Sexy 80s Party: 80s Teen Romance

It’s Wild-Card Wednesday, and that means anything can happen.  I think it’s about time for us to have a Sexy 80s Party: Teen Romance Movies Edition.

Before we start hanging streamers, let’s watch this:


Let’s time travel back to the 80s for a wild night of my favorite teen romance flicks.  We’ve popped popcorn, we’ve raided the refrigerator, and Alice the Alcoholic is already calling dinosaurs in the bathroom.


The TV’s on, the VCR is ready to go. Here’s what we’re watching:

Fire with Fire (1986)

This baby starred Craig Sheffer (performing with unibrow intact) and Virginia Madsen.  It’s supposedly based on a true story.  Despite searching, I’ve never found the basis.

Click here to watch the trailer on You Tube.

The chemistry between the two leads is believable.  I love, love, love the ending, which is totally unbelievable but terribly romantic.  Unfortunately, this is one of those movies that never saw DVD (let alone BluRay).  I’ve understood it’s available on Netflix to watch instantly.

Some helpful soul has also uploaded it on You Tube.  Click for Part 1.  You will have to click the uploader’s username to get to the other parts, of which there are at least twelve.

Fire with Fire is unusual because the female lead (Madsen) is interested in photography.  There are several gorgeous scenes in which she tries to re-create John Everett Millais’s Ophelia.  It added a slightly literary air to the usual teen melodrama fare.

Reckless (1984)

Reckless starred an impossibly young and sexy Aidan Quinn and a stunning Darryl Hannah.   The film has this dull, gritty feel to it.  The visual style is supposedly inspired by the artwork of Edvard Munch, who is best known for The Scream.

I can’t find the trailer on You Tube, but, if you click here, you can watch the first two minutes on

Reckless can be purchased at on a DVD-R, which–to the best of my understanding–is an on-demand DVD version of the movie.  Be sure to read the reviews so you understand what you’re getting.

The movie showcases the typical 80s themes:

  • forbidden love between kids from different socio-economic classes
  • set in a small town where there are few opportunities
  • love interest is the bad boy nobody understands

Reckless has something other 80s offerings didn’t have, though.

It is dark, edgy.  Johnny Rourke (Quinn) is a troubled kid with sociopathic tendencies.  The sex scenes were fairly graphic for the era.  The music featured artists like INXS and Romeo Void–not the usual top 40s trash.  It sometimes felt like an indie film…but not quite.

This is probably the best scene from the whole movie:


Secret Admirer (1985)

This is the light one of the bunch.  It starred C. Thomas Howell, Lori Loughlin, and Kelly Preston.  Below is the trailer:

The movie is silly and fluffy, but kind of neat.  The secret admirer letter, originally intended for C. Thomas Howell’s character, wreaks hilarious havoc in the lives of both adults and teenagers.  The unsigned, un-addressed letter repeatedly lands in the wrong hands, and the wrong conclusion is invariably drawn.

The theme is appreciating what you have rather than dwelling on a fantasy.

Interesting and unusual stuff:

  • Kelly Preston tried out for The Blue Lagoon, but lost out to Brooke Shields.  She is married to John Travolta.
  • Fred Ward plays Elizabeth Fimple’s (Preston’s) father and totally steals the show.
  • C. Thomas Howell did his own stunts for the movie.  His father is longtime stuntman Chris Howell.
  • Dee Wallace Stone, who starred in Cujo, plays the male lead’s (Howell’s) mother.

The credits are rolling, and the party’s over.  Let’s vacuum the popcorn out of the couch and take down the streamers.  Time to go back to being a middle-aged grown-up…until next time.

 Here’s some music from ’87 to listen to while we clean up.

When I made this list, I had very specific rules.  The movie had to be about teenagers, and, at its core, it had to be a romance.  I created such a narrow window because I want to do this again sometime.  I was a teenager in the 80s and remember it with quite a bit of nostalgia.

I banned myself from picking any John Hughes movies.  Those were the best ones, but they loop endlessly on cable.  I hoped to introduce something you’d never seen before and would like to see now.

