The most memorable films tend to capture the zeitgeist. They’re time capsules; reflecting the political, economic and social climate of their era. But what if you could change the release dates of certain films by several years? Characters, plot twists, locations and even genres would be totally different.
Don’t believe me? It’s true. Check it out–I’ve turned this idea into a parlor game. Here are 10 classic films transported to different eras:
1. If “Taxi Driver” were released in 1955 instead of 1976, it would be a musical about glamorous New York City. Travis Bickle would have a show-stopping number called, “Are You Lookin’ At Me? (Then You’re Lookin’ At Happy!)” Iris would no longer be a hooker. She’d be a plucky orphan. In her quest to get adopted, her signature song would be, “Ya Gotta Have A Hook!”
2. If “Fatal Attraction” had been released in 2006 instead of 1987, a 30-something woman like Glenn Close would not have been cast. Neither would a 30-something man like Michael Douglas. Because the movie would have been set on a college campus. Instead of boiling a bunny, psychotic Art History student Alex Forrest would post nude pictures of herself with Dan Gallagher all over his girlfriend’s Facebook page.
3. If the Marilyn Monroe movie “Bus Stop” had been released in 1975 instead of 1956, Bo Decker would not have lassoed Cherie and subsequently married her. He would have lassoed her and subsequently strangled her. She’d be left for dead in a squalid apartment. He’d steal the money from her patchwork purse and score some heroin. He’d overdose and die.
4. If “Pretty in Pink” had been released in 1993 instead of 1986, poor girl Andie Walsh would never have wound up with rich kid Blane. She would have fallen for dorky, broke but charming Duckie, and they would have opened up a vintage clothing store together called, “Andie’s Attic”.
5. If “Saturday Night Fever” had been released in 2009 instead of 1977, Tony Manero would not have needed disco to escape his dreary Brooklyn experience. Instead, he’d make his Manhattan friends feel like superficial assholes because his neighborhood is so much more authentic than theirs.
6. If “Thelma and Louise” had been released in 1978 instead of 1991, the road trip would not have taken such a disastrous turn. Thelma and Louise would have been married to “male chauvinist pigs”. To escape their unfulfilled suburban lives, they move to L.A. Once there, they smoke Virginia Slims, attend a creepy Hollywood party and yammer on to their analysts about their need for personal freedom. Louise screws her analyst. Thelma goes back to her husband. The final shot is Thelma in bed with her husband. He asks her to get him a glass of water. A slow tear rolls down her cheek as a Carole King song swells.
7. If “Easy Rider” were released in 1957 instead of 1969, ne’er-do-well bikers Wyatt and Billy would have been shot by patriotic, morally upstanding police officers Howard and Fred. These fine young men in blue would be rewarded for protecting this great nation from filthy hooligans. Pat Boone would do the soundtrack, a cover of an R&B song first performed by a much more talented black singer.
8. If “When Harry Met Sally” had been released in 1994 instead of 1989, Harry and Sally would not move to New York for corporate jobs. They’d move to Austin, Texas and live in a ramshackle house, decorated with retro-thrift shop furnishings. Harry would be in a band. Sally would work in a cool coffee shop. The final scene shows Harry and Sally singing a love song together in the coffee shop. The song would be, “Alice and Mel”, a kitchy reference to The Brady Bunch.
9. If “Singles” had been released in 1966 instead of 1992, sweet Janet Livermore would not have hooked up with grunge musician Cliff Poncier again. She would have moved into the plastic surgeon’s waterfront penthouse. It would be one of those kooky relationships where the waitress/hippie/bongo player character giggles and does wacky yet adorable stuff like making rain bonnets for her poodle. Meanwhile, the doctor/lawyer/fill-in-the-blank rich profession character makes tons of money and indulges her whims by setting her up with a dog rain bonnet shop. And she shows him how to be a free spirit, even though it’s not really free because he pays all her bills.