WITH the anniversary of the first covid lockdown approaching, it’s hard to forget the best laid plans of 2020: the European Football Championships, the Olympics and, of course, the movies.

Not only were we due to be served up a feast of big hitters, including the new James Bond: No Time to Die, another slice of Wonder Woman action, and Marvel’s eagerly anticipated Black Widow, but it was also set to be the year of the remake.

Clifford the Big Red Dog, a much-loved children’s character from the 1960s was set to get his tail wagging again on the big screen, Bill and Ted Face the Music should have been transporting us back to a time when stoner comedies and a bit of Keanu Reeves was enough to satisfy and Mulan was to have us wondering where the time has gone, with yet another Disney revamp.

However, cinema closures meant few got proper releases, some were postponed and others ended up on TV instead. So what is driving this wave of remakes? Nostalgia was originally described as a “neurological disease of essentially demonic cause” by Swiss physician Johannes Hofer in 1688 but, hey, let’s gloss over that for now.

What nostalgia has come to mean more commonly is a sense of wistful sentimentality. Or that warm, fuzzy feeling when reminiscing on a simpler or more contented time. It is also popular in troubling times.

For the past year, we have all had our lives shifted dramatically, and in that time, the only constant seemed to be that nothing can be certain. However, to misquote Braveheart, “they can take away our freedom, but they can never take away our movies (except the cinema ones)”.

So here are a few of the ways nostalgia could be just the ticket right now.

HeraldScotland: David Bowie in LabyrinthDavid Bowie in Labyrinth

The comfort factor

We are in the middle of a pandemic, so any form of comfort will do, but there is something about that sentimental, nostalgic buzz that is hard to beat. That feeling you get when you watch something that has the power to take you back to an earlier stage of life, or just the chance to escape down the rabbit hole of memories to the point you’d say “pandemic? Huh?”. Okay, maybe not that far, it’s not a miracle worker, but if it lets you live out your earlier years for even a fraction of the day, that’s got to be worth something, right?

Watch: Labyrinth, the 1986 musical fantasy, with David Bowie.

HeraldScotland: GhostbustersGhostbusters

The warmth

Research shows that feelings of nostalgia literally create physical warmth, supposedly by either fooling the body into thinking it’s in a warmer situation or actually causing the body to start a process to balance temperature. A handy little tip for those chilly nights. Why bother with a heating system when you can source your heat from a nostalgic binge-watching session instead? What better way to prepare for all the remakes that (fingers crossed) this year will bring, than to go back and watch the originals in all their glory.

Watch: Ghostbusters, the 1984 comedy starring the peerless Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Bill Murray

HeraldScotland: GreaseGrease

A time machine to a pre-virus world

It’s hard to believe that just over a year ago, Corona was simply a beer and the words pandemic, quarantine and self-isolation were mainly found in sci-fi movies rather than newspaper articles. Who would have thought we’d all be craving a time machine to take us back to that oh so distant year of 2019? However, while the scientists get to work on that, the best we can hope for are moments that take our minds on a journey to pre-2020 times. Watching reminders of happier times is a sure-fire way to help escape the thoughts of masks, social distancing and ever-changing restrictions that have become the new normal of our mind’s landscape.

Watch: Grease, the 1978 American musical romantic comedy with John Travolta as Danny, Olivia Newton-John as Sandy.

HeraldScotland: Shawshank RedemptionShawshank Redemption

It can curb anxiety, loneliness, and boredom

Studies have shown that nostalgic feelings counter-act anxiety, loneliness and boredom. A trip down memory lane, allied to a movie that shows the triumph of the human spirit, can act as a form of motivation and show that however tough times are, we will survive.

Watch: The Shawshank Redemption, the 1994 drama that tells of an innocent man, played by Tim Robbins, who is sentenced to life for the murders of his wife and her lover

HeraldScotland: Big with a very young-looking Tom HanksBig with a very young-looking Tom Hanks

It reminds us who we were

With so many forced to work from home, and socialising with others almost becoming a memory, it’s easy to lose sight of what we once were. However, when we watch something that we used to enjoy when we were younger, it can lead to a revival of a more youthful mindset. You might have to avoid mirrors if you don’t want to be reminded that you’re definitely not physically that age any more, but it can help if you feel like you’ve lost your way a bit personality wise.

Watch: Big, the charming 1988 comedy with a very young Tom Hanks as a young boy swept to adulthood overnight

Yes, even Tom Cruise ages

We’ve had to wait 35 years to see Maverick take to the skies again, with the Top Gun sequel postponed until later this year. But if there’s anything to get you out of that ‘I’m getting old’ funk, surely Tom Cruise still killing it as he approaches 60 should count for something. For anyone who grew up in the 1980s and 90s, nostalgia and Tom Cruise films almost go hand in hand as everywhere you turned you were bound to see Cruise in some form or another. Perhaps while the anticipation builds for the summer release of the long-awaited Top Gun follow up, it would be a good time to revisit some others from his quote-worthy collection.

Watch: Jerry Maguire, the 1996 romantic comedy-drama with Cruise as a sports agent.

The much-needed rant

Remakes can be a blessing or a curse. Never underestimate a film buff’s devotion to their all-time favourite movies, therefore, in turn, do not underestimate the anger they feel when a remake goes wrong. Hell hath no fury like the fan who has just sat through that seemingly pointless retelling of their classic. However, in times like these, a bad remake might be a welcome way to blow off some steam for a good hour and a half to two hours, as you rant (possibly to yourself) about why on earth they chose to make your childhood hero do that.

Watch: Psycho, the 1998 Gus Van Sant remake of the Alfred Hitchcock classic.

Nostalgia gives us something to cling to

In a time of uncertainty, loss and worry, our memories become beacons of light in the darkness. It’s only natural that we may crave nostalgia a bit more than usual. And what’s more nostalgic than that movie you watched 20 odd times as a child. If there’s ever a time to revisit that one, it’s most definitely now and, who knows, maybe it won’t be as dated as you would expect. Or maybe it will be, and you’ll at least get a laugh at what they called special effects back in the day. Either way, it’s a win-win situation. So, after your travels from the home office to the living room couch, why not let your inner child out and kick back with a bit of a movie session. And, if 2021 doesn’t just turn into a repeat of last year, here’s some of the old classics we can expect to see with a shiny new update: Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Candyman, West Side Story, Top Gun: Maverick, and Clifford the Big Red Dog …. Bring on the vaccine.