Thoughts from the ledge: Hollywood quit ruining my childhood


Hollywood is going reboot, remake, reimagining crazy. Every time I read the trades another show from my youth is being “redone.” Will the madness stop?

“Every film is a remake of a previous film or a theme park ride. It will soon come to breakfast cereal mascots.” – Alan Moore

The Maddening Trend

The reason why I am focusing on this trend for my column is because I can’t believe that every time I turn around some TV show or movie from my childhood is getting rebooted, remade or reimagined. Yes, I know that this isn’t a new phenomenon but it didn’t seem this crazy two or three years ago. Unfortunately, because I am a journalist I have to remain impartial when I report entertainment news.

Just because I write about the “R’s” doesn’t mean that I am on board with them. I won’t pretend that I haven’t seen my fair share of them either. Yesterday, I covered the Fantasy Island movie that Blumhouse is developing.

As a child of the 70’s and 80’s, that was one of my favorite series back in the day. They tried to reboot it in the 90’s with Malcolm McDowell. While Malcolm is an extremely talented actor, he couldn’t save that reboot and it died after 13 episodes.

The selling point for the latest incarnation is they are going to focus on the more supernatural side of Fantasy Island. The writers are going “dark.” Which is all well and good but I keep coming back to is this necessary?

People are quick to point out why all of this re-mania is happening. It is more cost effective for the studios to take their own material and re-work it. Plus, it is a proven entity with name recognition so that is half the battle. Of course, it is safer to do that then pay an unknown writer with material that may or may not generate revenue.

Reboots and Remakes – Courtesy of The Regular Guy NYC and Twentieth Century Fox, Cubicle Inc

It’s All about the Benjamins

Hollywood is a business. Creators and production executives make uneasy bedfellows. It is a relationship born out of necessity and not love. Filmmakers need someone to fund their visions and studios need their products to keep their cash flow going.

I sometimes wonder if anyone that works at a studio or a network likes movies or television shows? Is it possible to have a head for business and a heart for making art? Does it have to be all about the bottom line and ROI (return on investment) or can there be a compromise?

The “R” that I have the least trouble with is the reimagining. In my mind, that is when you take a familiar intellectual property and put a new spin on it. For example, Danny McBride and David Gordon Green’s Halloween with Jamie Lee Curtis. This is the story of Laurie Strode taking care of her family. It is a continuation of the franchise.

We aren’t getting a younger actress to play Jamie Lee’s part or doing a prequel or anything like that. Maybe I have the wrong idea but I see this as part of the Halloween family. Going on that same premise, let’s look at Fede Alvarez’s Evil Dead.

Basically, Fede used Sam Raimi’s film as his blueprint and made his own movie. He didn’t do anything crazy like casting Ashton Kutcher as the “new” Ash Williams.

Nothing is truly original because we are just copying the Greek and Roman tragedies. Shakespeare even took his cues from those scribes but the difference is he made them his own. To some extent, writers are still using him as a benchmark.

It’s Better to Look Good than Be Original

For me, it is about the presentation. If you are taking material from someone before you but you put a fresh spin on it with characters that you have created then you have put your stamp on it. It is your effort not a re-do of someone else’s.

The Child’s Play remake is completely unnecessary and doesn’t make sense. Don Mancini did a successful movie in the franchise in 2017 and a TV series is in the works. However, MGM has decided to “fast track” a new and improved version of the classic 80’s film.

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The idea that we have to reboot everything for younger demographics is infuriating. Save yourself the trouble and the millions of dollars that will go into making an average effort and remaster the original film or create a director’s cut. Ridley Scott did that with Blade Runner and his version was re-released in theaters in 1992.

Now, we are getting the new and improved Buffy the Vampire Slayer. At first, Joss Whedon and company announced it was a reboot. Well, fans of the predecessor starring Sarah Michelle Gellar immediately expressed their disapproval so now we are getting a sequel to lessen the blow.

That entire backlash could have been avoided by not doing a remake. Doesn’t Whedon have other irons in the fire? Hot on the heels of that revelation, Sabrina the Teenage Witch is coming back.

And guess what? She is darker! Of course, she is! I cringe every time I read the trades anymore because I wonder what show from my youth is getting a crappy rehashing. I find it hard to believe that Hollywood can’t find new stories to tell.

Stop Being Lazy

Everyday on social media I see talented filmmakers and writers hustling. I have personally reviewed some of these features and interviewed the creative minds behind the endeavors. Talent exists, you have to be willing to find it.

The art of storytelling is dead because we are just settling for dusting off that old 1950’s TV show or that 1970’s movie and redoing it instead of trying to find a property that hasn’t been done before.

Why not option a book? Authors exist. Yes, you have to pay for the rights but it has worked in the past. I give you Stephen King.

I have a suggestion for people like me who are getting tired of the “re” phenomenon. It may be a bitter pill to swallow but I fear it is the only way. Stop supporting these projects.

Don’t go see Terminator 6 and don’t watch whatever old series is being regurgitated into a “new and improved” remake. When the box office returns dwindle and television ratings go down, then maybe Hollywood will get a clue when they start losing money.

I realize that I have unrealistic expectations. But I will continue to hope that someday we will experience a renaissance and there will be a resurgence of creativity.  Like Fox Mulder, I want to believe…

Related Story. Behind the scenes with Gabriel Luna as the new Terminator. light

Are you a fan of all the reboots and remakes? Feel free to share your opinions in the comment section below. We want to hear from you.