Feel old yet?
Photo: MGM | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012
This year, a whole slew of classic movies are celebrating 30th, 25th, 20th, and 15th anniversaries. But which ones have aged like salmon in a desk drawer, which ones have been besmirched by inferior remakes or sequels, and which ones have stood the tests of time needed to truly be called “classic”? Don’t worry, we’ve done the work for you.
How You Remember It: The guy who made Terminator and Aliens finally made a flick you could take your girlfriend to, and it at least boasted some cool special effects (and a nude Kate Winslet) in between all the weepy old folks and ballroom dancing. Also? Billy Zane!
Crappy Sequel or Remake? Well, a sequel would just be in poor taste, even for Hollywood, and in lieu of a remake James Cameron has retro-fitted it to 3D to milk dollars and tears from a whole new batch of fans. Unfortunately, he did nothing about Celine Dion on the soundtrack.
Moment You Quote the Most: “Paint me like one of your French girls” has reached Internet meme status, but you know you’ve shouted “I’m King of the World” at least once while taking a ferry, ghost-riding a whip, or in a bathroom stall.
Current Status: Despite being a box office and Oscar juggernaut, Titanic is pretty much the same as it was. The technical aspects don’t wow as much, and a few parts are even more tedious than we remember--Leo handcuffed to the pipe being the prime example. But we’d cough up a few more bucks to see Kate’s Winlsets in the third dimension.
How You Remember It: Tim Burton scored big time with his first Batman adaptation, and the introductions of Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman and Danny DeVito as The Penguin alone were worth the price of admission. Burton allowed himself to get weirder this time, populating Gotham City with killer clowns, missile-strapped aquatic fowl, and Christopher Walken in a fright wig.
Crappy Sequel or Remake? This was a sequel, but it was also followed by Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever, which is like following up a steak dinner by having the waiter dip his hands in the urinals and then punch you in the face.
Moment You Quote the Most: “Meow.” And if you’re lucky, you’ve actually gotten a girl to quote it!
Current Status: Still considered one of the better Batman movies, but even Burton’s efforts have been thoroughly taken behind the woodshed and euthanized by Christopher Nolan’s badass Dark Knight saga. Although we have serious doubts that Anne Hathaway can out-sex Pfeiffer in a catsuit.
How You Remember It: The “Disney Renaissance” was in full swing (Aladdin was bookended by Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King), so you went to the theater reasonably expecting a quality flick. Despite being casually racist, Aladdin checked all the boxes: Good story, cute animal sidekicks, and a coked-up comedian running wild while desperate animators tried to keep up.
Crappy Sequel or Remake? There were several direct-to-video sequels, including Aladdin: The Return of Jafar, Aladdin and the King of Thieves and Aladdin: This Movie Counts as a Babysitter.
Moment You Quote the Most: Apart from bellowing out “A Whole New World” never, you probably quote “You look like Aladdin” from Superbad more than you quote anything from this movie. Or, at least, you should.
Current Status: A movie you recall liking at the time, but have no burning desire to ever see again. Pixar really kicked the crap out of this old-timey animation.
How You Remember It: Having to follow Aliens, which was totally awesome, pretty much doomed Alien 3 from the get-go. You remember thinking, “Man, that noob director David Fincher is finished. He’ll never work again.” You were kind of a moron back then.
Crappy Sequel or Remake? Again, this one was a crappy sequel, so it pretty much took care of that itself. Though it does make for a fun debate topic: Alien 3 vs. Alien Resurrection. We’ll tell you our answer as soon as the rest of the office stops being such complete morons and admits that Resurrection is kind of fun.
Moment You Quote the Most: You probably remember Sigourney Weaver looking badass with the shaved dome or that scene where the alien gets all up in her face and then turns away without killing her. But as far as quotes? You repeat any line from this and you’re getting nothing but blank stares.
Current Status: It’s the one disc from the Blu-ray Alien Anthology you have yet to actually pop into your Blu-ray player.
How You Remember It: That movie that started out as a fairly generic jungle-set action flick before going absolutely, gloriously apeshit. An explosion of guns, gore, professional wrestlers and quotes you would rely on to communicate with fellow males for years to come.
Crappy Sequel or Remake? It’s had not one, but two, crappy sequels. First, there was Danny Glover chasing a vagina-faced alien in the big city in Predator 2, then the Robert Rodriguez-produced Predators that made the dual mistake of thinking Topher Grace and Adrian Brody were tough and that you can make an entire movie without a script. And let’s not even discuss the spin-off abortions that were the “Aliens vs. Predator” movies.
Moment You Quote the Most: Again, you’ve probably had entire conversations in Predator quotes. “What’s with this fucking tie business?” “You sonofabitch,” “strap this on your sore ass, Blaine,” “Ain’t got time to bleed” and “because some damn fool accused you of being THE BEST.”
