I’d say you’re sick of reading that the 1980s are back in Ireland. With emigration and unemployment levels soaring, the Government’s annual budget deficit standing at over 10% and all those slashes to social spending and hikes in VAT and income tax, the comparisons are fairly obvious.
And then there are the fashion throw-backs. This week, echoes of the 1980s were unmistakable at the launch of House of Fraser’s autumn/ winter 2009 collection, though I wish the fashion experts would leave that unkind Lycra back where it belongs. Come to think of it, my shoulders are broad enough, without the ‘benefit’ of should pads, too.
Pac Man and Space Invaders are considered cool again, 20 years later, while a new model of Soda Stream is now on sale in the US (let’s face it, the fizz injector rocked, even if its products did make you feel like you were drinking razor blades). And Australia is celebrating the life of that riddle-solving roo Skippy, broadcasting documentary “Skippy: Australia’s First Superstar” on the national airwaves just this week (okay, so Skippy was more a creation of the late 60s, but surely he’ll be recalled fondly by any Irish child of the Eighties).
If I were to take it at its most literal meaning, it wouldn’t be so bad that the Eighties were back. The decade, to me, was my childhood days, happy times when the only care I had in the world was what the Care Bears were up to today. My parents were the ones concerned with the stifling economy – I was blissfully sheltered.
Yep, memories of happy times. Which I feel I’m entitled to hold on to. So you’ll excuse my slight hissy fit in the foyer of the cinema recently, when I saw a trailer for the remake of cult classic Fame. Unlike the Alan Parker original, this new offering is apparently a slick and shiny affair particularly aimed at the tween audience (director Kevin Anchormen’s previous credits include a Britney Spears TV special and a show about the Pussycat Dolls).
And I was told that this is not the worst of it, because Hollywood bosses reckon the safest way to make a few bob at the moment is a remake: productions in the offing include Robocop, Romancing The Stone, Footloose, The Karate Kid, Flight of the Navigators, Short Circuit, Top Gun and Ghostbusters. Blasphemy, I say. The idea is these movies have proven appeal (people who remember them from first time ’round will go because of nostalgia, younger generations will have heard their parents/ older siblings talking about the originals). Well, a tear did come to my eye, but not for the intended reasons.
Children of the Eighties, as if we hadn’t enough on our plates, it seems Hollywood is intent on ransacking our childhood memories. Now martial arts were de rigeur in the Eighties. Every second young fella on the street thought he was Bruce Lee after watching The Karate Kid. Who cares if he was a complete nerd. If he paid attention to the kindly Asian gentleman living down the road, he too could get the girl and kick that bully’s ass. The remake, on the other hand, features Will Smith’s 9-year-old son as a Jaden, with Will directing and his wife also being given a role. Talk about keeping it in the family.
Speaking of which, with Tom Cruise after signing up for the remake of Top Gun (he’ll be taking over the Tom Skeritt mentor role at the academy), you’ll never guess who’s rumoured to be playing the rebellious, cocky young pilot… Katie Holmes. Gaaaahhhhh. And one of the most shocking remakes of all is the new version of The A-Team, with Liam Neeson playing Hannibal and cage fighter Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson as BA Baracus. While poor auld Mr T makes his living flogging Snickers.
Given how quick the economic downturn swept the rug out from under us all, these Eighties comparisons are not without substance. But I’ve had enough of these Hollywood producers who seem to think that all these things from the Eighties belong in today’s world. What’s going to happen in another twenty years? Will they remake the remakes? But then, greed is good. Right?