Nothing says “ca-ching” more in Hollywood than the words reboot or remake. Let’s be honest here, remakes of popular franchises aren’t produced because some brilliant idea has surfaced to make the story more grounded or relevant. They’re constantly being churned out to get people into theater seats. Cashing in on a name brand is one of the laziest things Hollywood does, especially when they produce something far less interesting than the original.
Recently, an entire series of films from the ’80s have been churned out at a rate of roughly a dozen a year. We’ve gotten subpar reboots of classics like The Karate Kid, Robocop, Total Recall, Conan the Barbarian, Footloose, Friday the 13th; the list goes on and on. Hollywood will cash in on anything that looks like it will make a quick buck, including the new Ghostbusters reboot most weren’t asking for.
Some movies are so iconically timeless, however, that the word remake should never even be brought up. Near perfection should, and could, never be improved upon, which are what these next films are.
Here are the 14 Movies from the ’80s Hollywood Shouldn’t Touch.
14. The Goonies
The Goonies holds a special place in anyone’s heart that grew up in the ’80s. Mention it in any bar filled with thirty year olds and you’ll be greeted with a bunch of loud “Hey you guy-uys!” along with grown men taking off their shirts and doing the truffle shuffle. The Goonies is basically Raiders of the Lost Ark for kids, and that’s why children who grew up with this classic love it so much. It captured the magic and excitement like you were actually part of the gang; exploring on pirate ships and searching for One-Eyed Willy’s gold.
The unique cast of characters and fabulous production design make this one of the best childhood movies ever, and it still shines on repeated views. So please Hollywood, leave this one alone. No one is clamoring for a Goonies update with Jaden Smith or Justin Bieber. A reboot of this adventure would just lead to more heartbroken memories, the likes of which we hadn’t seen until The Karate Kid remake.
13. Stand by Me
Speaking of great adventure stories with kids, no movie makes us reminisce about our childhood quite as much as Rob Reiner’s seminal coming of age story, Stand by Me. While The Goonies is more of a light hearted fare, Stand by Me is deeply moving and profound. It expresses what every kid was going through at that certain young age; even if you didn’t grow up in the 1950s, you can still relate to these characters. The four friends in this Stephen King adaptation stay together through thick and thin, making the audience become deeply attached in the process. Who didn’t shed a tear at River Phoenix’s breakdown about the stolen milk money? Powerful stuff.
Stand by Me is simply a movie that couldn’t work today. For starters it had a glorious cast; there maynever be another child actor like River Phoenix that could pull off some of the scenes in this movie. Second, it was a movie about a group of young kids that was rated R. We were lucky that Deadpool was R-rated, so what do you think movie studios will do if they remake Stand by Me? They’ll slap a PG-13 sticker on it, giving us a watered down version of this 1986 classic that features limited cursing (thereby limiting the realisticness of the characters’ language) and less-than-groundbreaking groundbreaking material. No thank you.
Ah, 1980s Tom Hanks. The decade where the actor was involved with light hearted comedies instead of the winded dramas that were to come. Big is a movie that lies somewhere in the middle of those two genres: one part child-comedy, another part love story, and yet another part serious drama. This Penny Marshall-helmed film is about a young boy who just wants to be big. He gets his wish, and Hanks’ character is transformed from 13 to 30 overnight.
Big is a great blend of comedy and drama thanks to Hanks’ brilliant portrayal of a man-child, and not the Adam Sandler kind. The story is unique, the supporting cast all great, and the message about not growing up too fast is very resonating. We can just see the raunchy, X-rated, gross-out fest remake of today starring Sandler of Andy Samberg. That may sound enticing, but like Tom Hanks learns in Big, be careful what you wish for.
11. The Princess Bride
A remake of The Princess Bride? Inconceivable! A daring combination of fantasy, action, romance and comedy, this Rob Reiner picture is a beautiful movie to look at and listen to. The casting is a thing that dreams are made of. Cary Elwes is the dashing Westley, Chris Sarandon is the vile Prince Humperdinck, Robin Wright is the gorgeous Princess Bride, and the highlight of the movie, Mandy Patinkin, who plays the charismatic swordsman Inigo Montoya. The Princess Bride is a movie that captures a certain magic thanks to one part great production design and directing, and one part perfect casting.
That magic would inevitably be tarnished if a remake of this beloved classic was ever thought up by a studio head. There are some movies that just gel thanks to all the pieces in play, and The Princess Bride is one of them. A different cast and director just wouldn’t work. It would be tough to see a whole new set of actors in the roles that have been so ingrained into pop-culture. Honestly, who else could properly inform someone to prepare to die like Patinkin?