Time to open the floor.  What’s your favorite 80s teen romance? It can be drama or comedy. Hated all of ’em? Give me some suggestions for the next Sexy 80s Party.  Horror? Drama? Exploitation? Noir?


46 thoughts on “Sexy 80s Party: 80s Teen Romance

  1. on ,
    pjsharon64 said:

    Awesome Catie, you did an amazing job with this. I’m going to find Reckless on my netflix this weekend! I love Aidan Quinn.

    • I hope you enjoy Reckless. Aiden Quinn is white hot. Even now. Thanks for stopping by. 😀

  2. Very cool once again, Catie! I’d love to see Fire with Fire – I’m adding it to my Netflix list this morning.

    • I love the theme song in Fire with Fire. It’s by Wild Blue. This movie brings back so many cool memories for me. LOL If you think about it, let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. 😀

  3. on ,
    amber said:

    Aidan Quinn’s dancing in that scene is how my friend Gigi and I danced at every party we went to. And it was the late 90s. (we were weird)

    Also, a young Adam Baldwin in Reckless!

    I have to admit, I kinda love the Brat Pack era, although I’m more of a “The Pick-Up Artist”, “Less Than Zero” kinda girl.

    • I liked The Pick-Up Artist, but I am definitely more of a “Less Than Zero” kind of girl. I actually read the Brett Easton Ellis book back in the 80s. Back then, the nihilistic excess didn’t horrify me the way it does now. LOL

      I’m trying to picture you doing the Aiden Quinn dance from Reckless. How very hip of you. (Not weird–or, if if is weird, I like weird well enough not to care.)

      Thanks for stopping by. 😀

      • on ,
        amber said:

        Less Than Zero is def one of my faves from the 80s. I have a weakness for the troubled boy, particularly Robert Downey Jr. :)

        Glad you appreciate my weirdness.

  4. I thought I’d seen all the 80s movies, but I fail. I’ve not seen ANY of these. I’m going to have to see Reckless simply to see a young Aiden Quinn.

    Good luck on the pitching sessions. Keep me posted:)

    • Reckless era Aiden Quinn is a sight to behold. And he was *good* in this movie. It was a side of him I’ve never seen in anything else. Usually, he’s…ummm…nice.

      Will keep you posted on the pitching. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. on ,
    Laura said:

    I love Aiden Quinn, but I don’t think I ever saw ‘Reckless’. I used to have a thing for Tommy Howell for a while when I was a kid, so I remember ‘Secret Admirer’. But ‘Fire With Fire’? I used to love that movie. Seriously under-rated, that movie. I wish I had known it wasn’t available on dvd. I had it on vhs tape for years and finally ditched all of those. :(

    Great blog! I, too, am a Brat Pack girl so I came here expecting to see the typical 80’s movies like 16 Candles, etc. (Looking forward to checking out the book ‘You Couldn’t Ignore Me If You Tried’.) Pleasantly surprised. Have a great day!

    • I had a crush on Tommy Howell, too. I seriously debated doing Grandview USA instead of Secret Admirer, but GVUSA is for another sexy 80s party.

      I never owned Fire with Fire. I wish, though, I had bought it one of those millions of times I saw it on a clearance rack or at a garage sale. Did you see the prices on it at Sheesh!

      _You Couldn’t Ignore Me if You Tried_ looks great. I may have to read that. Believe me, it was tough finding movies for this blog that were not John Hughes movies. I mean, they were really, really good. There is a reason they’ve looped endlessly on cable for the last 25 years. LOL

      Thanks for stopping by. 😀

  6. Hey, Catie, I always look forward to your blogs and I loved this one because I never heard of these movies. You hooked me with Reckless and Secret Admirer! I”m outta here to get both of them for a great summer night of movies! Thank you so much.
    I don’t know if this is an appropriate movie for the 80’s (I have no clue) but I loved that movie with the famous actor (can’t recall his name) who comes to a town where the pastor rules the community and the pastor’s daughter falls for the new guy who is pretty wild (only in comparison to the other kids in town). The pastor won’t let them dance and by the end of the movie the entire teen community comes together to put on a dance and you get your HEA.
    Do you know the name of that one?

