Momma, What’s a VCR? 106 comments


My son, The Deuce is almost 8 years old. When he gets wrapped up in watching a movie, it’s hard to pull him away. Typical kid, right? One day when I was in a rush to leave the house, I yelled at him told him in a raised voice to turn everything off so we could go. He didn’t move. I repeated myself a little more aggressively. He just stared at me. Before I lunged for him, he meekly said, “Momma, you said to turn off the VCR. What’s a VCR?” 

 

80s Movies to Watch Over and Over Again by Being A Wordsmith

 

When I was a kid in the 80s, we recorded movies on TV with our VCR. We didn’t have DVR like my 21st century child. We attempted to stop or pause the recording when the commercials came on. Did you do that too? There are three movies in particular that I remember recording because I wore the VHS tapes out watching them an exorbitant amount of times.

 

Poltergeist

 

 

The original Steven Spielberg horror film that kicked off two sequels is the best one in my opinion. It scared the daylights out of me, but I watched it repeatedly. The Poltergeist franchise is eerily haunted by the real life tragic deaths of the two daughters in the film. 12 year old Heather O’Rourke died of complications from a misdiagnosed illness and 22 year old Dominique Dunne (sister of actor Griffin Dunne and daughter of the late writer Dominick Dunne) was strangled by her estranged boyfriend. The clip above talks about more grim events that happened to other co-stars.

My favorite scene: JoBeth Williams’ character slips into a muddy swimming pool and the corpses buried underneath emerge one by one. Williams reveals in the clip above that she learned during filming that the corpses were real not props.

 

The Legend of Billie Jean

 

 

This ’80s cult classic starring Helen Slater (The Secret of My Success, Supergirl) was another favorite of mine. A group of teenagers go on the run after an accidental shooting. Christian Slater made his film debut as the younger brother, Binx. The cast also includes Keith Gordon (John Carpenter’s Christine) and an unknown Yeardley Smith (voice of Lisa on The Simpsons).

My favorite scene: Long haired Billie Jean goes rogue and debuts a super short, buzz haircut.

 

The Wiz

 

 

The story of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with an all Black star-studded cast. Diana Ross. Michael Jackson. Richard Pryor. Lena Horne. When I got older, I learned that the critics were unkind to this film. They cited cheesy acting, over the top dance numbers, and thought Miss Diana was all wrong for the part of Dorothy. You can’t knock the singing though. Those are the best moments–hearing the angelic voices of Ross and Horne. 

My favorite scene: Michael Jackson’s performance of The Crow Anthem, You Can’t Win, as the Scarecrow. Hands down.

 

Be sure to check out my other 80s movies post, I Gave It a Thumbs Up Until It Gave Me the Middle Finger.

 

Have you seen these movies?

Which of your favorite movies have you watched repeatedly?

 

Kimberly signature

 

 

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106 thoughts on “Momma, What’s a VCR?

  • Michelle

    Ha! That’s so funny!
    It’s crazy how much the the electronics have changed in our life time!
    Being in my 40’s I remember pay phones and land lines lol. Cell phone? What’s that?!?
    I have never watched the legend of Billie Jean. Maybe Netflix has it!
    Thanks for the memories!
    Michelle

    • Being A Wordsmith Post author

      The Legend of Billie Jean is a cult classic! A must-see! I left my cellphone at work a few years ago and I needed to call someone to retrieve it. I searched high and low around town for a pay phone and couldn’t find one anywhere. Not even in a restaurant or a hotel. LOL

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      Boy, how times change. Soon, everything will be streamed via the internet. TV, movies, music! Technology is amazing. Thanks, Gail.

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      Oh don’t get me started! I told him that there were no letters or numbers on the keyboard when I learned to type in the 7th Grade. He couldn’t even comprehend what I was saying. LOL Thanks Tiffany!

  • Scarlett

    So funny about the VCR! We still have one to run old Christmas movies on. I’ve tried to convert most to DVD’s, but there are still some classics that I can’t find. And yes! these Christmas shows were a compilation of pressing play when the show came on TV and pausing through the commercials. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      My husband and I were watching a movie the other day that was set in the 80s. We were laughing at the phones with cords. Yes, such a different world. Thanks Carla!

