There is an old and too-often true saying that there are no new ideas. In Hollywood, that means the industry decides to look backwards instead of forwards for its new material. And, of late, the decade they’re pilfering from is the ’80s. Think I’m kidding? Then why is Jennifer Lopez in talks to star in a remake of 1987’s Overboard?
Really, of all the hits of the ’80s perhaps the last one I’d think to remake was Overboard, the Goldie Hawn/Kurt Russell romantic kidnapping/amnesia caper. Back then, it was just a way to get Hollywood ’s then hot It Couple, Goldie and Kurt, together for some hijinks.
Even at the time it struck me as terribly misogynistic. A spoiled socialite (Hawn) falls off her yacht and suffers amnesia, so the gruff carpenter (Russell) she was mean to earlier decides to kidnaps her and pretends she is his wife and mother to his four obnoxious boys. That’ll teach them uppity women — get ’em in the kitchen where they belong! Um, yeah, the ’80s can keep it.
But then, there are a lot of ’80s movie concepts I never thought we’d see again, let alone see again two decades later. But there they are in all their “wait, what year is it?”-glory: The Karate Kid, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Tron Legacy, Clash of the Titans, The Smurfs. And I hear they’re going to rehash St. Elmo’s Fire for TV.
Look, Hollywood, take a lesson from those of us who actually remember the 1980s, back when all our music came on these awesome things called cassette tapes. We learned an indelible lesson thanks to those little plastic rectangles. You see, you could copy your music onto a tape, but it was never as good as the original. Never.
Same goes for 1980s remakes. Sure, you figure there’s a built-in audience hungry for some nostalgia. But there’s also a built-in audience ready to riot if you mess with their fondest childhood memories. Say, for instance, Girls Just Want to Have Fun. I swear to God, if they remake this with Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift I will be at the studio door with torches and a pitchfork. And if they even think about touching The Breakfast Club, I will burn down the world.
Put down the legwarmers, Hollywood, and nobody gets hurt.