It's the Booze Talkin'; Is nostalgia in cinema beginning to lose its appeal?

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Do you remember the J.J. Abrams flicks SUPER 8? It was the sci-fi feature with a bunch of young actors battling some sort of alien? The first time I sat down with it, I was surprised at how it felt like comfort food cinema - in a good way. The Eighties setting, the young cast, and a bit of a Spielbergian tone - Steven Spielberg produced the film - helped make this one of the most enjoyable movie going experiences that I happened upon during its 2011 theatrical release. After the screening, I happily said to a journalist friend of mine how much I dug Abrams kinda sorta familiar fable. Laughingly, he said that it didn’t work for him at all. In fact, he seemed to despise it. The problem he had? To him, the nostalgia overkill was too much to truly embrace. Considering it’s only a few years old, it's strange to see the level of feel good remembrance that has fueled movies and TV ever since.

A whole lot has changed since SUPER 8 arrived in theatres. In fact, if you haven’t been paying attention lately, everything old is new again. Stranger Things - arguably a better timed take on SUPER 8 - has become a massive hit for Netflix, and this fanciful series certainly enjoys the whole nostalgia craze with its period setting and pop culture references. And there is so much more on TV alone. You have the feel good classic THE KARATE KID bringing fans something special with Cobra Kai. Twin Peaks returned for a new season. Full House became Fuller House. Then there is Jordan Peele’s Twilight Zone. And for all you puppet fans, the magical elements of The Dark Crystal returned as well. Are you into slasher flicks? Well the current season of American Horror Story is a blast from the past with 1984. And that’s not even getting into the insane big screen love that the past gets on a weekly basis.

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With films like the recent return of the STAR WARS universe, Stephen King’s impressive IT, last year’s HALLOWEEN and so many others, you’d think that movie fans are desperate to live in the past. Are we as an audience finally getting a bit tired of all the reminders of the Eighties, the Nineties and everything else that stirs a memory? Well that’s probably not entirely true. The fact is, that warm and fuzzy feeling you have while getting a brand new story with familiar faces or characters will likely always be able to find some kind of an audience. However, over the past couple of weeks we’ve seen a bit of a change in the box office when it comes to fond memories of cinematic experiences before. Is it enough to give pause to studios looking to recapture the magic of yesteryear? Or is this just a blip in the typical process of feeding fans familiar stories all wrapped up in a pretty package?

This past weekend saw a continuation of one of the most iconic horror stories ever told. Whether you are a fan of Stephen King’s impressive novel, or perhaps you swooned over Stanley Kubrick’s very different take, THE SHINING is something special. Personally, I grew up closer to the movie than the novel, so I’ve always appreciated the atmospheric and horrifyingly sublime classic starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall. In the new film entitled DOCTOR SLEEP, the incredibly talented Mike Flanagan attempted to bring both Kubrick and King’s vision together. While the new film was based on King’s own novel - his own sequel to The Shining - many critics and fans have praised the balance that has been created here. And yet, the sequel only managed to bring in an estimated $14.1M according to Box Office Mojo. It was much lower than the anticipated earning of $25 million.

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What about the week before? Now look, I know there are many of you out who were severely disappointed with TERMINATOR: DARK FATE. While I personally dug the latest sequel quite a bit, one that brought Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) back to the franchise, I wasn’t surprised that it didn’t groove with a few fans. That said, it still remains slightly shocking that the film opened as low as it did. And yes, this weekend didn’t help as the sequel fell around 63% from the previous weeks earnings. That’s not a good sign. While it managed to bring in a decent amount of good reviews, it wasn’t universally loved. As well, you could also blame the many bad sequels that fell inbetween TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY and the recent DARK FATE. That can always kill a good sequel. But maybe, just maybe, fans are finally getting their fill of all these feature film flashbacks.

Maybe it’s the booze talkin’; but is nostalgia in cinema beginning to lose its appeal? With the less than impressive box office success for both THE TERMINATOR and THE SHINING, are fans finally realizing that there are other stories tha can be told? Hell, even though the sequel to IT made a ton of dough, the second half wasn’t nearly as satisfyingly creepy as it was the first time around. Even if fans are tiring of the past, it’s not going to go away very soon. Every single week we hear about a new sequel to an old flick, or a remake, or some sort of continuation of some classic story. Yet perhaps, this intense love we have for those crazy Eighties and grunge fueled Nineties is starting to fade - or in DOCTOR SLEEP’s case, the late Seventies. Either way, this is not a fad that is just going to go away permanently. However, it seems that it may be slowing down. What do you think? Are we finally tired of the past? Or is it that some movies aren’t compelling enough to give people that old fashioned feeling? Share your thoughts below!

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