  • Christine Paul

    So my question to you: Do you still “tape” things? lol It’s funny how we still use the same old words for the new techy stuff. I was never one to watch things over and over when I was younger, but now a days I’ll watch The Holiday (kate & cameron) over and over!

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      I say “record” when I refer to now, but say “tape” when I refer to what I used to do. Ha! Thanks Christine.

  • Tracy

    Posts like this make me feel sooooo old. Even though we do dutifully give our kids the “in the olden days when we had no remote and only a VCR … ” (or in my case Beta because my dad likes to be anti-establishment), it still doesn’t make me feel old. Until I read something like this. And then, it totally does. But in such an awesome, the-80s-were-the-greatest kind of way!

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      I showed my son an Atari and a set of joysticks the other day on the internet. His eyes were wide as saucers. He said, “There’s only one button on the remote (joystick)!” Thanks Tracy.

  • Christy

    What your child said to you in the beginning cracked me up! I’ve had so many mom moments like that—where they don’t respond because I’ve said the wrong thing or something that didn’t make sense to them.

  • Stephanie

    This made me laugh! We still have a VCR and my girls will on occasion watch a VHS. They always forget how long it takes for it to rewind! I have actually never seen any of these movies. I can remember my sister and I watching Labyrinth with David Bowie! Now, I’m in the mood to watch it again!

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      Labyrinth is one that I’ve never seen. I’ve heard a lot about it though. Thanks Stephanie!

  • Eli

    Kimberley, you made me wanna watch the Wonderful Wizard of Oz even though I’m not a movie person. I’ve just recently realised I craved films a memory is attached to so reminiscing with some popcorn in hand I like to bring back the emotions I recognise. xx

  • Rachel

    Too funny! Crazy to think how extinct VCR’s are, and what the smart phones of today are compared to the first cell phones which were a Nokia or flip phone!

  • Kelly

    I love your son’s reaction to asking him to turn off the VCR. That’s like my sons first reaction to a non-digital camera. They couldn’t understand why you couldn’t see the picture right away. My husband and I were born in the late 1960’s and so were children of the 80’s pretty much. We have watched some of the “old” movies with them and I love their reactions to them. One of the best reactions was to the movie “Weird Science.” Iron man sure has changed!

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      Ha! That’s right. Robert Downey Jr. was in that movie! It will be a lonnnnnng time before I show my son that one. LOL Thanks Kelly!

  • Michelle

    Oh, 80’s movies! My favorite one to watch over and over … Better Off Dead. My 26 yo daughter has the movie memorized and has done so many recitations of favorite parts at the dinner table that my teens (whom I won’t yes to watching the movie yet) can act out some of the funnier part (Louise this is fine liquor..) Thanks for the reminder and the the walk down memory lane!

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      I have never seen Better Off Dead. It’s one of the few 80s teen movies that I have not seen. I’ll have to add it to my watch list. Thanks Michelle!

  • Jenn

    Oh my goodness, I am just waiting for the day my son gets old enough to start asking me questions like this! It’s kind of scary 🙂 But a big thumbs up to ’80s movies! To my shame, I still haven’t seen The Wiz, although I’m a big musical fan. But I did only just recently see The Goonies, soo…

  • Jenn

    Ha! I’m bitter to this day that my mom wouldn’t let me watch the Legend of Billie Jean! I eventually saw it (loved it of course) and Invincible is by far the coolest song ever. My all time favorite 80’s movie is Real Genius. It is, in my opinion, the original Big Bang Theory. I taped it off HBO and still have that video tape. Thanks for bringing back totally awesome memories!

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      I was just talking to another blogger about that movie! Everybody Wants to Rule the World…love that song. Thanks Adrienne!

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      Real Genius with Val Kilmer! Yes, I can still hear Everybody Wants to Rule the World playing. Thanks Jenn!

  • Ben Goode

    Ha! Love it! I love movies from the 80’s! I made my kids watch a couple and it was a fight to get them to watch but, they ended up loving them! Now they don’t care what the era it is. This is a great fun article! Thanks.

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      Thanks Ben! I have had to fight to get my son to watch some of my old faves too.

  • Whitney

    I’ve never seen any of those, but shockingly we have a VCR, so hopefully our kids at least somewhat understand that concept. We just have a few of those must-watch Disney movies on VHS that we have yet to purchase on DVD. I like to think we keep our kids educated about history by continuing to use it. ha!

