broke 357 arms in that movie.

  6. Aliens: If you put mechanical legs on a forklift you can pretty much kill anything.

    1. Christian, as you were born in the lame 1990’s i hope you catch up on these awesome films- they will do as much for you as they did for us

      1. I was born the year of … shawshank redemption, forest gump, lion king, and pulp fiction

        I would say I have seen a few of the ones you have mentioned

  7. Thanks for the flashback to my high school years. I have much food for thought today as I drive 4 hours to Des Moines. I’ll replay many of these movies in my mind.

    #17 Better Off Dead – I learned everyone needs a 68 Camaro and a girl who speaks French. I took 26 credits of French in college and lived in France for a month. I’m still waiting for my Camaro. It’ll come. I know it to be true.

    “I want my two dollars!!!”

  8. Awesome, basically a list of the best movies ever. Although ‘Bennet’ in Commando isn’t British, he’s an Aussie.

  9. Red Dawn – Patrick Swayze and friends kill Russian enemies that have invaded middle America…. Wolverines!!!!

  10. Spies Like Us– if you cheat on your CIA exam, you can get promoted and sent off to a far away land as a spy; and then end up preventing WWIII. Lesson Learned — cheaters can win and get the girl too.

    Fletch — When all else fails make sure you just start calling everyone “Doctor” If that fails, tell them you are with the mattress police and you suspect they removed their mattress tags.

    Beverly Hills Cop – When you are in LA, just tell them you are a cop from Detroit and that is how you take care of business back home in the ghetto. If that does not work, put some bananas in their tail pipe

    Rock on
    Mike T Nelson PhD(c)

  11. Good stuff dude. My question, where is Weird Science? Some of the best quotes ever are in that movie. And lets not forget about Kelly LeBrock in a dress saying, “it’s purely sexual.” That’s what adolescent dreams are made of.

      1. Chet was always one of my favorites!

        “Chips, dip, chains, whips… the usual teenage party.”

        Grammy and grampy in the closet is pretty funny too.

  12. Some of you hit upon topics to be addressed in volume 2. trust me, i have many more. As i have said many times- the 80s represents the height of human civilization

  13. Are you shitting me.

    Not only do you post this before getting my response.

    But you neglected to include:

    TOP GUN.

    Fuck all these other movies.

    1. @ David: Top Gun taught us the MOST valuable lesson of them all: Oiled up men playing volleyball in their jeans is okay, as long as the hero rides a Kawasaki GPZ 900 R, flies an F-14 Tomcat and gets to have sex with Kelly McGillis.

  14. The Last Dragon

    The glow isn’t in a belt buckle or a fortune cookie. It’s inside of you and you better find it quick because some P-Funk reject maniac with shoulder pads wants to kill you.

    Real Genius

    When you need a bunch of popcorn fast all you need is a handul of misfits, a laser, a satellite and a house full of unpopped kernels.

    Breakfast Club

    Even the guy who kicked my ass on the bus has feelings. I should’ve have reached out to him. I just couldn’t because he wouldn’t stop hitting me.

    Friday the 13th

    If you are a camp counselor at a lake, pay attention to your lifeguard duty. Two horny teenagers screw up and hundreds have died since.

    Day of the Dead

    Zombies are not good pets.

    Say Anything

    Just ask her out. Let her decide, not you.

    Fright Night

    Mind your own business. The neighbors you are spying on might be vampires and vampires are very private people.


    If going back guarantees failure but going forward looks impossible you might as well move forward.

    Clash of the Titans

    Medusas only has power when you look directly at her. Her reflection is safe.

    When you hear, “release the Kracken”. RUN


    When you buy an exotic pet from an obscure store, follow the directions for care. 


  15. Big: If you hit a machine enough it will grant you anything you desire…even if it’s to be Tom Hanks.

    They Live: Wrestlers can take more punishment in 5 minutes of fight scene than anyone else in action cinema. Also, Sunglasses really can be required.

    Close Encounters of the Third Kind: Sometimes you need to loose your mind to see things clearly.

    Goonies: Never say die.

    Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure: if you do manage to go back through time, remember to always do the things that you said you were going to do: otherwise it would be really awkward. Also, no matter what George Carlin will not steer you wrong.

    Teen Wolf: Medical conditions can be performance enhancing.

    Labyrinth: Be careful what you wish for.

    The Neverending Story: It may only be a story, but your reality is what you make it. Also if you’re going to yell into a thunderstorm, make sure you enunciate.

    Ferris Bueler’s Day Off: Everyone needs a vacation from their lives. And yes you can outrun your parents getting home, so long as you stop to introduce yourself appropriately.

    The Breakfast Club: You mess with the bull, you get the horns.

    Space Camp: never tell your wishes to a computer or Robot. See also, Big.

    Friday the 13th: Don’t piss off Mom, she’s usually more scary than her children.

    The Last Starfighter: Video games can be a career, but people won’t believe you.

    Ghostbusters: Academics can blow stuff up without having to pay back the city’s insurance.

    Karate Kid 2: Be the man who will fight for her honour, then do so but don’t kill the other guy.

    National Lampoons Vacation: Sometimes quality time with the parents can be interesting.

    Home Alone: Sometimes quality time without parents can be interesting.

