Inspiring, evocative, romantic, convenient, and absolutely cheesetastic: The movie montage must have once seemed like a brilliant innovation in film. Want to show a process that would take days, months, years in real time? Cut a bunch of scenes together and set it to just the right music, and viewers won't notice that you're taking a shortcut! Friendships and love connections cement in a minute. Losers become champions. Dorks become smooth dancers. Prostitutes obtain complete upper-crust wardrobes.
Like with any easy technique, though, the montage quickly became an overused trope in the '80s, when every character had to "Push It To the Limit" and get higher, stronger, richer. By the early '00s, it was the stuff of satire in Wet Hot American Summer and Team America: World Police.
Today, it's starting to look like the montage has come full circle, with directors using it sparingly, so we don't always realize that's what we're watching. Fairy tales and comic book movies in particular still need that fast-forward button to advance their stories for short attention spans.
Here, we take a nostalgic look at some of the most awesome montages of the '80s from the likes of Rocky and Footloose, the transformative scenes of our favorite '90s gems, the loving spoofs of later films, and the newest, subtle versions that may have brought the form back in style.