  • E.W. Allred

    Haha! Gotta love getting old! My kids asked me the other day what a payphone is and why on earth would you need to use one? I sometimes forget and just assume they know what “our” technology was like when we were kids! Thanks for the fun read!

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      I accidentally left my cell phone at my friend’s office a couple of years ago. Desperate to get it back, I went hunting all over town for a payphone so I could call her. And I mean “hunting”. I could not find a payphone anywhere! It was crazy. I was sure that they were still around, but of course when I went to look for one, there weren’t any. Thanks for commenting.

  • Adrienne

    Kimberly, we had a VCR when I was at home. My husband and I finally tossed our last VCR a couple years ago after it broke. Had it been a VCR/DVD combo, we would have kept it (as long as the DVD part still worked). My older boys remember watching movies on the VHS tapes. My little two have no idea what a VCR is for they know movies are on DVD’s or Netflix. 🙂 I enjoyed the memory lane of your post. Thanks! ~Adrienne

  • Angi

    It is not just our kids used to technology. We are too. I could not imagine going back to how what we had 10 years ago much less 20 years ago.

    Long live the DVR…lol

  • Elaine

    I do remember using a VCR to record TV shows. I felt especially accomplished when I learned how to set it to turn on to record while I wasn’t home. I haven’t seen any of the three movies you mention. I don’t really like watching movies, but prefer to watch TV series. I remember recording shows like Murder, She Wrote, Matlock, and others.

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      Programming the VCR! Yes, we thought we were big time. I think I have seen every episode of Murder, She Wrote. Thanks Elaine.

  • Tori

    Ahh the 80’s. Kids today have no idea of the struggles we went through! Haha! From recording movies to trying to record the top 20 countdown and so on!

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      No, they don’t know, Tori! Recording the top songs on the radio and trying to cut out the DJ’s voice. Those were the days!

  • Vicky

    I can’t say that I have seen any of the movies you mentioned. I still have a working VCR but it has a DVD player with it so we’re caught between high tech and old school. I used to religiously video tape movies too such as Gods Must be Crazy, etc. Thanks for taking me back to the good old days.

  • Jennifer S.

    We didn’t have a tv or vcr when I was growing up. So I can’t say that I’ve seen any of these. 🙂 My children have asked me to fast forward the commercials when we’ve watched some movie in a motel room. 🙂

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      Ha! My son has a fit when I tell him to go clean his room while he’s watching something on TV. I tell him he’s lucky that he can actually pause the TV while he does it. We didn’t have that luxury as kids. Thanks Jennifer!

  • Andi

    Seen them. Loved them! We had a Betamax before we had VHS, my parents always seemed to pick the wrong technology to start, but to this day my Mom is still taping General Hospital on a VCR!

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      Thank goodness for DVR or I would still be taping Young and the Restless daily on a VCR. Thanks Andi!

  • Melanie (Wren)

    Oh my goodness! I had completely forgotten about Michael Jackson being in that movie.

    My husband and I have found—repeatedly—that movies we adored in the 80’s weren’t quite as fabulous as they were then. Just like the music. Although I will always be a fan of 80’s music. 🙂

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      I hear ya, Melanie! I am a big 80s music fan too. Always will be. Just watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off this week and it didn’t seem as funny as it was back then. And I thought more stuff happened! Go figure. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Carla A

    Wow does this ever bring back memories. My VCR nearly chewed my copy of Summer School with Mark Harmon…he was a hot surfer/teacher. Haven’t thought about that in years…LOL!

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      OMG! I haven’t thought about Summer School in years either. Wow. Thanks Carla!

  • Deb

    I can so relate to this. My kids (17,12 & 4) ask me questions like this all the time and it MAKES ME FEEL OLD! Haha. At least older than my 38 years (that’s still young though, right?) My kids usually don’t like our movies from the 80’s saying they’re too “old” but they have watched Goonies, Stand By Me and The Breakfast Club and liked all three of those. Although, as I saw in one of your other posts, you’re right, you have to watch out for some of the language and situations (I think we skipped a few parts.)

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      Yes, 38 is young! Glad you enjoyed both posts. Stand By Me…ahhhh. I was such a River Phoenix fan as a kid. Broke my heart when he died. Thanks Deb!

