I’ve been dabbling in nostalgia for a few weeks now. I’m looking back, going forward; seeking inspirations for some writing ideas. Young, funny, sharp subjects and simple, solid, enjoyable stories. I’m constantly drawing on the films that caught my eye growing up and still make me smile today. It’s a testament to great cinema just how many times you can go back and watch something that made you feel a certain way in the past. It’s even more remarkable looking back with a developed outlook on life and still being reminded just how it felt on a first time watch. Sometimes you spot something new, or you understand innuendos, looks and phrases as they were intended but which may have been missed.
I love cinema for that reason, more specifically young adult movies where a scene, a character or a line has the same hold on me that it did when I was 12. I went through an 80s movie and music phase as I approached 16, I collected all the movies that I remembered seeing on TV and on cable with my sister. The immortality of cinema meant i could finally relate to these teens, and all their boy problems and rebellions. Well that wasn’t true – most or nearly all films centered on middle-class suburban white kids and their very surface problems. However I did fall in love with the colours, the look of the period, the formulaic storylines and the genuinely funny, tongue-in-cheek dialogue and humour they all seemed to play out. And when I ran out of Brat Pack films to watch, I searched for the ragtag of teen stars around that period, I found this:
Admittedly I can’t recall the age I was when I first saw Teen Witch (1989), but having an older sister meant I was made to pay attention and watch. As soon as I saw it again, I was overcome with such a wave of nostalgia, I had it on play for weeks.
Robyn Lively (yes, sister of noughties teen sensation, Blake) and her flaming hair and pins for days won me over as the sweet red, Louise Miller, on her quest to be… popular (le sigh). She trades in her humble nature for an amulet that casts spells. Et Voila, she’s a Teen Witch. A power most sixteen year-old-girls would gouge their eyes out for –
because duh, they could cast a spell for better eyes! It’s full of dancing (80s) big hair (80s) and pastel colours – mainly lilac and dusty pink (80s). The core story is so done, you could work it out from the opening second, but it’s fun and endearing and exactly the inspiration I need.
No doubt Lively was brought in to appease the studios still trying to ride the Molly Ringwald wave. Alas the impact wasn’t nearly as big, but there is something so inherently sweet about this actress that just makes you wish her all the best.