I’ve been slowly introducing my kids to the movies of my generation. These films not only shaped my childhood, they should be inspiring to the ones that come after me. Save for the shoulder pads, boom boxes and jelly shoes, I have come to realize the lessons I want to teach my kids can be gleaned from the lines in these 80s films. These may not be the most memorable quotes, but they are the important lessons required to not raise an asshole.


Quote: “So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.”

Lesson: Sometimes it’s ok to break the rules.

Stand By Me

Quote: “Am I weird?” “Yeah, but so what? Everybody’s weird.”

Lesson: The quicker you learn to be yourself, the better off you will be. If people don’t like it, kindly tell them to piss off. Never feel shame about who you are.

Steel Magnolias

Quote: “You’re jealous, because you no longer have a say so in what I do and that drives you up the wall. You’re ready to spit nails because you can’t call the shots.”

Lesson: Every minute older you get, I realize how hard it will be to let you go.

Risky Business

Quote: “Sometimes you gotta say, ‘What the fuck?’”

Lesson: It’s ok to question things, as long as you are being genuine and it comes from a place of respect.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Quote: “Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Lesson: Unplug and pay attention to the people around you. Seriously, put that phone down right now before I lose my shit.


Quote: (Ty singing),”I was born to love you. I was born to lick your face. I was born to rub you. But you were born to rub me first … What do you say we take this out on the patio?”

Lesson: Never stop flirting with your significant other. Act ridiculous. If they don’t ‘get’ you, find someone who does.

Say Anything

Quote: “I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.”

Lesson: Figure out as early as possible what you are passionate about and try to turn it into a money maker.

The Breakfast Club

Quote: “You see us as you want to see us, in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain…and an athlete…and a basket case…a princess…and a criminal.”

Lesson: People are too complicated and complex to be simplified with a label. As soon as you label someone, you miss out on all the wonderful surprises that may have been in store for you.

The Princess Bride (this one gets two because, well, it’s The Princess Bride)

Quote: “Who says life is fair, where is that written?”

Lesson: People will lie, and cheat and kick you in the balls. Friends will screw you over when you least expect it. People will die that shouldn’t. The faster you learn that the universe does not revolve around you, the better off you will be.

Quote: “No more rhymes now I mean it!” “Anybody want a peanut?”

Lesson: It’s not always essential to get in the last word, but every once in a while it can be magical.

St. Elmo’s Fire

Quote: “Never trust a woman who says she isn’t angry.”

Lesson: Seriously, keep digging. Odds are, you pissed her off.


Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Del: “You play with your balls a lot.”

Neal: “I do NOT play with my balls.”

Del: “Larry Bird doesn’t do as much ball-handling in one night as you do in an hour!”

Neal: “Are you trying to start a fight?”

Del: “No. I’m simply stating a fact. That’s all. You fidget with your nuts a lot.”

Neal: “You know what’d make me happy?”

Del: “Another couple of balls, and an extra set of fingers?”

Lesson: A perfect punch line delivered at just the right time is all you really need in life.


Julie has a Masters degree in Psychology, which has proved useless in trying to understand her teenaged daughter. She has the attention span of a gnat, zero sense of direction and loses at least 3 things every day. Except for a minor situation at a county fair, her children are not on the short list of items she’s lost. She is extremely proud of this. You can find her writing on Facebook or Twitter. She has been published on the Washington Post, Babble, McSweeney’s, Scary Mommy, and Huffington Post, among others.


  1. Funny….I made list movies to watch with my kids..love watching the john Hughes ones especially although my daughter didn’t think jake from 16 candles was all that I did.

    Top gun
    Lethal weapon
    Lost boys
    Stand by me
    At Elmo’s fire
    Weird science
    Fast times
    Bev hills cop

    • Awesome list! You tell her Jake is the best of the best!!!! Don’t forget About Last Night!!! Belushi is amazing!!

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