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1980s Gems on Streaming TV

Big budget films and CGI may grab audience attention, but some vintage films go where modern movies try paying homage to but fear to truly tread.

With the likes of “Cobra Kai” having spawned a generation of Netflix viewers craven for no-nonsense Gen X sensibility, it’s worth digging for gems now streaming that came straight from the 1980s.

Thrashin’ (1986)

Creators : David Winters, Paul Brown, Alan Sacks

Cast: Josh Brolin, Robert Rusler, Pamela Gidley

“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “The Breakfast Club” hold the era’s grandeur, but thumb-click your way to the 1986 skater film, “Thrashin’.” Therein, crop tops abound (even on the guys), and an early days (and near-unrecognizable) Red Hot Chili Peppers band jams out at a skater nightclub. A denim-vested skateboard gang rules supreme, led by the guy (Robert Rusler) who dumped a slushy onto Gary and Wyatt from a mall balcony in “Weird Science.” And a pre-Thanos teenage Josh Brolin rolls in to date the rival gang leader’s sister, stay true to his friends, and win a downhill skateboard race with broken arm.

Real life ‘70s and ‘80s skateboard icon Tony Alva plays one of the skate gang baddies to bring authentic skateboard chops, skimming over cars and careening down the SoCal pavement. Sneaking underage booze, fist fights, late nights out, and early morning walks home speak to soul of this generation that grew up far less tethered to parental oversight, and devoid of GPS trackers and digital distraction.

Heathers (1989)

Creators: Daniel Waters, Michael Lehmann

Cast: Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, Shannen Doherty

Not to be outdone, Hulu brings us the 1989 dark comedy, “Heathers.” All but unknown to the Gen Z set now in middle school and high school, “Heathers” unloads an arsenal of deadpan satire that weaves gun violence, homophobia, murder and high school clique cattiness into a single, memorable storyline. ‘Heathers” attacks the sensibilities that we should be outwardly aghast at, which is its point, if viewers write themselves a permission slip to hold off being offended from the outset.

The film features smart acting from a teenage Winona Ryder, who modern day teens might only know as the frazzled mom from “Stranger Things,” as well as Christian Slater in a beyond-his-years poised, psycho performance.

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