Real Genius

Uncle Buck

Did you like the movies of the eighties? Then you’re going to love the television series of the teens. Deadline reports that ABC is currently working on a half-hour sitcom based on John Hughes‘ 1989 “New Classic” (we use the TNT designations in this house) Uncle Buck, with Universal TV and producer Will Packer (the immensely successful producer behind both Ride Along and the Think Like a Man features) on board to turn the film into a weekly offering. The new Uncle Buck will be, well, pretty much just like the old Uncle Buck, as Deadline reports it “will center on a childish man, played in the film by [John] Candy, who learns how to be an adult by taking care of his brother’s kids in a very childish way.” Weirdly enough, this isn’t even the first time that Uncle Buck has been turned into a small screen offering — a CBS series based on the movie hit screens for one season back in 1990. One season. Big hit. Of course, Uncle Buck is not the only beloved eighties property to be getting the small screen treatment this pilot season, and it’s certainly not the most egregious. Let’s take a journey, back to a period of time when original entertainment wasn’t such a wholly foreign concept, to explore what else network television is so forcibly mining for new material.



Brad Bird‘s follow-up to Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol has been behind a fair amount of secrecy since its initial announcement, but as the film begins principal photography that veil is starting to lift. Tomorrowland stars George Clooney and Hugh Laurie, and is co-written by Bird, Damon Lindelof, and Jeffrey Chernov. Since it’s a Disney production the clear assumption has been that the story will share some connective tissue with their future-themed theme park land. Known for its glimpse into a “future that never was” it’s a world populated with steampunk aesthetics, people movers and other visuals expected by the prognosticators of the ’20s and ’30s. A short synopsis for the film has just been released, and it almost sounds like the big-budget reboot of Real Genius we’ve always wanted.



Growing up with Real Genius, I’ve mistaken it for a guilty pleasure. The college comedy, which opened in theaters 28 years ago today, was easily lumped in with a number of other nerdy teen movies of the era, including WarGames and Weird Science, the latter of which opened just five days before this and went on to make more money and reign as the better known of the sci-fi oriented pair. And Real Genius is really silly, with its penis enlargement jokes and goofy pranks. It always felt like, as it sort of is, a PG-rated knockoff of the previous year’s Revenge of the Nerds. Little did I know then that it received a good deal of positive reviews, including a 3 1/2-star rave from Roger Ebert. Never mind what the critics thought, though. While it’s always hard to objectively re-examine a beloved movie from your youth (don’t dare tell me Maximum Overdrive isn’t a good film!), there’s at least some proof that Real Genius was intelligently produced and meant to be different from the pack it seems to run with. It also has a more interesting legacy than it’s given credit for.



Remember all of those movies you love to sit around watching and loving and talking about? Some of them were directed by women. You didn’t even know that. Did you, you chauvinist pig?



Rejoice! It’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to remakes. There’s a ton of 80s movies that aren’t being remade, and here’s just a handful of the ones we’re most thankful for.

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published: 01.25.2015
published: 01.25.2015
published: 01.25.2015

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