10. First Blood
The film that kicked off a franchise and gave Stallone his second most iconic role (Rocky Balboa, of course), First Blood is the story of one Vietnam vet who proclaimed he wasn’t going to take it anymore. Rambo embodied how mistreated and ignored soldiers that returned from Vietnam felt, and while his actions are questionable to say the least, the message encapsulated in the ending speech is received. First Blood is known for being one of those bro-movies that has over-the-top action, and it is, but it also has a brain with something to say, something the sequels, while entertaining, were missing.
It’s also something that a reboot would surely be lacking as well. The fourth entry in the franchise, Rambo, wasn’t perfect, but provided some sort of end for the soldier’s journey. A rumored reboot about a young John Rambo in his first days in combat doesn’t need to be made. Hollywood should just retire the character in peace, and like Rambo says, “Let it go.”
Okay, Gremlins doesn’t have any grand themes about mortality or greed. It doesn’t have the best acting, and the story is nothing that couldn’t have been made from reading Screenwriting for Dummies. But that certainly doesn’t mean it isn’t a highly entertaining piece of cinematic fun. It’s a dark comedy creature-feature with little green ghouls running amuck in a small town, and that’s all it needs. The scenes with the mischievous monsters getting drunk at the bar or watching Snow White in the local theater are inventive and continuously make the viewer laugh thanks to its unusual blend of black comedy.
Dark comedies aren’t the types of remakes that Hollywood is known to nail. All of the bleak humor was completely zapped out of the 2012 Total Recall making it a gritty, dull, snooze-fest. No doubt if the studios ever decided to revive Gremlins they would make it overly “edgy and dark,” the two biggest buzzwords in Tinseltown these days.
8. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Listen up Hollywood, there is only one Ferris Bueller and he’s played by Matthew Broderick. Literally no other actor could have captured the inventive slacking ingenuity that Bueller exudes in his day off. This John Hughes comedy is an undisputed ’80s classic, and still remains popular among any high school kid looking to play hooky. People of all ages can still appreciate Ferris’ sage advice: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Advice that Hollywood should take into account. Look, it is fine if studios want to make a movie about a slacker teen who comes up with brilliant schemes to enjoy a day off. Just don’t slap Ferris Bueller’s name on it to make a quick buck. There’s nothing lazier than just putting a name on something to sell tickets while ignoring what made it great in the first place. We’re looking at you, terribly made Vacation sequel.
7. Dead Poets Society
Like Ferris Bueller, Robin William’s character in Dead Poets Society also has a deep appreciation for living life to the fullest. The movie is all about taking risks and being comfortable with yourself and your passions. The film doesn’t sugarcoat any of these themes either, culminating in one of the biggest gut-punch endings of all time. If you haven’t seen this ’80s gem, then you are simply missing one of the best coming of age pieces ever put to film, as well as the late Robin William’s greatest performance.
The movie is a straight up classic, one that more than qualifies for being too good to warrant a remake. A newer version of a film should only be greenlit if it can bring something new to the table, and we can’t really see anything about Dead Poet’s Society that can be approved upon. Everything here from the acting to cinematography is top notch. “Oh, but we should have a Dead Poets Society for this generation!” No, just watch the original, which will unavoidably be better than whatever abomination will be cranked out if this is ever remade.
6. The Shining
While Stephen King hated this Stanley Kubrick adaptation of his novel, audiences would generally disagree with him. Kubrick made one of the most disturbing, slow-building pieces of horror ever put on film. The man was a perfectionist, and it shows with every painstaking detail from the steadicam tracking shots, to the breathtaking wide shots of the famous hotel and hedge-maze. Oh, and did we mention Jack Nicholson’s infinitely creepy performance as Jack Torrance? It doesn’t get more iconic than the actor taking an ax to a door and popping his head in, “Here’s Johnny!”
Although there was a miniseries that was more original to the source material, no movie should ever try and replicate what Kubrick was able to do here. Unfaithful to the novel? Perhaps, but The Shining is so influential and so well made that it’s really a separate entity. There’s literally dozens of other King novels that haven’t gotten their big screen debut yet, so Hollywood should mine those out before hacking away at the legacy of this film with an ax.
5. Blade Runner
Initially bashed by critics upon its initial release, (Roger Ebert called it a great movie to look at, but a hard movie to care about), Blade Runner is now considered a landmark film in the realm of science fiction. Director Ridley Scott did indeed make a great movie to look at. The special effects of a futuristic Los Angeles are simply breathtaking and remain surprisingly fresh when viewed today. Scott also made a movie that incorporated grand themes about mortality and the importance of life. Harrison Ford is great in the lead role, but the performance that will be remembered is by Rutger Hauer, who plays the conflicted cyborg replicant.
