Exploring the ’80s Movie Montage: The “We Can Fix It Up” Montage

We all love the movie montage. It’s the perfect way to show a lot of action in a short period of time. This was a very popular movie making technique in the ’80s. There were many different versions, but this time around I’m going to focus on the “We Can Fix It Up” montage.


There are 4 basic parts

  1. The kick ass ’80s song.
  2. Let’s assess the damage or What did we get ourselves into?
  3. We gotta get to work. This house/mill/boat ain’t gonna fix itself and we need a place to live/dance/win a regatta.
  4. Bask in our own awesomeness. After a tough 2-3 minutes we have ourselves a brand new house/mill/boat!

Revenge of the Nerds

Those lovable nerds need a place to live after those asshole jocks boot them out of the dorms. Of course, all they can find is this former crack den of a fixer upper.

1. Kick Ass ’80s Song: Bone Symphony, “One Foot in Front of the Other”

2. The group gathers in front of their future home and and try to choose between getting to work or murdering their super nerd leader Lewis.

3. The nerd gang hitch up their slacks even further and get to work. Things get fixed despite the use of child labor, blind painters, and Booger getting everyone high.

4. Check it out. Meth Lab to Nerd Lair in less that 5 minutes! If only those dickhead jocks would leave them alone.

[After a long legal battle with FOX Entertainment, they pulled the clip. Jerks. – Todd]


Footloose is chock full of montage goodness (See previous post on the Dance Training Montage). This time Kevin Bacon and his crew of backup dancers need to get the old mill ready for the big dance.

1. Kick Ass ’80s Song:  Kenny Loggins, “I’m Free (Heaven Helps The Man)”

2. Sensing that they can conquer any obstacle put in front of them, the kids skip the assessment phase and practice some synchronized dirt biking.

3. The gang ditches the bikes and gets to work. Chris Penn huffs helium while everyone else sweep-dances the place clean.

4. Finally, Lori Singer finds the light switch. When she flips it on everyone erupts with glee as they realize the movie set crew already spent 2 weeks decorating for them.

One Crazy Summer / Summer Rental

Two very similar themed movies. In both movies, the lead character visits an east coast summer vacation town and quickly has a run in with the local rich dude asshole. Also in both movies, they decide to resolve their differences by facing off in a sailing regatta. Of course, the rich dude asshole has the best boat in town and has dominated the regatta for the last 200 years or so. And of course, the new guy in town has to scrape up a boat that was either once a floating restaurant or had been lying sideways on a beach.

1. Kick Ass ’80s Songs: “Unknown Instrumental Boat Building Boogie” / Jimmy Buffet, “Turning Around”

2. Both boats are either full of holes or covered in barnacles but we can’t stop now. There’s a guy I barely know mad at me. I’ll be leaving in a day and I will never see him again, but I have to prove to him and the town that I’m the better man.

3. Both crews get to work. Once again, things get fixed despite the use of child labor, inept workers, and another Booger sighting.

4. After a little scraping, a coat of paint, and some chewing gum, the boats are ready to go up against the rich dude asshole. Oh hey, don’t worry about the other 50 boats entered in the race. Just focus on the rich dude asshole. Now, let’s win that regatta!

Best. February. Ever.

Frankie RoseThe shortest month of the year is often one of the quietest in terms of musical awesomeness. There’s usually little love for the ear canals within two weeks on either side of Valentine’s Day.

2012, though…I don’t know if it’s the Mayans’ prognostication or just some happy accidents, but music blew up in February.

Van Halen returns with Diamond Dave. This is how things should be. (Not that the album is anything to write home about, but DLR belongs in Van Halen.)

Burial puts out a half-hour EP of beats that retain classic Burial traits AND manage to sound as fresh as ever.

Frankie Rose (seen at right in that sexy shot) puts out Interstellar, an album that would have dominated its release date if not for…


Sleigh Bells also hit SNL on Feb. 18 and, most importantly to yours truly, announced on Feb. 28 that they’ll play a show in Iowa City this spring. #FUCKYEAH

The Sleigh Bells/Iowa City news hit the same day School of Seven Bells completed its trifecta of incredible albums by releasing Ghostory, while Memoryhouse put out a full-length album just two days before a scheduled show at The Mill (a.k.a. a night out for the Music or Space Shuttle? lads).

