Momma, What’s a VCR?

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?” 


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.





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?


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