Jem and the Holograms: The Movie, the Sadness, the Why Bother?

As I was typing what was supposed to be this evening’s post about a nice blog award that I recently received (my belated thanks and such will be made known in two weeks time!), my Twitter sidebar began lighting up with news of the release of the first trailer for Jem and the Holograms (The Movie). My initial spike in “Oh, cool!” curiosity was quick doused by reading comments about the trailer that ranged from quiet disappointment to utter rage. Hoping against hope, I checked out the trailer myself and…yep. A super sad “for fuck’s sake…” was the only thing that came to mind.

[I was thinking of posting the trailer here, but I just can’t. So here’s the link to it. If you want to save yourself two and a half precious minutes, think of every “coming of age” movie you’ve ever seen and set it to shit pop, and there’s the remade Jem and the Holograms.]

I generally don’t get angry at movies because fuck Hollywood. Unless said cinema has something to do with the Muppets, I could truly give a marmoset’s ass about the movie elite and goings-on in that peculiar corner of sunny Southern California. I’m not saying that I hate movies (because I don’t), but I’m not the cinemaphile that I once took myself to be. Oh yes, there was a time in late high school when movies were the goddamn bee’s knees. When I religiously followed the “Arts and Entertainment” section of the Sunday newspaper to find out everything I could about the latest and greatest visual spectacles promised to the masses. I loved all the silly Hollywood gossip rags and tried my damnedest to tune into Entertainment Tonight whenever the television wasn’t taken over by my parents with their stupid “world news.”

Over the past couple decades, my enthusiasm for whatever it is Hollywood does has pretty much fizzled out. Though I like many movies well enough, I don’t like like them, at least not enough to care to follow what’s going on in any fashion anymore.  Do I still go to the movies? Sure. Are there times when I just want to kick back for a couple hours with a ninety-minute tale of drama, comedy, heroics, and fuckery and/or tragedy? Of course. What you won’t see is me fawning over spectacle in the next installment of Star Wars (close to my heart though the original trilogy remains), motoring on about how great it is to see a promising actor get a major role in a major feature, or perusing the entertainment sites for “the ones to watch.” What you will see is me tackling all the same endeavors with video games.

Maybe I can only be truly enthusiastic for one medium at a time, for I’m a terrible multi-tasker.

So maybe my mini-rant here holds little stock, because I shouldn’t fucking care. I really shouldn’t. With all the shit that’s going on in the world, the fact that Hollywood’s output regularly sucks bags of dicks shouldn’t be worth a single word. Problem is, I just want to fucking yell right now, and since I bad at being physically angry (like, I kind just want to punch everything), typing will have to do. And the fucking horribleness of Jem and the Holograms needs to be brought to task, right? Or am I just beating the ashes of a decades-old dead horse? Because the problems with what Jem and the Holograms will be, at least according to the trailer, are nothing new. (And goddamn if “new” doesn’t seem to be a scary fucking word these days.) Take something near and dear to many people’s nostalgic hearts and fuck it over into something dumb. Take a fun, goofy, and fantastical story and turn it into something “grounded,” because, shit, no one possesses goddamn imagination anymore. Take the day-glo, big hair, and asymmetrical sensibilities of a past era and fill them with ego, angst, and loads of “modern” dumbassery.

Whatever this movie, this Jem and the Holograms is, it simply isn’t Jem and the Holograms, and there’s no fucking two ways about that. It’s story about a teenage singer who makes it big, gets a band, makes it bigger, is pushed to become something she isn’t, alienates her bandmates, probably gets and gets hurt by a guy in the process, finds the meaning of “identity” and “friendship,” gets the band back together, and (probably, unless fucking plot twist! O.o) lives happily fucking ever after. It is a story that’s been told a million times before, only this time with pink hair and the barest minutiae associated with a beloved cartoon cult figure. It is nothing new, exciting, or remotely fucking interesting. Seemingly gone is Jerrica as a successful record executive, Jem and the Hologram’s rivalry with the awesomely bad and badass Misfits, the computer entity known as Synergy (and with her the whole fucking reason for calling the band the goddamn HOLOGRAMS), and Jerrica’s/Jem’s fun and crazy adventures as she tries to negotiate her two lives. And blatantly gone is any diversity in the casting. Gone is the joy, the silliness, and the stylings of the original cartoon. In place of this, we have yet another movie about teens, social media, teens singing, the trials and tribulation of being a musician in a business that only cares about success, and teens being teens, in makeup and stuff. It all adds up to motherfucktons of zeroes. And that’s a goddamn lot of fucktons, believe you me.

This is not to rail against band movies generally, as there have been many great ones. This is not to rail against teen movies generally, which have a supportive audience. This is not to rail against taking the “old” and turning it into something new, because sometimes Hollywood gets it right. This is to rail against a movie that, in all trailer-length respects, simply does not deserve it’s fucking name. Call it anything else, any goddamn fictional band name in the world, and be done with it. “Sally and the Stars!” “Jane and the Johnsons!” “Martha and the Man-eaters!” Fuck! I don’t know! (And holy shit if I’m not the worst at that game.) Just don’t call it Jem and the Holograms.

P. S. If anything, the actual story of the once-not-so-popular-now-crazy-important cartoon “Jem and the Holograms” would be more appropriate for Broadway. That would be downright cool. Just imagine the live singing, the spectacle of Synergy, Jerrica’s onstage transformation into Jem, the fun of watching the Holograms-Misfits rivalry play out on stage, the DIVERSITY. HOLY FUCK THE INSANITY!! Hell, just building costumes for the show gives me goosebumps.  I like it. I like all of it.

P. P. S. As news on the Internet travels at speeds that cannot be measured by human means, there’s already a petition up to change the name of the movie.

P.  P. P. S. Sorry for all the language nonsense. I really do feel fucking better now. Thanks.


    1. Agreed! Considering the source material, they could’ve done something great. But no, all we get is a rehash of the same ol’ shit. Sad. Just, sad.


  1. I have known about Jem for a long time, but I didn’t seriously give it a chance until last month. I was visiting a friend who is a big fan of anything ’80s, when I decided to suggest watching it. We all had a fantastic time marathoning it! It is absolutely insane what happens in the series with little to no repercussions for anything. I hadn’t laughed that hard in a long time.

    The movie has none of that. Maybe the self-aware schtick has been done to death, but playing it straight does no one any favors either. I can’t imagine who will see this movie other than people wanting to cartoon and wanting to hate someone for not adapting it correctly!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Are there any other reasons to see a “bad” bad movie? 🙂

      It thrills to me to hear that you enjoyed the original Jem cartoon! It’s a hard watch for me these days — my nostalgia for it of it doesn’t stack up to what it actually is, which is preposterously corny in all ways loveable. Still, there’s something classically appealing about it, despite the fantasy and make-up. Jem and the Holograms will long outlive this “movie.”

      Liked by 1 person

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