Grandparents in any decade don’t seem to understand the way their kids and grandkids think all that often since they seem to be stuck in their own heads and thereby in the decades that have since passed. But in the movies this is even more apparent since the stereotypical ‘old people’ tend to be so clueless that it might make a person’s head spin just thinking about it. These folks usualy mean well but a lot of times their best efforts tend to make their grandkids feel very uncomfortable as they can’t seem to relate to their grandparents and don’t feel they’re being understood properly. At the same time the parents seem to be of the mind to just let things ride and allow the grandparents to do as they like since that seems to be the natural order of things, within certain limits of course.
Here are some of the best grandparents from the 80s.
5. Sixteen Candles – Helen
Unless you’re that cool with your grandparents and on the same wavelength, which is rare, then staying in the same house with them is going to be a quick trip to embarrassment and outright humiliation. Unfortunately for Sam her grandparents are so old-fashioned and so eccentric that she has no chance to really get away or even withstand them when they’re around since they simply HAVE to interact with her when they see her. But being felt up by your grandma when she notices that you’re developing into a woman is kind of creepy, not to mention a serious violation of personal space. And while your grandfather is looking on with a smile? Yikes.
4. National Lampoon’s Vacation – Aunt Edna
Yes she’s Aunt Edna to the Griswold’s but she’s someone’s grandma too so it counts. But she’s one of those grandparents that you just can’t stand since she’s so cantankerous and ready to voice her opinion at any given time whether it’s wanted or not. In this case if she kept her mouth closed it’d be a definite improvement, but thankfully Helen is just as determined to keep the peace as anyone and has her own unique way of doing that when it comes to convincing Aunt Edna to sit down and shut up. Anyone that gets to this age and continues to be cranky and outright rude was no doubt the same way when they were younger, but perhaps worse.
3. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – All of them
This is one of those cases when your grandparents mean well but are just so, well, overwhelmingly annoying. You can’t fault people like this for being who they are but you can surely get severely annoyed by their mannerisms and their constant need to be up in your business continually when they’re around. Of course when it’s the holidays you kind of make allowances for behavior and for the sheer inconvenience that some relatives bring to your life since you might not see them all that often. Of course it doesn’t make it any easier on one’s nerves and it certainly doesn’t help when you do all the work and still get griped at.
2. Cocoon – Ben Luckett
The grandparents in this film were pretty cool to be honest and mostly understanding of their grandson’s needs, but they were definitely on board when it came to living forever, even if it meant that they had to leave the ones they loved. Mortality strikes people in different ways, and to be honest some people don’t want to face it if they have a choice. It’s not really that the grandparents in this film were being cowards to run away with a group of aliens that would give them eternal life, it was that they didn’t want to be a burden to their daughter and grandson as they grew older and infirm.
1. Steel Magnolias – M’Lynn Eatenton
Grandparents can be just as confused by death as anyone and M’Lynn is a great example. The natural order as we believe it to be is supposed to see the elders go first, not the kids. But when fate takes a certain turn and decides to switch things up it can be very confusing and more than a little bit frustrating. But in this film the grandparents do eventually do come to realize that despite their daughter being gone they have one of the most precious parts of her left behind, their grandson. That’s why grandparents are special and that’s why they’re so treasured, they realize just what’s important in life and seek to preserve it at all costs.
Grandparents are kind of clueless in any decade when it comes to certain things, they’re human after all and we all go a little blind when it comes to certain subjects. But one thing about grandparents that is so great is that they’re always there when they can be.