I didn’t get much reading done, but that’s because I was watching SO MANY movies!
First off, according to the internet, a “classic” movies is defined as any movie made prior to 20 from the present. I’m pretty sure Blockbuster decided that in like 1997 so that they could fill their “classics” rack with more crap. But whatever, I’ll go with it.
Back to the Future (1985): Thor’s birthday was a couple weeks ago, and he’s a huuuuuge Back to the Future fan…so when I saw that it was playing downtown in the theater, I knew it was kismet. We’ve watched it together a million times, but seeing it on the big screen was way more fun. I was also reminded what a genius Crispin Glover can be.
Back to the Future 2 (1989): On our way of the theater, our friend, Kerrie, remarked that she had never seen the sequel to the first BTTF. We immediately persuaded her to come back to our house and watch it with us. For me, this one might be my favorite, only because I absolutely love how sleazy Biff becomes. And who can deny the fun in comparing 1989’s version of 2015 with our lives today?
But wait – there’s more!
Although I teach 6th grade 90% of my day, I also have an Study Hall elective that is an eclectic mix of 6th-8th graders at the end of everyday. Study Hall isn’t teaching. It’s more like being Mark Harmon in Summer School. I sit around and occasionally give them wise advice or make sarcastic comments. Most of the kids in there were “assigned” my class due to failing grades, but of course they never bring their homework, or if they even do they can’t focus on it for more than, like, 47 seconds. After suffering for three quarters trying to corral these completely unmotivated teenagers, I had pretty much given up.
Until a few weeks ago when a girl noticed Jurassic Park on my iTunes. “Can we watch it?!” She cried. Then the whole class begged me. So I pushed play. Why not?
It was the easiest three days in Study Hall e-v-e-r. Why hadn’t I played movies earlier????? They sat and watched the movie while slowly working on their homework. Productivity actually went UP. I decided we would watch several more “classic” movies.
Jurassic Park (1993): Though I hadn’t seen this one in awhile, I’ve got to say it’s just as good as it was when I first saw it as a kid. In a world that is inundated with CGI, it’s nice to see some robotic dinosaurs still look pretty good. Even better was seeing my students fall in love with the story. Although I can’t say I’m super impressed with the acting, y’all know Jeff Goldblum is the shit.
E.T. (1982): While searching for another school-appropriate Spielberg movie, I realized I haven’t seen ET in over 20 years, and within five minutes I remembered why. It’s so depressing. When ET gets left behind, I’m an emotional mess. When ET points out the window and says, “Hoooooome,” I’m an emotional mess. When ET gets found by the stream all white and dying, I’m an emotional mess. When ET makes the boys’ bikes fly over the cop cars, I’m an emotional mess. IT NEVER ENDS. That being said, none of my students had seen the movie and they also fell in love with it.
The Dark Crystal (1982): Yeah, we were on an 80’s kid movie roll. Although I heard a lot of snickering when the narrator started talking about the “skesis,” the kids’ attention was soon unwavering. This movie is a good reminder that dark stories really appeal to kids, and that they deserve more complicated fairy tales than Disney’s Frozen can provide.
Labyrinth (1986): One of our vocabulary words in class was “labyrinth” and I was trying to explain that a labyrinth is more than just a maze; it has obstacles and plays tricks on people. The kids didn’t quite get it, so I showed them a clip from Labyrinth” in an effort to help them understand. Seeing David Bowie (who they already knew from studying Space Oddity in a music unit) dressed up like the goblin king just led to more questions. Finally, I agreed that we could watch the movie if they were good.
Overall, it was definitely educational for all of us. I realized how much all of these movies guided my preferences in literature and films later in life. I guarantee my classic movies in June will be much older than all these 80s classics, but we had a good time nonetheless.