If you’ve seen Stranger Things or the recently released zeitgeist-embracing adventure The Kid Who Would Be King, you know there’s no shortage of nostalgia for the decades in which most of the folks reading this grew up. The 1980s and ’90s are en vogue and ready to transport you back to your Topanga poster-covered walls of your bedroom. Or whomever you were into at the time. Maybe it was just Pikachu (ooh, foreshadowing!).
As it is every year forever and always, we revisit old (and even less old) familiar favorites over and over: Joaquin Phoenix’s turn as the titular Joker, another Toy Story, an entry into the Godzilla, Terminator, Star Wars, and X-Men pantheons, remakes of Hellboy, Aladdin, The Lion King, Dumbo, Pet Sematary, Men in Black, and The Addams Family, and surely more I’ve missed and will somehow be rebooted shortly after they release.
But this isn’t really about those kinds of rehash. This is about films which are more likely to tap into those deeper memories from our younger and fairer years. The ones we may have forgotten about but which come roaring back upon reminding. They may not even be the best memories, and some should be left to history, but here they are being released in 2019.
Which will handle our fond memories with care and which will scar our inner kiddos for life? Let’s take a walk down memory lane…
Detective Pikachu (May 10)
Full disclosure: I was never into Pokémon, but I know a whole lot of you were. No need to hide your binder of cards under the bed, it’s super chill now with everyone Go-ing all over. You’re cool. And this take on the game-turned-cultural phenomenon may be, too. Ryan Reynolds plays the titular electrically adorable detective alongside a capable and diverse cast and I’m not even mad about how good the trailer looks. Maybe it’ll inspire me to take up the game at long last.
Artemis Fowl (August 9)
I have full confidence in Disney being able to turn classic novels into bank at the box office — in this case, Eoin Colfer’s 2001 novel Artemis Fowl. Kenneth Branagh is in his well-worn director’s chair again to tackle the preteen genius, fairies, and the restoration of the Fowl family fortune. I’m also hoping some of the graphic novel editions will bring some visual influence to the production. If it all goes well, there are book sequels ripe for the adapting.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (August 9)
Present-day horror fans may have been influenced by this book series more than they may even be aware. We were either entranced by the admittedly very sinister artwork and haunting stories, or the mere mention of the title is already making us suppress memories of them. If you’re in camp A like I am, then this adaptation of Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark should give us goosebumps. (Speaking of, I was always more of a Scary Stories fan than Goosebumps — just sayin’.)
I hear they eventually softened the artwork in later editions? Kids these days…
Sonic the Hedgehog (November 8)
In the gaming vein of Pokémon, we have a franchise with which I was far more obsessed: Sonic the Hedgehog. Parks and Recreation‘s Ben Schwartz is voicing the speedy lead and Jim Carrey is Dr. Robotnik, neither of whom makes me sad in these roles. But the trailer makes it look like original Tron meets Gleaming the Cube. Maybe that’s the point? The music certainly smacks of ’80s zeitgeist.
Let’s just hope it fares better than Super Mario Bros. Oof.
Cats (December 20)
The cast (Jennifer Hudson, Idris Elba, Ian McKellen): good choices. The director: Tom Hooper (Les Miserables): good choice for a musical. The original content: much maligned and silly musical that ran (and still runs) in perpetuity. Someone has to like it, though, right? Look, I’m a fan of T.S. Eliot and his Jellicles as much as anyone, but I can’t go into this one without some trepidation. Hooper could have a solid plan, though, we’ll just have to have faith… and meeeeemories.
Little Women (December 25)
We’re no strangers to the many adaptations of this Louisa May Alcott classic, and the first post-Lady Bird Greta Gerwig’s film starring Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Laura Dern, Meryl Streep, and Timothée Chalamet is the first one on the big screen since the 1994 Winona Ryder and Christian Bale vehicle. Whether you saw it in 1918, 1933, 1949, 1978, 1988 — well, you get the idea — there’s likely a version that latched on to your impressionable head and got stuck forever.
At least we know it won’t be as dire as William Shatner as Professor Bhaer. The ’70s were a wild time.
Is there a throwback favorite I’m missing in this list?
Catherine Clark is a Chicago-based editor and designer who spends time reading, gaming, cooking, and of course, watching movies en masse. You can find her words and work at USA Today, Nerd Wallet, Chicago Tribune, NPR, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, MSN, Offbeat Empire, and on her lifestyle blog, BijouxandBits.com. She also (finally) started logging her film watching habits on Letterboxd.