A long awaited sequel to Blade Runner is slated to be released in 2018 with Harrison Ford returning and Scott signed on as a producer. This is a project that could make or break the brand. If it does well it could potentially open the floodgates for a slew of sequels. If it tanks, the studio might panic and pull the plug. Or even worse, in a few years they might try to reboot the series while ruining everything we love about the original. We’re already getting terrible flashbacks of watching Terminator: Genisys.
4. The Breakfast Club
Everyone’s favorite teen drama that features a princess, an athlete, a criminal, a brain, and a basket case. This classic John Hughes film has five high schoolers, who would otherwise never spend a minute together, sit in on a Saturday detention. In the process they become friends through breaking down their social walls and sharing painful experiences. With a brilliant script from John Hughes and some strikingly convincing performances from the entire cast, The Breakfast Club is an extraordinary story about 5 kids who, for a brief fleeting instance, were able to look past labels and form a connection.
There have been many copycats over the years but there is only one Breakfast Club. Kids still watch it today and are taken aback by the powerful social issues present. It still resonates deeply in audiences and is the last movie that warrants a remake. Even with all its out of date ’80s references, it still feels just as fresh as it was when it was released in 1985. Leave these guys alone, Hollywood.
Steven Spielberg’s timeless film that chronicles the relationship between a young child and an extra-terrestrial stranded on earth, E.T. captured the imaginations and hearts of audiences everywhere, becoming one of 1980s top grossers. The story, while not the most complex, really hits home, especially for kids and families. Even adults found something to relate to in this fantasy adventure.
While it could be argued that the film was remade for a more adult audience in the Simon Pegg-penned project, Paul, the magic in E.T. would almost be impossible to recapture today with a full-blown remake. The practical effects that made the original film so unique would undoubtedly be replaced with CGI, which may look slicker but at the cost of heart. The relationship between Elliot and E.T is the backbone of the movie, and it would take a lot for a production to capture that same kind of feel.
2. Raiders of the Lost Ark
Raiders is one of the most ingenious, stylish and deliriously fun adventure movies ever conceived. A movie that plays like an old Saturday matinee serial, the first adventure in the Indiana Jones saga hits all the right notes thanks to director Steven Spielberg. It features blistering action wrapped in a swift moving story, with Harrison Ford giving one of his most memorable performances in Indy. Just the first 5 seconds of John William’s iconic score will transport you to a time and place of exotic adventure, and make you realize why you love to go to the movies in the first place.
It’s untouchable in that a remake should, could, and hopefully never will be considered. Harrison Ford is Indiana Jones just as Sylvester Stallone is Rocky. No actor will be able to crack that whip and those one-liners quite like Ford did. It seems that Hollywood gets this fact, as the next installment in the franchise will once again reunite Ford and director Steven Spielberg. Still, Ford is getting older and can’t do the role forever. Let’s just hope that once the fifth movie wraps the studio doesn’t plan to revamp the series with a new face.
1. Back to the Future
“If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour, you’re going to see some serious s***.”
If you asked a group of people what their favorite movie from the ’80s is, chances are you’ll have a vast assortment of answers, but we’d bet that Back to the Future would be the highest ranking answer. What makes Back to the Future so timeless? Well let’s start with the script; quite possibly one of the best ever written. The plot is skillfully developed, combining fresh and original ideas with a strong three-act narrative structure. The two key performances of a charismatic young Michael J. Fox and a zany Christopher Lloyd are absolutely iconic, providing great chemistry between the two. The music, the performances, the direction, the special effects all pay off to make Back to the Future a thrill ride that only comes along once or twice in a decade.
Remaking Back to the Future would be like remaking Citizen Kane. It’s pointless to redo a movie that’s pretty much flawless. All it would prove is that people would spend money to go see it. Movie studios don’t greenlight reboots because they’re trying to improve or make a story more relevant. That may be an occasional pleasant side effect, but the real reason is to cash in on the name brand. Cashing in on Back to the Future while tarnishing its legacy would be a complete tragedy. Thankfully Robert Zemeckis, who owns the rights to the movie, states that a remake will never happen while he is alive. That’s good to hear, because just like Marty and Doc’s DeLorean, Back to the Future is and will forever be timeless.
Which ’80s classic do you think
Hollywood needs to stay away from? Let us know in the comments section.