Pop Rocks: Remake My Day
When it comes to movie remakes, I always think of Die Hard. Specifically, this Alan Rickman line:
Sooner or later, I might get to someone you do care about!
Granted, he was trying to force McClane to tell him where his detonators were, but the same sentiment applies to "reimagining" our favorite films. You say you weren't bothered by the 1976 King Kong starring Jessica Lange and Academy Award(tm) winner Jeff Bridges' beard? I bet Roland Emmerich's Godzilla got your goat. Or perhaps you didn't get take it personally when Harrison Ford, Greg Kinnear, and Julia Ormond stepped in for Humphrey Bogart, William Holden, and Audrey Hepburn in the Sabrina do-over, but I'll wager a soft-focus Warren Beatty in the new An Affair to Remember drove you screaming back to your old VHS Cary Grant copy.
What's that? You're a horror fan? My condolences, for not only have you had to live through remakes of Night of the Living Dead, The Haunting, and Halloween in your lifetime, but Michael Bay and Platinum Dunes are hell-bent on redoing just about every marginally scary movie of the last 30 years. Not content to violate the corpses of Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street, 2011 will see updated versions of The Birds and one of my personal favorite movies of all time, Kathryn Bigelow's vampire opus Near Dark.
But we also need to be honest with ourselves; just because they're redoing the movie you watched every weekend when you were 10 doesn't mean Hollywood is somehow disrespecting your childhood. Yes, they're remaking Short Circuit. No, the original wasn't very good (and this one probably isn't going to get the Ally Sheedy character naked, either). Besides, the sooner you get used to the idea that remakes of The Karate Kid (set in China this time around, which should make it The Kung Fu Kid) and The Warriors (directed by the seizure-inducing Tony Scott) are happening, the sooner you can make your peace with Jesus.
And every remake isn't necessarily a stain upon humanity's artistic legacy. John Carpenter's The Thing is commonly regarded as the epitome of the remake that far exceeds the original (in this case, Howard Hawks' The Thing from Another World), along with the 2003 version of The Italian Job and David Croneberg's The Fly.
Naturally, a new Thing is due in 2011. I'm honestly surprised it took this long (Carpenter's came out in '82), since studios tend to -- correctly -- assume the average moviegoer's attention span is roughly equivalent to that of a squirrel on ketamine. The point is, if one of the beloved movies you grew up with hasn't been remade yet, it's either because Bay and Breck Eisner haven't gotten around to it, or you've chosen to limit your film experience to the works of Alejandro Jodorowsky.
Is anything safe? Are there any cinematic properties the avaricious swine of Hollywood won't touch? I think so, and I'll tell you why.
5. Gone With the Wind (1939)
Why It Can't Be Remade:It's arguably the greatest movie of the 20th century, and still the all-time box office leader (adjusted for inflation). Few epic productions since have been as lavish, or as racist.
How It Might Be: Four words: Pam Grier as Mammy. Not only would she not sit idly by when someone threatened Tara, she'd pick up an Enfield rifle and kick some ass.
My Dirty Movie-Related Secret: I've...never been able to watch this all the way through. I get to about the 2.5 hour mark and I need to take a breather from Vivien Leigh's whining.
4. Come and See (Idi i smotri) (1985)
Why It Can't Be Remade: A brutal look at the suffering inflicted upon the Soviet people during World War II, it remains one of the most horrifying depictions of war ever committed to film.
How It Might Be: Florya is no longer a 14-year old boy taking up arms against the Nazi invader, now he's a 40-something badass with an axe to grind and easy access to high explosives. Welcome back, Jean-Claude Van Damme.
My Dirty Movie-Related Secret: I watched large chunks of this through interlaced fingers. I would've made a shitty partisan.
3, The Godfather (1972)
Why It Can't Be Remade: Never mind the legendary stature of the movie itself, anyone with the cannoli to remake this will be taking on the responsibility of redoing Godfather 3 as well. No studio's going to back that.
How It Might Be: Has anyone made a musical version yet?
My Dirty Movie-Related Secret: I have to watch this any time it's on TV. Even the 47-hour, "edited for TV" American Movie Classics version.
2. Citizen Kane (1941)
Why It Can't Be Remade: Orson Welles' magnum opus is nigh untouchable, and has the added benefit of being based on a person 99% of people born since 1980 have never heard of.
How It Might: There is one director out there with the ego (if not the talent) to match Welles'. Fortunately, he seems content to make movies about giant robots.
My Dirty Movie-Related Secret: I didn't see this until college, but I already knew the big secret thanks to Charles Schultz.
1. The Deadly Mantis (1957)
Why It Can't Be Remade: If you can name a better movie about a giant, thawed-out prehistoric praying mantis that tears apart city buses to eat the juicy insides, I'd like to hear it.
How It Might: If mantises are somehow tied to the Mayan doomsday calendar.
My Dirty Movie-Related Secret: This movie was the Saturday Afternoon Creature Feature the day my mom went into labor with my little sister, and I had to be "forcibly encouraged" to turn the TV off and go to the hospital.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.
- Trial Underway for Man Charged in Connection With Animal Crush Videos (Warning:...
Fri., Feb. 19, 6:00pm
Fri., Feb. 19, 6:30pm
Fri., Feb. 19, 8:00pm
Sat., Feb. 20, 1:00pm
- The Johnny Football Saga Enters a Dark, Sad Chapter
- With Primary Looming, Congressman Kevin Brady Wades Into the Bullet Train Fight