Ten 80s movies which must NEVER be rebooted

There are a ton of movies which are being rebooted to modern day themes, with Top Gun being one of the most recent members of the “Reboot Club.”  While there were some decent-quality reboots, such as Footloose, most concepts are, to say the least, frightening.  Here are some movies of the 1980s which, for the love of all that is good and decent in the cinema world, must never be rebooted.

The Last Starfighter

This early 80s science-adventure hit is best known for its cheesy-yet-wonderful story of a know-nothing teen who goes from being an arcade game addict to a planets last, best hope.  How you take a movie which has cutting-edge-for-day graphics and translate to today is beyond anyone’s comprehension.  Besides, wasn’t that was Starfox was for?

The Secret of Nimh

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If “Nimh” gets rebooted, Don Bluth’s movie cred gets flushed down the toilet, and not even “Titan A.E.” can save it!

Don Bluth was known for edgy, gritty animated features, but Nimh was more of a tween movie than anything else.  This feature combined action with fantasy with Middle-Earth style plot themes.  Of course, there was a level of violence just a tad above standard-cartoon fare but that, for Bluth, was nothing out of the ordinary.  Leave the Brisby family alone, please.

Cannonball Run

This was the quintessential “idiot funny” film in a decade featuring sappy or action packed movies.  Featuring a blue-plate ensemble of B-list talents, Cannonball Run was a silly romp through the woods.  It could be easily argued that Rat Race was a reboot of Run, but that movie wasn’t anywhere near as edgy, despite the flying poop and Jewish-family-driving-the-Nazi-limo schtick.  Cannonball Run III?  Nope.

Pretty in Pink

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Soulful eyes?  Check.  Original soundtrack montage worked into movie?  Check.  Syrupy Sweet heartbreak moment?  Check.  Yep, it’s a 80s movie alright.

Thank goodness this is going back to the theaters for the original version only.  This semi-“Brat Pack” feature was one of the gold standard 80s films about teen angst.  The notion of someone rebooting the “richies” and the “freaks” is bad enough, but who would play “Duckie?”  The idea of the potential casting calls is chilling, to say the very least.  Also, how can you possibly reboot one of the great soundtracks into modern day?  Blurred Lines, anyone?  That’s what we thought.

Beverly Hills Cop

When Glenn Frey passed away, so did any hope of rebooting this standard bearer for 80s comedy.  Eddie Murphy knows one thing quite well; you can’t go family comedy then back to profanity-laden comedy without sacrificing a career.  While Beverly Hills Cop was a hysterical action comedy, it remains a legend for the simple fact that, unlike Miami Vice or 21 Jump Street, nobody has attempted any sort of reboot.

St. Elmo’s Fire

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Didn’t “Friends” kinda’ rip off this picture concept?

Though not an official “Brat Pack” movie, it features the Judd Nelson/Ally Sheedy duo and sent them off in style.  Also, it  is nearly impossible to reprise for a simple reason – the overall concepts addressed in this movie have been deep-dived so many times in so many other movies since then (can you say “Reality Bites?”), a repackage of this bittersweet classic will come off as tired and stale.  Leave it alone, if for no other reason than to never let anyone create a cover of the legendary “love theme.”

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

The only Star Trek movie to make this list, this environmentally-themed movie should never, ever be rebooted by the Bad Robot folks, for any reason.  For starters, only William Shatner could deliver “double dumbass on you” properly, and only the late-Leonard Nimoy would have just the wrong knack for using swear words.  Add to that Catherine Hicks was epic in her part, and the fact that Vulcan doesn’t even exist anymore, so where the hell would the Bounty park?  Finally, the new Trek already did time travel, and “Save the whales” is all over NatGeo and Discovery.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

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Too bad Domino’s wasn’t the delivery sponsor!

