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Mall 84 condenses 1980s nostalgia into a delicious animated short

The Huffington Post produced a great video that I seek out and watch from time to time: a supercut of all the times that arcade machines have appeared in film, set to “Burnin Through The Nite,” by The Sweethearts. The video feels as though it encapsulates this rose-colored image that I have of the 1980s. Gervais Merryweather’s short film Mall 84 exists on that same plane: an exploration of nostalgia for a decade that’s receding deeper and deeper into the past.

I was born almost exactly in the middle of the 1980s, and only have a couple of memories of that decade stuck in my head — mostly car rides across New York. Much of what I remember of the decade came years later: screenings of E.T.: The Extraterrestrial and Terminator 2 and sleepovers with friends who happened to have a Nintendo NES.

I really like this video, and I’ve been jamming to Mitch Murder’s music the last couple of days: there’s something about the composer’s droning synths and heavy beat that feels familiar and comfortable. This isn’t the first video to try and capture this. The music videos for “Tech Noir” by Gunship and “Two Minds” by Nero accomplished that quite well.

What’s cool about Mall 84 though is how it’s this perfect little mosaic of activity. There’s nothing dramatic here: just an assembly of moments of people hanging out in a mall on a random summer afternoon. It’s not unlike that lovely X-Men Apocalypse deleted scene we covered last month.

I’m not entirely sure why this video feels so comforting. The ‘80s were certainly not a pastoral era by any stretch of the imagination, but I can’t help but wonder if, as kids do of their given era, I only remember the high points. I can’t help but think that this dumpster fire of a year that 2016 is turning out to be will have a similar effect on the kids of this generation. Maybe my son will look back at this decade when he’s my age in the 2040s and remember this era with a sort of nostalgia of carefree times set to auto-tuned pop music.


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