“Girls Just Want to Have Fun” all over again

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This just out: A remake of Girls Just Want to Have Fun is in the works. My wife’s reaction of “Why would they remake perfection?!” aside, I pretty much expect this news to be met with a big resounding thud.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not disrespecting the original 1985 movie.

I love this movie. In fact, I own this movie. (And in honor of this news, I watched it this weekend!) But to the best of my knowledge, Girls Just Want to Have Fun was never really a cultural phenomenon.

If you’re not familiar with the movie, the fun-seeking girls in question are a post-Square Pegs Sarah Jessica Parker as the shy army brat who loves to dance, a post-Quarterback Princess Helen Hunt as the madcap best friend who convinces her to try out for Dance TV, and a post-Little House on the Prairie but pre-90210 Shannen Doherty as the kid sister of the brooding — yet teddy-bear-cute — rebel assigned to dance with SJP.

The movie is one giant cliché — the final scene is a dance-off between SJP/brooding rebel and the conniving villain. (I won’t tell you who wins.) It’s also a celebration of mid ’80s fashion in all it’s glory.

But that’s all it is. It’s fun and light and was a moderate hit at the time. And the title seemed to have little to do with the movie. (Most likely, the movie was originally developed with a different title and then changed to capitalize on the popularity of the song — the original version of which did not appear in the movie, by the way.) It’s cult following aside, not that many people have heard of it. So why remake it now? Well, two reasons suggest themselves.

The first and, and probably more influential, is Miley Cyrus.

She covered the title song, and the movie is, at least theoretically, being developed as a star vehicle for her. I have no issue with Miley Cyrus and as remakes go, this one is probably pretty harmless.

The second reason I find a bit more tiresome, and that is the recent trend of remaking everything from the ’80s. A few years ago, the Patrick Demsey classic, Can’t Buy Me Love (remember the anteater dance?) was remade as Love Don’t Cost a Thing. Last year a Breakfast Club remake, titled Bumped, was announced. Although tween heartthrob Zac Efron dropped out, Footloose is moving forward with Chace Crawford. Will Smith is putting together a Karate Kid remake starring his son. And even Red Dawn — the Cold War fantasy that’s creepily become a militia/survivalist favorite — is up for remake treatment. (I do wonder, however, who will be cast in the Jennifer Grey and Lea Thompson roles.)

I’m a little perplexed by the fixation on the ’80s. Perhaps movie executives my age are still trying to resolve their adolescences. Regardless, I find it a wee bit boring. I realize that there may not be new stories to be told, but it’s not clear to me that we need to keep seeing the exact same movies over and over.

What do you think about the trend of remaking ’80s movies? Are there any that you’d like/hate to see remade?

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