1. "Seventh Heaven" from The Last Dragon
So, let me tell you about the greatest motion picture of all time. The Last Dragon is about a very dedicated and possibly brain-damaged young man called Leroy Green, or 'Bruce Leroy', a martial arts enthusiast who wants to achieve the pinnacle of kung fu: 'The Glow', which is where your body turns into bad 80s fx and makes sparks shoot out from your punches and kicks. While trying to achieve this, Bruce Leroy takes on the Man as well as the charismatic whirlwind of a villain that is Sho'Nuff, the Shogun of Harlem. If you've never seen Sho'Nuff, basically, your life has no meaning. Anyway, the other thing he tries to do is woo Laura Charles, the host of some kind of music television programme called 7th Heaven. What exactly this show is supposed to be is unclear. Laura Charles was played by Vanity, a model/singer/member of Prince's harem, who took part in an ill-advised musical number halfway through the film. DeBarge's song 'Rhythm of the Night' was also on The Last Dragon soundtrack, but that Lionel Richie rip off has nothing on this:
2. Friends Forever from Miami Connection
From what I can gather, in the 80s there was a firm belief that you could accomplish any goal, provided you had a lot of money and you were wealthy and had no business carrying out that goal. In 1987, tae kwon do expert Y.K. Kim devised a film called Miami Connection, which he then helped to finance, directed and starred in. The fact that Miami Connection doesn't even seem to be set in Miami is only the beginning of it's bizarreness, being as it is a movie about motorcycle ninjas fighting a band called Dragon Force, who are also a tae kwon do class, who are also all best friends and roommates, who are also all 40 year old college students. Miami Connection is like an 80s time capsule constructed by a malfunctioning, cheaply-made robot, featuring lots of leather, neon and martial arts and little in the way of actual human behaviour. Y.K. Kim's limited mastery of the English language and finger-tip grasp of reality suggest that he is from the strange film-loving planet as The Room auteur Tommy Wiseau, but even Wiseau avoided musical sequences in his work. Witness Dragon Force's signature hit, 'Friends Forever' which more recently has found appreciation by appearing in the soundtrack for Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. Vitamin C, eat your heart out.
3. Hamburgers For America from Hamburger: the Motion Picture
I imagine that if, somehow, you were to become trapped in a dreamworld inside the mind of former US President Ronald Reagan, that it would look a lot like Hamburger: the Motion Picture. It's a world where corporations take the lead in college education (it's a bawdy 80s sex comedy set at "Hamburger University", ie Homer Simpson's favourite film), where women throw themselves at boorish louts and where uppity minorities are kept in line (the film's black character is delivered from prison to Hamburger University and forced to learn there, in chains, for affirmative action purposes. Haha, take that PC-brigade!). The film opens with a musical ode to hamburgers, depicting salt-of-the-earth honest Americans stuffing burgers down their throats while a singer informs us of how cooking, selling and eating burgers is the ultimate patriotic act. I can't imagine this was a big success and yet, at the same time I believe it is responsible for every non-Americans impression of the USA for the last 30 years. Combining Cold War patriotism, love of spending money on crappy American food and a shitty ballad, it's hard to be more 80s than this:
4. Joysticks from Joysticks
According to TV Tropes' First Rule of Adopters, the first group of content providers to colonize a new medium once it becomes commercially viable will almost always be the producers of adult-oriented material. With video games just beginning their surge in popularity in the early 80s, it was almost inevitable that the sex comedy film genre would set a romp at the coolest, most hygienic, packed to the rafters with people who regularly have sex location there is: the video game arcade. Knowledge of how video games/arcades/sex works be damned, Joysticks was determined to get as much fun out of these new-fangled contraptions as possible, starting with this rockin' 80s theme song:
5. I Melt With You from Valley Girl
Valley Girl was seemingly the first starring role for Internet favourite Nicholas Cage (possible future Inside the Skeleton's Closet post?) about a typical LA Valley Girl who falls for-gasp!-a p-p-p-p-punk! Thus began Nicholas Cage's baffling success as a romantic leading man. Modern English's hit song I Melt With You featured heavily in the film and something about a superficial romance between a rich blonde American and a dirty bum on drugs being scored by a song about having sex while a nuclear bomb goes off makes this much more quintessentially 80s than it might appear at first glance. Why a new wave song is the theme to a film starring a punk I'm not sure but I figured this list needed one song that was actually good on it so here we are.