Because nobody, absolutely nobody, even in this day and age is immune to the dulcet tones of an expertly tuned snyth or a finely-wielded keytar, two of the 1980s cheesiest offerings in the romance department are getting the remake treatment this week. Or three if you consider the stirringly deep enchantment of RoboCop.
Endless Love and About Last Night, two films known for their immense subtlety and timeless love stories (Just kidding! It’s teen sex and voluminous bangs!), are being brought to the modern age because today’s youth needs to know: why is forbidden love so much sweeter when it also has the same name as a Lionel Richie song? and does navigating singlehood get any easier if you add Kevin Hart to the mix?
About Last Night is the remake of the 1986 classic starring Rob Lowe and Jim Belushi as a couple of free wheelin’ dudes living in Chicago. Based on the David Mamet play “Sexual Perversity in Chicago,” the film follows what happens when Lowe breaks their brolationship and starts up a real-life adult relationship with Demi Moore following a one-night stand. The 2014 film moves the party to Los Angeles and puts Kevin Hart in the Belushi role in order to provide some updated comic relief and fulfill whatever contract stipulates that Hart must be in every comedy from 2013 through 2017.
Endless Love is what you get when Concerned Moms imagine a story about an illicit teen affair gone horribly, horribly wrong. With the tagline “She is 15. He is 17. The Love every parent fears,” the 1981 film had Brooke Shields and Martin Hewitt playing the fantastically, 80s-ishly named teenagers Jade Butterfield and David Axelrod (not the White House one), two underage lovers whose afterschool activities quite literally ruined everyone’s lives. Did your high school boyfriend love you enough to burn down your family’s house just to pretend he was heroic enough to put it out? Didn’t think so, sweetie.
The new version stars decidedly not-teenagers Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde as the star-crossed lovers who should maybe take a breather for a couple days and focus on their SAT prep or something. It’s healthy to have hobbies, kids.
The sudden appearance of two 80s romance reboots in one week begs the question: which films are next and how many more are coming? In the grand neon landscape of the decade, About Last Night and Endless Love aren’t even close to hitting the mark for being the biggest or most beloved romances; there are far memorable hits ripe for the remaking. Could this just be the tip of the iceberg?
After all, there’s a whole Brat Pack arsenal to blow through. St. Elmo’s Fire, another Lowe-Moore collaboration, is a significant film for a number of factors. Mainly in that it gave us Lowe as a headband-wearing saxophonist who takes Mare Winningham’s virginity “as a pal” and gave us a plausible universe where Judd Nelson was a big shot business guy. The ensemble romance is prime reboot material (except the plotline where Emilio Estevez stalks Andie MacDowell and she somehow thinks it’s sweet for some reason); can’t you just picture Zac Efron asking some extra who also worked on That Awkward Moment if she believes in premarital sax?
Say Anything is such an iconic, recognizable romance that it seems impossible that it hasn’t been rebooted already. The directorial debut of a certain Cameron Crowe, it’s just implausible enough of a love story to make it seem wildly special when Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) shows up to get his woman back, boombox in hand. The good girl valedictorian falls for quirky bad boy (karate instructor?) with a heart of gold trope definitely still works today, but why not switch it up with a role reversal? She (Emma Roberts, Lena Dobler) could be a feisty counter culture blogger with an appetite for controversy, while he’s the shy but well-meaning valedictorian with a ticket to the Ivy League. The boombox and its blasting Peter Gabriel would get the shaft for a very expensive iHome and whatever the kids are listening to these days when they make out in the car…Drake? Drake.
If any brave souls were to redo John Hughes movies (give it time, you’ll see), there would be plenty to work with as soon as they found a plucky enough muse to become the Molly Ringwald-prototype in every film. Sixteen Candles, the ludicrous, wonderful tale in which everyone forgets a 16-year-old girl’s birthday and then the popular boy at school decides he’s actually in love with her, doesn’t need too much updating to stay relevant. Jake Ryan is still high up on the list of things 16-year-old girls want happening to them. Long Duck Dong, perhaps, may need to stay in the 80s.
Pretty in Pink is on the verge of a reboot as soon as someone comes up with a clever-enough take on the original. Andie winding up with Duckie does not count. But a film where a vintage-loving independent girl has the attention of her best friend, the rich popular boy, and as some may argue, evil bleached-hair James Spader? It will definitely get retold in some form, if only for the message about always sticking to your fashion sensibilities.
Looking into the “inanimate women for romantic entanglements” genre, Weird Science and Mannequin are possibilities. Sure, the former (another Hughes film) is about two nerds Frankenstein-ing a Barbie doll to life so they could finally hang out with a hot babe for the weekend, but the romance is real. Mannequin follows a disturbed individual who falls in love with a department store display model (she’s Kim Cattrall, but like only when he’s looking okay?), but today we’ve had Lars and the Real Girl and Her, so anything is fair game at this point. Today the technology would be superior (though going back to Pretty in Pink, has anyone ever given Hughes credit for inventing AOL Instant Messenger?), but the aim would be the same – get the girl or the guy through the only way you know: using your particular set of skills. Possibly boombox-hoisting.
One of the heavier (read: a little cheesy) romances that could – and should – get a reboot is An Officer and a Gentleman, and that project is already in the works. Whether or not “Up Where We Belong” is included in the new film is yet to be determined, but there better be an uplifting finale to cheer through. It’s just polite.
Whether or not these films should stay firmly planted in the past is a matter of opinion, but the cold truth is that someday, the reboot factory is going to come calling for the rest of the 80s romances just like it did Endless Love and About Last Night. Look out soon for Dirty Dancing starring Kevin Hart in a theater near you.