And now, because it’s been a while, a quote from the Gospel of Hicks according to Owen. And yay Hicks did say, “I’ve noticed a certain anti-intellectualism going around this country; since about 1980, oddly enough…” and lo the people did realise that the 80’s sucked.
Sadly the people in Hollywood didn’t realise because the wave of nostalgia flooding through the projectors for that most decadent of decades is enough to make MC Hammer choke on his parachute pants. The A-Team, Karate Kid, Expendables, Predators, Hot Tub Time Machine, Piranha, every single one churned out like a Soda Stream with no consideration of whether anybody wanted any of it.
The box office would back up this argument. The A-Team tanked (no pun intended), Hot Tub wasn’t anywhere near the sleeper hit MGM hoped for (incidentally massively promoting a film that you hope will be a ‘sleeper’ hit negates said title) and Predators barely lasted two weeks in cinemas this side of the Atlantic.
While The Karate Kid re-make admittedly has managed to be something of a hit for Columbia (and in turn be a none too shabby little film in it’s own right), everything about it screams 2010. Modern soundtrack, hip young star, China/US politics. Not a single reference to anything circa the mid-80’s.
The thing that sucks the most about this influx of 80’s films is just how cynical every one of them is. Every film is designed for the sole purpose of cashing in. “Wait!” I hear you cry, “All films are designed to make money!” Well, yes of course they are, but there’s usually the smallest modicum of artistry to most film-making. Every film listed above has, like the decade that instigated them, only the bottom line in mind.
This weekend sees the ultimate 80’s action heroes unite in The Expendables, a film studios hope will play the ‘so bad it’s good’ card to attract audiences.
This worrying trend for making crap films in the hope they’ll have some kitsch value is as 80’s a concept as you can get. For evidence of this not really paying off in recent times look no further than 2006’s Snakes On A Plane or 2010’s MegaShark Vs Giant Octopus. Yet, somehow, we’re only weeks away from Piranha 3-D.
Of course the 80’s did give us some memorable films, Ghostbusters, Blade Runner, E.T., etc, and there have been great films made about the 80’s, Grosse Pointe Blank being one pitch perfect example, but the best flicks were those that attacked everything cheap and manufactured about the ten year span. Films like Wall Street.
Which is why we must give muchos thanks to one Mr. Oliver Stone. Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps sees the return of Gordon Gecko, a poster-child for everything downright shitty and opportunistic about the Maggie and Reagan years. Maybe, just maybe, Oliver Stone’s sequel will once again open people’s eyes to why the 80’s sucks. Greed and nothing more.
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That and people overly using the word ‘sucks’.
Owen Nicholls edits Thisfilmison.com