1. Singles. The story of a group of Gen-Xers in Seattle at the height of the Grunge phenomenon was going to be a big deal to the 1990s – it touched all the high points of the culture. The characters’ obsession with breakup-and-makeup relationships though would not make any sense to anyone seeing it today. Young women today wouldn’t tolerate that nonsense, they’re too busy leading full and rich lives.
2. Fight Club is the kind of movie that only makes sense when you’re not worried about much. The indulgent violence would seem weird and lurid today when so much of the world – and American culture specifically – feels like it’s just one match away from total incineration.
3. Dances With Wolves. Kevin Costner was never better, but the film’s “white saviour” message would probably be a little hard to swallow these days.
4. Pretty Woman. It seems unlikely that sex work would be put in such a mild – even flattering – light if this movie were made today. There would also be long, serious discussions of the economic inequality between the two main characters. It would no doubt be much darker and ponderous if made today.
5. The Blaire Witch Project was revolutionary when it was made, but if it were made today, the obvious question would be: where are your phones? All three characters would have cell phones, and even if they didn’t have coverage, you’d have your GPS and map apps that didn’t require internet, as well as automatic alarms set up on your friend’s calendars if you didn’t call by a certain time. The technology of the aughts would have destroyed this movie.
6. Misery. Same issue. Even if you accept that Paul Sheldon’s old Mustang didn’t have OnStar, and he somehow lost his cell phone, you have to believe that a woman as lonely and crazy as Annie “Number one fan” Wilkies would have internet access. After all, someone’s got to be posting those crazy YouTube comments. While she was out, all he’d have to do is find her computer and send a desperate email or text or Skype or Slack or what have you and voila, rescue.