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Paramount Home Entertainment
Tom Cruise in "Top Gun."

It had to happen eventually. With at least 20 years behind them, the 1980s are seen as having a seriously kitschy quality — at least as much as '50s, '60s and '70s.

That explains why VH1 had an often-cheeky, extremely popular pseudo-documentary series titled "I Love the 80's" that explored the best and worst of the decade. And that also explains why there's now a series of DVD releases also titled "I Love the 80's" (Paramount Home Video, $14.98 per disc) that revisits some of the better-known movies of the period.

(Appropriately, the series is being touted as "a radical array of totally tubular films, all of which helped define a generation.")

Several DVDs in the series are being released Tuesday. The best, by far, is "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" (PG-13, 1986), the beloved comedy about a crafty but truant high school student played by Matthew Broderick.

The movie still holds up well, much of that due to the charm of Broderick's performance and the general silliness of the material.

Extras/special features: Filmmaker commentary (screenwriter/director John Hughes).

By comparison, the goofy musical "Footloose" (PG, 1984) seems a little dated. (That hasn't stopped Broadway from staging its version of the musical — which inspired an upcoming movie remake featuring "High School Musical" star Zac Efron.)

However, it is fun trying to pick out the specific Utah County locations where the movie was filmed. Among the more noticeable ones are Lehi Roller Mills, Payson High School and Brigham Young University.

"Pretty in Pink" (PG-13, 1986) was one of the arguable highpoints in Molly Ringwald's early showbiz career.

Her credible performance as an unpopular teen wooed by the high school heartthrob (Andrew McCarthy) outweighs the cliches and formula of producer/screenwriter John Hughes romantic comedy-drama.

Hughes (who wrote and produced) would again try to duplicate with that film's success with "Some Kind of Wonderful" (PG-13, 1987).

Unfortunately, the bland leads — Eric Stoltz, Lea Thompson and Mary Stuart Masterson —couldn't duplicate what Ringwald did single-handedly.

Among the more inexplicable '80s hits was "Top Gun" (1986, PG).

Despite the presence of (now) big-name stars Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer, the Navy pilot drama seems even more laughable today.

Extras/special features: Filmmaker commentary (producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Tony Scott), four music videos.

There are more than six dozen movies planned for inclusion in the series. Some of the other releases include "48 Hrs." (1982), "Airplane!" (1980), "Beverly Hills Cop" (1984), "Fatal Attraction" (1987), "Terms of Endearment" (1983), "Urban Cowboy" (1980) and "Witness" (1985).

Also, all the releases include a CD featuring songs by '80s artists a-ha, Echo & The Bunnymen, INXS and others. For more information, visit www.the80sondvd.com.

E-mail: jeff@desnews.com