They made us laugh, they made us cry, and then their stories ended. But now that a pair of memorable characters from Judd Apatow’s comedy movie canon are being revisited in This is 40, we’ve gotten to thinking…
Nothing against Pete and Debbie – we’re looking forward to more Knocked Up-esque raunchy humor as much as anyone – but there are plenty of other characters from classic comedies we’ve also wanted to see again. Times have changed, so how would they respond to this new era? Would their exploits still find an audience?
We’ll leave the final verdict to readers, and simply offer our list of Top 10 Comedy Characters We’d Love To See Revisited. It’s not all of them, but it’s a start.
Last Seen In: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
Hear us out. As much as we’d love to keep Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) relegated to a time when blowing off responsibilities meant skipping class, not missing a mortgage payment, we need the unfazed optimist now more than ever.
It’s not a guarantee that Ferris and Sloane settled down and started a family, but they never struck us as the ‘take things slow’ type. A follow-up film with Ferris deciding to escape not from work, but his wife and kids for another day of legendary hijinx (along with Cameron, assuming he hasn’t descended into all-out depression) wouldn’t just be fun, but a confirmation that living life to the fullest isn’t just for the youthful.
The concept was good for a laugh with the ‘Broderick’s Day Off’ Superbowl commercial, but lacked the Ferris ‘spirit’ and vigor we all know so well.
Last Seen In: Dumb & Dumber (1994)
Oblivious, uninformed, socially inept, and treasured. Harry & Lloyd’s cross-country tour in Dumb & Dumber showed not only Jeff Daniels’ comedic side and Jim Carrey’s subtler sense of humor, but the Farrelly Brothers’ brand of humor. Yet the temporary millionaires’ exploits came to an end too soon.
The last we saw of Harry and Lloyd, they were passing up the chance to act as “oil boys” for a Hawaiian Tropic bikini tour as they hitchhiked along the highway with nothing but the clothes on their back. But these two bumbling idiots are too one-of-a-kind to stay buried for long.
Like, one in a million good.
Last Seen In: Spaceballs (1987)
This one needs no explanation. Misunderstood, mismatched, wise in the ways of the Schwartz, Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis) took the dull and monotone mold of Darth Vader and gave him a genuine personality (not to mention exquisitely conditioned neck muscles). But what brought the diminutive lord of the Spaceballs to his present rank and position of authority?
Anakin Skywalker got an entire trilogy of films with Star Wars: Episode 1-3 to provide a backstory, but movie fans were never given a glimpse into the inner workings of the man before he claimed his eponymous Dark Helmet. And the horrific upbringing that would push him to wield his Schwartz grip so deviously.
We know that a prequel trilogy chronicling the origin of Captain Lone Starr’s father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate is unlikely, but another movie is a must.
Last Seen In: Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)
Fans of cartoons, detective stories, and genuinely inspired writing and filmmaking already know (and likely appreciate) Robert Zemeckis’ Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Now that animated films aimed at adult audiences have become commonplace, there’s no better time to see what has transpired in Toontown in the meantime (not to mention, an update on Roger and his buxom wife, Jessica).
It wouldn’t be difficult to craft a story with Roger once again begging for the aid of toon-hating private eye Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins), with better animation, to boot. Unfortunately, Roger Rabbit 2‘s development has seriously stalled.
Perhaps the most compelling case for another Roger Rabbit movie (besides the quality of the first) is this: of all the films that blended animation with live-action, its sequel is the one we’d actually wait in line to see.
Last Seen In: Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1990)
First off, yes, we know Kevin McCallister was the star of Home Alone 4. But for reasons that should be completely obvious to anyone who saw the first two films in the series (or more importantly, what happened to Macaulay Culkin) knows why we want that Kevin revisited.
Seriously, some emotional trauma had to result from being left behind by family while travelling across country not once, but twice. Sure, Kevin made out alright and proved his independence – but there were two criminals attempting to kill him. In all likelihood, the mention of a vacation hotspot, sound of an airliner flying overhead or the sight of a suitcase would send him into a panic attack.
Give us a movie where a full-grown Kevin hears a burglar trying to pick his front door lock: and we’d be ready to see him take things to a whole new level.