  • Jennifer

    Oh that’s so funny that your son didn’t understand what VCR meant. It gets me thinking – we’ve moved from VCR to DVD to Blu-Ray and now we’re moving into a digital age – so in the future will there not be physical copies of anything? No VCR tapes, no DVD or Blu-Ray discs? Just digital files? That’s kind of a scary thought. Anyway, the only one I saw from your list was Poltergeist….it freaked me out too! As for my ‘movies on repeat’ I’m a real nerd when it comes to Harry Potter movies. I don’t own any, but anytime they come on television I just have to stop and watch 🙂

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      I agree. All the movies will go digital. And I think sometime in the future, all TV programs will be on demand instead of scheduled programming. Technology is something else! Thanks Jennifer.

  • Alan

    YES!

    Great post, you’re really hitting home with me.

    So my favorite movie of the ones you listed is easily Poltergeist.

    As for my favorite that I can watch over and over, if we’re just talking Horror movies, would be Night of the Living Dead (either the remake or the classic).

    I have a thing for zombies, to the point where I’ve been making a video game about them! haha

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      Making a video game about zombies! Wow. I know that theme is pretty popular these days. Thanks for stopping by, Alan!

  • Yona Williams

    Ah…VCR tapes. I had a million of them, and was probably one of the last people to accept that they were going to be replaced by DVDs. I thought it was really unfair to have collected so many of those bulky things to just lose them. I still have a DVD/VCR combo TV in storage…not giving that up yet. I have seen all three of these movies, but the one that sticks out to me is ‘The Legend of Billie Jean.’ OMGoodness, that brings back memories. I just loved the entire concept, the acting, the music, and that one is a classic for me!

    Also, a few movies that watched over and over and over again were the Goonies, the Princess Bride, and the Neverending Story.

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      Excited to hear from another Legend of Billie Jean fan. A lot of people have no idea what I’m talking about. I loved the Neverending Story too. I think I’ll add that to my list for my son. So many people on this comment thread still have DVD/VCR combos. Love it. Thanks Yona!

  • kelly o'brien

    I loved our VCR so much that I still have one! 🙂 I have not seen any of these movies but loved Grease, Dirty Dancing, and Footloose. I am sure if I sat here long enough I could come up with several more! Now, as an adult I watch those movies and can’t believe my parents let me watch them…crazy how are perspectives change.

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      It’s funny to watch some of those movies now and hear the adult themed innuendo that I missed back then. Thanks Kelly!

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      Thanks Deb! It’s been fun reminiscing with so many people about that time.

  • Toni

    I’m dying over here!! I recently said the same thing to my hooligan while he was watching STREAMING. Lol! Poltergeist terrified me as a kid!! I keep thinking I’ll watch it as an adult, but still avoid it. I remember the challenges of recording things on the VCR all too well. Teenage me loved taping Days of Lives every day while I was at school so I could watch it when I got home.

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      Oh, don’t get me started on the piles of tapes I had for recording soap operas. Poltergeist still terrifies me. Thanks Toni!

  • Tiffany

    We still have a VCR…granted it’s a VCR/DVD combo. Our younger children have a few VHS tapes that they still enjoy…they get a kick out of watching the movie on the tv while it rewinds.

    I’m not a big movie fan now, but when I was a child I distinctly remember watching Annie & Bedknobs and Broomsticks, over & over!

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      Watching the tape rewind! That seemed to take forever. And don’t try to go to a certain spot! You can’t see the picture so you have to rewind, maybe fast forward, and possibly repeat. LOL Thanks Tiffany!

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      Ha! That’s how I felt, Susannah. I stood there with my mouth open for the longest.

  • Amanda Smith

    HA! What’s a VCR. That made me giggle. My son knows what one is because we actually still have one. We watch old movies on it all the time. If it ever dies I will cry. I was an 80’s kid too. I can remember going to the video store and renting a VCR and movies. And remember beta movies?

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      Betamax! Yes! Those movies would be on one side of the video store and the VHS on the other. HaHa! You made me remember that you could rent the VCRs there too. Had completely forgotten about that. Wow. And now video stores are obsolete. Incredible. Thanks Amanda!

