Great news for fans of the 1987 movie Overboard. Apparently, there’s a remake in the works. The role of the wealthy socialite, portrayed by Goldie Hawn in the original, will purportedly go to the equally hilarious Jennifer Lopez. Now if they can only sign the charming Eminem to step into Kurt Russell’s shoes, we’ve got ourselves a movie! If the right decisions are made (and casting Lopez is a great start), I can’t help but foresee a repeat of the warm critical and audience received by another remake starring a singer-wanna-be-actress: Swept Away.
That one was originally a foreign film that got the Hollywood treatment. In a similar vein, Tinseltown has come to the rescue of illiterate movie-goers (or those simply too lazy to read subtitles) by embarking on a remake of the terrific Swedish vampire film Let the Right One In. And they’re also remaking one of my favorite movies, Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy. I can’t wait to see the creative re-imagining of that one, especially the original shock ending which will no doubt prove far too unpalatable for North American audiences who typically prefer their movies as mundane and inoffensive as Justin Bieber. For an example of this, one need look no further than the remake of the Dutch film Spoorloos (aka The Vanishing). The original was harrowing, with an unflinching ending that stayed with you long after those final credits had rolled. The remake substituted a insultingly lame happy ending that, coincidentally, also lingered – but more like a bad smell.
Of course it’s not always bad. Just mostly bad. For every John Carpenter’s The Thing (incidentally, also about to be remade), there are countless King Kongs, Planet of the Apes, Psychos, Godzillas, and Rollerballs. Still, as much as one can debate the artistic merits of these remakes, there’s no denying that some have fared well at the box office. Which is why we’ll no doubt why we’ll be seeing more of them in the near future. Some already in the works or supposedly being considered include:
Tim Burton is eyeing The Addams Family (in 3D!) and Dark Shadows.
Warner Bros. is reportedly considering a remake of The Wizard of Oz (in 3D!).
Will Smith’s son will be starring in the Karate Kid remake.
Clash of the Titans – opening soon!
Hey, remember that 1980’s comedy Monster Squad? Yeah, me neither. They’re remaking it.
Chloe, which opens this Friday, is a remake of the French Thriller “Nathalie…”
Gilligan’s Island, Pet Sematary, Police Academy, Midnight Run, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Ghostbusters, Big, Excalibur, A Nightmare on Elm Street.
All well and good, but when are they going to remake the movies that really need a contemporary re-imagining? The North by Northwests? The Raging Bulls? The Maltese Falcons? What follows is my list of the top ten movies that desperately need an upgrade – and how I would improve upon the sorely lacking originals:
10) Chinatown: So depressing. And confusing. And who cares about water rights anyway? Lose that angle and replace it with a mystery involving an attempt to spike the city’s water supply with a drug that addict people to a specific soft drink. Our intrepid P.I., played by Taylor Lautner, investigates the manufacturer and discovers it is a subsidiary of a foreign conglomerate with terrorist ties. He takes down the operation and, in a much more upbeat ending to the original, saves the kid, gets the girl, and KICKS SOME ASS!
9) The Sound of Music: Pretty much the same movie except all of those lame old songs have been replaced by far cooler tunes like Beyonce’s If I Were A Boy, Jeremih’s Birthday Sex, or anything by Brokencyde. How is it possible for people living in pre-WWII Austria to be singing contemporary tunes? Let me answer that question with a question: How was it possible for two fat guys in early 20th century Paris to be singing Like A Virgin in Moulin Rouge? Or better yet, let me answer both questions with a “Shaddup!”.
8) Up: I feel like I’ve been waiting forever for them to remake this one. Edward Asner would be perfect as the old guy.
7) The Wizard of Oz: Oh, Warner Bros. is already working on a remake? Okay then.
6) Gone With The Wind: Okay, first of all nobody knows anything about the American civil war because it happened so damn long ago. Outside of the fact that the west beat the east, I know very little about it myself. In a bid to make it more topical, we’ll set the film during the Ugandan civil war. Scarlett (played by Mariah Carey) is a wealthy heiress to a coffee plantation who crosses paths with Rhett, a dashing solider of fortune played by Taylor Lautner. As the movie draws to a close, Rhett utters the soon-to-be-memorable parting: “Fuck you, bitch. I don’t give a shit.” before making his exit, thereby setting up the sequel.
5) Casablanca: Can you imagine how much better this movie would be if a) it were in color instead of dreary black and white and, b) starred some actors with actual depth like, say, Carmen Electra and Taylor Lautner. Bogart and Bergman? What will they be remembered for outside of To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep, Dark Passage, Key Largo, Angels With Dirty Faces, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Notorious High Sierra, The Maltese Falcon, The African Queen, The Caine Mutiny, Sabrina, and a few other movies, most of which were in black and white anyway.
4) Citizen Kane: Another classic that would benefit from the color treatment. And Taylor Lautner. And a car chase involving an experimental jet pack. And at the end, we find out that Rosebud is actually the name of the murderer.
3) Star Wars: More epic space battles and visual effects sequences, dreamier young leads, lose the high adventure fun in favor of earnest dialogue, add romance and more annoying side-kicks.
2) 2001: A Space Odyssey: First, if I wanted to watch accurate depictions of space exploration, I’d watch old NASA documentaries. Second, if your movie is going to include alien contact, the let’s see the alien. And shoot lasers at it. Finally, when you end your movie, leave nothing to the imagination because the audience doesn’t like to think for itself. Keep the closing montage but add an extra scene that DISSOLVES from the embryo to a EXTREME CLOSE UP of our hero’s eye. We hear him say: “What happened?” Then we PULL BACK TO REVEAL he is a baby. He screams: “Nooooooooooooooo!” and we FADE OUT.
1) Dances With Wolves: Give it a SciFi spin by transposing the story to an futuristic setting. Make it 3D.