DAILY DIRT: Remembering Ferris Bueller, Clark Griswold … and Claude Osteen


Daily Dirt for Monday, Aug. 21, 2023

The more I think about it, the more I am convinced no decade comes close to the 1980s as far as classic comedy films are concerned … Welcome to today’s three thoughts that make up Vol. 703 of The Daily Dirt.

1. The 1980s were, perhaps, the finest decade ever for quality comedy films.

Here are my top 10 from memorable decade, and believe me, this list could have approached 50 without much problem:

  • 1. “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”: Matthew Broderick deserved an Oscar for his performance in this coming-of-age classic. It is one of the few films I enjoy watching over and over.
  • 2. “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”: This is the movie that truly introduced us to the brilliance of Sean Penn. 
  • 3. “Beverly Hills Cop”: Remember when Eddie Murphy was funny?
  • 4. “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”: Steve Martin and John Candy were at the height of their comic skills.
  • 5. “Risky Business”: This was the film that elevated Tom Cruise to stardom. (And it didn’t have either “Mission” or “Impossible” in the title,)
  • 6. “Sixteen Candles”: One of the classics that decade from director John Hughes, who captured teen angst better than anyone.
  • 7. “Stripes”: Probably my favorite Bill Murray film. (Sorry, “Caddyshack” fans.)
  • 8. “The Breakfast Club”: My favorite character may have been Paul Gleason’s portrayal of the teacher who oversaw Saturday detention.
  • 9. “National Lampoon’s Family Vacation”: Clark Griswold. Even the name is funny.
  • 10. “The Blues Brothers”: The movie is a celebration of both music and mayhem. I once read that this film offered a “destructive comic energy” … that the audiences absolutely loved. Twas the finest hour for the John Belushi-Dan Aykroyd tandem.

2. The best of “Found on Facebook” from recent days:

  • “I’m so old I remember when school didn’t start until after Labor Day.”
  • “50 years ago today, Rick Nielsen and his band Sick Man of Europe checked into the Traveler Motel in Bettendorf, Iowa, and checked out as Cheap Trick, their new name.”
  • “Remember when typing was a high school class?”
  • “Did Coke taste better in glass bottles?”
  • “You know why your generation is so angry? Because your music sucks.”

3. Think baseball isn’t enjoying a sort of rebirth this year?

Going into this weekend, MLB had recorded nine weekends of more than 1.5 millions attending games. In the previous four years combined, there had only been five such weekends.

Steve Thought O’ The Day — My all-time favorite MLB pitcher? Claude Osteen. I fell in love with his Topps baseball card in 1965 and he’s always been No. 1. Osteen’s finest moment may have been pitching a shutout in Game 3 of the 1965 World Series (after the Twins beat Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax in the first two games), which shifted the momentum in a series that The Dodgers would eventually win in seven games. He also was a pitching coach for the Dodgers, Cardinals and Phillies. Osteen, who bore a remarkable likeness to Gomer Pyle, is currently 84 years old. His MLB record was 196-195. You still da man, Claude.

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. Like Steve, Claude Osteen is from Ohio.

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