When looking to the past for what is hoped to be future success, Hollywood often banks on nostalgia bring eyeballs to the screen.
The reboot of the popular 1980’s series Punky Brewster premiered on Peacock the end of last month. The title character (Soleil Moon Frye) is now a forty something photographer and a divorced mother of three. Her musician ex, Travis (Freddie Prinze Jr.) has just finished another tour and is co-parenting with Punky. Her longtime bestie Cherie (Cherie Johnson) is a social worker. Cherie asks Punkie to temporarily take in a foster child, Izzy (Quinn Copeland) until she find a home for the girl.
When the original series premiered, I was a little too young for it. But I certainly knew of it, as did many who were born in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. I watched the first two episodes last night. I wanted to like it. Unfortunately, the certain something that makes a reboot successful is missing from Punky Brewster.
Do I recommend it? No.
Punky Brewster is available for streaming on Peacock.
Playing those meddling kids was Freddie Prinze Jr (Fred), Sarah Michelle Gellar (Daphne), Matthew Lillard (Shaggy) and Linda Cardellini (Velma).
Let’s call it what it is, a kids movie. Or it could be for the kids at heart who are hoping to relive a small part of their childhood by watching this movie. It’s not the best movie or the best adaptation of a beloved childhood cartoon, but it could be worse.
The best teen movies are the ones that transcend their genre and generations. Regardless of our age and how old we were when these movies were released, we can still relate to them.
Two of my favorites are based in classic literature, Taming Of The Shrew by William Shakespeare and Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. They were also rebooted into Broadway musicals, Taming Of The Shrew remade into Kiss Me, Kate and Pygmalion remade into My Fair Lady.
10 Things I Hate About You is the story of the Stratford Sisters. Biana (Larissa Oleynik) is extremely eager to be popular and date Joey Donner (Andrew Keegan). But her hilarious and cringe inducing overprotective father (Larry Miller) will not allow Bianca to date until her older sister Kat (Julia Stiles) is dating. Kat has no interest in dating anyone. Cameron James (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is new to the school and falls in love with Bianca instantly. He uses Joey, who pays Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger), to date Kat, so he can go on a date with Bianca. The end result is very interesting and very entertaining.
I love this movie. The screenwriters kept the Beatrice and Benedict relationship between Kat and Patrick (as well as some of the Shakespearean language from the play) while dulling the sexist and misogynistic language of the original text. The late Health Ledger (pre Batman and pre Oscar for Brokeback Mountain) has a massive potential as an actor, that potential shines through in his later roles. Julia Stiles is another up and comer who proves that she has the talent to go very far.
She’s All That starts at the tail of senior year. Popular Zach (Freddie Prinze Jr) has just been dumped by his girlfriend (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe). Zach’s friend Dean (the late Paul Walker), makes a bet that Zach can turn any of his female classmates into prom queen. Zach’s choice is Laney (Rachael Leigh Cook), the artsy outsider.
I love this movie. It’s one of those movies that I can find on cable and brought back to that time in my life. The coup that makes this movie stand out from other teen movies of this era is that Zach and Laney are each dealing with their own internal pressures. As their relationship grows, they find a way to deal with those pressures. This is another movie full of then up and coming performers (Usher, Gabrielle Union (who also had a part in 10 Things I Hate About You), Anna Paquin, Dule Hill) who have had steady careers since then.
Both of these movies have quotable lines and soundtracks that fit in so perfectly with era that they premiered.