Remaking Movies: Get More Creative like ‘PCU’

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Published April 16, 2018
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The Montclarion
Photo Courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes

Remakes and reboots of existing properties are common in the film industry. Some attribute this to the notion that creators in Hollywood have run out of ideas. That notion is something I would dispute. Thanks to more platforms and tools becoming available, there are plenty of innovative projects being churned out at a commensurate rate.

It is a matter of these projects not always getting their moment in the limelight, which says more about general marketing business and movie-going populism than it does about artistic creativity. Just because the next monolithic “Star Wars” franchise has not been made yet does not mean there is a lack of creativity.

However, I do concede that remakes and reboots of franchises have been a mixed bag, at best. For every “Ocean’s Eleven,” there is another unwarranted, poorly made rehash, like 2012’s “Total Recall” or 2010’s “Clash of the Titans.”

Remakes of older productions are not going anywhere though, so this raises another question entirely: what deserves to be brought back? It is not necessarily about searching for past films with the highest qualitative value or popularity, but rather the ones that had some interesting ideas that beg to be expanded upon and shown to a new generation of audiences.

My suggestion would be to take a look at “PCU,” an obscure 1994 film starring Jeremy Piven, Chris Young and David Spade. It was about a made-up university with incompetent leaders that allowed political correctness to run amuck. At PCU, the different cliques, ranging anywhere from women’s rights activists and stoners to sports teams and fraternities, are essentially blown out to their most extreme ends for comedic and thematic effect.

There are no in-betweeners at this fictional university, only the most obnoxious, overly sensitive and antagonistic caricatures. In the opening minutes, the main character Tom Lawrence, played by Chris Young, can barely say a word before he is chased around the school by a flood of angry mobs after making fairly innocuous gestures that were perceived as offensive. There is no compromise at PCU, just the most egregious of reactions without any reservations.

While it is true that political correctness is certainly necessary and has brought about a more engaged and evolved society over the years, there is also the case to be made that it can go too far. With the rise of social media, especially, everyone is constantly speaking about things they find offensive, which often leads to the hyperbole that sparks the internecine conflicts that plague society so much today. It makes the two-decades-old “PCU” look remarkably unexpected.

While the film itself was nowhere near a hit and not an objectively great film, its ideas and themes are something that could truly resonate with audiences if given a second chance. It could be like a “Saturday Night Live” sketch, where the ideas are shown through clever, witty comedy that shows how the extremist viewpoints on either side of the spectrum are what everyone actually hates the most.

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