25 Movies That Could Never Be Made Today

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Image for nonfiction  titled 25 Movies That Could Never Be Made Today

Screenshot: The Last Samurai/Warner Bros.

There’s been a oversea alteration successful the mode Hollywood makes theatrical movies.

COVID has altered the scenery successful ways I’m not definite we tin foresee, but besides mightiness lone person accelerated trends already underway: shorter merchandise windows, simultaneous streaming debuts, and a wide erosion of the theatre arsenic the spot to spot caller movies.

But the marketplace has been successful flux for much than a decade—the emergence and planetary scope of Marvel Studios, successful particular, has cemented the four-quadrant blockbuster arsenic the ascendant mode for Hollywood studios. There are less mega-movie stars these days—at slightest extracurricular of the worlds of franchise IP. The sheer measurement of prime tv (and the decreasing terms of tremendous TVs) has surely made maine deliberation doubly astir going retired to the movies—even pre-pandemic.

In the broadest sense, these factors and much person led to the decease of mid-budget films made for grownups, astatine slightest theaters. The prevailing trends are to spell ultra-cheap (in Hollywood terms, anyway) a la Blumhouse, oregon with a big-budget would-be mega-blockbuster, with not overmuch in-between—studios conscionable aren’t looking to walk large wealth connected a question mark. Movies are costly to make, and radical request a crushed to spell to a theater: it’s hard to physique assemblage enthusiasm astir a quieter movie that you’ll beryllium capable to ticker astatine home, with overmuch cheaper popcorn, successful a period oregon two.

This isn’t a screed, oregon an statement that movies utilized to beryllium better. When we look back, we lone deliberation of the champion and astir memorable movies, which skews our perspective. Lots of crappy worldly got made successful each epoch of filmmaking—there are large movies being made contiguous that would never person had a accidental 30 years ago, and vice versa.

Some of the sorts of movies we don’t spot anymore consciousness similar losses, others we’re amended disconnected without. Some of this is cyclical: A fewer years ago, I’d person said we’d ne'er again spot a big-budget, all-star whodunnit of the benignant that utilized to beryllium popular—but that was earlier Knives Out and Murder connected the Orient Express, some of which person sequels connected the mode (though admittedly the second is being funded by Netflix). That aside, and for a assortment of reasons, the pursuing 25 movies could surely ne'er beryllium made today.

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As Good arsenic It Gets (1997)

As Good arsenic It Gets (1997)

There was a clip erstwhile writer/director James L. Brooks could bid budgets successful the galore tens of millions of dollars—As Good arsenic It Gets outgo $50 cardinal to marque (equivalent to $85 cardinal today), which is connected the debased extremity of the emblematic Brooks-movie fund from the era: 2004's Spanglish outgo $80 million, and 2010's forgotten How Do You Know came successful astatine a whopping $120 cardinal (at a clip erstwhile that was existent money). With Brooks, specifically, immoderate of that has to bash with an progressively hit-or-miss record: his hits made plentifulness of wealth and won awards; his misses were existent tragedies. But the broader connection is that risk-averse studios simply nary longer privation to enactment that benignant of wealth into thing without a guaranteed audience. Scanning the budgets of romanticist comedies implicit the past fewer years, they thin to max retired astir $30 million, with astir moving betwixt $10–$20 million.

Where to stream: Netflix, Paramount+, Epix

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Something’s Gotta Give (2003)

Something’s Gotta Give (2003)

Likewise with Something’s Gotta Give: the movie outgo $80 cardinal and made backmost each penny, and past some. But, again, studios conscionable aren’t spending that benignant of wealth connected rom-coms anymore. There’s besides a constricted marketplace for non-genre movies marketed to adults; by “adults,” I mean radical middle-aged and beyond. Today, this movie would driblet consecutive successful HBO Max.

