The Breakfast Club. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Sixteen Candles. There will only ever be one John Hughes. The man somehow managed to capture lightning in a bottle multiple times throughout the 1980s, connecting to the teenage experience in a way that no other writer/director previously had and truly providing a unique cinematic voice for a generation. Most of his movies should rightfully remain on a pedestal, never to be remade, rebooted, or sequel-ized. Most…but not all.
Deadline is reporting that Hughes’ 1985 film Weird Science is getting the remake treatment and will be produced by mega-producer Joel Silver (who produced the original with Hughes). No director is in place yet, but the script will be written by Michael Bacall, screenwriter of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Project X, and 21 Jump Street. (Two outta three ain’t bad.) I know that a lot of you who came of age in the 80s are probably not happy about the idea of a Hughes movie being remade, but of all of his directorial efforts, Weird Science actually makes the most sense to update for the modern age.
The film is about two geeks who create the perfect woman, and geeks have never held as high of a status in pop culture as they do right now. We could also use some clever gender commentary in our society these days, and Bacall is an intelligent and funny writer capable of mixing comedy with exactly those kinds of messages. (Look what he did to the depiction of nerds and jocks in 21 Jump Street.) Plus, this movie isn’t quite as legendary as Ferris Bueller or The Breakfast Club, so it shouldn’t cause too much of an uproar among cinephiles.
I’m not saying this is going to be an easy task for the filmmakers. We saw what happened when Hollywood attempted to do a loose remake of Planes, Trains & Automobiles with the Todd Phillips-directed comedy Due Date a few years ago, and despite the pairing of Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis, that movie turned out terribly. It didn’t have any of the heart that Planes had, or any of the kind of side-splitting comedy that Hughes was so good at organically slipping into his movies.
Also, the guys behind Burt Wonderstone are hard at work on a sequel/reboot to Vacation, the Chevy Chase family road trip classic that Hughes wrote in 1983. Ed Helms is playing an older Rusty Griswold who now decides it’s time to take his own family back to Wally World, only to have his own ridiculous series of mishaps along the way. Conceptually, that could end up working pretty well, and I think a remake of Weird Science has the same potential to connect with new audiences who haven’t seen the original.
With the right cast and a director with strong comedic sensibilities, I don’t think a Weird Science remake will be a disaster. (Casting Christina Hendricks in Kelly LeBrock’s role would do wonders, too.) Will it capture the same cheesy tone in the same way as the Hughes film? Absolutely not, and they shouldn’t even try. But is the core story funny and worth telling again? I think so. How about you? What are your thoughts on a new take on Weird Science? Sound off in the comments below.
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