If this month is indeed a 10 (or, in Spinal Tap terms, 11), how do previous Februarys stack up in terms of music?

Naturally, I’ve made a chart.

a line chart that maps out how awesome the past 31 Februarys have been in music

How did this line take its shape? The primary data is listed below.


  • Ozzy Osbourne is arrested after urinating on The Alamo, in San Antonio, Texas


  • “Menudomania” comes to New York as 3,500 screaming girls crowd Kennedy Airport to catch a glimpse of Puerto Rican boy band Menudo, who are playing six sold-out shows at the Felt Forum
  • Michael Jackson’s Thriller album hits #1 on the US charts, the first of 37 (non-consecutive) weeks it would spend there on its way to becoming the greatest-selling album of all time
  • Sonic Youth releases Confusion Is Sex; U2 wages War (but Styx did release Kilroy Was Here and Kenny G deployed G Force)


  • Elton John marries studio engineer Renate Blauel (lulz)
  • Recovering from the scalp burns sustained a month earlier, Michael Jackson wins eight Grammy Awards out of twelve nominations, breaking the record for the most Grammys won in a single year
  • The Smiths release The Smiths; I receive my first cassette (the Footloose soundtrack) for winning the St. Pat’s Grade School spelling bee


  • Well, we got the following albums: The Smiths, Meat Is Murder; Tears for Fears, Songs from the Big Chair; Whitney Houston, Whitney Houston (I just poured some out)


  • Absolutely nothing of worth happened, although March 1986 saw Master of Puppets, Black Celebration, 5150, Please, and the single “Live to Tell”


  • The first five Beatles albums are released on CD
  • Again, no good new albums, although March shone once more with The Joshua Tree, Among the Living, and Sign o’ the Times


  • Jacko buys Neverland
  • Leonard Cohen releases I’m Your Man


  • Um…well…David Coverdale weds Tawny Kitaen


  • Billy Idol badly hurt in motorcycle accident, sees role in The Doors minimized
  • Shake Your Money Maker (sweet); Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em (ayyyiiiii)


  • James Brown released from jail after high-speed, two-state car chase
  • Dinosaur Jr. releases Green Mind

Courtney, Dave, and Kurt1992

  • Vince Neil becomes a race car driver
  • Kurt Cobain marries what’sherface
  • Tori Amos releases Little Earthquakes; Pantera unleashes Vulgar Display of Power; “Bohemian Rhapsody” gets new life via Wayne’s World soundtrack


  • Oprah interviews Jacko, we learn about his whitening disorder
  • 2Pac dares white people to buy his second album (Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.)
  • Radiohead puts out the album they’d probably rather forget
  • 311 releases Music
  • Duran Duran comes back with the VH1 crowd via “The Wedding Album”
  • Joey Lawrence puts out an album (whoa!)


  • Shannon Hoon gets thrown out of the American Music Awards
  • Green Day drops Dookie; Pavement puts out Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain


  • Tommy Lee marries Pamela Anderson
  • Jewel launches her pre-poetry career by releasing an album

1996 (possibly the most eclectic data in this collection)

  • Former Milli Vanilli band member Rob Pilatus is hospitalized when a man hits him over the head with a baseball bat in Hollywood, while Pilatus is attempting to steal the man’s car
  • Take That split up!
  • Prince marries Mayte Garcia
  • Snoop beats a murder rap
  • 2Pac’s All Eyez On Me receives a middling review from some nerd in the Iowa State Daily


  • Phish Food is born; Jacko’s first son is born;  the Spice Girls’ chart-topping career is born
  • Blur releases the album with the “Whoo-hoo!” song
  • Anal Cunt releases I Like It When You Die (sounds charming)


  • Elton John knighted
  • Neutral Milk Hotel puts out that seriously overrated In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (it’s good, but c’mon…)


  • Gov. Jesse Ventura declares “Rolling Stones Day” in Minnesota
  • Eminem drops Slim Shady LP; Roots go with Things Fall Apart


  • Santana wins 8 Grammys
  • The Cure releases their last good album to date (Bloodflowers)
  • Smashing Pumpkins release that MACHINA piece of crap