Sean Penn, for all his flaws (and he has a ton) is the quintessential punk slacker in this hysterical teen movie.  In fact, there have been so many spoofs of Spicoli alone, pizza joints have been endorsed ad infinitum, and Judge Reinhold will forever be associated with “learn it, know it, live it,” so he’d likely have a Chris Kattan “What is love”-style meltdown if he saw this film be rebooted in any way, shape or form.  For the love of Judge, leave Ridgemont alone.

Police Academy

You just don’t reboot an 80s comedy featuring Steve Gutenberg and Kim Cattrall.  You just don’t.  For starters, who the hell can out-beatbox Jonesie, out-gung-ho Tackleberry, out-sexy Callahan, and out-arrogant Lt. Harris, and out-uh-tall Hightower?  This movie launch a half-dozen sequels (each progressively worse, by the way) and, in today’s hyper-politically correct environment, the rewrites and edits would completely destroy the original concept of the movie anyway – there were several racial slurs dropped by the dumbass bad guys in the original film.  Please, the recruits have graduated, so leave Academy alone.

Finally, and certainly at the top of this list…

The Breakfast Club

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Anytime the word “reboot” is mentioned with “The Breakfast Club,” Jedis everywhere suffer the feeling of millions of heads exploding at once.

Let’s just get this out of the way – anyone who attempts to reboot this film should be tried for entertainment treason or, at the very least, offending the sensibilities of 80s kids everywhere!  Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwauld, Ally Sheedy, Anthony Michael Hall, Emilio Estevez – enough said!  You can’t recast this movie better, you can’t rewrite it better, and there is no high school on the planet we know of which does weekend detention anymore!  Besides, nobody would allow today’s teen actors to do the “rail dance” properly, anyway!  The Breakfast Club should be left alone, put into a “never touch” category, and federal protective legislation should be immediately passed.

Winter Storm 2016 – Live, Local, and (not really) factual coverage

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Shown:  Snowjam 2014 traffic pileups in Atlanta.  Not shown:  Genuine leadership during this crisis.

An hour-by-hour, blow-by-blow, flake-by-flake (not precipitation, mind you) update of tonight’s storm coverage of Atlanta’s latest winter storm threat, code named “UGA 22”.

6:30 PM – Weather centers go into Storm Alert Hyper Command Central Super Master God Mode, and meteorologists report a run on concealer at local drug stores, purchased by interns at local television stations.

7:15 PM – Alabama officials declare a state of emergency when the University of Alabama, hit hard by the storm in advance of its effects on the state, runs out of beer.

7:40 PM – A disaster declaration is issued for 1,921 counties in Tennessee, but officials quickly retract that as a case of “mistaken mathematics.”  Hockey fans in Nashville erupt into celebratory drunkenness when the Predators reveal they actually won a game.

8:01 PM – Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, in a stunning act of clarity, declares the winter storm “snowy.”  He advises all government officials to engage in business as usual tomorrow, and simply stay home.

8:45 PM – Walker County, Georgia officials declare a Countywide State of Readiness, then pull it back when they realize Bebe Heiskell isn’t there, and declare an “Actual, Real, Honest-to-God State of Emergency – Yes folks, we MEAN IT THIS TIME!”

9:10 PM – The United States Government announce plans for “Jade Helm 2102233:  Winter is Coming.”  House Lannister immediately declares war on the United States.

9:23 PM – Sumter County, Georgia advises residents to stay in their homes until the storm passes, but that advisory is cancelled when citizens in Americus suddenly begin asking why public input on the advisory was denied.

9:40 PM – All Atlanta television stations convert to DEFCON -3:  Snowpocalyptic Zombies when a purported video surfaces showing Elsa being bitten by a moose and walking around eating snowman brains.

9:41 PM  – Five accidents, all involving squirrels, occur in Walker County.  No injuries are reported, as these accidents involved drunk people on bicycles.

10:05 PM – Northeast Georgia is declared a pre-emptive “disaster zone” as the result of forecasted blizzard conditions including wind, rain and 2 inches of snow.

