Hey, Film Execs, Leave Us ('80s) Kids Alone!

by Glynis Ratcliffe
Originally Published: 

Dear Hollywood,

Thank you for destroying yet another icon of my ’80s youth with your attempt at a Jem and the Holograms movie. If the trailer is any indication, ladies in their 30s and 40s everywhere will be quietly putting away their hot pink eye shadow and Hasbro dolls, pretending that they hadn’t gotten their hopes up over the initial news of a movie in the works.

What have you done to Jem, exactly? Jem and her Holograms, who were edgy and fashion-forward and knew exactly what they were doing when they were making music and ascending to stardom. Jem was the executive of a goddamn music company with the secret identity of a rock star, not some hapless teen who has an accidental YouTube hit because of her sister. Not some girl who’s made into a star by a big record exec. The Jem I knew was independent; she ran her own damn company. She was resourceful; she used Synergy to have the secret life of a rock star. She was fucking fierce, or as they said in the ’80s, truly outrageous.

The only thing outrageous about this movie so far is how pathetic it is. This trailer makes Jem seem like a giant victim of her own life. She appears to be getting manipulated right from the start. I see nothing empowering about this girl, and that is ALL of what the original Jem was. I am tired—no, fucking EXHAUSTED—of watching people get their hopes up over a Hollywood attempt at reliving some great childhood memory, and then seeing those hopes dashed. If you’re going to fuck this stuff up so badly—and let’s be real, here: The screenplay couldn’t have resembled the cartoon even remotely, to end up like this—then please, do us all a favor and come up with some ORIGINAL ideas. For the love of God.

Seriously, when will the Hollywood execs quit? Have they not learned their lesson with earlier attempts that were a pathetic shadow of the originals? Footloose, The Karate Kid, Clash of the Titans, Fame … all of these ’80s classics were successful for good reason. There was a magic about them, whether it was because of the actors, the writing or the original idea. No amount of rewriting or recasting will reclaim their former glory.

And the inexplicable success of the giant turd that is the Transformers franchise? Action sequences, CGI, nostalgia and gigantic robots will always be a bit of a winning Hollywood combination. Hell, if you had put Jem in the same kind of danger she was in during every TV episode, there’s a good chance it might have been better than the emo shit I’ve seen in the trailer.

So do us a solid, Hollywood, and leave our childhood memories where they belong: in our heads or on old VHS tapes. We will be forever grateful, and so will all the young screenwriters trying to break into the biz with actual original ideas.



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