Film and TV

Dear Hollywood, Get Some New Ideas: Little Shop, Carrie

I will preface this with two facts: 1. I am quite fond of the 1986 Little Shop of Horrors movie/musical, and 2. I am madly in love with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Neither of these facts convinces me in any way that there should be talk of a Little Shop remake starring JGL.

The Little Shop of Horrors was originally a Roger Corman film released in 1960. The 1960 version was, more or less, the film most of us are familiar with, save the characters' inexplicable need to break into song. The film became something of a cult classic, and in 1982 it was adapted into an off-Broadway musical. The music was composed by Alan Menken, who you may have heard of based on the fact that he wrote the music to just about every Disney movie throughout the 1990s.

As we all know, when Hollywood gets the idea to adapt a Broadway musical into a movie, no one dares to question faulty logic. Luckily, for the 1986 film-of-the-musical, it's pretty darn good. Much of the reason the musical/movie is so successful is its cast. Rick Moranis, who played the lead part of Seymour, was right in the middle of his prime somewhere between Ghostbusters and Spaceballs. Steve Martin, as the psychotic, nitrous oxide-sucking dentist, created one of the best characters in his repertoire. And then there was Levi Motherlovin' Stubbs, who voiced the killer plant Audrey II with his vocals of golden buttermilk.

Why in the world would you want to attempt to re-create that?

The script for the remake is to be penned by playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who wrote the script for Broadway's Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, and we all know how well that turned out. As of now there is no director attached to the movie, but who could even take this on? Michael Bay? Brett Ratner? Judd Apatow? The original movie was directed by Frank Oz, whose skill at making the absurd seem logical, as well as making puppets main characters, is currently unrivaled.

I cringe at the thought of Audrey II being a CGI creation with the need for blood and gore to appease the masses. I will also put a hefty wager on this movie being unnecessarily 3-D.

Let's talk about Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing the part of the deflated, nebbishy botanist Seymour Krelborn. Seymour is a good dude, but boy if he's ever a nerd. Gordon-Levitt is a superb actor, but a loser, flower-shop assistant? I don't see it. He's too darn smooth-looking.

Hollywood has been just mad about making movies from musicals from movies in the past few years and not one of them has been good. What makes anyone think this will be the outlier?

Speaking of outliers, it was just announced that Julianne Moore has signed on to the Carrie remake. Oh yeah, they are remaking that one, too. I am honestly torn between immeasurable disappointment in Hollywood and a slight glimmer of hope that this will turn out palatable.

While Piper Laurie, who played the original mother of Carrie, can do crazy religious fanatic like no other, Moore is an astute actress. Moore has never branched into the sphere of a psychopath, but she's also never gotten the opportunity. Additionally, Chloë Grace Moretz is slated to play Carrie. Moretz has been showing up in just about everything lately from Dark Shadows to Hugo to 30 Rock, and she is always very good. Can she be Sissy Spacek bug-eyed good, though? I don't know.

The other possibility for greatness is that Kimberly Peirce, who directed the disturbingly beautiful Boys Don't Cry, is signed on to direct. There are only a few movie scenes I have viewed in my life that have completely turned my stomach one being the prom scene in Carrie and another being the rape scene in Boys Don't Cry.

The original Carrie is a disturbing movie. It was filmed in 1976 when horror movies were gritty, dirty and sexually charged. This is one of the reasons it has remained so impactful. 2012's overly P.C. sensibility won't allow for a movie of this nature, and it is hard to imagine any contemporary producer giving the thumbs-up for the movie to go in that direction.

I'll give them both a chance, but my expectations are pretty low. What do you think?

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Abby Koenig
Contact: Abby Koenig