10:10 PM – An incident in Dahlonega is averted when fans of the Hunger Games were reminded the advisory was for “Snow, not President Snow!”

10:18 PM – The University of Georgia, in an effort to avert a snow-related disaster, offer former Head Coach Mark Richt his job back in exchange for a prayer vigil at Sanford Stadium.

10:24 PM – NASA scientists announce a rogue planet on the outskirts of Pluto which is three times its size, features hot and cold running water, and a mischievous looking blue man tossing snowballs towards earth.  They forecast the snowballs to hit Atlanta around 3 PM, EST, on March 9, 2032.  Governor Nathan Deal issues a post-dated disaster declaration.

10:33 PM – Atlanta radio stations begin declaring themselves the “Local, Live, Late Breaking, 24 hour storm and traffic disaster station, and all your local hits, all the time.”  Local officials refuse comment.

10:45 PM – Kylo Ren was asked for comment on the snowstorm, but stabbed the cameraman with his lightsaber.

11:01 PM – Ice crystals began forming on the front doors of local businesses.  Local television stations spring into action with “live, local, late breaking and round the clock super coverage of the Winter Storm.”

And so it goes.  Happy motoring, stay safe, be sure to tip your news anchor.  He or she is on duty, watching the storm and waiting for the next accident to hit.

Darkwing Duck: The Most Underrated Cartoon of the 1990s

A lot of attention has been turned towards the direction of Disney’s acquisition and production of Star Wars with The Force Awakens, but many have forgotten Disney managed to receive a second wind in the early 1990s, fueled by an explosion in afternoon animated programs.  One of the most underrated and underpromoted Disney cartoons during this time was a daily program modeled as a spoof of the ultra-popular Batman franchise, Darkwing Duck.

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As is always with Disney, if you’re gonna cross promote, it’s “go big or go home.”

Hardcore Darkwing Duck fans are quite familiar with this now-cult cartoon classic, featuring the exploits of Drake Mallard and Launchpad McQuack, the bumbling pilot hero of the far more popular DucktalesDarkwing Duck is set in the fictional coastal city of St. Canard, which bears a suspicious resemblance to Gotham, but is drawn more cartoonish so as not to alarm the Warner Bros. legal team.  Drake, of course, morphs into the title character whenever danger threatens his beloved hometown, signaling his intent with the classic catchphrase, Let’s Get Dangerous.

 

In an era with myriad slapstick oriented (Tiny Toon Adventures), syrupy sweet (Adventures of Winnie the Pooh) and movie-inspired (Batman:  The Animated Series) programs, Darkwing Duck appealed to more teen-oriented comic sensibilities and struggled to really stand out, especially as it was often the back side of the Disney programming block on most stations of the 1990s.  It was, in many ways, the most underrated series of the 1990s for that reason, along with these five things which really set it apart from others of that era.

 

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Take a memo:  this is one of the FEW times a kids cartoon shows the bad guys actually WINNING!

Truly hilarious and capable villains:  Most cartoons of the day were known for either fearsome villains, or incompetent, bumbling idiots with the intellect of a common house ant.  Darkwing Duck faced villains who, at the very least, were capable, but in a comedic way.  Chief amongst these were the members of the so-called “Fearsome Five,” featuring Megavolt, The Liquidator, Bushroot, Quackerjack, and Darkwing’s arch-nemesis, NegaDuck.  Each of these baddies had a certain power, with the exception of NegaDuck, who simply was malevolent and dark – a cartoon Moriarity of sorts.  Despite their solo-act stupidity, these villains were surprisingly formidable as a group.  NegaDuck, being the most ruthless and cunning of all and essentially the anti-hero foil to Darkwing, was the greatest threat.  The most underrated, however, may have been the Liquidator, whose uber-salesmen approach to the use of lethal water attack made him both exceptionally annoying and, when combined with Megavolt’s occasional moment (and they were admittedly rare) of bad-guy genius, genuinely lethal.  Quackerjack and Bushroot appeared to be little more than the respective Joker and Poison Ivy of the troupe, only far more annoying and less capable.  Still, these villains were funny for one reason – their plans were often foiled not by anything Darkwing himself did, but by their own insufferable arrogance.

