Hollywood is sounding like Goat Boy from Saturday Night Live right now.
Hey, remember the 80s?
Hollywood sure does. Over the next eight months, you’re about to be slammed with so much 80s nostalgia you’ll think you’re wearing leg warmers and snorting a line. It started with Hot Tub Time Machine last week, continues this week with Clash of the Titans, keeps going all year long and doesn’t look like it’s going to end any time soon.
But what took so long?
From a pop culture perspective, the 80s were crazy. The fashion was silly, the music was indefensible and the movies were one guilty pleasure after another. Go ahead. Watch this video with a straight face. I dare you. I defy that it can even be done. The Spanish subtitles only make it better …
But right now, the Gen-Xers of the 80s are also the people with a little money to spend, so of course Hollywood is starting to attack that market. And it isn’t letting up one bit, with dozens of 80s projects either already coming or planning to be released.
No 40-year-old man who saw Karate Kid in the theater in 1984 as a 14-year-old would dare go to see the 2010 version by themselves. But with their kid? Sure, why not! Then when it sucks — which it will — they can tell their friends about how much it blows and the Facebook thread conversation will move to the first Karate Kid. Then they’ll all have a good laugh about friends who go to Halloween dances in the same costumes and martial arts gurus who may or may not be pedophiles. Then they’ll debate the hotness of 1984 Elisabeth Shue and whether the Karate Kid soundtrack is the best soundtrack of the 80s that never produced a hit. By then, even though the new one was proved to be filled with poop, the entire group of friends will make a date to relive their youth and see the movie that weekend.
See where this is going?
Basically, if you’re not a fan of the 80s pop culture, you might as well just go hide in a cave for the next few years and turn into a wolf creature like Howie Mandel in Walk Like a Man, which, to my knowledge, is the only 80s movie not being remade in the next few years. Uh oh, looks like I just gave someone an idea!
Well, how about some more ideas. Here are four 80s movies that fell under the radar the first time around that need to be reimaged for a new generation:
The plot: Looking for a way to pass science and graduate, a senior randomly goes to an Air Force base, picks through the garbage and finds some orb that can bend the fabric of time.
Notable original cast: John Stockwell, who cracked up under the pressure as Cougar in Top Gun. Fisher Stevens, who just won an Oscar for The Cove. Dennis Hooper as a hippie teacher. Danielle von Zerneck, who was Donna in La Bamba, and was one of the ultimate “she’s not hot” semi-stars of the 80s.
Why it needs to be remade: The time-travel thing was done to death in the 80s, performed best in Back to the Future and Bill and Ted. My Science Project kinda got lost in the genre because 1. Quality-wise, it wasn’t that good, 2. Special effects wise, it was even worse and 3. Dennis Hopper was the only person more than four people could recognize. He was in it for about 10 minutes. But it had its moments and screams for big budget CGI.
New cast: Seth Rogen in the Hooper part, now as a reformed stoner instead of a hippie.
Keep this: The immortal give-and-take between a cop and Vince Latello (Stevens). Cop: Why do you wear your sunglasses at night? Latello: Because when you’re this cool, the sun shines on you 24 HOURS A DAY.
Lose this: The rotten special effects.
The plot: Five teams of polar opposites — jocks, dorks, ignored girls, weirdos and average Joes — go on an all-night scavenger hunt in LA for no prize other than pride. As you’d imagine, zaniness ensues.
Notable original cast: Screen debut of Michael J. Fox. American Werewolf in London David Naughton. Career geek Eddie Deezen. Pee-Wee Herman himself, Paul Reubens. Stephen Furst, aka Pinto from Animal House.
Why it needs to be remade: Movies just aren’t fun anymore. Everything has to be serious, action-based, or crazily comic. There’s no in-between. What about the random funny comedy that has no sex, no cursing and no violence. Wait, maybe that’s why this movie failed and the genre disappeared. OK, so throw some boobs in there somewhere, drop some F-bombs and make this thing happen. And really, when was the last time you saw a scavenger hunt movie? There is some update potential to be had.
New cast: Hello, Frat Pack! These don’t have to be college kids, you know. It could just be a bunch of people brought together for a scavenger hunt.
