Lately I’ve been thinking about the lifespan of entertainment. For most of us, our favorite songs, shows, or movies are always current or fresh in a way that doesn’t really line up with reality. When people question us about them, we stammer and say “Why it only came out…” and trail off as we get a far away look in our eye and realize how long ago 10th grade really was. So I decided to put together a list of things that were “born” in 1986, for reasons which will later become apparent, to see how some of these things have shaped our lives and our entertainment experiences over the last 28 years.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: Confession time! I still haven’t seen this. But I understand it’s hugely beloved, and I probably know the entire movie thanks to the various references that have seeped into wider pop culture over the years, and the batshit theories regarding whether or not Ferris is real that the internet has shown me.
Pixar Studios Years before they routinely began making children’s movies with more emotional depth than most Oscar-winning films, this animation studio spun off of Lucasfilm in 1986 with funding from Steve Jobs. It would take the fledging studio nine years to make a name for themselves, but they’ve never been far from the public eye since the release of Toy Story in 1995.
Top Gun: Everyone’s favorite homoerotic volleyball players wondered if you’d lost that lovin’ feeling for the first time in 1986. Let’s take a visit to the danger zone, shall we?
Castle in the Sky this is the first film produced by Studio Ghibli and was directed by Hayao Miyazaki. While it was released in Japan in 1986 and was a hit there, an English dubbed version wasn’t widely available until 2005. After Castle in the Sky Studio Ghibli would go onto release such classics as Grave of the Fireflies, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle. Recently Hayao Miyazaki retired from Studio Ghibli, and the general manager of the studio, Toshio Suzuki, announced that the studio would be reevaluating and restructuring following Miyazaki’s retirement.
Pee-wee’s Playhouse featuring such notable guest stars as Laurence Fishburne, Phil Hartman, S. Epatha Merkerson, Natasha Lyonne, Jimmy Smits, and with music by Danny Elfman, this may have been one of the best children’s shows ever produced. Unfortunately, Paul Reubens unwisely took Pee-wee out to play in public and the show was abruptly cancelled in 1991.
The Simpsons: While the skits wouldn’t premiere until 1987 and the show itself didn’t start until 1989, Matt Groening created the family “The Simpsons” sometime in 1986. Just this month FXX managed to work their way into the hearts of millions of TV viewers by throwing a “Every Simpsons Ever” marathon which was a wonderful idea that would probably have gotten me fired if my basic bitch cable service got FXX. Well, at least it would have the week all the 90’s episodes were running. By the time they hit 2000 I’d probably have been pretty ok with doing things like sleeping and leaving the couch for extended periods of time.
Aliens In 1986, we all became Ellen Ripley’s bitch. And it was wonderful.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera: Love it or hate it, Broadway’s longest running show (and the soundtrack to many a moody teenager’s extra moody days) premiered in London on October 9th at Her Majesty’s Theater. In the nearly 28 years it has been ope the show has total estimated worldwide gross receipts of $5.6 billion. The Broadway gross is only surpassed by The Lion King. It is the most financially successful entertainment event that currently exists. It has been seen live by over 130 million people in 27 countries and is currently still running in London and New York. Here’s Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman with the title track from the 1988 Tony Awards.
Big Trouble in Little China: The movie that happens when you drop an everyman, truck-driving hero into ancient Chinese mythology. I’m underselling it, though. Just ask TK.
This adorable child right here:
Sadly, this little girl’s years of innocence were numbered. As is the case with too many young people, she eventually fell in with the wrong crowd, developed destructive habits, and turned her considerable talent and potential to the wrong outlets. It may seem shocking, but about 25 years after this photo was taken, this girl would be telling the NFL to go fuck themselves over their Super Bowl half time show antics.
She turned 28 yesterday. Let’s all pray she finds her way to responsible adulthood very soon.