Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Thoroughly unnecessary remakes

My favorite movie story of the past year or so has to be when Emory University kicked McG and his "Revenge of the Nerds" remake right off of campus and told them to make their craptastic flick somewhere else. Even if they did so on moral grounds rather than on any principled stand against the notion of ridiculous remakes, I can only say huzzah.

As far as I know that movie is still dead, and hopefully will remain so. Although "Revenge of the Nerds" is far from high art, it's a thoroughly entertaining flick, and I always stop by for at least a few minutes when I stumble upon it on Saturday afternoon TV.

Which gets us to today's topic. Though there are countless unnecessary remakes, and way too many more in the pipeline, these are the six that just make me most want to hurl. Please feel free to add any remakes that just piss you off.

1. Psycho
I'm still holding out hope that this was still a joke. In my eyes, Gus Van Sant still has not recovered from his decision to do a shot-for-shot remake of Hitchcock's classic (meaning, of course, he just made the same exact movie all over again.) "Elephant" was a damn fine flick, but it's gonna take a lot more than that to put him back in my good graces.

2. Cape Fear
I don't know how I thought this could be good. I guess I was just blinded by the names Scorsese and De Niro, but I was definitely duped. If you haven't seen the original, definitely check it out. Robert Mitchum's terrifying performance should be required viewing for all the directors who are churning out what passes for horror movies nowadays. I generally skip them all, but I'll be making an exception this Saturday for "28 Weeks Later."

3. Planet of the Apes
Tim Burton is one of my favorite and least favorite directors, all rolled into one. It's maddening to me that he's capable of incredibly original creations like "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" and "Big Fish" (still my favorite Burton movie), but then turns out turds like this and his take on "Willy Wonka." They're equally bad movies in my eyes, but this one takes the title by a nose.

4. Poseidon
Though there was plenty of competition, this one takes my prize as the worst movie of 2006 (with the caveat that there are many movies that I simply don't bother to see.) There are several scenes that are so bad they remain lodged in my brain, surely taking the place of much more important things, but there's one that takes the cake. Near the beginning, Kurt Russell is playing cards when his daughter, played by Emmy Rossum, comes up wearing a fairly revealing evening dress. If I remember this right, he then leers at his "daughter's" chest and makes a comment about her "twins." I can't make this stuff up.

5. Breathless
This one was D.O.A. for me because movies just don't get any cooler than Godard's "A Bout de Souffle." Jean Paul Belmondo is just about my favorite actor in the world, and he's rarely been better than he was here riffing with Jean Seberg as the doomed Michel Poiccard (a k a Laszlo Kovacs.) I actually can't in good faith condemn the remake starring Richard Gere because, though I've tried twice, I still can't make it all the way through. Somehow I don't think I'm missing anything.

6. Point of No Return
I can understand the impulse to remake "La Femme Nikita," and this American version isn't actually terrible. The whole problem lies in the choice of heroine. Anne Parillaud, the original Nikita, was sexy, dangerous and cool in a way that Bridget Fonda, who had the dishonor of following in her footsteps, could never even hope to match. Its third life as a TV show, however, was an entertaining ride.

So, there you have it. I could come up with many more, but I still have to work for a living. Please feel free to add any of the many I have missed. Peace out.


Jack Gonzo, MD said...

I am with you whole heartedly with most of those, but there are a few left off.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Dawn of the Dead
The Fog
The Grudge

Ones that are rumored to be showing up any day now that I will reserve judgment on until I see them but I am initially hesitant.

The Thing
Halloween (though the trailer actually shows promise)

Reel Fanatic said...

Halloween held no interest for me at all until I heard that Rob Zombie was "reimagining" it rather than simply remaking it .. It will probably still turn out to be pretty awful, but that gives me a little hope .. The most disgusting remake I know of currently in the works is one of "The Birds," from the same bastards that brought us the most recent "Texas Chainsaw Massacre."

Tyg said...

Off the top of my head:

'Get Carter','The Thomas Crown affair' and 'Taxi'

I also hear they are remaking 'Casablanca'*

Halloween was given a bad name by its sequels and all the derivative teen slasher movies. The original is imho quite good. Can't see a remake being anything but another of those poor slasher movies.

*This is actually not true.

Tyg said...

On at completely separate topic. Have you considered enabling the rss/atom feed for your blog. y'see I'm terribly lazy and I find subscribing to a feed much easier on the clicking fingers than browsing!

