The Washington Post

Does ‘Police Academy’ remake scrape the bottom of the barrel? Close, but not quite.

Steve Guttenberg in all his “Police Academy 3” glory. (Warner Bros./Getty Images)

Deadline reports that Scott Zabielski, who has directed episodes of “Tosh 2.0” and also works as a part-time cop, has been tapped to direct the movie, which would be the eighth “Police Academy” flick and the first once since 1994’s unforgettable “Police Academy 7: Mission to Moscow.” (Oops, I meant to say forgettable. Sorry.)

Like some people — specifically, a commenter on this Deadline story — you might hear this news and think: “This is the very definition of ‘scraping the bottom of the barrel.’ I doubt the studios have ever been as creatively bankrupt as they are right now.”

Clearly this is a person who has forgotten that: (a) the “Police Academy” franchise generated $239.6 million, a figure admittedly boosted by the $81.1 million brought in by the first movie but still semi-impressive; and (b) it’s really funny when Michael Winslow makes gunshot noises with his mouth.

But pushing that aside for a moment, I strongly contend that it is indeed possible to scrape even more remake goops from the bottom of the cinematic barrel. As proof of that, here are four ’80s movies that would be even more absurd to remake than “Police Academy.”

1. “Hot to Trot”

Bobcat Goldthwait, a “Police Academy” alumnus, starred in the story of a man who gets financial advice from a talking horse, voiced by John Candy. This might sound like the kind of comedy that speaks to our times. But Hollywood, do us all a favor and don’t let a new version of this speak to anything.

2. “Howard the Duck”

This is widely acknowledged as one of the worst movies ever made, so I think we can all agree that there is no need to revive Howard, and no need to ever force Tim Robbins (or whoever would be suckered into assuming his role) to wear the outfit on display in the scene below.

3. “Solarbabies”

This one scares me a little because its plot elements contains buzz words— post-apocalyptic world, eco-consciousness — that make it sounds like the perfect fodder for an update in 2012. But it isn’t. This is a movie that features orb-lacrosse, breakdancing with orbs and discussing orbs while wearing ripped, “Flashdance”-esque sweatshirts. All of these things should be left in the ’80s where they belong.

4. “A Gnome Named Gnorm”

Okay, technically this was released in 1990. Either way, I think it’s clear that no one needs to see a buddy comedy featuring Anthony Michael Hall (or his modern equivalent) as a detective who teams up with a gnome whose name is Gnorm (see title of movie for further information) to solve a magical stone robbery. Gnever again.

In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen of the Bad Remake Idea Jury, I argue that remaking “Police Academy” is indeed a lame pursuit. But does it suggest we’ve scraped the bottom of the barrel? No. And to those who imply that it does, I strongly say to you: We have not yet begun to scrape.

When she isn’t at a movie theater or writing about movies, Jen Chaney is ... um ... probably at home, watching a movie.


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