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BCB After Dark: Back to the future

The totally radical club for night owls, early-risers and Cubs fans abroad invites you to Eighties night.

Chicago Cubs Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Welcome back to BCB After Dark; the boppin’ night spot for night owls, early-risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. Thanks for stopping in this week before closing time. No cover charge tonight. We’ve got a great table in the second row for you. Let us take your hat and coat. Bring your own beverage.

BCB After Dark is the place for you to talk baseball, music, movies, or anything else you need to get off your chest, as long as it is within the rules of the site. The late-nighters are encouraged to get the party started, but everyone else is invited to join in as you wake up the next morning and into the afternoon.

Last night I asked you who you thought would be the Cubs’ number one prospect in February of 2023. Your choice, with 22 percent of the vote, was right-handed pitcher Caleb Kilian. In second place was outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong with 16 percent and shortstop Cristian Hernandez was third with 15 percent. I’m guessing most of you think that Brennen Davis will lose his prospect eligibility this season

Tonight is 80s night here at After Dark, so get out your Members Only jacket and Sony Walkman. But if you want to skip the 80s music and movies, here’s your chance. You won’t hurt my feelings.

The eighties were kind of a weird moment for jazz, although things weren’t dire as Ken Burns’ (with the encouragement of the Marsalises) jazz documentary series made them out to be. It’s was just a period where jazz was trying to figure out its place in the cultural scene. There was no dominating style of the decade and no one knew what the next big thing was going to be. Jazz was also in some danger of becoming an “academic” art form like classical music rather than a music of the people as it had been, although that has been true since the early-seventies and is still true today.

So I thought long and hard about what jazz track from the eighties to feature here until I finally just said to myself “[Blank] it. I’m just putting on Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit.”

Anyone who watched MTV in its early days remembers the video of “Rockit” that I’m presenting here. I don’t know whether “Rockit” is a jazz fusion record or a some other musical form done by a big-name jazz musician. It’s not my job to try to define the genre.

But it’s amazing that a jazz artist could get something in heavy rotation on MTV. The innovative (for the time) video certainly helped, but even with the synths and the heavy funk on the song, it’s not exactly what MTV was playing regularly in 1983.

So take a trip down memory lane with Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit.”

Last week we discussed our favorite films of the nineties and we got a pretty good discussion going about them. So it seems to me that it makes a ton of sense to list our favorite eighties movies tonight. (Could next week be the seventies? Could be! It depends on whether I have something else to say.)

The eighties were a decade of artistically-conservative Hollywood and big blockbusters. Pretty much just like today. The incredible freedom that producers and directors were given in the seventies collapsed under the weight of some big-budget flops at the beginning of the decade. (Heaven’s Gate was the most famous, but there were others.) On top of that, films of the seventies like Jaws, Rocky and Star Wars taught the studios that rather than having a different film in the theaters every week to get different people to leave home and go to the movies, they could make more money by finding just one movie that the same people would go to a dozen times. There was also the widespread adoption of the VHS which meant that films needed to have more spectacle in order to get people to watch them in theaters rather than at home. (Again, just like today.)

Still, there were a lot of good movies made during the 1980s. In case you need a reminder of what films were made during the eighties, here’s are some lists of the best movies of the decade. Here’s Paste magazine’s list of the best 80 films of the 80s, Complex’s Best 50 movies of the 80s, and Slant’s Best 100 films of the 80s. (I have not seen Slant’s number-one film.)

For me, the decade started out strong with Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull in 1980 and finished really strong with Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing in 1989. Other films I would put in my top films of the decade are Amadeus, Blue Velvet, Brazil and The Killing Fields among the “Oscar-bait” films. I wrote about Wings of Desire a few months ago here, and I’d also put that in my best films of the decade.

Repo Man is a film I love as well. It’s one of the few films that tried to represent the youth counter-culture of the eighties. Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains is not a film I’d put in my top 50 of the decade or anything, but I do love it as well for the same reasons in that it tried to capture that counter-culture.

The eighties were a great time for comedy films, and This Is Spinal Tap is one of my favorite films of all-time. Other great comedies of the decade, in my mind, are Ghostbusters and Trading Places. Is Who Framed Roger Rabbit? a comedy? Yeah, I guess it is. We were talking about Raising Arizona around here recently. I need to re-watch that. I remember loving it, but it’s been so long.

