10 ’80s Nostalgia Movies That Are Better Than Most Actual ’80s Movies

Parachute pants, giant boomboxes, breakdancing, the Fat Boys, and even (in a sequence after my own heart) Casey Kasem’s “long distance dedication”: yes, the ‘80s live on, or at least they do in the new comedy Ping Pong Summer, out today in limited release. It’s the latest entry in the cinematic ‘80s nostalgia movement — a bit of an ironic idea, since those of us who lived through the decade recall that there weren’t that many great movies being made then. But there have been some awfully good ones set then, and with that we dust off our Trapper Keepers and Rubik’s Cubes and select the very best post-’80s ‘80s movies.

Still image from "Wet Hot American Summer"

Wet Hot American Summer

The State’s David Wain and Michael Showalter gloriously send up the semi-obscure subgenre of horny ‘80s summer camp comedies (Meatballs, Little Darlings, Oddballs, Poison Ivy) with the help of a remarkable cast of then-current (Janeane Garafalo, David Hyde Pierce, Molly Shannon, Paul Rudd) and future (Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Banks) stars. So keep an eye out for drowning kids and talking vegetable cans, and you’ll make it to the end of the summer in one piece (except for a few campers who are lepers).