1980: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back – My dad took me to see the original Star Wars films when they were released in the theater after being digitally remastered in the 90s. Having a dad who worked in the space industry, he always exposed me to everything space related he could and I loved talking about these movies with him.
1981: Raiders of the Lost Ark – I was in second grade the first time I saw this movie; we watched it at my friend Mattie’s house for her family movie night. I loved the sense of adventure and wonder, or exploration and history. I remember us playing this movie out in her backyard all year!
1982: E.T. – I did not watch E.T. until I was in middle school and the military base we lived on was showing this as a Thursday night movie in the summer before 7th grade. I thought it was a cute movie!
1983: Flashdance – When your parents are from Pittsburgh and you love all of the 80s dance movies, of course Flashdance makes the list!
1984: Footloose – I loved Footloose – especially when I helped work a live theater production of the show the summer before I started high school; it was one of the last things I did in North Dakota before the move to Alabama. Whenever I hear any of the songs from this movie I get really happy and sing or dance along!
1985: The Breakfast Club – I went through a stage where I watched every John Hughes movie I could, but to me the best of the bunch is The Breakfast Club. I just love this movie and seeing people who society says shouldn’t get a long experience the common ground they share; such a relatable theme to a kid who moved all the time!
1986: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – Is there any better movie to watch when you were home sick from school? Even through college if I didn’t feel well I would watch this. It makes me laugh at the antics they get into and get away with and would distract me from feeling so miserable for a couple hours.
1987: Dirty Dancing – If you had asked middle school Sarah what here favorite movie was, it would have been Dirt Dancing. I had no idea about the themes this movie explored, I just loved watching Baby learn to dance. Once I realized that it dealt with abortion and class differences and a whole host of other things, I think my appreciation for it deepened. I still love this movie and am both intrigued and scared of the remake that is coming out soon.
1988: Big – I remember watching this movie with my mom as a kid and just being snuggled on our old plaid couch eating popcorn and enjoying what felt like such a “grown-up” movie!
1989: The Little Mermaid or Steel Magnolias. It’s a tie. – The year I was born was the year two favorites came out! The Little Mermaid has always been my younger sister’s favorite Disney movie – I still think my sister would become a mermaid if she could! It was always so fun to watch this together and then spend the summers playing mermaids at the pool after swim practice. Steel Magnolias was another one I fell in love with in middle school; what a beautiful story of friendship and family and community. In a fun twist, the schools I went to for 9th and 12th grade each did Steel Magnolias so I enjoyed watching it performed live to bookend my high school experience, since this was the first show that was done in 9th grade and I shadowed in the tech box for and the last show done my senior year that I attended as an audience member. Between the two performances, the 9th grade show was better.