Why Everyone Is Freaking Out About the Annie Movie

There are over 3,000 live conversations happening right now on VProud, a new video-based conversation platform for women. The conversations range from what happens when your Bipolar disorder is misdiagnosed as depression, to whether all prisons should have a separate wing for trans and gay inmates, and if parents of children with special needs feel "chosen" to do this thankless job. These are thoughtful, interesting subjects, right?

The most popular and heated conversation, by far and away is: Why did Hollywood remake the Annie movie and did they ruin it?

The original Annie movie debuted in 1982, from Columbia Pictures, to great excitement from little girls all over the world. (Disney did a hideous remake in 1999, so let's just pretend that never happened.) For many kids of the '80s, Annie was, and still is, one of their favorite movies. Back then, there weren't so many choices of movies to watch on TV, and Annie was on all the time, so we lived for it.

The original Annie cast was perfection: Annie was played by Aileen Quinn and had red hair. Miss Hannigan was the genius Carol Burnett. Her brother Rooster was played by the very scary Tim Curry, and his floozie Lilly St. Regis was played by the perfect Bernadette Peters. Albert Finney WAS Daddy Warbucks and he was bald. FDR was president and they sang "The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow" in the oval office. That shit was classic.

The children of the '80s who loved this movie so dearly are now in our '40s, many of us are Moms, and we've force-fed our daughters 1982 Annie. So, when the remake was announced back in the summer, people got upset. Clearly not me but other Moms.

The intent of the original question posed to our audience, both on VProud and on Facebook, was: Do you like the old Annie movie vs. new Annie movie better? We received 1,726 comments on Facebook and 233 on VProud. Two main arguments emerged:

  1. The "Race" Argument: New Annie is black. Daddy Warbucks is now Daddy Stacks.
  • The "Hollywood Broke my Heart" Argument: You don't remake a beloved childhood classic and not get a serious amount of backlash.
  • I was in the heartbroken camp. Yes, I know that makes me slightly certifiable, but I do love my childhood movies and I am quite attached to the characters in them. It's my opinion that it's a very slippery slope to take a beloved childhood character like depression-era Annie, and modernize her. That would be like creating a 2015 version of Sixteen Candles or The Breakfast Club and recasting Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, or Judd Nelson for more "modern" and "relatable" people like Selena Gomez or one of the One Direction guys. John Hughes fans would go bonkers and not in a good way.

    People are emotionally attached to their favorite on-screen characters, and we depend on those characters to stay the same and never change. It makes us feel comforted. It gives us a sense of history. How the hell were we going to emotionally process a new Annie? Old Annie was and still is our bestie!

    Well guess what, "New Annie" is now the bestie of our daughters. They all overwhelmingly like the new Annie better than old Annie. My daughter is all about "New Annie". Period, end of story. New Annie is spunkier, funnier, uses Instagram, and is more relatable. New Annie is cool. Old Annie is played out.

    Aside from the race argument that continues to go on, I think the emotional response we are seeing on VProud is from the Moms feeling like we're played out. And it's a really crappy feeling. The sun is NOT gonna come out tomorrow. A bunch of new wrinkles are and probably some saggy boobs are. Sigh.