 

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Hard as it seems to believe, Launchpad (right) was actually very good at piloting in Darkwing Duck.

A USEFUL Launchpad McQuack:  In Ducktales, Launchpad was a total rube behind the stick.  His classic line of “If it’s got wings, I can crash it,” was intended as comic relief but, in a show full of schtick, grew tired really fast.  Thankfully, the writers at DD gave Launchpad a new lease on life with genuine piloting ability, a really snazzy super-plane (shaped like a duckbill, of course), and an occasional moment where he would actually outdeduce Darkwing.  He also demonstrated a marked maturity, with genuine restraint and control, where DW wanted to leap into action without looking.  As a superhero sidekick, McQuack turned into a quasi-hero all his own, and has moments of glory where he truly upstaged  DW, a rarity for most superhero/sidekick series of the day.

The Family Factor:  Leave it to Disney to give DW an adopted daughter with an attitude…no wait, spirit!  Gosselin Mallard, introduced along with DW in the pilot as the annoying foster child who managed to screw with uber-villain Taurus Bullba’s plans, turned into a regular…well, kid.  Because of this, DW went from being the Bruce Wayne billionaire dark “duck” to something far more engaging; a single dad who cared for his daughter, loved his friends, and defended his city with his life.  He even had a boy genius oncall with Honker, who crushed near relentlessly on Gosselin, and who was the son of semi-dimwitted, “Wilson”-style neighbor Herb Muddlefoot.  DW, in this regard, was a true renaissance man.

A hilarious love story with adult undertones.  It’s not often that a kids show features a regular guy hero with no genuine powers crushing on a woman whose repertoire featured, among other things, the ability to raise the dead, speak to ghosts, conjure stuff, shape shift and make a crazy-ass looking creature spazz out like, cat like, at the slightest thing. Morganna Macabre, who featured the best-ever name for a Disney kids show heroine, was, beyond a doubt, the perfect romantic foil to Darkwing.  Funnier still, was how she demonstrated the power of supernatural “bitch slap” on Darkwing whenever he got out of line or, worse still, behaved like a…gulp!…a guy.

And of course, the best we a saved for last…

The Self-Intros.  Darkwing’s now famous introduction line of “I am the terror that flaps in the night,” usually followed by a contradictory obscure pop-culture reference, was the stuff of legends.  “I am the terror that flaps in the night… I am the weirdo that sits next to you on the bus!”  The best, by far, was when he appeared to..nobody.  That prompted this gem.  “I am the terror that flaps in the night…I am the jailer who throws away the key!  I AM (looks around a moment)…feeling REALLY STUPID!  I hate it when I’m early.”

Some other great Darkwing intro lines…

“I am the terror that flaps in the night, I am a special news bulletin that interrupts your favorite show. I am Darkwing Duck!”

“I am the Terror that flaps in the night, I am the raspberry seed you can’t floss out. I AM DARKWING DUCK!”

“I am the terror that flaps in the night,I am the wrong number that wakes you at 3 am.I am Darwing Duck!!!”

Of course, one could argue that DW’s ripoff of Batman was what doomed this cartoon to obscurity.  With the advent of the far-more popular Gargoyles, Darkwing Duck quickly faded from the Disney lineup.  Fortunately, Disney and internet have kept this series and hysterical take on dark heroes available to the fandom.

 

 

This Week in the News: Lots of Tongue Pressed in Cheek

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We sorta got lazy with the pictures this week. 

