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Most of us have a movie or two from our childhood that we consider to be among our favorites of all time. No matter how cheesy or out-of-date they may seem to others they always stand the test of time with us. I have several movies that fit this very criteria. These are movies that I revisit over and over and no matter how many times I see them, I still feel like a kid again. Being a child of the ‘80s these movies will be from that time period, but (really) they are the best.

Labyrinth (1986)

Speaking of movies I watch over and over again, this has to be at the top of the list. It’s currently in my DVR queue (for the last 2+ years) and I’ve even gotten my kids hooked on it. Everything about this movie is magical. One of the last movies made before the untimely death of Jim Henson, it has his signature all over it. Besides the two main live characters (Jennifer Connelly and the sublime David Bowie), the majority of the movie is populated by Henson’s creature creations.

The story starts with Sarah (Connelly), a young girl who is tasked with babysitting her baby half-brother Toby while her father and stepmother go out for the evening. Feeling she is being improperly persecuted, she wishes Toby would be taken away by the Jareth the Goblin King (Bowie) and his goblin minions. Her wish is granted, but she immediately regrets it and tries to take it back. When Jareth tells her the only way to get her brother back is to solve the Labyrinth leading to the Goblin City, Sarah embarks on a most unusual adventure. Joined by Hoggle, Ludo and Sir Didymus, Sarah ventures through the Labyrinth. After multiple struggles, she defeats Jareth, saves her brother and returns back to her house just before her dad and stepmom return home.

The Dark Crystal (1982)

This is another Jim Henson production that is (as the name implies) decidedly darker than Labyrinth. It boasts a cast completely made of muppets and was the first live action movie to have no human actors. It is also in my DVR queue and something my kids and I watch regularly. Even though I have been watching it steadily for the last 30 or so years, I never really considered it only a kids’ film.

One of the main reasons I don’t consider it a children’s movie is the storyline is pretty complex. Far too complex for a young child to grasp without difficulty. It takes place on another world where the dark crystal shattered and created two separate races, one good (Mystics) and one evil (Skeksis). In the beginning there are 9 Mystics and 9 Skeksis. They share a bond in that if one from either side dies, his counterpart on the other side also dies. A prophecy states that after 1000 years “The Great Conjunction” will take place and a gelfling will repair the crystal, ending the Skeksis rule. If the gelfling fails to repair the crystal, the evil Skeksis will rule forever.

Jen, a young gelfling raised by the kind Mystics, is the gelfling from the prophecy. He was orphaned as a baby when the Skeksis wiped out his clan in an effort to rid the world of any gelfling who might fulfil the prophecy they dread. His master is the Mystic who is the counterpart to the current Skeksis emperor. When the emperor falls ill and dies, Jen’s master also dies. Before his death, he tells Jen of the shard and that he must fulfill the prophecy. He sets off to the home of Aughra, where the shard is located. The Mystics meanwhile set off for the Skeksis’ castle, where The Great Conjunction (and the fulfillment of the prophecy) are due to take place. After Jen locates the crystal shard, the Garthim – lobster-like creatures controlled by the Skeksis – destroy Aughra’s home and Jen flees. He soon meets Kira, a girl gelfling who was also orphaned and raised by Podlings. She joins him on his quest and becomes integral to making sure the prophecy is completed. Even though the Skeksis did everything to try and stop it, the prophecy is fulfilled and The Dark Crystal is complete again. Once this happens, the Mystics and Skeksis merge and become higher beings, and the world is at peace again.

Xanadu (1980)

I don’t care what anybody says, I LOVE this movie. It has an awesome soundtrack, fun musical numbers and rollerskating! The musical sequences are so lively and catchy that it is hard not have a smile on your face when they’re going on. The roller skating is another big part of this movie. The two main characters skated everywhere! I especially loved the “aura” surrounding the Muses as they danced and skated around during their dance numbers. I thought it was the neatest thing in the world. I remember skating up and down my street pretending to have my own aura surrounding me. The films centers around Sonny, a talented artist who is unhappy with his job as a painter of large-scale album covers for record store windows. *On a side note, I think this sounds like an awesome job and have often wondered if any real paintings like this still exist.* He meets Kira who, unbeknownst to him at the time, is a Muse. She encourages him to expand his talents by opening a nightclub with Danny McGuire, a man Sonny met recently while out hanging his paintings. The three of them embark on a colorful journey towards the glitziest grand opening (with roller skating) in nightclub history.

These are just a few of the movies I loved as a kid and still love today. I know they aren’t everybody’s cup of tea, but to each his or her own. Whether you like fun ‘80s movies or angsty 90s teen dramas, everybody has a movie or movies that they love no matter what anybody else says.


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