How is everyone doing today? I hope that you all had a wonderful week. Mine was a bit bland, but good overall. Here on the website, we had another pretty good week. Wednesday’s Poem (found here) was not the best by my standards, but some people seemed to really enjoy it. It’s all about reading and the reality properties book can have as we read them. Also, we had a pretty good Writing Prompt (found here) on Friday mixing Horror, Science Fiction, and The Navy. You can tell that I don’t know a ton about military terminology, so I made it vague in those aspects. Anyway, if either of those things interest you, I encourage you to check them out. Also this past Thursday was International Women’s Day. Really quick I want to highlight some pieces with strong female characters in them just in case you want to check them out. Beware the Dragon! (Part 2), Please Help, and Only Thing That Matters Is You. are all wonderful pieces with Female Protagonists. Not only should you read those pieces, you should also spend some time on WordPress checking out the female creators on the website. There are some really talented ladies on the website that deserve your support and views, so go check them out! I think I’ve rambled on enough, time to get to this week’s topic: Nostalgia for the 1980s.
The 1980s. Such a wonderful time where pop culture was really at the top of its game. Now I wasn’t born until the 1990s, but I’m almost positive I’ve seen more 1980s movies than 1990s movies. Plus think of all the 1980s music that still gets played on the radio. 1980s movies like Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, The Breakfast Club, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I mean I could go on and on talking about wonderful 80s movies. Then there’s all the iconic toys that defined the decade like Teddy Ruxpin, GI Joe, The Rubik’s Cube, and the video game systems of the 1980s. Arcades were huge and so were video game systems like the Nintendo Internment System (NES) and the Atari 2600. Plus I can go on about the music of the decade as well, but I’m pretty sure you get it. The 80s was a very particular decade with particular tastes in music, movies, and fashion. It is a decade that can be easily identifiable by the popularity of certain items or certain icons. It makes sense that looking back on this decade, many people would feel nostalgic for the decade and all its iconic moments. This has lead to Hollywood cashing in on that nostalgia by remaking old favorites and trying to recapture the magic of the 1980s. But has the wave of 80s nostalgia been too much? Are people over it? And why am I talking about it today in this Week’s Weekly Blog? Well something happened this week that spurred this backlash against 80s nostalgia and I thought I’d talk about it a little bit.
Now there’s always been some backlash against nostalgia in general, but things got really heated due to some recent Ready Player One posters. As you may or may not know, Ready Player One is a Science Fiction Book based around a virtual reality realm which is heavily influenced by the 1980s. Now this book is being brought to the big screens thanks to Steven Spielberg. I’ve never read the book, but I’ve heard its pretty good. There also seemed to be a lot of hype around the upcoming movie from people who had read the book and outsiders completely new to the story. It is a science fiction, dystopian story full of technology, young adult protagonists, and 1980s icons. What’s not to love? Well the maybe all the 1980s icons depending on who you ask. This week Warner Brothers put out a series of movie posters for Ready Player One based on other movies including The Matrix, Blade Runner, The Breakfast Club, The Iron Giant, and many others.
People on Twitter were quick to react to these posters. There was a mix of positive and negative reaction, but the majority was negative. These posters came with some backlash from people who viewed these posters as attacks on their favorite movies. The Ready Player One marketing teams hijacked the popularity of these other movies to market their own movie and people were not happy about that. Basically, Ready Player One is steering hard into nostalgia and 80s nostalgia in particular and this lead people to react poorly. I feel like the poor reaction was a mix between people angry they used what they see as better movies to promote their own movie and people who are just mad that nostalgia seems to be the only thing driving this movie. Now don’t get me wrong, I know there’s a plot to movie. I haven’t read the book, but I know that there’s this quest to find Easter eggs within the virtual reality and however does it will win control of the virtual world which is like a trillion dollar commodity to the people of Ready Player One. But the trailers won’t tell you that. These posters won’t tell you that. I remember the first trailer for the movie introduced the characters and the world and a bit of the plot. But after that it was all about the 80s nostalgia, cameos from Tracer (Overwatch) and Master Chief (HALO), cool graphics, and not much else. When you base your movie bases itself only on nostalgia, there’s going to be a lot of people that say that it’s not enough. Movies need to be able to stand on their own. Obviously sequels and movies that share an universe (like the Marvel Cinematic Universe) are going to rely on one another, but they still need their own plot and still need to add to the universe in some way or else it will be nothing but a cash grab and people will be upset. So is that what we’re seeing in the case of Ready Player One or is it just the most recent example of too much nostalgia?
