Nostalgic for the decade I missed

The 1980s. It ended one year before I was even born, yet it has resonated with me up until today.

From the cheap action flicks (I’m looking at you, “Cobra”) to my bizarre fascination with Duran Duran and The Cure, I have ever been intrigued by the decade.

Thus with the movie “Hot Tub Time Machine” coming out, in which four jaded friends travel back to 1986, my curiosity was piqued. Then of course there was MGM’s minor invitation to cover the film at a Lake Tahoe Press Junket, in which stars of the film would throw an ’80s party (live cover band included).

“Hot Tub” star Craig Robinson (“The Office,” “Knocked Up”) performing “Jessie’s Girl” was fun, and getting to add “MGM 80’s Dancer” to my resume was interesting. Yet I stuck to the mission–getting to the bottom of my ’80s fascination.

Director Steve Pink finds the decade a definite mixed bag, though. “You have to face your fear, your embarrassment. Shark-skin suit, pink shirt–you can’t run from that,” he said on showing both the righteous and unrighteous moments of the era. That’s where the charm lies though, in that even the most embarrassing parts of the decade are fun now if just because of how ridiculous they are.

That’s where the enjoyment of “Hot Tub” and the decade in general are found, in the charm of it all. Nearly all generations can appreciate the references, ranging from the obvious (“Miami Vice” and “Where’s the Beef?” T-shirts) to the obscure (Wham’s “Choose Life” motto). 

Then there are also the stars of the time, which “Hot Tub” definitely did not let go to waste.

“You probably wanna do [an ’80s movie] with John Cusack,” stresses co-star Lizzy Caplan, “Or else you’re a hack.”

Seeing as she plays the girlfriend of the famed “Say Anything” and “Sixteen Candles” actor, it looks like “Hot Tub” hits the mark then. Cusack is not the only one returning to the days that launched him to stardom. Chevy Chase (“Caddyshack,” “Vacation”) and Crispin Glover (“Back to the Future”) also swing back to the most excellent era. Glover described his return to time-travel adventures as “a very positive, enjoyable experience.”  

In the end though, what does one take away from the ’80s? It was a decade of excess, a time before technology ruled the world, of carefree fun and not having to check one’s cell phone every second. Actually, forget the movie, show me where that time machine is.