8 Popular Movie Classics That Could Never, Ever Be Made Today
A lot of popular things from our past wouldn’t even last a millisecond in today’s Twitter and Tumblr vigilanted world without being torn apart and thrown to the masses for a good ol’ fashioned stake burnin’. Yes, even some of the movies that you watched a million times as a kid, are actually deeply problematic and you were committing a hate crime just by laughing at it. For shame.
No, but for real, there are a lot of classic movies that could never, ever be made in today’s environment. Sometimes, this is for the best – something like Birth of a Nation is so nakedly horrible that no one even considers that beloved anymore, unless of course you’re a Klansman – and sometimes, it’s just another example of the hysterical puritanism that has become fashionable these days. Whatever the reason, you all know, deep in your hearts, that the following eight beloved classic movies could never be made today.
“Revenge of the Nerds”
Oh, my beloved nerds. While it actually seems like this would resonate today since it’s the story of a group of underdogs fighting back against a cultural power structure, a closer look indicates that everyone involved in this film would be arrested by the culture police and forced to read Lena Dunham’s twitter feed every day for 5-10 years.
Let’s start with the fact that Lamar is a nerd just because he is gay. That’s it. He’s a social reject just because he likes dick, which has never been a problem for Kim Kardashian so I don’t know why everyone’s bagging on poor Lamar. Other nerds are nerds because they’re either Asian, a child, and I’m pretty sure one dude is an Indian and doesn’t even get any lines because his Indian nerdery is apparently so self-evident.
But that is nothing compared to this: Lewis, the main character and head nerd, fucking rapes Betty in the Moon Room at the school carnival, and she just decides he’s good at the dick giving and falls in love with him instead of having him castrated. This comes after Lewis and the boys terrorize Betty and her sorority by raiding their house like a goddamn SWAT team, stealing their panties, busting in on them naked and installing hidden cams so they can creep at their leisure. And all of this is considered okay just because Betty didn’t want to go out with him and was mean to him.
Holy shit! Imagine that flying today. I haven’t even gotten into the whole “the nerds join a black fraternity” thing. Goddamn. People would be sent to cultural Siberia for this today.
Best remembered as the movie that made Eddie Murphy a megastar, 48 Hours was also astoundingly racist. It’s not that it really had racist themes or anything – other than Eddie being a black criminal, while Nick Nolte was the white cop, anyway – but that Nick Nolte’s character is so appallingly racist that it’s almost impossible to root for him in any way.
I mean, he’s just a complete shithead to Eddie, calling him pretty much every racial slur you can imagine. He’s almost the Picasso of racist insults. At one point, he calls him a fucking spear-chucker!
Hilariously, Nolte is actually on record as saying that he thinks 48 hours “taught blacks and whites how to talk to each other.” Yeah, Nick, I think maybe that’s part of the problem. Anyway, this would probably legit start riots if it came out today.
‘Some Like It Hot’
Okay, we’re going waaaaay back here. All the way to 1959 when Marilyn Monroe was not only still alive but starring in one of the most beloved comedies of all time. And what’s the premise of said comedy? Two musicians witness a mob hit and flee posing as women. That’s it. The joke is that they are dudes posing as women and the complications that ensue. Can you see why this would be a problem today?
Sure, this is one of those “Man, everyone relax” sorts of things, but as soon as this movie was released, we’d end up with a two hour very special prime time town hall meeting in which everyone involved in this movie would be hauled in front of the mob, pelted with trash and found guilty of transphobia. Sorry, Jack Lemon, you may be one of the most beloved actors of all time, but you put on a dress and made people laugh. You are now a monster. Those are just the rules, man.
This movie’s only ten years old, and yet, you cannot tell me with a straight face that people would be cool with this today. That’s how crazy things have gotten in such a short time.
“But it’s satire!” you say. Yes. Yes, it is. That’s kind of my point. While a lot of people still understand this, things like “nuance” and “context” have largely been stripped out of the conversation, and there are plenty of people – so many people – who would just see a dude making jokes about Jews and acting like a wretch and flip the fuck out.
It’s not so much that people wouldn’t be in on the joke as they would refuse to admit that the joke has any validity or place in their Brave New World. Of course, maybe that’s for the best since none of us really need to see that naked wrestling scene again, do we?
There are teenage sex comedies, and then there is Porky’s, which is pretty much the O.G. sex comedy and makes even Revenge of the Nerds seem responsible in its depravity. I mean, the whole movie is centered around – and named after – a literal whorehouse. Again, this is a comedy about high school kids.
I could point out the locker room peep scene as an example of why this wouldn’t fly today, but really, it’s just a cumulative raunch effect. The entire movie supports a sort of sexual power dynamic that is rejected by cultural tastemakers today just about the same way Communism was by Reagan. People would fucking hate this movie.
‘Song of the South’/’Dumbo’
I decided to talk about these two together because they’re both illustrative of a common theme in early, beloved Disney movies that are considered cultural treasures: they are racist as fuck.
Whether it’s the crows in Dumbo, or the kindly old Uncle Remus in Song of the South, these movies are just of a completely different time, a time when black people were treated as little more than a caricature. Okay, I guess maybe it wasn’t that different a time.
But still, the sort of shit I’m talking about I can’t even repeat here without being labeled a horrible racist. That’s how racist this shit is. I mean, here’s the fucking summary for Song of the South: “Plantation handyman Uncle Remus entertains a lonely boy with Brer Rabbit fables.”
Oh well, they’re just movies. It’s not like Walt Disney was a Nazi sympathizer or anything. Oh wait…
This one hurts me. Hurts me real bad. I mean, if you don’t love Blazing Saddles, you are very likely The Enemy.
On the other hand, the movie uses the word “nigger” more than Quentin Tarantino, and it uses it as a punchline. That, uh, that doesn’t work today.
But here’s the thing: Blazing Saddles was co-written by Richard Pryor, who knew a thing or two about being both funny and provocative. And that’s precisely why Blazing Saddles was so goddamn funny. Every time the word was used, it was used with the knowledge that it was wildly offensive. Hell, John Wayne refused to do the movie because he knew that even he in 1974 couldn’t get away with saying this shit. It was funny because it was offensive, and it was offensive because it was real. That’s the sort of nuance and context I was talking about earlier. And it’s the sort of thing that stands absolutely zero chance of being made today.