Conan the Barbarian and Fright Night, two remakes of beloved 1980s movies (souped up with CG and 3-D, of course) hit theaters tomorrow. Earlier today, the Internet went crazy over the news that Ridley Scott is rebooting Blade Runner. With Hollywood’s seemingly never-ending series of ‘80s revamps, apparently everything old is new again, but the logic for the continued revisiting of one of cinema’s worst decades is beyond understanding. Seriously, how many honest-to-God masterpieces were there in the 1980s? A half-dozen, maybe? (For the record: Raging Bull, Do the Right Thing, Blue Velvet, Raiders, E.T., and The Thin Blue Line, but feel free to play the home game).
As we’ve discussed before, nostalgia is a powerful thing; our faculties for critical judgment aren’t always in place when we’re, say, pre-teens, and the demographically desirable audience that these films are being pitched to were either (on the far side) very young children when these films were released, or (on the younger end) kids when they first saw them on VHS. They hold the memory of those movies as a sacred thing, a talisman of childhood. But have you ever gone back to these movies? Good heavens. After the jump, we’ll take a look at ten of the most financially successful and culturally iconic movies that, come to find out, are actually terrible. Add your own in the comments; if you disagree, we’re sure you’ll let us know.
Sure, it’s full of lines (“Nobody puts Baby in a corner”) and moments (“the lift” is a surprisingly important reference in Crazy, Stupid, Love) that have embedded themselves into the pop culture subconscious, but Emile Ardolino’s 1987 coming-of-age drama is a hacky, formulaic sudser, filled to the brim with stock characters marching through a “wrong side of the tracks” narrative that was smelly old cheese by the early ‘60s that the picture is set in. “The title and the ads seem to promise a guided tour into the anarchic practices of untrammeled teenage lust,” wrote Roger Ebert, in his one-star review, “but the movie turns out to be a tired and relentlessly predictable story of love between kids from different backgrounds.” (Plus, what’s with those weird Sapphic overtones in that late scene between Baby and her sister?) The mixed reviews didn’t matter, though; the picture was an unexpected smash, becoming the first film to sell more than a million copies on home video, and it begat an in-name-only 2004 prequel and a stage version. And, of course, earlier this very month a remake was announced, with the original film’s choreographer Kenny Ortega (who helmed all three High School Musical movies) set to direct. God help us.