Remember in the ’90s when studios had an inexplicable hunger to turn every popular TV show from the ’60s and ’70s into a movie?
“The Little Rascals,” “Leave it to Beaver,” “The Brady Bunch,” “The Beverly Hillbillies” — even “MacHale’s Navy” and “Sgt. Bilko.” Why did we feel this was necessary? (To be fair, I’ll defend that first “Brady Bunch Movie.” It remains hilarious.)
When we look back on movies in the 2010s, I think we’ll feel the same way about why Hollywood felt the need to remake anything that was remotely successful in the past 30 years, usually to disastrous box office results (unless it was made by Disney, then it made billions).
While remakes of “Aladdin” and “The Lion King” seemed to suggest nostalgia is the future of cinema, there’s been a recent surge of bombs that says otherwise.
Last weekend, Sony Pictures released an updated version of “Charlie’s Angels” with an all-new cast, including a surprisingly hilarious Kristen Stewart. While it was light and fun, it didn’t have the big-budget feel or direction of the previous two movies from the early 2000s, which showed in poor marketing. It flopped hard and will likely put an end to the franchise.
Three weeks prior, “Terminator: Dark Fate,” the first “Terminator” sequel since “T2” to feature Linda Hamilton, tanked equally hard in America, earning a paltry $56 million against a more than $200 million budget (international markets are helping considerably). Before that, the supposedly final “Rambo” movie, “Rambo: Last Blood” limped to the finish line to cover its budget of $50 million. Earlier this year, the “LEGO” franchise sputtered out with “The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part.”
During the past decade, there have been a number of examples of once-lauded properties that were dusted off and rejected by audiences: “Total Recall,” “Robocop,” “Red Dawn,” “Flatliners,” “Poltergeist,” “Vacation,” “Child’s Play,” “Men In Black: International,” “The Mummy,” “Point Break,” “Conan The Barbarian,” “Ben-Hur,” “Shaft” and “Hellboy.” The list goes on.
The problem seems to be that Hollywood wants to sell our good memories of these properties back to us without taking any risks. But the studios that have released original movies are already doing that. If you wanted a hilarious, super-crude comedy, you could see “Booksmart,” “Dolemite is My Name” or “Good Boys.” If you yearned for an unpredictable thriller, there was “Us” and “Parasite.” If you want some weird horror, there’s “Ready or Not” and “Midsommar.” There’s a lot of gold out there.
While 2020 won’t be without its fair share of reboots and sequels, including “Bad Boys,” “Mulan,” “Scooby Doo” and “Candyman,” among others, there’s the hope that maybe the well when it comes to nostalgic properties is running dry and we should get back to making some decade-defining original work, alongside the “Star Wars” and superhero fare.
— Andrew Gaug | St. Joe Live