The Cultural Smearing Of the 1980s

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JONATHAN CHAIT JANUARY 13, 2010

The Cultural Smearing Of the 1980s

Having been born in 1972, I know full well that the 1980s did not produce the finest moments in popular culture. But why is it that Hollywood must recycle the worst elements of that culture? First they remade Knight Rider. Now, Lord help us, an A-Team movie:

This was a television show that insulted my intelligence when I was ten. (My younger brother insisted on watching.) The premise of the show is a group of wrongly-convicted commandos who roam the land helping people by confronting whatever bad guy is tormenting them, shooting up his liquor cabinet -- you couldn't shoot people on network television so the liquor cabinet always took the hit -- and then embarking upon some complicated mechanical project that will produce an ultimate victory. There weren't a lot of great shows on television then, but there were a lot better ones than this. I mean, if you're going to make an A team movie, why not just make a movie of "Silver Spoons"? Jason Bateman's career is hot again.

And you know who else must be angry? Mr. T. Here's an actor who made the show, such as it was. For twenty five years he couldn't get a role anywhere because, in addition to what I admit are limited acting skills, he was too deeply associated with his A-Team character. And now, more than two decades later, there's a movie with a role for which he's perfectly suited. And they didn't pick him! They picked some other black guy with a mohawk.

This is just going to gibe the younger generation an unrealistically negative portrait of 1980s culture. It was bad. But it wasn't that bad.

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posted in: jonathan chait, jason bateman, t. here, silver spoons

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