  • Manic Street Preachers play Cuba
  • Jack Johnson releases Brushfire Fairytales
  • Los Embarasados allegedly release Tem Graca por Nome on Feb. 30 (according to Wikipedia)


  • U2 performs at the Super Bowl
  • Britney Spears puts out the Crossroads soundtrack; Norah Jones releases the inexplicably popular Come Away with Me


  • Lana Clarkson found dead at Phil Spector’s pad; he’s eventually found guilty of second-degree murder. His wall of sound will have bars on the windows for 19 years
  • A fire at a Great White show kills 100, including one of the guitarists
  • 50 Cent talks about gettin’ rich or dyin’ tryin’

Janet's wardrobe malfunction2004

  • The wardrobe malfunction seen by millions
  • Billy Corgan blogs his feelings about D’Arcy (“mean-spirited drug addict”) and James Iha (Pumpkins’ breakup was his fault)
  • Kanye is a college dropout, according to his debut album’s title


  • Blink-182 goes on hiatus; Korn guitarist quits after finding God
  • Bloc Party releases the excellent Silent Alarm


  • One for the history books: White Lion bassist James Lorenzo joins Megadeth
  • Belle and Sebastian release another lame album (The Life Pursuit)


  • Chris Cornell tells Audioslave he needs to be emancipated because of musical differences
  • Bloc Party spends A Weekend in the City; Explosions in the Sky release All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone


  • Beach House releases Devotion


  • Bone Thugs n Harmony crashes MySpace by posting a new song
  • Pains of Being Pure at Heart release stellar debut; the brothers from the National curate Dark Was the Night; the Black Keys singer had enough time to put out a solo album


  • “We Are the World” is remade for Haiti benefit
  • Joanna Newsom spends three discs enjoying the hell out of people (Have One on Me)


  • Yuck drops Yuck; lots of disappointments (Bright Eyes, Radiohead, PJ Harvey)

As you can see, February 2012 is clearly the best February ever. It’s science. AND SLEIGH BELLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Exploring the ’80s Movie Montage: The Dance Training Montage

Ahh…the movie montage. It is the perfect way to show a lot of action in a short period of time. This was a very popular movie making technique in the 80’s. There were many different versions, but this time around I’m going to focus on “The Dance Training Montage”.

There are 4 basic parts:

  1. The kick ass ’80s song.
  2. Let’s get serious now, you suck.
  3. Let’s goof around a bit now, you’re improving.
  4. After a tough 2-3 minutes you are a professional dancer!

Dirty Dancing

Pony Boy’s big brother teaches Ferris Bueller’s sister to dance.

  1. Kick Ass ’80s Song- Eric Carmen “Hungry Eyes”
  2. His earth shattering advice to get things started? “Ga-Gung…Ga-Gung…Close your eyes. Now dance bitch!”
  3. At the 3:00 mark a dance move requires Johnny to run his hand down the length of Baby’s arm. Of course, at first she can’t take it without laughing.
  4. The training is done after she somehow musters up the will power to handle all of that sexy touching. The sexual tension is oozing out of my computer screen. Something tells me she will be running her hand down the length of his “baby’s arm” real soon.


6 degrees of Kevin Bacon has to teach a pre-bloat Chris Penn how to boogie before the big dance.

  1. Kick Ass ’80s Song – Deniece Williams “Let’s Hear it for the Boy”.
  2. For some reason they start things off in that super roomy VW bug.
  3. Halfway through the guys stop for a little manly tussling in the gym.
  4. Around the 2:25 mark the boys high five to represent the final handoff of dance knowledge. Chris Penn then shows off his skills with an epic solo dance number complete with coveralls and farm gloves.


Turbo and Ozone have to teach a Mary Lou Retton look alike to break dance.

  1. Kick Ass ’80s Song- Chaka Khan’s “Aint Nobody”
  2. Things start off a little on the tense side when Turbo calls out the girl’s street cred.
  3. At the 3:00 mark the gang takes a little time out to goof around wearing super stylish monogrammed T-shirts.
  4. At the 3:06 mark an observer sees her massive improvement and drops his phone. Damn! White girl can pop and lock!