    • Patti, I’m so glad you enjoy my blogs. I enjoy doing them more than I ever thought I would.

      Your movie sounds a lot like Footloose. Were you aware a remake has been made and is set to release this year? Click here to watch the trailer. I’m a little clueless about why this remake was needed. Several of the scenes look *exactly* like the original. However, they seem to have done more with the backstory. ::shrugs::

  7. I don’t know if I saw any of those! A favorite romantic movie- with teens- from the 80’s- I have to pick one? UUuuummmmmmm…….. John Huhges movies of course would top the list, but staying away from those I think Racing the Moon- I watched that one a lot.

    • Racing the Moon! I haven’t seen that in years. What a hell of a good choice. Thanks so much for reminding me about that wonderful little movie.

  8. I haven’t seen any of these, but I’m adding them to my list for the library. It’s possible they have the video and I actually still have a VCR for watching the movies I still own for nostalgic purposes. :)

    Next 80’s party, I’d say black comedies/noir. I’m thinking “Heathers.” LOL. I could be wrong about the date, might be 90’s, which is more my teen years. Very fun blog idea Catie!

    • My last VCR broke, and I didn’t bother to replace it. I gave my library of 50+ VCR tapes to my one cousin who still has a working VCR. She, of course, was thrilled with her bounty. LOL

      Black Comedies is a good choice for a Sexy 80s party. Heathers came out in 1988, so it would definitely qualify. I’m excited about finding two movies to go with it. LOL

      Thanks for stopping by.

  9. on ,
    Marcia said:

    The trailers are great and you did a great job reviewing them! I wasn’t a teen in the 80s. My kids were born in 82 and 88, so i watching Sesame Street for about 10 yrs straight! However I was a teen in the 60s…now I’ll have to go research my memory for the teen movies back then.
    Good luck on ROW80. My week is not starting out week either, I plan to wait til Saturday to check in. You did get alot accomplished, though!

    • Marcia, I’d really be interested in teen movies from the 60s. When I was about 17 or 18, my mother rented The Graduate and had me watch with her. She told me she went to see that on her first date with my dad. The Graduate (and the soundtrack from it) remains one of my favorite movies to this day.

      Good luck to you on #ROW80, too. Maybe we’ll both get our poop together. LOL

      Thanks for stopping by. Great to see you. 😀

  10. on ,
    annyost said:

    Catie – you are so amazing — I always learn so much from your blogs — how on Earth did you get so good at all this computer stuff? Love it – thanks for the afternoon blast!

    • Thanks so much for your kind words. I’m glad you enjoy my blogs. I enjoy writing them! Good to see you!

  11. Ok. I was doing pretty good while you stuck to music, but I must confess the only one of these movies you mention that I saw was The Blue Lagoon, and Kelly Preston should thank them for turning her down. But I really enjoyed your blog about these movies. :)

    • Glad you enjoyed the blog. I hope one of the movies hit your fancy enough to watch it. If not, though, I have a Sexy 80s Party: Horror Edition in the works. LOL

      Thanks for stopping by.

      • on ,
        Laura said:

        Oooo, horror edition coming up? I am a huge horror movie fan! And the 80’s had the B.E.S.T. horror movies! I’ll definitely have to come back. 😉

        P.S. How about (for this blog) ‘Some Kind of Wonderful’? Used to love that movie. Pretty sure it’s not John Hughes, but I could be wrong.

        • Some Kind of Wonderful, which was written by John Hughes, is a great choice. It’s one of my favorite movies. I just banned myself from picking John Hughes. My blog commenters can display John Hughes love all day long.

          And, yes, I am going to do a Sexy 80s Party: Horror Edition. I already have the movies picked and the post half-written. LOL

          Thanks so much for stopping by. 😀

  12. I will always show up to a sexy 80’s party. I love how this summer has become all about movies and tv in our blogging world, so much fun! Great post Catie!

    • Great fun, isn’t it? Pop culture is addictive. Thanks for stoping by! Great to see you.

  13. Fun blog! I haven’t seen either of these movies – and (cough) I am the right age, LOL. Maybe a sci-fi or comedy party sometime?

