Pop clas­sics of 1980s added to vault of Na­tional Film Registry

The Washington Times Daily - - METRO - BY BEN NUCK­OLS

While not usu­ally re­garded as a golden age of Amer­i­can cinema, the 1980s pro­duced plenty of pop­u­lar clas­sics — and a few more of them now have been added to the Na­tional Film Registry.

The Li­brary of Congress an­nounced Wed­nes­day that “The Break­fast Club,” “The Princess Bride” and “Who Framed Roger Rab­bit” are among the 25 movies tapped for preser­va­tion this year. They join three more ob­scure 1980s ti­tles on this year’s list.

The na­tional li­brary also picked a few more re­cent fa­vorites, in­clud­ing “Thelma & Louise,” Dis­ney’s “The Lion King” and “Rush­more.”

The li­brary se­lects movies for preser­va­tion in its au­dio-vis­ual vault in Culpeper, Virginia, be­cause of their cul­tural, his­toric or artis­tic im­por­tance. This year’s picks bring the to­tal num­ber of films in the registry to 700. The choices have be­come in­creas­ingly di­verse and eclec­tic since the registry be­gan in 1989.

Still, the li­brary al­ways makes room for some crowd-pleasers.

Con­sid­ered a fem­i­nist land­mark for its por­trait of women who stand up to abu­sive part­ners and find lib­er­a­tion on a crime spree, “Thelma & Louise” achieved a rare dis­tinc­tion when its co-stars, Geena Davis and Su­san Saran­don, were both nom­i­nated for the best ac­tress Os­car. (Jodie Fos­ter won that year, for “The Si­lence of the Lambs.”) It’s the third movie di­rected by the pro­lific Ri­d­ley Scott to join the registry, fol­low­ing “Alien” and “Blade Run­ner.”

“I am very hon­ored and proud to be ac­knowl­edged by the Li­brary of Congress,” Mr. Scott said in a state­ment. “‘Blade Run­ner’ will now have two great ladies to keep him com­pany.”

Lauded for its sen­si­tiv­ity, “The Break­fast Club” (1985), from writer-di­rec­tor John Hughes, is the most en­dur­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion of the “Brat Pack,” a short­lived troupe of young stars that in­cluded An­thony Michael Hall, Judd Nel­son and Ally Sheedy.

Two years later, “The Princess Bride” charmed au­di­ences with its mix of fan­tasy, ac­tion and hu­mor and its in­no­va­tive screen­play that al­lowed a boy (Fred Sav­age) to pro­vide run­ning com­men­tary on the story.

With its mix of live ac­tion and an­i­ma­tion, “Who Framed Roger Rab­bit” was a gen­uine break­through that looks quaint in ret­ro­spect. Di­rec­tor Robert Ze­meckis’ wacky 1988 film noir, set dur­ing Hol­ly­wood’s golden age, imag­ined car­toon char­ac­ters liv­ing along­side their hu­man col­lab­o­ra­tors and grap­pling with off­screen com­pli­ca­tions, in­clud­ing black­mail and murder.

In “Roger Rab­bit,” hu­mans shar­ing space with car­toons was so novel that it had to be part of the plot. Now, thanks to the per­fec­tion of dig­i­tal ef­fects in movies such as “Ti­tanic” and the “Lord of the Rings” tril­ogy, movie au­di­ences can hardly dis­tin­guish be­tween what’s real and what’s an­i­mated.

“Rush­more” (1998) is the first movie from whim­si­cal au­teur Wes An­der­son to be added and is one of just a hand­ful of films to be se­lected less than 20 years af­ter its re­lease. Movies must be at least 10 years old to be in­cluded.

One of a few Dis­ney an­i­mated movies not based on fairy tales, “The Lion King” (1994) was part of the stu­dio’s early-1990s re­nais­sance. It proved so sturdy that a Broad­way adap­ta­tion with avant-garde cos­tumes be­came wildly pop­u­lar.

This year’s other ’80s se­lec­tions are “The Atomic Cafe” (1982), a com­pi­la­tion of clips about the threat of nu­clear war; “The De­cline of Western Civ­i­liza­tion,” di­rec­tor Pene­lope Spheeris’ 1981 doc­u­men­tary about the hard­core punk rock scene in Los An­ge­les; and “Suzanne, Suzanne,” a 1982 doc­u­men­tary short about a black wo­man’s strug­gles with ad­dic­tion.

Di­rec­tor Al­fred Hitch­cock now has seven films on the registry with the in­clu­sion of “The Birds” (1963). Other ti­tles join­ing the list are “Black­board Jun­gle” (1955), “Funny Girl” (1968), “East of Eden” (1955) and “Point Blank” (1967).

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