5 Famous Movies That Now Look Painfully Silly
The flow of time is cruel to us all. But one of its less-appreciated victims are movies that age badly not because of dated language or politics, but simply because society has rendered a formerly touching or intense moment now laughably unbelievable. So let's take a moment to appreciate some classics that will baffle your deeply uninterested children.
Final Destination Is Extremely Pre-9/11
There's no shortage of pre-9/11 movies in which characters casually wave guns around airports, run through security for a romantic embrace, and otherwise perform acts that would today see them tackled by half a dozen ornery TSA agents. But 2000's Final Destination -- if you can recall that these movies had something vaguely resembling plots before the series became nothing but excuses to watch people die horribly -- has perhaps the most baffling example of all.
Noted Canadian heartthrob Devon Sawa is boarding a plane to Paris for a class trip when he has a premonition of the plane exploding in midair. When real-life events begin to mimic his vision, he freaks out and screams, "The plane is going to explode!" This causes a kerfuffle that ends with Sawa, a few classmates, and a teacher being thrown off the flight, after which the plane takes off as scheduled and does indeed explode. The survivors are questioned by FBI agents, but are eventually allowed to go home to be stalked by the same merciless Universe which for some reason let Sawa see things coming in the first place.
If you scream, "The plane is going to explode!" on a flight today, you will not be considered a mild inconvenience. A security guard would have much stronger words for you than "Sit down and be quiet," assuming they don't just punch and/or shoot you. The plane would be grounded, and you would not soon go home to reflect on what a day you've had. You would have a long, uncomfortable conversation with federal agents, who would be in absolutely no mood to let your friends accompany you, and would likely slap you with charges. And while it would presumably be easy for Death to have its revenge on you in prison, no one wants to watch a movie in which a plane's entire passenger manifest has to put up with a bunch of supernatural bullshit, because that exists as a TV show, and it's terrible.
The Damning Evidence In Scream Is The Unusual Trait Of A Teenager Owning A Cellphone
The killer in Scream has a habit of phoning his victims before he murders them, and heroine Sidney Prescott is attacked right after she receives one of these creepy calls. She escapes, and when her boyfriend Billy shows up, she rushes into his arms ... only to flee in terror again when he drops his cellphone. The rare ability to remotely place phone calls? He must be the killer!
Billy is soon "proven" innocent, before a series of twists reveal that he really was the villain all along. But the dramatic shot of his phone falling to the ground and alarming Sidney is a laughable relic of Scream being set in the ancient mist-shrouded days of 1996. Why would you own a cellphone unless you were a cocaine-fueled business executive or a creep who wants to stalk and intimidate his victims?
Today, 95% of Americans own a cellphone, but in 1996, it was only around 16%. And why on Earth would a teenager possibly need or even want a mobile phone? How absurd, Scream declared. How patently absurd.
The Psycho Remake Added Awkward Walkman Talk
Gus Van Sant's odd Psycho is almost entirely a shot-for-shot remake of the original, right down to copying the smallest camera movements and repeating large chunks of the script. It mostly serves to prove that you can't make lightning strike twice, but they did at least update the technology ... which now only makes a movie from 1998 feel older than a movie from 1960.
Behold a scene dedicated to highlighting Julianne Moore's Walkman. (For you kids, a Walkman played cassette tapes, because back in the '90s, if a bunch of white guys wanted to get together and record a podcast of their very unique thoughts, they at least had to go through the effort of creating physical tapes to force on their friends.)
That's right, moviegoers, this Lila is a modern '90s girl! She listens to Marcy Playground and Savage Garden! And that Walkman is more than a one-scene wonder. Lila has her headphones on throughout several scenes. In the original, the stuffy old Lila declared, "Let me get my coat," but our hip new Lila announces, "Let me get my Walkman." Maybe it was warmer out in the '90s? Keep in mind that the context is Lila and Viggo Mortensen discussing how to best find two missing people. Did she need a hip "Aw fuck, I think William H. Macy's been murdered" jam to motivate her?
They might as well have made the characters debate Sega vs. Nintendo while skateboarding for how of its time it feels. The only other major change was the addition of a scene in which Vince Vaughn masturbates, complete with cartoonish "fapping" sound effects, which we suppose is a fitting summation of the whole experiment.
You've Got Mail Wanted To Show Off The Greatest Technology 1998 Had To Offer
You've Got Mail has aged about as well as you'd expect for a movie named after an AOL marketing slogan. If you can see beyond the dated references and technology, there's still a charming story about finding love online, even if its most unbelievable escapist element is no longer "Wow, a woman finds love on the internet!" but rather "Wow, a woman finds love on the internet without first being bombarded by dick pics from men ranting about the need to maintain a pure Aryan race!" But to enjoy that whimsical fantasy, you first have to get through an intro that thought AOL allowed you to enter the Matrix.
This looks like a terrible '90s movie about hackers, or Will Smith having to outrun and out-quip a bunch of ominous government satellites. But let's get closer to the specific meatspace the movie's set in.
Is a heist being planned? A terrorattack? This looks like the glider infiltration scene inEscape From New York, but the only stealth offensive here will be made with Tom Hanks' indelible charms. But what's this? Holy shit, the city's coming to life!
Let's zoom and enhance!
OK, now we're starting to move away from gritty thriller territory and into the realm of a SimCity knockoff's opening cutscene.
Thanks to the blistering 128 mb of your ATI VGA card which for some reason had a half-naked bald elf on its box, Manhattan Maker 1999 can reticulate splines at levels previously only theorized by NASA scientists. Oh, but what's this we see as we zoom closer to street level?
Jesus Christ, this is actually a movie. Who does this obscure Chappelle fellow play, the cyborg? Never mind, watch in amazement as you are seamlessly transported from the virtual realm to the physical one.
How will Meg Ryan ever find old-fashioned love in this fast-paced, topsy-turvy modern world? You'll have to watch this futuristic movie to find out. Sadly, Nora Ephron's next directorial project was the forgettable Lucky Numbers, and not an adaptation of Neuromancer like she seemed to be building up to.
The Fast & Furious Crew Started By Stealing VHS Players
With most of the Fast & Furious movies essentially being superhero films, it's easy to forget that the first installment was a (relatively) grounded crime drama. 2001's The Fast And The Furious, in addition to being the most grammatically studious of the series, was a Point Break ripoff with street racing thrown in. Paul Walker is an undercover cop who infiltrates a gang of thieves, only to find himself sympathizing with the man he's supposed to bring in. Search up the trailer's AOL Keyword if you'd like to learn more. But in the meantime, what incredible loot were Vin Diesel and friends stealing?
Panasonic DVD players and, holy shit, 9-inch CRT televisions with built-in VHS players. That's the high-tech loot the camera lovingly sweeps over. That's what everyone was tricking out top-of-the-line race cars in order to acquire: expensive miracle technology that could rewind a VHS tape at lightning speed.
People die in this movie over what today would only be of interest to hobbyists rummaging through garage sales. After 16 years and seven more movies, the same crew that was giving black market customers the ability to watch The Land Before Time from the bathtub are now working to prevent nuclear terrorism by raiding Russian military installations. Truly, we've all come a long way.
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