REVIEW: The Ultimate History of the '80s Teen Movie, James King

Thursday, 21 May 2020

REVIEW: The Ultimate History of the '80s Teen Movie, James King banner graphic

The Ultimate History of the ’80s Teen Movie goes behind the scenes of a genre where cult hits mingled with studio blockbusters, where giants like Spielberg and Coppola rubbed shoulders with baby-faced first-timers, and where future superstars Sean, Demi, and Tom all got their big break. Music, comedy, and politics all play a part in the surprisingly complex history of the ’80s teen movie. And while the films might have been aimed primarily at adolescents, the best tackle universal issues and remain relevant to all ages.

James King's The Ultimate History of the '80s Teen Movie presented an in-depth, linear look at the themes and natures of the films that defined an entire culture movement: The Breakfast Club, Fame, Dirty Dancing. If young adults were rewinding their VHS tapes to relive them, in rooms littered with neon leg-warmers and hairspray cans, you can bet they're included in this book. Therefore, it should have been a riot - a nostalgic trip down film history lane; an afternoon spent with old, slightly zany friends. But, unfortunately, it was a book that lacked any of the 'zig' of the era. It was dry! Dry! I mean, can you imagine? A book about John Travolta, Sean Penn and Madonna, and the two Coreys being dry? Somehow, it managed to make drug-fuelled, raucous teen fun feel like one of the textbooks the teenagers had been watching all of these movies to avoid. And, honestly, for a little while whilst reading it, I actually forgot why I loved all of these movies so much.

star rating: two stars

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Head on over to for this book, as well as all of the others featured in my reviews, complete with the added bonuses of free worldwide shipping and bringing a little joy to my life.

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