Seven 80s Movies That Didn’t Seem Cheesy Then But Now…..

Just the other day I was watching Karate Kid II and man talk about the cheese.  I mean I think that movie was supposed to be somewhat cheesy.  It’s just so hard to have a sequel that isn’t in some way a little diluted compared to the first.   But when you look at the first one?  Well that’s another story.

Bottom line is that I think there were plenty of movies that came out in the 80s that were meant to be “serious” or at least “not cheesy” that when viewed today are absolutely ridiculous.

There were seven that shot out to me…..

Karate Kid

Look I know it’s kind of a serious movie and all but let’s face it.  It’s a teenager whose best friend is a 60 something year old Asian maintenance man who happens to be a Karate Master.  No one likes him except for a hot girl in school (which no one can figure out, even her best friends).  He’s constantly picked on and is a complete loser.   As far as the cheese?  “Put him in a bodybag!!!!  Yeahhh!”  And did you see the scene where he kisses Elizabeth Shue at the amusement park?  Guy could have easily swallowed her face.  There’s more unintentional comedy nowadays from this movie than ever.

Big Trouble in Little China

I’m pretty sure this movie was meant to be cheesy all along but I’d guess when people saw it in the 80s they thought it was a legitimate action movie.  The funny part is that there are so many characters that we now laugh at because some of them are clearly represented in Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat (Raiden, Blanka).    The movie remains a classic but the whole “when Jack” 1st person talk is a complete joke.  Hell Kurt Russell’s entire character is a joke (even though it’s supposed to be).


What was once a pretty serious flick about the underground world of the Kumite tournament is now just a movie to make fun of.   I mean technically this movie was based on the real life of Frank Dux as played by Van Damme!  But now?  Now we look back on the silly soundtrack, the ridiculous faces Van Damme made (the scream when he goes blind), the funny clothes and of course how ugly Chong Li is.   It’s a classic film and I love it to pieces but it’s cheesy.

Can’t Buy Me Love

Cute little romantic comedy.  In reality?  A bunch of hilarious lines and an opportunity to make fun of every character and laugh at watching Seth Green when he was a kid.   Well I make fun of everyone except for the hot chick with the big boobs.  “You shit on my house!”


It’s kind of a shame watching this movie today because Cory Haim is no longer with us.   However, when made, the film was clearly meant to depict a troubled young boy trying his best to fit in to his high school life.  What’s cheesy about the film is basically everything.  However, what I find best is the fact that Jeremy Piven is way more bald in this movie than any other film he’s been in.  And this was his first movie appearance!

Valley Girl

I think this movie tried to encapsulate what the culture of high school kids in the Valley in California.  Now?  Now it’s an absolute joke hearing just about any line or saying from that movie.


This movie was 100% meant to be a serious movie about kids just wanting to dance!  But let’s face it.  How many scenes in this movie are laughable today?  Um, every single one?

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  1. I’m glad you acknowledged Big Trouble in Little China was intentionally cheesy…because it was! I remember watching it in the theatre twice, and believe me, I GOT that it was a comedy, not a straight-up action movie.

    Unfortunately, I think it was a wee bit ahead of its time, because a lot of folks clearly thought it was supposed to be a “serious” action movie, hence its inevitable box office failure.

    But yeah, still a classic and always brings a smile to my face.

  2. I agree that the movies here I have saw are cheesy.

    The Karate Kid is a cheesefest from start to finish. Big Trouble in Little China as well but there is no way anyone connected to that movie did not know they were playing that one for laughs.

    As for Footloose……….. If I could go back in time and rip my eyes out just before being forced to watch that steaming turd so that I would lose all memory of it; well, let’s just say the blindness would have been worth it.

    Kevin Bacon dancing sometimes haunts my dreams. And that damn theme song. I’m off now to get drunk and try and black the pain out.

  3. FYI: For those of you who weren’t alive in the 80s, these were all pretty much cheesy back then too. BTiLC not withstanding. That movie was what we liked to call “totally bitchen” while riding our dinosaurs back then.

    Every time I see a list like this, I think to myself, “WHAT WE NEED IS A MONTAGE!”.

  4. No Rocky 4? I’m shocked. After Rocky 4, every movie copied the formula, Bloodsport as well. Kickboxer copied it to a T. My friends and I love to watch cheesy 80’s action movies and bad/good movies like Troll 2 regularly, and I just gotta say that if you want to take this a step further, there are plenty of GOOD 80’s movies (action or even dramas) that have plenty of cheese. Bloodsport may be a good example, but in all seriousness you could’ve chosen Predator, Robocop, or even Die Hard and “Lethal Weapon” and it wouldn’t make a difference. For as much as we like to put 80’s films like these in the “serious” category, if you re-watch those movies again and pay attention to the dialogue and the storyline, it can be just as bad.

  5. I saw Dirty Dancing for the first time aroudn 2008! I laughed all the way through that film. I’m surprised it didn’t make the list. It was cheesier than the Karate Kid – especially when you consider that Karate Kid is a kid’s movie while Dirty Dancing is considered a “classic” by a lot of women in the 30+ age bracket..

  6. I guess we folks who are old enough to remember the 80’s might look pretty ignorant to the sophisticated younger folks today. But, we knew cheese at the time. BTiLC was completely tongue in cheek comedy. Total cheese. That’s why it was and is a fun movie.
    Footloose, even though it was based on a true story about a small town in Utah (my wife is from the area), was a chick flick. ‘Nuff said about that.
    I guess I agree about the rest of the movies. Van Damme’s movies were always stupid as were the Karate Kid movies. Geared more towards the younger than I was at the time crowd.

  7. I wonder what movies coming out over the last 5 years that we just love will be considered “cheesy” by the next generation. I know my wife (6 years younger than me) just finally saw Burton’s Batman and was like “wow… this is pretty bad. total cheese”.

  8. I am glad so many folks are coming to the defense of BTiLC. It is such a fun movie. Jack Burton is one of Kurt’s best characters and the roll call of his memorable characters is legion. It is interesting the transformation that the film has taken in my eyes. Growing up watching the movie I thought it was an awesome adventure movie. Now, when I look at it, I do see the campiness that is all over the film and it makes me love it even more. It is especially great when you consider it in the era when it was made. Certainly a time when the unbeatable action star was king. Here Kurt plays pretty much the anti-action hero. Jack Burton, to put it mildly isn’t a very capable hero, and in fact spends most of the movie getting his butt kicked while the side kick characters actually are the ones who are the competent ones in the film. Love this film easily one of Kurt’s best.

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