I had a bunch of deadlines yesterday, clients firing emails at me left and right so naturally I wasted most of the morning trekking deeper and deeper down a click hole of nostalgia where I found the most wonderful YouTube Channel by the notably retro Starlight Video Productions.
Starlight Video Productions is an Italian production-for-hire company run by Alessandro Maggia who is the author of the Fantastic Journeys Series of video compilations dedicated to the best of 80s and 90s movies.
Alessandro is a wonderfully emotive Italian with deep passion and broad knowledge of classic cinema from the golden age of action-comedies, teen-dramas, unnecessary dance sequences and character transformation montages, which he has compiled into an eye-moistening montage of pure joy.
This is no mean feat, many before him have tried but Alessandro has a feeling for these films that is hard to fake and he pairs them with the perfect soundtrack to ring every last emotion out of the cut. His most successful video to date has been A Fantastic Journey Through The 80s Movies featuring a modern (or should that be post-modern?) soundtrack by synthwave faves The Midnight that conjures the magic of late summer evenings fumbling with first loves. The track, appropriately entitled Sunset, comes from the The Midnight’s 2016 album Endless Summer but could easily have come straight out of a blockbuster 30 years earlier with it’s sparkling synths, bouncing bass line and hair-metal guitar solos.
To create the cut Alessandro hunted through 225 films for exactly the right moments to trigger that part of the brain where memory meets emotion creating the spine-tingling effect all nostalgia-addicts crave. In doing so he manages to tell us something, not only about the 80s, but the rising trend for nostalgia-based entertainment in our current era of dystopian dread, because Alessandro's video provides us a glimpse back into a world which, though very white, straight and male, was also bright, shiny and optimistic.
In the 80s, we didn’t fetishise realism and grit (I know, I was young, but I was there) . There wasn’t a competition for each new blockbuster to be “darker” than the one before. Movies were escapism into a world of beautiful people in sun-soaked locations living out fantasies for us to enjoy. The movie stars were clean cut and fresh faced, safe AND sexy in that girl or boy-next-door mould. You could bring any of them home to meet mother and father who would each find them delicious and delightful in turn (in my case that would have been Jennifer Connelly in Labyrinth (1986).
There are three parts to Alessandro’s 80s journey though I must admit the first is my favourite. The 90s, though darker, did have some epic cinematic moments thanks to the trend in disaster movies that called for an unlikely hero/heroes to step forward and save the planet. Alessandro manages to capture the best of these moment in his A Fantastic Journey Through The 90s, thought I think its effects will be felt more keenly by those a generation behind me.
Alessandro's Orginal 80s journey recently crossed 300,000 views since its release in December 2017, I imagine in part because our collective need for escapism has only increased during the pandemic. Alessandro recently posted a video to commemorate this landmark and explain a little bit about his motivations for making the Fantastic Journeys series. I would highly recommend you subscribe to his channel and deep dive into some of his compilations dealing into Disney Movies and trying to capture the spirit of classics such as The Goonies (1985) and Back To The Future (1985) in music video format.
Thanks for the memories Alessandro and keep up the good work!