Last Seen In: Beetlejuice (1988)
You know the plot: a young New England couple discovers that they aren’t actually living in their starter home anymore, but haunting it as ghosts. To remove the family moving in, the newly-dead call upon the help of none other than the hedonistic being known as Beetlejuice.
Hilarity ensues as the filthy, rotting, rude and ghoulish bio-exorcist (brought to life by Michael Keaton) goes to work. It’s rare for a comedy’s best moment to hinge not on plot, slapstick, gags, or even ‘jokes,’ just a character’s absurd devotion to sowing disgust and revulsion among his audience.
No wonder Tim Burton is interested in a sequel, which is now in the early stages of development with Michael Keaton apparently pitching it for the last twenty years. Keaton’s time away from the screen is a shame in itself, so returning to one of his best roles would make two of our wishes come true.
Last Seen In: Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)
Did the Wyld Stallyns make it? Did Bill and Ted continue to be excellent to each other? Did their days of time-hopping come to an end post-death, or have they continued to warp the time stream beyond recognition without our even knowing it? These are the questions we hope Bill & Ted 3 would, and before long will answer.
The bottom line is: science fiction has started to become – like almost every larger-budget genre film – entirely too serious. ‘This movie’s about time travel? Alright, cue the science and figure out what it says about human nature!’ Give us a break.
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure used the concept of a time-traveling phone booth the way we all would – passing our history class. ‘But what if it permanently altered the course of history?’ Who cares? Have YOU seen how hilariously Napoleon eats a massive bowl of ice cream? We didn’t think so.
Last Seen In: Captain Ron (1992)
When most people picture Kurt Russell with an eye patch, their mind immediately goes to Escape From New York (1981). But in our hearts, his turn in Captain Ron is just as beloved. If Snake Plissken got a second adventure, there’s no question Captain Ron deserves one just as much.
The genre of ‘naval comedy’ films is a sparsely-populated one, making the unorthodox skipper even more vital. In only a single film, Captain Ron taught us that it’s not pirates, but Cuban police you need to worry about, and that Australia has a really big reef you gotta look out for when sailing. Think of what he could teach if given another film?
With technology and global communication expanding each day, we need a man who wakes with the sun and goes where the tide takes him now more than ever. A second chance for our Captain Ron Halloween costume is just an afterthought.
Last Seen In: Friday After Next (2002)
The original Friday was a simple enough premise: two friends spend their day off doing absolutely nothing. Drugs and alcohol entered the mix, but the friendship between Craig (Ice Cube) and Smokey (Chris Tucker) was what kept us interested. It was dysfunctional, sure, but what lasting friendship isn’t?
The sequel Next Friday (2000) replaced Smokey for a far more ‘zany’ plot, and Friday After Next (2002) strayed even further. It was Smokey and Craig who were most entertaining, and offered each actor a chance to play to their strengths: Smokey ran at the mouth, and Craig was there to shut it.
We’ve all grown up, switched careers, moved, kicked old habits and found new ones. But whenever we meet a friend from the old neighborhood, we can’t help wondering: would Smokey and Craig have changed as little as we have?
Last Seen In: Wayne’s World 2 (1993)
Sure, Wayne and Garth are products of and for the ’90s, but the Campbell-Algar brain trust has wisdom the world needs.
Everything that popular music has become, and every way Apple changed the face of the industry would have an impact – remember: Wayne’s World came along before the Internet. As possible hosts of the most successful video podcast in history, would the fame go their heads? Or would they wield the information superhighways and freedom of music and access only for good?
And how badly do we want to see the children Garth produced with veritable soulmate, Betty Jo. A gaggle of bespectacled blonde mops with horrific social skills? Yes please. And just think of the parodies that could, and should be made by those who’ve proven they can do so brilliantly (“HAVE YOU SEEN THIS BOY?”).
Those are only ten comedy movie characters we feel haven’t gotten their due just yet. Who knows? Maybe a successful box office for This is 40 will convince others that classic characters still have plenty to offer their fans. And as our recent interview with the cast and director prove, aging isn’t always a bad thing.
It may not guarantee them all another day in the sun, but to be honest, part of us knows that might be for the best.
Which classic comedy character, duos, or even families would you like to see revisited? Is it strictly out of nostaliga, or because of a genuine belief that their voices are needed more than ever? Sound off in the comments.
Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.