I mean are people really tired of the 80s as a whole? For some people out there, I sure they are over all the 80s nostalgia and want to see fresh movies. Fresh ideas. Stories that don’t have to rely on people gushing over the decade they grew up in. However, I do think that there are some people who don’t mind nostalgia as long as it is done right. I mean, look at something like Stranger Things. It is a Netflix Original set in the 1980s which style mirrors the styles from Steven Spielberg movies like ET or Stephen King’s style from the book/movie, IT. It is very 80s, but people love it. So why is Stranger Things such a hit while Ready Player One is receiving this backlash. Well, again, I think one thing going for Stranger Things, is that it didn’t come out with all of these movie posters. It also is a strong series with great direction, great writing, and great characters. It uses the 80s as a backdrop to tell a great story instead of shoving 80s nostalgia down our throats as a way to sell the movie. The 80s isn’t the center of the attention. It’s just the setting. Now Ready Player One could be a blockbuster success and could be a fantastic movie. I have no idea. But if you just look at their marketing, their posters, and their trailers, it looks like they are really trying to sell you the idea of cool futuristic tech mixed with the love of the 1980s instead of trying to sell you the idea of a great movie with strong characters, great writing, and a clear vision. Again, this is just from trailers and movies, so I could be completely wrong. I hope I am. I hope the movie is amazing and the fans of the book get a great book adaptation on the big screen, but I have some doubts.
So what do you think? Are you over the 1980s or do you want to see more movies, television shows, and books set in the era? How do you feel about nostalgia? Do you enjoy looking back on your childhood or do you think movies need to stop relying on it so heavily? I’d love to read your thoughts about Ready Player One and their most recent posters or your thoughts on 1980s nostalgia. Feel free to leave a comment down below. Also if you liked this Weekly Blog, feel free to give it a like or even share it. I really appreciate all the support no matter if that comes in the form of views, likes, comments, or shares. All of it is good for me. If you really liked this Weekly Blog, maybe spend some time on the website checking out the other stuff I’ve written. I really appreciate all the love and support you can throw my way.
That’s all I want to say for now. Thanks again for your support and I hope you have a wonderful week!
Header Photo Credit to Warner Brother’s Pictures.
Movie Posters for Ready Player One are the property of Warner Brother’s Pictures.
I like nostalgia used skillfully as a setting. Anything more than that is patronizing to those who find the 80’s, or any other era, as their coming of age decade.
If you lived during the era (I’m 66) you remember – so nostalgia items don’t need to be pointed out. Stranger Things (even The Wonder Years or the 70s) are good examples of how to make it work. The Goldbergs, not so much.
If you weren’t alive then – you can’t be nostalgic about it – you’re just a fan.
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Thanks for that response, Debbie! Really insightful. I agree that nostgia can be used wisely or can be overused. I will say even people my age (born in the 90s) seem to be nostalgic for the 1980s or other decades. It’s the whole “born in the wrong decade” phenomenon. I guess they are just superfans and not necessarily nostalgic because they didn’t actually live through it. Anyway, thanks for the comment. I hope you enjoyed this Weekly Blog post!
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I was talking about this on my blog months ago thank you for writing this!!! 👍😁 As someone who’s decade was the 1990s Im really annoyed by this 80s craze to be honest at first it was OK eg Stranger Things but it’s getting too much they need to think of a new era maybe the 90s? Or even the 70s? The era Im from had anime brought into the west like Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball they could bring those shows into a mainstream audience
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Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the Weekly Blog. Personally I’m not upset with the 80s being the background as long as it’s not also the plot. The plot can’t be “Remember the 80’s?” That’s not very creative. I’d love to see some 90’s nostalgia on the big screen. Captain Marvel is coming out in March 2019 and it’s set in the 90’s so hopefully that can scratch that 90’s itch!
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