In Review: Life Moves Pretty Fast (Book)

by Maryann O'Connor on 19/06/2015


How could we not be sceptical about another book on 1980s movies? Nostalgia, ho! But Hadley Freeman’s ode slash entreaty to us not to forget how good we had it [despite what those awful film critics might have said at the time] paired with discussion of current industry goings-on does provide a considerable dollop of hey-I-never-knew-that alongside her own personal brand of 1980s film worship. Many students asked to write a review based on this topic are interested in simply choosing to order an essay and be done with it. However, it would be better (and more interesting) if one decided to give it a read.

This is like reading The Guardian front to back only it’s all about films and is liberally dolloped with wise and fun words from many of our film heroes. With chapters on why abortion isn’t in film any more, how When Harry met Sally is a shining example of how romcoms can be totally excellent and how Ghostbusters provides a template for how men should behave (thought it would be something to do with crossing the streams but appears not), it is an entertaining read but one that must be picked up and put down again after every couple of chapters. There is much and detailed dissection of social issues as demonstrated by directors John Hughes and Tim Burton.

There is also far too much worship of Ferris Bueller for my liking and I have to confess that The Princess Bride did not make the same impact on me at all. So, unsurprisingly, some of it is subjective to individual film likings but obviously other film loves are universal. You will definitely need to break out every single film mentioned and give them another watch, especially the back catalogues of John Belushi, Bill Murray and Eddie Murphy.

You may not always agree with Hadley Freeman but her dedication to the minutiae of 80s film is commendable and she makes some points that will get your brain cog-things whirring. Anything which raises the increasingly important issue of the fact that the big studios are profit-focused machines which don’t really give a time machine built out of a DeLorean about how good or diverse the films are as long as they make the big bucks in China is marvellous in anyone’s book.

Maryann has awarded Life Moves Pretty Fast (book) three Torches of Truth

three torches


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