Current Status: An undisputed classic. One of the best action flicks of all time. So good, it remains untarnished even with all the crappy attempts to revisit it.
How You Remember It: At the time, you probably heard about this incredibly violent, R-Rated action flick and couldn’t wait to sneak into a theater to see it. Later, you realized it was a pitch-black dystopian satire, albeit one where nuclear waste turns a thug into walking gelato.
Crappy Sequel or Remake? A remake is brewing, but as of this moment we’ve been spared. The movie did spawn two sequels, both of which were actually written by The Dark Knight Returns writer Frank Miller and are generally considered to be bad. (Although the kid in Robocop 2 is one of our favorite adolescent killers. A cartoon TV series further drove the franchise’s rep into the ground.)
Moment You Quote the Most: “Come with me or there will be….trouble.” Or, if you’re an advanced level Robo fan, you can’t pass a desk phone without spitting, “Now give me my fucking phone call.” Or if you’re annoying, “I’d buy that for a dollar!”
Current Status: A great movie that you’ll appreciate even more once they get around to doing the remake, because you can bet whoever does it will spend all their time making it so “dark” and “gritty” that they’ll completely miss the joke of the original.
Evil Dead II
How You Remember It: “Dude, remember that video we watched in my dad’s basement, the one where that chick gets raped by a tree? There’s a sequel, dude. Seriously.”
Crappy Sequel or Remake?: Shockingly enough, the Evil Dead II sequel Army of Darkness was seen as a disappointment when it was released. Time has turned its reputation around and it’s now considered a cult classic, boomstick and all. Sam Raimi keeps threatening to remake the Evil Dead series, but luckily the air was taken out of that balloon by something that rhymes with “Spider-Man 3 was shitty.”
Moment You Quote the Most: “Groovy”
Current Status: Enduring cult classic, and a film that gets a DVD re-release more often than you have hot meals.
How You Remember It: That super-creepy flick that made you eternally terrified of trees, clown dolls, little blonde girls, TV sets and psychic dwarfs. To this day you can’t travel near suburban housing developments without trying to guess which one will be sucked through an interdimensional portal by angry ghosts.
Crappy Sequel or Remake? The second entry in the series, Poltergeist II: The Other Side actually wasn’t bad, thanks to pants-filling ghost preacher Henry Kane. Also, it has a scene where Craig T. Nelson drinks a bottle of tequila and then mouth-births a demon. The skyscraper-set third movie was poo, even with Tom Skerrit. A remake was being developed, but MGM’s financial problems have expelled that potential disaster into the negative zone.
Moment You Quote the Most: “They’re hee-e-e-re.” One of the most iconic horror movie sound-bites ever, right up there with “I never drink…wine” and “they’re coming to get you, Barbara” and “your mother sucks cocks in Hell.”
Current Status: An iconic horror movie that still stands as one of the best from the highly-productive 80s. It endures like the mental image of JoBeth Williams in short-shorts smoking weed.
How You Remember It: OMG! BOOBIES!
Crappy Sequel or Remake? Whoa, boy. Not only did Porky’s spawn Porky’s II: The Next Day and Porky’s 3: Revenge, it also led to the dark secret up in the attic known as Pimpin’ Pee Wee (later repackaged as Porky’s: The College Years). Made in 2009, it should never, ever be watched. Howard Stern has been threatening to remake the original for years. He owns the rights, but so far hasn’t touched it. Besides, does anyone need to remake “horny high school kids engage in hijinks?” Now that we think about it, perhaps they do.
Moment You Quote the Most: You’ve used the alias “Mike Hunt” before, and you know it. And the words “girl’s shower” and “peephole” still gives you a semi. These are lasting impressions, friend.
Current Status: Although it has that instant name recognition – every teen flick post-1982 has to kiss its ring – watching it now you can’t help but feel that it’s more quaint than shocking. But it does remind you that true R-rated comedies used to be made on the regular, and that’s depressing in a world ruled by the idiotic PG-13.
How You Remember It: The movie that made Eddie Murphy a legit movie star, and featured James Remar, David Patrick Kelly, AND Brion James – which pushed the legal limit on movie creeps way over capacity. They are still mining this film’s negatives for untapped deposits of psycho.
Crappy Sequel or Remake? Another 48 Hrs was inevitable, really, and seeing the once wire-thin, motor-mouthed Murphy as fat and complacent as, well, Nick Nolte, was just depressing. We’re sure someone, somewhere, is pitching a remake but, c’mon – who are they going to cast? Kenan Thompson?
Moment You Quote the Most: “There’s a new sheriff in town. And his name is Reggie Hammond. Y’all be cool. Right on!”
