Assignment: The ’80s and ’90s were filled with kids and teens in the movies. Which movie would you like to see a sequel made in 2012 with the original cast members, who have aged the same as you and me?
My first thought was of The Breakfast Club. As soon as I finished watching that movie back in 1985, I was ready for the sequel. I really wanted to know: would all these kids still be friends come Monday? On the other hand, I also knew that no one – not even John Hughes – could make a satisfying Breakfast Club sequel. I already had a very specific vision of what Monday would be like; I just wanted to see it confirmed. And there’s no way it could have been.
A 25-years-later sequel would be a bad idea for similar reasons. Part of me would love to catch up with Bender, Claire, Allison, Andy, and Brian in middle-age; maybe at a high school reunion. But most of me realizes that I still don’t want to see that. I have my own ideas about where these characters ended up that are uniquely mine. Seeing anything else on the screen is doomed to disappoint.
So I’m going with Tom Cruise and Mia Sara’s characters from Legend. Unlike the very real characters in The Breakfast Club, Jack and Lili are ciphers (“archetypes,” if we’re being generous); blank characters with no real personality. I love Legend and saw it enough times that I once could quote the entire thing from memory (there’s not a lot of dialogue, so it’s not that hard), but its two leads aren’t examples of great writing or acting. I used to give Mia Sara a pass for being Ferris Bueller’s girlfriend, but I don’t anymore and – honestly – she wasn’t that great in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off either. Darkness (Tim Curry), on the other hand…an entirely different story.
But it’s Jack and Lili’s blandness that makes them perfect for catching up to. Contrasting them again with the kids from The Breakfast Club, a filmmaker could write Older Jack and Lili anyway she wanted to without competing with my personal preferences. The world Ridley Scott created in Legend is gorgeous and fantastic, but it has some of the same problems that Jack and Lili do. Scott never tries to ground it or make it feel like a real place. That helps with the fairy tale feel, but it’s also a reason that I haven’t gone back and watched the movie much as an adult. So, like Jack and Lili, I’d love to revisit the world of Legend and learn more about it. There are a lot of possibilities there.
Tom Cruise is still a charismatic, active screen presence and though Mia Sara hasn’t done a lot of acting lately (concentrating more on making grandkids for Sean Connery and Jim Henson), it would be fun to catch up with her too. And Tim Curry, of course. If you remember the final shot of Legend, with Darkness laughing menacingly as he’s superimposed over the heroes who believe he’s been destroyed; well, most of the plot of Legend 2 pretty much writes itself.