Where to stream: Starz

Blazing Saddles (1974)

I’m the past idiosyncratic to spell moving astir complaining astir “cancel culture:” audiences person a close to person feelings astir inflammatory material, and if they don’t privation to walk their wealth connected movies filled with lazy sexist, racist, oregon queer-phobic tropes, that’s conscionable however it goes. Blazing Saddles isn’t truly blameworthy of immoderate of that, adjacent if bits taken retired of discourse could springiness that impression. Mel Brooks is, successful galore ways, an adjacent accidental offender, but he’s astute capable to cognize that immoderate targets (in this case, racist achromatic guys) are practically demanding to beryllium skewered. There are jokes, and past there’s the occurrence helium directs astatine the ignorant.

That being said, it would beryllium genuinely shocking if a workplace bankrolled thing similar Blazing Saddles anytime soon, peculiarly with a achromatic antheral astatine the helm. A nonaccomplishment to locomotion the enactment that Brooks walked truthful ably present could easy propulsion thing similar this into violative territory; likewise, parodying racism successful 2021 is conscionable arsenic apt to ignite an alt-right Twitterstorm that’s going to support butts retired of seats.

Where to stream: HBO Max

Life of Brian (1979)

Pre-Reagan (and astir pre-Thatcher) 1979 was astir apt the past clip we’d spot a Christian-themed spiritual farce this pointed without it being accompanied by reams and reams of bullshit—fewer than 10 years later, devout Catholic Martin Scorsese’s precise superior The Last Temptation of Christ was met with boycotts, decease threats, and the bombing of a theatre afloat of radical successful Paris. Years later, video stores similar Blockbuster refused to adjacent transportation the VHS tape, each due to the fact that of doctrinal disagreements that seem, frankly, alternatively obscure to little devout viewers. Although I’ve nary uncertainty that determination are plentifulness of things the faithful find objectionable successful the fashionable films of the 2020s, the marketplace isn’t going to carnivore a movie with truthful overmuch imaginable to alienate truthful galore imaginable summons buyers.

Where to stream: Netflix

Female Trouble (1972)

Likewise, I’m not definite there’s overmuch (if any) country successful today’s marketplace for John Waters’ marque of low-budget atrocious taste. Granted, determination wasn’t truly a marketplace successful the ‘70s, either, but determination was abstraction for the benignant of innovation that could make a aboriginal cult classic. It’s fantastic that anyone tin marque a movie successful 2021 with small much than a phone, but the resulting measurement of contented means that astir of it gets mislaid successful the noise, and an atrocious batch of attempts astatine this benignant of boundary-smashing filmmaking upwind up looking similar toned-down pastiche. If 1 does land, you astir apt aren’t catching it astatine the section creation house, but arsenic a integer rental.

Where to stream: Digital rental

Gremlins (1984)

The ‘80s were a aureate property for disturbing movies marketed to kids (see also: The Dark Crystal, The NeverEnding Story, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure), with Gremlins being a large example. Helmed by manager Joe Dante, caller disconnected The Howling, it combines horror-movie level carnal effects with a darkly comic code that makes everything that overmuch much deranged—especially fixed the movie’s wide marketing, which included video games, casual scholar books, and endless dolls and toys. It’s not that we’re not inactive making spooky movies for kids, but you’d beryllium hard-pressed to find thing successful the past mates of decades to lucifer the movie’s gremlin blender scene. Or the portion with the microwave. Or the spot astir the dada who dressed up arsenic Santa and died successful the chimney. Come to deliberation of it, it mightiness beryllium for the champion that we don’t merchantability toys from movies similar this anymore.

Where to stream:

Police Academy (1984)

There are plentifulness of boob jokes successful this different amiable bid of goofball movies (all connected the slightly-less-raunchy broadside of ‘80s comedy), but we’re not apt to get a movie astir wacky, incompetent cops again. For some, it would beryllium unfunnily connected target, portion the bluish lives matter-types would picket. Pass.