Dees Stribling said...

The Flight of the Phoenix comes to mind immediately. I didn't bother with the remake -- why should I? In what ways could a movie like that be improved?

Reel Fanatic said...

I hope you're joking about a Casablanca remake, tyg, but nothing would surprise nowadays ... I have to admit that I'm a rube when it comes to technology, so it may take me a while to figure out the RSS/Atom feed thing, but I'll look into it .. And you're certainly right, Dees, that there is no reason The Flight of the Phoenix ever should have been remade .. I haven't bothered watching the remake either

bill said...

I'll have to disagree about "The Thomas Crown affair." I thought the remake was a much better movie.

bill said...

Here's mine: Steve Martin's "Cheaper By The Dozen." The original is a look at the home life of Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, two of the most important figures of the 20th century. Considering the original focused on Frank, yet Lillian is ultimately the more important figure, historically, a remake could have been interesting.

What we got instead was a stolen title and stupid gags about Steve Martin having too many children.

Reel Fanatic said...

I have to agree with you that the original is a witty movie, Bill, but since I as yet have no young children to tow around, I was not subjected to Steve Martin's shenanigans

Terence Towles Canote said...

I would add to that list The Wicker Man. The original is a classic thriller and a cult film that ranks among my favourite movies of all time. Neil LaBute "remade" the film (and I must use the term loosely here) into a misogynistic piece of crap. Why is it otherwise good directors make horrible remakes?

Kate Marie said...

Though I haven't seen the remake, I'll add The Inlaws to your list.

And on a slightly different note, The Parent Trap is a remake that I expected to hate but didn't.

Reel Fanatic said...

I didn't bother with the Wicker Man remake, Mercurie, and from what I've heard from you and many others, I'm glad I didn't ... LaBute has been going downhill steadily from the outset .. And, I have to confess Kate Marie, I did see that Parent Trap remake and liked it a heck of a lot more than I thought I would

Damian Arlyn said...

I think they should remake Turner and Hooch.

nAl said...

Much as I love Robin Williams, I thought The Birdcage was a very bad remake of La Cage Aux Folles. The French version was so much more subtle with humour. We didn't need the high camp humour to bring out the pathos that is aging gay men at the end of the careers.

Divinity said...

One of my favourite all-time films is Charade starring Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn and Walter Matthau. With a cast like that, I simply couldn't fathom the point of making The Truth About Charlie.

Reel Fanatic said...

I went to see The Truth About Charlie for two reasons, divinity: Because I like both Jonathan Demme and Thandie Newton so much ... Though you're right that there was absolutely no reason to remake Charade, I thought Demme's movie was fairly entertaining

Tyg said...

Hi Bill,
I gotta stick by my call on Thomas Crown. Don't get me wrong I think its a pretty good movie, but I don't believe its as good as the original. Brosnan is a good substitute for Steve McQueen in this role but Rene Russo is no Faye Dunaway and theres just no spark between them. In saying that the heist scenes are better (as is the soundtrack).

Reel fanatic, enabling your Atom feed is pretty straight forward.
its in your blog settings under 'site feed' and theres a choice of 'None' 'Short' or 'Full'.

Reel Fanatic said...

Ah .. thanks, Tyg .. I'll check it out now before I forget

Jack Gonzo, MD said...

I think reel and I are along the same lines, we both tend not to see remakes. I still haven't seen Thomas Crowne, Wicker, Flight of the Phoenix and Cheaper by the Dozen. One remake that I thought was actually was better was Father of the Bride.

Damian Arlyn said...

Well, you know me. Given the name of my blog, I am always willing to talk about either version of The Thomas Crown Affair (of course I think the original one was better, but the remake was pretty good too).

I don't have a whole lot to say on the phenomenon of remakes or sequels because I said a lot of it already over at Lazy Eye Theatre where Piper has written a post or two on the subject.

Oh, and I hope it was clear that my previous Turner and Hooch remake idea was a joke.

Christopher55 said...

A couple other remakes that shouldn't have been:

The Longest Yard
The Manchurian Candidate
The Omen
The Haunting
and a tough little WWII movie called Sahara (geez, Jim Belushi replacing Bogie)

Reel Fanatic said...

I had no idea that there was a remake of Sahara out there, but anything with Jim Belushi gets an automatic red flag in my book already, Christopher .. and I assure that your Turner and Hooch comment was taken in exactly the spirit in which it was intended, Damian

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