    • LOL I tried to pick pretty obscure titles, but still keep it stuff I really liked. And I did love these three.

      I’d be willing to do a Sci-Fi party, but I’d have to get you to guest blog. I didn’t watch too many obscure ones.

      Thanks for stopping by, and it’s great to see you.

    • Dude! You mentioned Red Dawn on your blog. That is one of my childhood favorites. Patrick Swayze was an awesome actor and such a humble guy. He was from Houston, Texas, and I’d be a liar I didn’t admit I loved him because of that, too. LOL

      You’re right about #ROW80. There’s always tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by. Always good to see you.

  14. Laura already suggested Some Kind of Wonderful, which would be on my list. Also Say Anything with John Cusack (love him) and Ione Skye. A great line from the movie is delivered by Lili Taylor: “The world is full of guys. Be a man. Don’t be a guy.”

    • Julie, as many 80s movies as I’ve watched, I’ve never watched Say Anything. I’ve heard it is a great movie from many sources, though. I really need to take the time to watch it.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  15. Fire with Fire is a movie that really lit my fire in the 80s…probably too much so for a young, pre-teen! I need to see Reckless…sounds like a great Netflixer. GREAT post. I’m such a child of the 80s.

    GOOD LUCK with your online pitch session. Let me know how it goes!

    • Fire with Fire was *hot* in the 80s, wasn’t it? I was about 13 when it came out. The movie was rated PG-13, so I’m sure that’s how I got in to see it.

      I was too young to see Reckless and only watched it a year or two ago. I was so impressed at how good it was for an 80s teen movie. Most of the movies I thought were great back in the day seem cheesy now. Reckless is not that way at all (at least not to me).

      I’ll keep you posted on the other stuff. Thanks for stopping by. 😀

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  17. Has anyone mentioned “Better Off Dead”? More of a black comedy than a teen romance I know, but Cusack ended up with THE BEST girl, not the hot one. There’s a lesson there for all of us. :)

    • I was going to mention Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989) but I didn’t think it met the criteria either. BUT…they both ended up with the hot chicks in the end. I have no idea why, but I still love that movie. LOL Maybe it’s Keanu. As some of you know — I was a little obsessed with him yesterday. 😉

      • If you like Bill & Ted, it’s all good. Keanu Reeves is a good looking guy. I haven’t seen him in anything for quite some time.

  18. “I hoped to introduce something you’d never seen before and would like to see now.” You succeeded Catie. I don’t think I’ve actually seen any of these but I have heard of a couple. Now I’ll have to watch them! Thanks for the recommendations. And good luck with ROW80!

  19. Hi Catie :) Very enjoyable post.

    The thing that I remember is that I loved dancing and luckily I have a sister who is 11 years older than me and since I was 4 years old (earlier in the 70s), she took me with her in any disco available that would let me in 😀 and to parties with her classmates. She also took me to watch many martial arts movies that were playing in that period. I had seen each movie of Bruce Lee and many other Kung Fu movies. I was a huge fan of the Knight Rider, never missed an episode :D. And of course, Saturday Night Fever, Flashdance, Footloose, Dirty Dancing. Another movie I liked was The Breakfast Club.
    Not much of romance movies, per se. I was never a very romantic person :D.

  20. Going to discos sounds fun–especially outside America. I totally missed the whole martial arts movies era, and am not sure I’ve ever watched one. Maybe this is something I need to do. However, the movies you mentioned are all favorites. I still love Saturday Night Fever and its sequel Staying Alive. LOL

    Thanks for stopping by. 😀

  21. I haven’t seen any of these, so I’ll have to add them to my Netflix queue! But as far as 80s romance goes, I have a soft spot in my heart for the cheesiest film ever, Teen Witch. It used to come on the Disney channel all the time when I was a kid, and I absolutely adored it, because it was an awesome take on the ‘nerdy girl gets transformed into popular girl, and steals the star quarterback’s heart’ storyline… and because the music is great.

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  23. on ,
    Mickie said:

    The movie “Fire with Fire” from 1986, is on DVD and on Blu-ray. Check :)