If you're into recycling, you're going to love the next few years. Starting this week (Fame) and going into 2012 and beyond, moviegoers will be "treated" to remakes of such movies as The Birds, Fahrenheit 451, The Swiss Family Robinson, The Wolfman, The Karate Kid (rechristened Kung Fu Kid), The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Footloose, to name but a few.
Many more are rumored to be in the works (I can't be the only one looking forward to a new Silent Night, Deadly Night). And that's ignoring the dozens of do-overs that have been already released in the last decade.
Whatever your feelings on the matter, remakes serve an important purpose. They allow studios to rake in money without requiring them to put any effort into plot or script, for starters. Remakes also spare us -- the viewing audience -- the inconvenience of having to discover movies that were released more than fifteen years ago or try to comprehend anything more complicated than the half dozen plots we're already comfortable with.
Finally, without our love of making the same films over and over again, Eddie Murphy's career would have ended shortly after Coming to America.
Aside from old movies, Hollywood often looks overseas for their "inspiration." This is often the case with horror remakes, and specifically for Asian and European titles (though the passage of 20 years has made `80s flicks like Nightmare on Elm Street and My Bloody Valentine fair game as well). This was understandable when foreign titles were difficult to obtain domestically, but now the only justification appears to be a mutually agreed-upon laziness pact between filmmakers and audiences.
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I say, enough pussyfooting around. Buying the rights to an obscure Japanese horror movie and signing some jerkweed music-video director to helm it is easy. What we need are movie producers like J.L. Warner and Louis B. Mayer: men with the balls to say, "If we're going to do this, let's go all in by God."
Here are a few ideas to get started:
Set in Rick's, the hottest dance club in Miami, we follow the eponymous club owner (played by Jay-Z) as he attempts to reconcile with his old flame (Beyonce) as the world around them descends into chaos following the Heat winning the NBA championship. He receives advice from "Sam," a spectral presence only he can see/hear, played by a CGI Humphrey Bogart.
The Vertigo Limit
It's "Verti-whoa" when skydiving cop Keanu Reeves develops acrophobia after a botched hijacking. He becomes a private detective, and his first assignment is tailing X Games star Maddy Elster (Kim Kardashian), who leads him on a thrill-packed, extreme sports-laden jaunt across the country, culminating in -- what else? -- the North American Skydiving Championship in San Juan Bautista.
Burn Atlanta Burn
There's only one man who can update Gone With the Wind, but without all the romance and chit-chat, and that's Michael Bay. The burning of Atlanta would take up the entire second and most of the third act (what with all the slo-mo) and end with Tara exploding into atoms after Prissy (Cuba Gooding Jr. in drag) accidentally ignites a cache of hidden Confederate gunpowder. With Megan Fox as Scarlett.
Citizen Kane - The Smackdown
The epic story of a man (played by WWE star Glenn "Kane" Jacobs, of course) who enters the world of professional wrestling in order to serve the public good, then slowly turns into one of the ring's leading villains. His only companion on this journey is his trusty folding chair, "Rosebud."
Da Bike Thieves
A bold "reimagining" of Vittoria Di Sica's 1948 classic showcases Vin Diesel, Channing Tatum, and Jessica Alba as a gang who specialize in ripping off high-end motorcycles. When their own custom Ducatis are stolen (in an ironic twist), they must hunt the perpetrators down...with extreme prejudice.
Larry of Arabia
Look out, Prince Feisal: T.A. "Larry" Lawrence (Larry the Cable Guy) is here to show you crazy Ay-rabs how they settle their disputes in the South: with lots of sort-of dirty jokes and scantily clad ladies. Join Larry and his flatulent camel "Cooter" as they git-r-done and unite the tribes of Araby.
As bad as these are, I guarantee they'd be better than the rumored Ben Affleck/J-Lo Casablanca from a few years back.