Current Status: The quintessential buddy movie, and it came five years before Riggs and Murtaugh. Of course, watching it now all you can do is marvel at how Nolte’s voice was just gravelly, and hadn’t yet devolved to the point it’s at now, where it sounds like he’s trying to hock up a lungful of fiberglass shards with each word.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
How You Remember It: You likely trudged into the theater somewhat begrudgingly, because let’s face it – Star Trek: The Motion Picture explored strange new worlds of boredom. Luckily, you were treated to what is still considered one of the best movie sequels ever made.
Crappy Sequel or Remake? This was unfortunately followed by many more spin-offs and sequels of wildly varying quality. There was “the dead Spock one” and “the one with the whales” and, um, the one with Professor X… And even though J.J. Abrams claims he isn’t redoing Khan with his sequel to the Star Trek revamp, he’s probably redoing Khan. There wasn’t a single original idea in his first movie, so why start now?
Moment You Quote the Most: “KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!”
Current Status: Great sequel in an otherwise fairly middling movie franchise. But it was OG Star Trek crew and that accounts for a lot.
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
How You Remember It: You’re man enough to admit it now - this was likely the first movie that made you crumple into a pile of tears and snot bubbles. You never thought you could fall in love with something that looked like a pickled Olsen twin, and yet we all did. Also, this movie would, thanks to Dee Wallace, unwittingly plant in you an appreciation of the future term “MILF.”
Crappy Sequel or Remake? Not even Steven Spielberg, who tortured audiences by re-animating Indiana Jones, would dare allow this touchstone of a movie to be remade. Remember a few years back when he went in and tried to George-Lucas-it with some digital revisions, replacing guns with walkie talkies? That backlash was over just a few tweaks. A remake would likely be burned at the stake. Nor would he ever attempt a sequel because it would be too sad to see E.T. return to earth 30 years later to discover that out of everyone, Gertie was the only one to have a career. Although this time, the alien would be played by Shia LaBeouf.
Moment You Quote the Most: “Back that juicy ass up, mama!” (Just making sure you’re still paying attention. This feature is hella long.) The real quotes: “Phone home” and “I’ll. Be. Right. Here.” Admit it, you teared up just now, didn’t you? You know you did.
Current Status: Such an icon, an image from it still serves as Spielberg’s production company logo. And John Williams’ theme music is one of those instantly recognizable ones that only he seems able to produce.
How You Remember It: Harrison Ford is doing another sci-fi movie! Awesome! Dude, he’s so great in Star Wars, I can’t wait to see him kick ass in…whoa, what the hell is this? Noodles and origami? Robot owls? Soooo confused….
Crappy Sequel or Remake? Every few years, Ridley Scott trolls web geeks by claiming he and Ford and going to do a sequel, but it never, ever materializes. Same thing about the talk of a remake – it pops up, then disappears like C-beams glittering in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. Considering Scott has never, ever actually finished Blade Runner (you have the theatrical cut, the Director’s Cut, the Work Print Cut, the Special Edition Cut, etc...) he may not be keen to dive in again.
Moment You Quote the Most: “Wake up, it’s time to die!” is on your lips every time your alarm goes off. And we can’t be the only ones to have used “It’s too bad she won’t live, but then again who does?” in a wedding toast, right?
Current Status: The definition of “cult classic” – met with confusion and apathy upon release, only to be fully appreciated as a work of genius years and years later. It’s a movie that’s so good, Harrison Ford only kinda hates it!
How You Remember It: The notion of John Carpenter reteaming with Kurt Russell - the dynamic duo had done Escape From New York one year prior – was good enough to get asses into seats, but nothing could have prepared audiences for the absolutely amazing mix of gut-churning gore and paranoid mindfuck they were about to get.
Crappy Sequel or Remake? Just recently it kind of got both – the Joel Edgerton/Mary Elizabeth Winstead The Thing was technically a prequel, but it basically followed in the footsteps of the original so closely it was also kind of a remake. So it killed two birds with one stone, and was seen by maybe 4 people – leaving the original gloriously un-besmirched.
Moment You Quote the Most: “You gotta be fucking kidding.”
Current Status: Still awesome after all these years.
How You Remember It: The birth of computer effects right before your eyes. Yes, you saw the future, and it was square and two-dimensional. (And that was just Jeff Bridges’ character! ZING!) You walked out wanting a light cycle, but you’d be damned if you could explain what the hell you just saw.
Crappy Sequel or Remake? Tron: Legacy, which used computer technology that was light years better than the original to make something that was at least 20 times more boring and convoluted. Having clear walls against gray backgrounds is like staring at a foggy window for 2 hours while Daft Punk scissor kicks your eardrums.
Moment You Quote the Most: “There’s no problems, only solutions.” But really, that’s only because of the awesome Journey song.
Current Status: A historical footnote beloved by no one except this guy.