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Revisiting 1984

After yesterday’s post on Ghostbusters (“Don’t cross the streams”), I got hit with a few follow-ups worth following up:

  • When I said 1984 was arguably “the biggest/most important year in modern cinematic comedy,” I meant mostly because of the ridiculous amount of money comedies made that year and how those surprise blockbusters affected how comedies were made afterwards.
  • Still when you add This Is Spinal Tap, which also came out in 1984 but didn’t make very much money, you really could make a case that it really could be the best/most influential year for movie comedies.
  • I didn’t know this, but Aaron Cohen tipped me off: Jason actually already preemptively backed me up: “1984, a fine year for movies.” As Jason says, “My God, the pop culture references.”
  • Also via Aaron, his own “1984 Was a Good Year for a Lot of Things” and Bill Simmons’s 2004 post “1984, it was a very good year.” Both mine the same pop culture vein, adding books, TV, and sports into the mix too.

I particularly like Simmons’s note about college basketball (maybe even more relevant today):

College hoops meant something in ‘84. You stayed home on Monday nights to watch the Big East. You knew the players because they had been around for years. And since guys stuck around, you could follow Ewing and Georgetown, Hakeem and Phi Slamma Jamma, Mullin and St. John’s, Pearl and Syracuse, MJ at UNC … these were like pro teams on a smaller scale. I’m telling you, a Georgetown-St. John’s game in the middle of February was an event. These moments aren’t even possibilities anymore. They’re gone.

My favorite document of 1984 (sports or otherwise) is undoubtedly Sparky Anderson’s Bless You Boys, his running diary/memoir of the Detroit Tigers’ amazing season that year. It’s about baseball, but so many other things โ€” life, death, perspective. I wrote about it last year for The Idler when Sparky Anderson passed away.

One last “what if?” note from Simmons:

Rolling Stone was offered the chance to buy MTV, and Sports Illustrated was offered the chance to buy ESPN. Both magazines decided against it.

Talk about crossing the streams.