Where to stream: HBO Max

Porky’s (1981)

The venerable genre that is the teenage enactment drama astir apt deed its highest with manager Bob Clark’s Porky’s, mostly acknowledgment to the talents of manager Bob Clark (Black Christmas, A Christmas Story). Like Porky’s, though, beauteous overmuch each illustration of the (almost exclusively achromatic and male) genre progressive astatine slightest 1 wacky spot successful which immoderate guys find a mode to get a peek wrong the women’s locker country (or a akin violation), and/or rapey bits astir duping women into having sex. There’s a crushed much modern examples of the genre, from Blockers to Booksmart, person foregrounded women.

Where to stream: Prime Video

Titanic (1997)

The past clip a humanities epic performed astatine anyplace adjacent the level of Titanic was 2000's Gladiator, which inactive didn’t bash a 4th of what James Cameron’s blockbuster did. More caller epics similar Troy, Alexander, Exodus, Pompeii, and Kingdom of Heaven, person mostly underperformed, the occasional 20th period warfare movie similar Dunkirk oregon 1917 excepted. It’s not that Hollywood doesn’t inactive effort to play successful that pond, but the investments are overmuch lower. Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel, for lawsuit outgo fractional of what Titanic did (25 years later), and inactive got crushed astatine the container bureau (fairly oregon not) by Halloween Kills, a movie that was besides escaped to watercourse the aforesaid time it was released.

Where to stream: Netflix, Paramount+

Soul Man (1986)

Though ostensibly well-intentioned, this is simply a movie astir a achromatic antheral who uses blackface (or, technically, “tanning pills”) to get a assistance for which helium would different not beryllium eligible—and which helium gets, actual Black radical seemingly being incapable to compete.

It each yet teaches him astir being Black...or something. Imma conscionable permission it there.

Where to stream: Hoopla

Tootsie (1982)

Tootsie’s a classic, nary question, and was wildly fashionable erstwhile it was released—earning the year’s second-highest container bureau returns arsenic good arsenic a Best Picture Academy Award nomination. It’s besides the communicative of a antheral who comes to consciousness the opportunities for women are truthful overmuch greater than those for men that helium has nary prime but to secretly formal successful resistance to audition for a soap opera part. The thought that a antheral quality is champion situated to thatch audiences astir what it is to beryllium a pistillate is wildly dated, and the understated interest astir women taking implicit each the jobs seems a little...premature. The much caller philharmonic mentation plays with those notions a spot successful ways that work, truthful it’s not that a Tootsie remake could ne'er happen, but surely not successful its archetypal form. (The philharmonic besides didn’t precisely acceptable the Great White Way alight; it closed aft 293 shows, which is not a batch for a large production.)

Where to stream: Starz

The Last Samurai (2003)

“Let’s archer the communicative of the Meiji Restoration successful Japan. We’ll get Tom Cruise to star!” ...I’m definite that determination are inactive workplace execs who’d bargain that transportation successful a heartbeat, but less of them…I think?

Where to stream: HBO Max

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I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry (2007)

I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry (2007)

The full “Let’s research minorities with consecutive achromatic men!” genre is beauteous good dead, astatine slightest 1 hopes.

Where to stream: IMDb TV

Manhattan (1979)

You cognize why.

Where to stream: Hoopla

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The 42-Year-Old Virgin Who Knocked Up Sarah Marshall and Felt Superbad About It (2010)

The 42-Year-Old Virgin Who Knocked Up Sarah Marshall and Felt Superbad About It (2010)

There was a popular civilization infinitesimal not truthful agelong agone erstwhile each and each palmy movie genre got a quickie knock-off parody, starting with the not-at-all-bad Scary Movie, which satirized teen slasher movies similar Scream. But aft a fewer passable examples (Not Another Teen Movie), the benignant devolved into an unending watercourse of movies that mostly conscionable repeated lines and bits from much fashionable films (often themselves comedies), similar your drunk uncle reciting the crippled of You Don’t Mess With the Zohan during the worst Thanksgiving meal of your life. Occasionally they could propulsion disconnected a decent dad-joke rubric (like the Twilight parody Breaking Wind), but others don’t adjacent spell that far, with lazy names similar Superhero Movie, Meet the Spartans, The Starving Games, and Paranormal Movie. But it’s hard to marque zeitgeist-skewering movies erstwhile determination is nary much zeitgeist. I uncertainty anyone’s excessively bittersweet that we’re not doing these anymore

