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Why were there so many sliding scenes in ’80s and ’90s movies?

Screenshot: Predator (1987)
Screenshot: Predator (1987)

If you watch a certain breed of movie from the mid-’80s through the mid’-’90s, you’ll notice a lot of sequences focused on people sliding down mountains, water slides, even mud slides, in films from Romancing The Stone to The Goonies. A new Fandor video opines that there’s a very specific reason for that, and points to these cinematic slides’ possible political base. After the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, and “drug use and nuclear weapons proliferation,” the video maintains, the world was in an uncertain state. Movies decided to deal with these problems by adding the fantasy escapist angle of water slides, which were becoming popular as a new addition to the family amusement park. Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure shows Napoleon loving a straight-up water park in Waterloo, but as the video shows, films like Predator; Willow; and Honey, I Shrunk The Kids offered their own versions of the slippery rides, hoping to transcend viewers from their daily troubles to a thrilling, adventure-filled descent.

Now that the world is in an even more precarious state, who knows what the next escapist cinematic trend will be: VR goggles that transport us to a peaceful land with a benevolent leader people can actually stand?

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