Monday, June 14, 2010

The Bastardization of my Youth...

Over the weekend a friend and I were watching Back to the Future and talking about how well it still held up, regardless of the limited special effects capabilities of the eighties. In fact, watching it upgraded to HD I realized it actually looks better than some stuff made today (*cough SyFy original movies cough*). Yet they are still talking about remaking it, which to me is just blasphemous. I really hate the idea of all of my favorite childhood movies getting "new looks," not just because I am a writer and the idea that Hollywood would rather recycle than buy a new idea is insulting, but also because it makes me feel like the influences that so greatly shaped me are being called "unworthy," which invalidates my whole existence!

Today another friend clued me in that the remakes don't stop there. Apparently now Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead is in consideration. While that movie is not nearly the classic that Back to the Future has become, it is still great in its own very specific ways. Part of it's charm is the nostalgia it invokes with its very specific fashion choices and the simplicity of the technology that stumps-- but ends up aiding-- Christina Applegate's character's actions. I chuckled out-loud now for different reasons than when I first saw her trying to yank paper out of a fax machine or hissing "I hate you" when her computer won't move off it's home screen, but I still chuckle out-loud all the same.

Needless to say, those moments have no place in a new version, so effectively any "remake" won't be exact. But even a "retelling" seems unnecessary when the original is so readily available on DVD or airing on cable channels. What's the motive here? Well, a cult classic like Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead has loyal fans, like me, who grew up with it, but it's hard to get new generations interested in something that gets buried further and further back in "old" movie archives, especially if they don't have someone in their life to already vouch for it and tell them how awesome and quotable it is. Taking the fun story but adding fresh faces who kids today already "follow" will prove an easy way to milk more blood from the story stone, so to speak.

But where will we draw the line then? Will film school staples-- like Double Indemnity or Gilda-- that don't have a wider classic status suddenly be fair game? Will the fact that films were once in black and white mean they all need a "rejuvenating" shot in the arm? And if the answer is yes, then maybe I can bring back Dance Til Dawn-- another Christina Applegate eighties gem, in my not-so humble opinion!-- because even though I've made the majority of my friends sit down and watch it, I still think it needs to be universally known!

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