Where to stream: Prime Video, Tubi, IMDb TV

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Driving Miss Daisy (1990)

Driving Miss Daisy (1990)

There’s thing wrong, necessarily, with a movie that approaches contention done a achromatic lens. A prime movie similar Driving Miss Daisy or, say, To Kill a Mockingbird, holds the hands of achromatic viewers by depicting achromatic characters forced to travel to presumption with their ain racism, or, astatine least, that of the satellite astir them. It’s conscionable that, for galore decades, the achromatic constituent of presumption was seen arsenic the lone valid 1 by studios, and Black filmmakers were seldom afforded the accidental to contiguous stories dealing with contention and racism connected their ain terms, without the request to foreground achromatic characters. It inactive happens (looking astatine you, Green Book), but it’s progressively bushed and tiresome, and thing we’re thankfully seeing a batch little of.

Where to stream: HBO Max

The Color Purple (1985)

I adore The Color Purple. Whatever its structural flaws, it’s 1 of Steven Spielberg’s precise best, and I’ve ne'er not gotten sucked successful aft watching a mates of minutes. Nevertheless, this is simply a movie astir the Black American acquisition for which astir each large behind-the-scenes fig is achromatic (the precise important objection being co-producer and composer Quincy Jones). It’s remarkable, fixed that, that the movie truthful scrupulously avoids the white-gaze-perspective occupation that impacts truthful galore different Black stories made by achromatic filmmakers, and that it’s not acrophobic to research the complexities of its characters. Genuinely remarkable. But that each says much astir the talents of an all-time large manager (and cast) than it does astir the contented of outsourcing Black perspectives to achromatic creators.

Where to stream: HBO Max

Mr. Mom (1983)

I’m not definite the premise present was peculiarly groundbreaking, adjacent backmost successful 1983. In the ‘80s we were doing an atrocious batch of pretending that accepted atomic household roles were just opening to interruption open, and that they hadn’t already been doing truthful for decades. So what we person successful this (and akin movies of the era) is an extended I Love Lucy occurrence astir a antheral who learns however hard it is to tally a household erstwhile his woman goes to work.

Where to stream: Starz

Sixteen Candles (1984)

I don’t privation to beryllium excessively hard connected Sixteen Candles. Like a batch of John Hughes’ filmic output, it manages to beryllium support immoderate charm successful spite of a fewer important issues, not the slightest of which is simply a cardinal day rape—and that’s an accomplishment successful and of itself.

Similarly, and with each owed respect to the precise talented Gedde Watanabe, Long Duk Dong is each Asian stereotype rolled up into one, each of them already stale by 1984.

Where to stream: AMC+

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Revenge of the Nerds (1984)

Revenge of the Nerds (1984)

There’s a large heaping dose of gross ‘80s intersexual authorities here, peculiarly successful the spot successful which 1 of the main characters tricks a pistillate into having enactment with him by making her deliberation that he’s her existent boyfriend.

Even putting that aside, a “nerd” drama successful 2021 isn’t going to look thing similar this. Unlike successful the ‘80s, geeks and goobers beauteous overmuch tally the amusement satellite now. Even successful The Big Bang Theory, the dweebs mostly each had coagulated relationships and well-paying jobs portion spending their escaped clip “geeking out” astir globally fashionable popular civilization entertainment.

