Nostalgia returns on screen: A resurgence of 鈥80s culture



The entertainment industry is currently in the midst of bringing back 鈥80s nostalgia, whether that is remaking, rebooting, reviving, or even creating projects centering around the 鈥80s. Popular entertainment projects released this summer have piqued the interest of the audience due to their flare and unique aesthetics, establishing a cultural legacy.

Stranger Things 4聽

Rating: 5/5

One of the biggest 鈥80s revival contributors is 鈥淪tranger Things,鈥 which follows Eleven, a girl with powerful psychic powers, and her friends. The show, which is set in the 1980s, was created by the Duffer brothers. The highly anticipated fourth season focuses on the mysterious deaths of teenagers and delves deep into the creation of The Upside Down, the alternate dimension that houses many monsters.聽

A reason why 鈥淪tranger Things鈥 is so enjoyable is due to the incorporation of 鈥80s culture. Vivid colors, from Eleven Hopper鈥檚 colorful mall playsuit to Will Byers鈥檚 much-criticized bowl cut, enhance viewers鈥 experiences immediately drawing fans to the ’80s-influenced appearances of the characters.

Perhaps the most notable aspect in the fourth season is the rise in popularity of 鈥80s music. Songs such as 鈥淢aterial Girl鈥 by Madonna and 鈥淭ime After Time鈥 by Cyndi Lauper trended when previous seasons were released. 鈥淩unning Up That Hill鈥 by Kate Bush re-entered multiple music charts and became the most streamed song on Spotify when the first volume of the fourth season was released. Metallica鈥檚 鈥淢aster of Puppets,鈥 which was introduced in the season finale, also joined Kate Bush鈥檚 hit at the top of the charts.聽

Hence, 鈥淪tranger Things 4鈥 exquisitely encapsulates 鈥80s nostalgia, establishing a unique bond between viewers and 鈥80s traditions.


Only Murders in the Building聽

Rating: 4/5

The second season of 鈥淥nly Murders in the Building鈥 attracted a lot of attention from viewers with the pushes and pulls as the mystery unravels.聽

The show follows three strangers who all live in the same building, the Arconia. They meet and develop a friendship from a shared interest in a true crime podcast. In season two, the three find themselves possibly implicated in a murder. The core trio are given layers to their character as they explore their lives and relationships in and outside the Arconia.

Two of the main actors, Steve Martin and Martin Short, both starred in popular films in the 鈥80s.聽

After retiring from stand-up comedy, Martin starred in films such as 鈥淭hree Amigos,鈥 鈥淟.A. Story鈥 and 鈥淢en Don鈥檛 Wear Plaid.鈥澛

Short was featured in a variety of movies such as 鈥淚nnerspace,鈥 鈥淐ross My Heart鈥 and 鈥淭hree Fugitives.鈥澛

Martin鈥檚 character Charles, who is an actor, regularly talks about his most popular and successful role as a detective in a show from the 鈥80s. Additionally, Charles recorded the 1989 song 鈥淎ngels in Flip-Flops,鈥 which has been sampled by famous current artists such as Missy Elliott and Post Malone.聽

The show not only references elements from the 鈥80s but also embraces the cast鈥檚 older members, resulting in unique energy with fun banter and references.


Top Gun: Maverick聽

Rating: 4/5

Currently the highest-grossing film of 2022, 鈥淭op Gun: Maverick鈥 impeccably weaves 鈥80s nostalgia into the plot. The long-awaited sequel was directed by Joseph Kosinski with stars Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer reprising their roles from the original 1986 film. The film follows the main protagonist Maverick, who trains a new generation of TOPGUN graduates for a life-threatening mission while rebuilding his relationship with his late best friend鈥檚 son.聽

Although both movies primarily focus on the adventure of naval aviators, the sequel refines storylines for Maverick. Cruise still perfects Maverick鈥檚 arrogant personality from the original film, but he allows his character to explore maturity through the loss of his best friend and as an aspiring guide to the younger aviators. Maverick not only builds a romantic relationship with Penny Benjamin once again but the film masters the pacing of the couple鈥檚 arc by building suspense and tension to show the rocky side of the relationship.聽

Both films are really similar in the sense that they are action-packed. 鈥淭op Gun: Maverick鈥 captures the audience鈥檚 attention through intense plane flying scenes, such as Cruise鈥檚 stunts, which included flying a plane, that allow viewers to feel as though they were part of the scene.聽

Not only does 鈥淭op Gun: Maverick鈥 embody the same charm the original film had, it also exceeds the expectations set in the original film, attracting millions of viewers.聽


Thor: Love and Thunder

Rating: 3/5

The latest Marvel Cinematic Universe聽 (MCU) installment, 鈥淭hor: Love and Thunder,鈥 expertly pays homage to the films of the 鈥80s through costume, music, stunt and other references. Directed by Taika Waititi, the film embarks on a galactic adventure.聽

Thor鈥檚 retirement gets interrupted by Gorr the God Butcher, a cosmic killer who seeks to murder all gods. To combat the threat, Thor creates a team consisting of King Valkyrie, Korg and Thor鈥檚 ex-girlfriend Jane Foster, who embraces the mantle of 鈥淭he Mighty Thor鈥 after wielding Mjolnir, Thor鈥檚 magic hammer.聽

The film attempts to balance the out-there, fun energy of rock and roll with more serious themes of love and sacrifice.聽

鈥淭hor: Love and Thunder鈥 masters 鈥80s music by placing four songs from Guns N鈥 Roses, a popular band from the 鈥80s, on its soundtrack.聽

Each song is well-placed and elevates the film鈥檚 quality. 鈥淲elcome to the Jungle鈥 introduces the audience to the film, establishing the energy the film aims to bring. 鈥淣ovember Rain鈥 in the final battle scene starts slower and softer, then escalates to be a more tragic experience, reflecting the high emotional stakes.

Additionally, the vibrant colors and style of the costumes add to the 鈥80s aesthetic. Thor鈥檚 Ravager outfit of a red leather vest, snug white shirt and tight jeans pays homage to Kurt Russell in 鈥淏ig Trouble in Little China鈥 (1986).聽