Hilarious Dustin, nervous Mike, hysterical Joyce, and poor Barb: if you’re like me (and millions of other Americans last year), the characters of “Stranger Things” captured your heart. Naturally, as soon as you finished the series’ first season, you wondered how long we would have to wait for Season Two.
But if you’re anxious for the next season of this instant classic, never fear: there are other ways to get your fix. For those seeking that magical combination of geeky protagonists, 80s retro, and misfit adventure, here are a few awesome movies that should tide you over until October 27.
1. ‘The Goonies’
This 1985 cult classic follows a group of pre-teens living in Astoria, Oregon. The Goonies, as they call themselves, are about to lose their homes to the expansion of a country club when they discover a map to the hidden treasure of One-Eyed Willy the Pirate. The Goonies find themselves in increasingly ridiculous situations as they navigate various booby traps left by One-Eyed Willy and try to avoid being caught by the Fratelli mobster family.
Sean Astin stars as Mikey in his debut film role, embarking on the adventure with his friends Mouth, who always talks at the wrong time, Data, inventor of numerous wacky gadgets, Chunk, who has a passion for food, and Mikey’s image-obsessed older brother Brandon. Brandon’s friends, cheerleader Andi and her nerdy friend Stef (who bear a striking resemblance to Nancy and Barb), later join them. (But don’t worry, Stef doesn’t get killed.)
“The Goonies” is more of a comedy, and less creepy, than Stranger Things. The Fratellis are the classic bumbling villains, and any tension is quickly broken with humor. But if you’re looking for a laugh and some 80s nostalgia, this film will deliver just that.
2. ‘Super 8’
Set in a small Ohio town in 1979, “Super 8” begins when a group of kids try to shoot a home movie, but instead stumble upon—and film—a mysterious train crash. Their biology teacher drives a pickup truck onto the tracks, derailing the train. After surviving the collision, he warns them to forget what they’ve seen, or else they and their families will be killed.
After the crash, strange things begin to happen in the town. Electronics go missing. The town’s power surges. Everyone’s dogs go missing, and the sheriff is mysteriously killed. Local police officials are prevented from investigating the crash by the military, who swarms the town and takes charge. Meanwhile, as chaos ensues, the kids deal with their own drama.
“Super 8” has many of the elements that fans of “Stranger Things love”: a small, Midwestern town, a gang of independent and charismatic kids, and otherworldly phenomena. This movie is perfect for those going through “Stranger Things” withdrawals.
3. ‘Sing Street’
Most Americans have seen “La La Land” at this point—and if they haven’t seen it, they’ve at least heard of it. The catchy songs, the drama at the Oscars—it certainly got a lot of publicity. But lurking in the shadow of the most-talked-about movie of 2016 is another musical that deserves some attention.
Set in 1980s Dublin, “Sing Street” follows Conor, a teenage boy with a tumultuous home life. When his parents send him to a new (read: bad) school named Synge Street to save money, he falls in love with an aspiring model who lives across the street from school. Conor decides that the best thing way to impress this model is to invite her to be in the music video for his band. The only problem? He doesn’t have a band.
After an initial freakout, Conor enlists help from his classmates. His friend Darren proposes to be the manager, and introduces Conor to Eamon, a talented multi-instrumentalist. After recruiting a keyboardist, drummer, and bassist, the band is complete. But after learning a few mediocre covers, Conor isn’t satisfied. At the suggestion of his brother Brendan, Conor approaches Eamon about writing their own songs. They decide to name the band “Sing Street,” a play on the name of their school.
Although it is probably the most unlike “Stranger Things” of this bunch, “Sing Street” is worth the watch for its soundtrack alone. A mix of original songs and new wave hits by The Cure, a-ha, Duran Duran, The Clash, Hall & Oates, Spandau Ballet, and The Jam, it is a wonder of synths and 80s goodness. Music lovers are in for a treat.
Soldier on, my fellow “Stranger Things” fans—only two more months!