Where to stream: AMC+

Air Force One (1997)

Star powerfulness waxes and wanes, some successful presumption of idiosyncratic celebrities and the wide powerfulness of stars to thrust viewers to the theaters—thinking present of the infamous “box bureau poison” advertisement of the 1930s, taken retired by theatre owners demanding that studios absorption much connected fashionable story-types and halt spending truthful overmuch wealth connected stars cipher cared astir anymore. So who knows what the aboriginal holds, but idiosyncratic stars don’t person astir the powerfulness to get butts into the seats that they erstwhile did, victims of our franchise-driven movie culture.

Something similar Air Force One mightiness person done conscionable good backmost successful the day, but Harrison Ford’s beingness made it a blockbuster. Even a comparative weaponry similar Regarding Henry made money. Looking astatine today’s apical earners, and a precise antithetic representation emerges: Robert Downey, Samuel L. Jackson, and Scarlett Johansson are the apical container bureau draws by astir immoderate measure, but, for each of them, that ranking’s astir wholly down to Marvel movies—even with the biggest prima successful the satellite connected the poster, radical weren’t rushing retired to spot Dolittle.

Where to stream: Hulu, Paramount+, Epix

Ordinary People (1980)

Ordinary People wasn’t peculiarly expensive, but it represents the benignant of adult-oriented household play (almost wholly lacking successful precocious concept) that’s astir wholly disappeared from movie theaters. The genre has, instead, divided into 2 TV-friendly variations: the prestige play bid (like HBO’s Scenes From a Marriage), oregon the somewhat little prestigious Lifetime/Hallmark-style TV movie.

Where to stream: fuboTV, Paramount+, Epix, Kanopy, Crackle, PlutoTV, Plex

The Reader (2008)

Two facts mightiness astonishment you astir Academy Award Best Picture-nominated The Reader: it was comparatively expensive, and it made a bully spot of money...both of which are little apt occurrences successful the modern market. It’s a benignant of movie we utilized to telephone “Oscar bait,” but today’s Oscar winners thin to beryllium indie fare similar Nomadland much often than a workplace representation like…well, Green Book.

Where to stream: HBO Max

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Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Queer contented successful mainstream, theatrically released movies has been a spot of a mixed bag, adjacent successful the 2010s and 2020s. We’d expect that, fixed the captious and container bureau occurrence of Brokeback Mountain and, to a lesser extent—because it was an indie—Moonlight (just to sanction a couple) there’d person been an detonation of mainstream LGBTQ+ cinema. It ne'er materialized, successful ample portion due to the fact that bigger budgets person pb to greater hazard aversion wrong studios, particularly fixed the request to marketplace movies globally. As pugnacious a merchantability arsenic cheery worldly tin beryllium for immoderate US audiences, determination are immense overseas markets wherever that benignant of happening is simply a non-starter. It’s why, aft astir 25 Marvel movies, we’ve had 1 precise brief, easily-clipped infinitesimal of an unnamed antheral quality mentioning a day with different man...and wherefore the large cheery infinitesimal successful Star Wars was a likewise blink-and-you-ll-miss-it. The upcoming Eternals seems acceptable to see a spot much queer representation, but, astatine this point, I’ll judge it erstwhile I spot it.

Luckily, streaming has opened up tons of avenues for queer-themed shows and movies, truthful it’s decidedly not each bad.

Where to stream: fubo TV, Showtime Anytime, Hoopla, Kanopy

You’ve Got Mail (1998)

It’s tempting to marque amusive of You’ve Got Mail for the novelty with which it approaches thing arsenic exotic arsenic “email,” but, successful a batch of ways, this communicative would beryllium adjacent easier to marque today, fixed that determination are adjacent much ways to link anonymously. No, with this 1 we’re backmost to the occupation of budget: studios either privation to walk a ton of wealth connected a known quantity oregon walk astir thing and anticipation that they get lucky. You’ve Got Mail outgo a whopping $65 cardinal dollars (in 1998 dollars); that paid disconnected acknowledgment to the bankability of Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks, and Nora Ephron, reuniting six years aft Sleepless successful Seattle. But stars don’t thrust container bureau anymore...franchises do.

Where to stream: HBO Max