    Gremlins: If the pet store owner gives you specific advice, be sure to heed it. Also, be sure you understand all the risks of pet ownership.

        1. I’d like to add to ‘Karate Kid 2’: The method for success is always hidden in plain sight and takes roughly 2 seconds to master. Luckily your opponent is always too incompetant to use it as well.

    1. Some more:

      The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Be careful of anything in New Jersey. Also, never underestimate a rock bands influence.

      Airplane: Of course I’m serious, and Don’t call me Shirley.

      Akira: Science and Human Performance can be a scary combination.

      Highlander: It’s better to burn out than to fade away…and sometimes there really can only be one.

      Beetlejuice: Know when it’s showtime.

      Blade Runner: As long as Atari still exists we can someday have flying cars.

      Brewster’s Millions: You have to spend money to make money.

      Breakin 2 & Grease 2: Don’t go see a sequel on opening night.

      (I can’t believe no one has mentioned this one yet:) Lethal Weapon: Sometimes a change of scenery can make you forget that your wife just died and you live in a trailer down by the river…I mean ocean. Okay at least that part isn’t so bad, right? Oh why the hell do they always have to kill the girl?

      Mad Max: Sometimes it’s appropriate to give a man a choice between death and sawing off his own leg which will kill him anyway.

      The Great Muppet Caper: Always check what color your hands are before doing something.

      The Naked Gun: Sometimes bumbling really is the only way to go through life.

      An Officer and a Gentleman: sometimes going to the back seat of the car is the most appropriate location.

      Pink Floyd’s The Wall: Never shave off your nipples, you’ll look weird and it will transform you into a maniacal dictator.

      Repo Man: Watch out for things that glow that aren’t plugged in. Usually no good shall come from them.

      Revenge of the Nerds: Geeks will eventually figure out how to do things using less energy. Learn from them early by befriending them, as they will make our pursuits more effective.

      Robocop: Don’t give a robot a gun that has the ability to think, and you can’t see where it keeps its brain. Also, never make a robot bulletproof: it won’t work out right.

      The Shining: Make sure you bring enough crazy to share.

      Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: Keep your enemies close, that way you don’t have to fight them again 15 years later when you’ve gained more than 30 lbs and have to work your way out of a jam by sacrificing your best friend. Also, live long and prosper.

      Superman: real strength comes from within, and Lex Luthor doesn’t need hair…as long as it’s Gene Hackman’s hair.

      Superman 2: See Star Trek II.

      Top Secret!: Learn more than one German phrase.

      UHF: Never choose what’s in the box, if you’re sure you’re getting old fish — Be happy with what you’re sure you have for you could wind up with nothing. (Stupid! You’re so Stupid!)

      Willow: Don’t judge a man’s power by his size; one way or the other.

      The Wizard: The Powerglove was a stupid idea, though it did make the Wii what it is today. Oh and don’t believe everything you see in a movie.

      Young Guns: Be careful who you associate with: you could wind up on a trail to Mexico that nobody’s been down before…or was that Young Guns 2?

      Xanadu: There is nothing valid to be learned by watching Xanadu.

    2. As soon as I wrote my last one and sent them in
      I thought OH SHIT!
      Breakfast Club – Most Valuable Lesson
      “you mess with the bull you get the horns”
      Nice Work!


  16. “Three O’Clock High” = Don’t touch the new kid, and don’t initiate conversations in the bathroom.

    “Vision Quest” = warm-ups are overrated. 10 seconds of jumping rope and rolling around on a mat are all that’s needed.

    “Revenge of the Ninja” = only a ninja can stop a ninja

    Rocky IV = Apollo Creed could magically make his boxing gloves disappear and reappear. Too bad he only revealed this trick once before being beaten to death.

  17. Evil Dead 2: If you’re forced to lop off your own hand after it gets possessed, replacing it with a chainsaw is by far the best option in order to kick zombie ass

    Conan the Barbarian: All I need to do in order to become physically unstopable is to push the Wheel of Pain until I’m the sole survivor

    1. The Conan wheel was one of the top 50 inventions of all time. Chain a weakling to it and they become the best built man of all history in no time. Additionally they will be skilled with swords and bows, all from pushing a wheel. Pretty amazing stuff

  18. Yes! Ahnold in Raw Deal he plays
    Joeseph P Brenner and when asked what the P stands for he replies “Pussy”
    Whispering Ninjas in Chuck Norris Octagon
    Who didn’t want to be a ninja in the 80’s? Just what I thought, no hands.

  19. Days of thunder (1990) taught us that to be relevant in the 90s you just had to take the script to Top Gun and exchange the jets for cars.
    It also taught us that hitting the pacecar is integral to being perfect. (That’s taking into account that you’ve already hit every other goddamned thing out on the track.)

  20. Any Which Way you Can: Forget Rolling Thunder — the best way to build grip strength is to play a lot of raquetball

    Pale Rider: there’s nothing like a good piece of hickory

    Rainman: remember to clear your calendar — Wopner starts at 4:00

    Die Hard: even if you negotiate million dollar deals for breakfast, don’t try to negotiate with terrorists

    This is Spinal Tap: if your music isn’t loud enough, just write “11” on the volume dial and crank it up — I wonder if this works the same way for 45 lb. plates…

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