Editorial: Why can't Hollywood have an original idea?

We find it highly ironic that one of the summer releases this year is the comedy "Hot Tub Time Machine." Especially when you consider all of the other 80s remakes that have hit the box office in recent years. It seems Hollywood has taken a soak or two in its own time machine.

In "Hot Tub," the four main characters go hot-tubbing and then suddenly find themselves stumbling through a hotel lobby, with mullets to the left of them and leg warmers on the right. They see pink pastel tops with blazers being worn by men, giant mobile phones, cassette players and TV clips of Ronald Reagan, and they realize they've been transported back to 1986.

Hollywood has remade some of the classics that just should have been left alone. They've rebooted "A Nightmare on Elm Street," "The Karate Kid" and "Tron," and now "Footloose," "Conan the Barbarian," "Police Academy" and "Private Benjamin" are set to be remade. This summer we also experienced the re-entry of the A-Team, which stuck to the script by giving Liam Neeson cigars and the same catch phrases used in the original.

Is there an explanation for all this walking down Memory Lane in an industry that has always been focused on making things newer, bigger and badder?

It's simple, really. Most Hollywood executives are in their 40s. Movies that "rocked our worlds" happened, for most of us, when were are in our mid-teens. That means the 80s for those execs. For the average Hollywood hotshot, "Nightmare on Elm Street" is a formative part of his youth and identity. And he, being nostalgic in his 40-ness, wants to relive the highlights of his youth. Cue the remake music while you dig up Freddie's tool-glove.

Doug Belgrad, who is 44 by the way, is the president of Columbia Pictures. He's been quoted as saying there's a "fondness for that culture for those of us who came of age with it, and now we want to share it." Columbia is producing remakes of "Ghostbusters" and "21 Jump Street."

Perhaps the nostalgia and widespread appeal of the 80s means, as the Grinch once said, "a little bit more." The allure of the 1980s draws us all in because during that decade, we didn't fear imminent destruction, we didn't have a clash of civilization, and nobody worried about the environment. The world was all in one place during the 80s. Now we look at things and think, "Is it real or is it virtual?"

But how long can we keep returning to our inner 80s kids? Give it a couple of years, and the 1990s will be hot. Just don't forget to pump up your Reeboks.
Published Thursday, July 29, 2010 11:31 AM by bulldog
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