  • Stevi

    I actually found my old Disney VHS tapes not long ago. My 3yo asked me what they were and when I told her movies she said “No way” lol. I wonder what things will be like in another ten years

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      I used to think that DVDs would all be converted to Blu-Ray. Now I think all of that will go to streaming. Everything will be digital. I converted several VHS tapes and 8mm tapes to DVDs. There’s a company called PhotoBin that has very reasonable packages. Thanks Stevi!

  • Danielle

    My kids have no idea what a VCR is – so funny!!! And I struggle with figuring out their technology. Of course my husband is slightly older than I am and he talks about 8 tracks – no clue about them…lol. Thanks for the post.

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      8 tracks! Yes, my parents had a Buick Regal when I was a kid with an 8 track tape player. They were so big that you couldn’t store but one or two in the glove compartment. Thanks Danielle!

  • Danielle

    Having grown up in the 80s I can admit that I just love the movies! I was more into the romantics though like Pretty in Pink and Some Kind of Wonderful. I think I will have to watch them again!

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      Pretty in Pink and Some Kind of Wonderful were two of my faves in the 80s! Ahhhh. I wore out my cassette tape of the Pretty in Pink soundtrack. I had the magazine advertisement for Some Kind of Wonderful taped to my wall as a teenager for the longest. Eric Stoltz, Lea Thompson, and Mary Stuart Masterson. I think I need to see it again. Thanks Danielle!

  • Kenya G. Johnson

    Girl if I’ve seen all of ANY Poltergeist, I’ve seen it one time. I’ve passed dislike of scary stuff down to my son and he’s is so much against it than I was. I can’t get him to watch ET with me and he barely wanted to watch The Goonies. I will still watch The Wiz though admittedly some of the acting is cheesy, but I still love it – ditto to the original.

    We still have a VCR in our bedroom and there’s a place there where I can plug things. So I’ve answered. “What’s a VCR?” after telling him where the iPad was 😉

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      I’m laughing because I remember we talked about The Wiz and the Momma from What’s Happening. Ha! Deuce still gets weirded out at the thought of Gremlins. He tries to act all tough but he changes his tune when it’s time for lights out.

  • Jennifer

    My son should know what a VCR is as he’s used one several times. However, it’s been quite a few years since he’s had to use one and he’s almost 13. I haven’t seen the movies you listed, but I do love The Princess Bride which my son has seen on several occasions with me or his dad. I’m also into the classic live action Disney films such as No Deposit, No Return; The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes; The absent Minded Professor; etc.

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      The Princess Bride! Yes. I need to add that to my list to show my son. Thanks Jennifer!

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      I love hearing about the backstage/behind-the-scenes stuff that happened on TV shows and movies. Things you would never imagine like actors not getting along, recasts, and ad libs. Thanks Lynne!

  • Andi Nicole H

    VCR! Ha! Funny enough….I actually have a combo DVD and VCR right now…so I haven’t gotten rid of that word yet in our home 🙂

    I would have to say we watched Flight of the Navigator and the original Wizard of Oz A TON. My kiddos are too young yet to see those…but I look forward to introducing them to the 80s movies!

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      Wizard of Oz came on TV almost every year when I was a kid. Still one of my favorites. I enjoyed Flight of the Navigator too. Thanks Andi!

  • Amy

    HAHA! You slipped back in time and pulled out the language your own mom might have used “shut off the VCR”. I am guilty as well! I have a nine year old son and I have had to explain what ‘rewinding’ means.

    I had no idea those corpses were real in Poltergeist. That makes it even more terrifying!

    I recently dragged my child through a weekend full of more obscure movies made between 1975-1990 including: Flight of the Navigator, The Boy Who Could Fly, Pippi Longstocking, Pete’s Dragon and The Wizard. Good stuff!

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      Ohhh Flight of the Navigator and The Boy Who Could Fly. I loved those movies as a kid. Thanks Amy!

  • Kim

    Isn’t it funny how our kids are so used to all of the technology that we never had?! My boys think that it is perfectly normal to pause a show and can’t imagine life any other way!!!

    • beingawordsmith Post author

      I showed him an old school TV that had knobs on it. His eyes were like saucers when I told him that we didn’t have remotes. And had to walk up to the TV and press buttons for the volume and channels. Then I told him that we only had 3 or 4 channels. He could not even comprehend it. LOL!