When Harry Met Sally pretty much defined the modern romantic comedy, and it’s certainly a classic. I hesitate to mention two more Rob Reiner films, but Stand By Me and The Princess Bride are very good movies. Meathead had a very good decade.

Jonathan Demme’s film Something Wild is also a favorite of mine. I remember re-watching during quarantine and its weird mixture of a screwball comedy and violent action/terror film is compelling.

Finally, I don’t think you can mention the eighties without the big blockbusters. I certainly think Raiders of the Lost Ark has to be among the best movies of the decade. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan can also make a case. While I like Back to the Future, the film referenced in the title, I don’t think it quite holds up as well as some of these other films. Maybe that’s because of the two sequels. But I watched it fairly recently with my daughter and it’s still a good film. Just not a classic in my mind.

As far as The Empire Strikes Back goes, the Star Wars fans are going to hate me, but I just re-watched it last year and I was kind of ‘Eh. It’s fine.” I certainly loved it when I was a teenager, but it didn’t strike me the same way this last time. Maybe that’s my fault. The same goes for E.T., although I liked that a bit better than Empire in my recent re-watch.

So enough of my babbling. Tell us your favorite films of the 1980s. I bet you’ve got at least one that I’ve missed and I’m going to hate myself for forgetting. It won’t be a John Hughes film, however. Or Field of Dreams. I’ll promise you that.

Welcome back to those who skip the music and movies. Our look back at the 1980s continues with our look at our favorite Cubs of the decade.

One can make a strong case that the 1980s was the most important decade for the Cubs in their history. It started with the Tribune buying the team and while we can and have made a lot of criticism of the Tribune’s ownership over the years, they were a big improvement to the neglect of the final years of the Wrigley Family ownership.

The Tribune also brought Harry Caray across town and got WGN broadcast across the country on cable channels. That turned the Cubs from a popular regional team into a team with a truly national following. The Cubs are today one of the elite franchises in MLB because of what happened in the 1980s.

The Cubs also built a winner in 1984 and 1989, which meant that the Cubs were playing playoff baseball for the first time since the end of World War II. While the ends of those seasons weren’t what anyone wanted and the other eight seasons of the 1980s were more trying, the Cubs did prove that you could win playing at Wrigley Field in the 1980s.

Wrigley Field got lights in 1988, which ended all the talk that the team would move out to the suburbs. That was a possibility for quite a while.

I’m sure many of you can think of other important developments for the Cubs in the 1980s.

Today, I’m going to ask you who your favorite Cubs ballplayer of the 1980s was. Not who was the best, but who was your personal favorite. I’ve got a long list of players here and it was difficult to cut the list down to as many as I did. Fergie Jenkins and Rick Reuschel got removed since although they did pitch for the Cubs in the 1980s, their Cubs’ fame was really in other decades. Mark Grace and Greg Maddux did get included, however, for their roles on the 1989 team. Maddux actually only pitched in two more games for the Cubs in the nineties than he did in the eighties.

You can always tell us who your favorite Cub of the eighties was in the comments if I didn’t list him.

So who is your favorite Cubs player of the 1980s?


Who is your favorite Cub of the 1980s?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    Jody Davis
    (2 votes)
  • 22%
    Andre Dawson
    (27 votes)
  • 5%
    Shawon Dunston
    (6 votes)
  • 4%
    Leon Durham
    (5 votes)
  • 5%
    Mark Grace
    (6 votes)
  • 7%
    Greg Maddux
    (9 votes)
  • 1%
    Gary Matthews
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Keith Moreland
    (1 vote)
  • 44%
    Ryne Sandberg
    (53 votes)
  • 3%
    Rick Sutcliffe
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    Lee Smith
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    Someone else (leave in comments)
    (2 votes)
118 votes total Vote Now

Sorry to all the Steve Trout and Mike Bielecki fans out there. Mention them in the comments if you need to.

Thank you so much for stopping by this evening. I hope you were able to take your mind off your troubles and kick back for a little while. Tip your waitstaff. Stay warm out there. Get home safely. And join us again tomorrow night for another edition of BCB After Dark.