January is only a week in, and there are already numerous stories which qualify as “news-ish.”  Naturally, I am on the cutting edge of journalistic technology with my cracked screen smartphone, a laptop with Windows 10 (now with half the usual computing power of the leading national brand), and a head full of smartass remarks.  Please note for the record – no cats, dogs or parrots were harmed in the writing of this blog, though several hundred politicians are still applying burn cream.

  • President Barack Obama uses his executive pen to create hundreds of new regulations for gun owners and manufacturers. Chaos ensues, however, when it’s discovered he had the order drafted to include General Leia Organa as a member of the Department of Justice.  In a later legislative shocker, he vetoes a bill to repeal the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act, (a.k.a. “ObamaCare”).  Unconfirmed reports from the Jedi claim the feeling of billions of people yawning.
  • North Korea’s Kim Jong “Uno!” Un shocks the world when he announced the isolated nation had successfully detonated a hydrogen bomb. Officials at the Pentagon waved off the explosion as part of the recent round of NFL head coach firings.
  • Donald Trump, working under the assumed name of Big Daddy Blonde Britches, begins to attack Hillary Clinton’s record on foreign relations, as well as her role in the loss of critical government documents related to Benghazi. In response, Clinton has a giant orange hairball from Bill the Cat express shipped to Trump’s front door.
  • Weather officials across America and parts of Jupiter are stumped by the sudden blast of cold air freezing over most of the lower 48. When reached for comment, several dozen penguins said “We’re in Antarctica, you idiot!”
  • A Missouri lawmaker introduced a bill which would require lobbyists to report “sexual relations” with lawmakers as a “gift.”  When asked if this would pass, several members of the Missouri General Assembly immediately referred reporters to their mistresses for comment.
  • The College Football National Championship was set when the Alabama Crimson Tide arrived to play their game against whoever it was they meant to play, but suddenly realized nobody showed up because they were all too busy watching “Game of Thrones.” Clemson advanced on the merit that no team from South Carolina has won jack shit since the Revolutionary War, so everyone basically gave them a mulligan.
  • Macy’s announced it was closing 45 stories across America in response to disappointing sales. It still is unclear if Kylo Ren and the First Order have anything to do with this.
  • Shares of Martin Shrkeli plummeted in heavy trading this week after it was revealed that his street cred is entirely based on a doctored video of him doing the “Whip and Nae Nae” during his arrest. Shrkeli later confessed that the video itself was trademarked by Taylor Swift and is at the center of a copyright lawsuit.
  • A viral Facebook meme about founder Mark Zuckerberg giving away free stuff continues to mutate until it reach the critical mass moment of Pun Dog saying “Mark Zuckerberg offered to give something away…the farm.” Shares of Pun Dog spiked in after hours trading.
  • Supreme Leader Snoke appeared at a news conference Monday in which he announced his intent to destroy any and all references to “Taylor Swift,” “Adele,” “Blank Space” and “Hello” if he wasn’t given twenty star systems by 5 pm local time. The world let the threat lapse.
  • Apple unveiled its newest device, the Iphone 6I, which is not only ten times as powerful, but completely invisible. In fact, Mark Zuckerberg has promised to give away all his shares of Apple stock to the person who can find the prototype, which is apparently missing but “not missing.”
  • Cosmopolitan magazine revealed an astonishing new sex move for women to attempt which is so effective and controversial, the magazine has declared it a “secret plan” and will only reveal it if it is elected President. Donald Trump immediately began a hostile takeover bid of the magazine.

Two Georgia Counties Who Need a Jedi Mind Trick on Their Leaders

A NASA study recently revealed what much America has been unaware of for several years.  Namely, that quantum singularities can be reproduced, and nowhere is that particular situation more evident than the example provided by the governments of Walker and Sumter Counties, both governmental corporation products based right here in the beautiful state of Georgia.