Keep this: The playful nature of the whole thing. C’mon, just make a fun movie for once! And of course, the Meat Machine. M E A T M-A-C-H-I-N-E, MEAT MACHINE, MEAT MACHINE, YEAH! You had to be there.
Lose this: One of the teams. Five was too many, there were too many characters. They could have just thrown in a Purple Team that showed up at the hotel and no one would have known the difference. Jocks, dorks, normal people and girls. That’s plenty. And get rid of the post-disco soundtrack title song, please. It was one of the most ill-timed and horrific movie songs ever made, and yet from time to time, it still gets stuck in my head. When Midnight Madness, starts to get to you …
The plot: Lonely boy dreams up a make-believe special agent/spy friend who may or may not be real and goes on dangerous missions around San Antonio.
Notable original cast: Henry Thomas from E.T. and Dabney Coleman.
Why it needs to be remade: Because it was 20 trillion times better than something like Night at the Museum, and Hollywood is always looking for good family films that adults can enjoy and aren’t animated. In this second age of latch-key kids that aren’t even called latch-key kids anymore because it’s so common, half of the child population would identify with the theme of the movie. It also lends easily to a video game and a child-friendly action franchise.
New cast: Brick from The Middle in the Henry Thomas role with Steve Carrel in the Dabney Coleman part.
Keep this: Yeah, Carrel would have to die at the end like Dabney Coleman did, but he’s imaginary! He can come back!
Lose this: The woe-is-the-kid overtones. If that stays in, all you’re going to do is make the parents of the kids feel guilty for leaving their kids at home while they work. Bum-mer.
The plot: The Socs vs. the Greasers. That’s it.
Notable original cast: Who wasn’t notable? The only problem was they were too young and were actually really terrible actors. Only Patrick Swayze had any kind of discernible talent other than tom Cruise nailing a back flip off a fence. C. Thomas Howell must see this on A&E every weekend and want to throw his TV out the window, then pull a Dewey and drink himself into a stupor.
Why it needs to be remade: Because the acting is so bad. This shouldn’t be how we remember one of the best casts of the 80s. Luckily, we’ve got Karate Kid, Breakfast Club, Dirty Dancing, Soul Man, St. Elmo’s Fire and countless other projects of these guys to fall back on. There is still this black mark on all their careers that should be erased once and for all with a grandiose gesture of up-and-coming actors working with a big director who was growing up in the 80s and loved this movie. Peter Berg?
New cast: Yeah, Peter Berg directs. Zac Efron in the Swayze role and just fill it in with cool young kids after that. Maybe Miley Cyrus in the Cherry role.
Keep this: The fight scene. Duh. It’s one of the best movie fights ever, right down to Cruise giving hints to the world that he’s completely off his rocker.
Lose this: The off-handed remark before the fight about Darrel (Swayze) being friends with the head of the Socs. I’ve always wanted to know more about their relationship for some reason. When did it go bad? Was it over a girl, or was it just because they’re from different sides of town? Did Darrel try to make a pass at him or something? These are the things that keep me up at night. Who cares if it wouldn’t be true to the book, I need to know these things.
Drop your own idea for an 80s remake in the comments, or e-mail me your idea. If I get enough, maybe I’ll include them in a blog next week …
Some extra links just for you:
Just in case that’s not enough 80s for you, Fringe came through with its best episode of this year last night, (SPOILERS!) a backstory episode of how Walter grabbed his son Peter from the alternate universe — in 1985. It was complete with a new set of 80s-throwback opening credits and fonts during the show to help distinguish what world you were seeing. Get by all that extraneousness, and we got more answers than we thought we would about Walter, Peter, Nina, Walter’s wife and The Observer. No show has improved more this year than Fringe — and it keeps getting better.
The nerve of Charlie Sheen. He made his career in movies, was basically kicked out of the business for being a twit before Spin City gave him a chance to redeem himself, then made gobs of money for Two and a Half Men, and now he wants to leave the show to go back into movies. Good riddance. If he thinks people actually want him back in movies just because he has a sentimental role in Wall Street 2, then fare thee well. But I don’t ever want to see him on a TV show again.
Anyone else feel the need to take a shower after watching Modern Family on Wednesday because of the beat-over-your-head iPad BS? I just took another one, an even longer one, when I read that Steve Jobs is the biggest shareholder of Walt Disney, which owns ABC, which broadcasts Modern Family. Ugh.