Jan 23 • 8M

The '80s Movie That Few Are Guessing

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Charlotte Clymer
Charlotte Clymer is a writer and LGBTQ advocate. You've probably seen her on Twitter (@cmclymer). This is the podcast version of her blog "Charlotte's Web Thoughts", which you can subscribe to here: charlotteclymer.substack.com
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(No, it’s not that one, either. Image credit: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment)

Last week, I watched a particular ‘80s movie for the first time in years, and I had forgotten how much I felt it was largely underwhelming, even overrated, despite its standing as a niche favorite.

Without naming the movie, I casually mentioned this in a group chat with a bunch of girlfriends, and they started guessing titles. Half an hour and dozens of guesses later, no one had landed on it, and being the curious goddess I am, I went to Twitter to see how fast it would take for someone to figure out.

No one did. At least not initially.

And it is a fascinating activity on perspective!

For example, I didn’t anticipate the sheer number of guessers who apparently believe that flicks like “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “The Princess Bride” have a niche fan base.

(For those wholly unfamiliar with American Cinema, neither of these movies would ever be described as anything other than universally beloved.)

Eventually, someone did guess the correct movie, but because I enjoy occasionally torturing the online masses with very low stakes nonsense like this, I decided to make it interesting.

I could practically hear the groans, but much to my surprise, folks began responding in earnest, both donating to LPAC’s non-profit research arm and making persuasive arguments for certain films and/or urgent moral pleadings to spare their own beloved ‘80s flick.

The always charming Jon Cryer, beloved actor and ‘80s icon, among many other things, poked in to see if it’s “Pretty in Pink” (1986).

My friend Meredith Salenger—beloved writer, producer, and actress—had her own guess: “Dream a Little Dream” (1989).

The brilliant Yvette Nicole Brown, unsatisfied with mere guessing, offered a loving warning that it better not be one of her faves.

Amid the celebrity guesses were hundreds of responses that ranged from the patently absurd (“Purple Rain”? Who would ever describe that as less-than-great?) to the intriguing but ultimately incorrect (“Grease 2”).

Over the past week, I’ve occasionally trotted out a range of clues, some of them intended to be helpful but most simply thrown out there for my own amusement at the expense of those playing. Because I am sometimes a cruel queen.

Here are the list of clues, in order of my tweeting them over the past week:

  • ‘80s movie that probably has a niche fan base

  • I just don’t think it’s that good

  • theme: a young person confronting societal pressure

  • based in high school

  • Rotten Tomatoes score of more than 50% but less than 90%

  • one of the leads has been nominated for a Saturn Award for acting during their career

  • the entire cast was named TIME’s Person of the Year in 2006

  • it was not directed or produced by Steven Spielberg

  • it was distributed by Paramount

  • one of the actors cast in this movie was also cast in “Jerry Maguire”

  • the year this film was released, the San Francisco 49ers made the playoffs (LOL)

  • released in theaters prior to former Justice Anthony Kennedy beginning his tenure on the Supreme Court

  • one of the actors who was cast in this movie is well-known for their exceptional voiceover work

  • released before Jon Bovi’s signature hit “Livin’ On a Prayer” reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100

  • released before Ronald Reagan gave a nationally-televised address kinda sorta hinting at his role in the Iran-Contra scandal but ultimately denying any substantial wrongdoing

So, the clues quickly escalated from amusing to outlandish, and I will admit that I’ve quite enjoyed veering them between unhelpfully broad and tantalizingly specific.

That said, incredibly, we’ve raised more than $5,000 for LPAC. We’re already more than halfway there.

I have written a review of the movie, which no one has yet seen, and once this dorky little fundraiser of mine for queer women in politics reaches $10k, I’ll be sending it out to all of you.

Anyone who donates at least $50 can email me the receipt (cmclymer@gmail.com), and I will follow you back on Twitter.

Additionally, the first five people who guessed the movie correctly will receive a personal phone call from me congratulating them on their excellent deductive reasoning.

Hey, it’s for a good cause! I like seeing queer women get elected, and LPAC has done a phenomenal job of that.

So, please make a donation, and in the meantime, I’ll leave you with one final clue: this movie reveal and accompanying review are guaranteed to break a few hearts.

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