We have covered the travails of the Walker County government in depth in 2015, but only recently have we learned that the entire county is now on the verge of being swallowed by a singularity created when the entire government collapsed in upon itself, folding time and space in such a fashion that, when Dr. Who reportedly arrived, he popped open the doors to his TARDIS (please don’t ask – I’m not a Dr. Who fan and I really don’t have the patience to explain it), popped his head out, went “yuck,” then subsequently disappeared.  Unfortunately, nobody in the government can be reached to verify this particular incident, though we suspect they all have taken oaths of silence, crawled under rocks, and are waiting for the voters to go home and watch the NFL playoffs.  As for the fiscal situation of the county, it can best be described in the following word:  frothy.  We will leave it at that.

Still, Walker County’s incompetence remains a threat to universal security as it appears to have bled over, via wormhole theory, into Sumter County, Georgia, home to former President Jimmy Carter.  Speaking of which, have you ever noticed how the news media always mention his hometown of “Plains,” and never mentions that Plains is actually a very, very tiny suburb of Americus, the county seat of Sumter County, which happens to be home of my soon-to-be (knocking on every piece of wood in sight) alma mater, Georgia Southwestern State University, as well a great hospital, a good pizza joint, a historic hotel, a Krystal and several thousand citizens and small-business owners who really do care about the community around them but, due to a tragic clerical error at the polls, were saddled with a government which could actually make the combined leadership of the national Republican Party look capable by comparison.  This may, unfortunately, be one instance where Donald Trump becoming head of a government is an improvement.

What makes this all the more astonishing is that Sumter County and, in particular, Americus was once a hotbed for accountable government and, more to the point, forward thinking.  Georgia Southwestern has one of the top Education and Nursing programs in Georgia and, at least as far as I’m concerned, remains an excellent university to attend for the money, and that’s without it having a football program, though it does have a fine tradition of students getting completely hammered at Intramural tailgate parties (don’t ask).  Americus, unfortunately, appears to be suffering from a bit of a leadership vacuum, and I have a crack team of quantum physicists checking to see if outgoing Walker County Commissioner Bebe Heiskell’s former minions are attempting to establish a neo-Sith-style empire in my college town.  Now, bearing that in mind, this wordsmith Jedi may have to break out his mental lightsaber and restore balance to that end of the Force, but that will likely require several thousand gallons of quality adult beverage product in order to power my Jedi mind tricks.  These things don’t exactly work on blind faith, you know.

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Yes, someone WENT there.  No, it was NOT me!

Still, I couldn’t go a week without a mention of the greatest threat to the Force in the history of Star Wars:  namely, Kylo Trump.  Hang on *reading draft copy.*  Never mind that, the copy should have read “Kylo Ren,” but apparently Donald decided to take a cue from Taylor Swift and copyright half of all Star Wars references which Disney hasn’t already gotten their hands on (yes, they do exist…check your local fortune cookie).  According to unconfirmed reports, Kylo Ren has taken up residence in a remote part of the galaxy, while General Leia is attempting to convince Mr. Trump to stop buying shares of Death Star, Inc., and short selling them on the Galactic Republic market.

This, of course, is rubbish, because we all know that Trump wouldn’t buy the stock, but the actual Death Star itself.  In this case, he wouldn’t its remaining parts, or a damned planet, but the whole freaking galaxy, shove the Walker County Quantum Singularity Device into the center of it, and reappear, Sith-like, in the middle of Americus, waving a Florida flag screaming “Bulldogs suck” because…well, he’s Trump and because he’s Trump, he knows he can…or maybe not, but definitely one of the two. Thank you, and may the Force be with you, he, she and it.

PODCAST: A word or two about bullying

My latest podcast, featuring a shout-out to fellow author and Solstice Publishing Editor KC Sprayberry, as well as a hat tip to the fine work (and subsequent cries of being a “shill” by others) of Trenton Tye for his 9/11 jet fuel debunk demo.  This podcast, as well as others, will be available in an archive on this blog later this month.

Get in John’s Head – 1/5/2016 (about bullying)