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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Screw Context

  1. I rather enjoyed the Jude Law remake. Underrated, if you ask me, although, very possibly, unnecessary as well. The original was one of Michael Caine’s best. And I love Michael Caine.
  2. Tim Burton at his worst. The remake wasn’t necessarily such a bad idea, but the execution was terrible.
  3. Yeah, and a shame, too. Adam Sandler can be fun to watch, but the movie was unconvincing in pretty much every way. Bad.
  4. Maybe the most confusing remake ever. While I’m pretty sure that directors need to respect the original when they remake a movie, simply re-doing the whole damned thing and bringing nothing new to the table makes no sense. The audience was just left saying, “Why?”
  5. Remaking cheesy old disaster flicks into cheesy new disaster flicks pretty well defines “hack,” doesn’t it?
  6. This one didn’t seem like a bad idea--or, at least, not entirely. The original was old, the subject matter can still be fun, and Jackie Chan is an energetic little bundle of charisma. But the movie was so flat, so bland, so uninspired, so completely forgettable that I actually forgot that it existed and that I had seen it right up until I saw this list.
  7. Not really horribly done, just horribly out of date. What made the original meaningful was a moment in our shared culture that simply doesn’t exist any more. Stale.
  8. Another one that sounded like a good idea. I’m not entirely sure if it’s that the movie was bad or that we’ve become so cynical that this story from the late 50’s never really had a chance. I loved the original when I was a boy, but the closest you get to the fun, easy tone of those movies now comes packaged in Pixar’s wonderful animated films. Outside of that, even our kid flicks have too much cynicism (and too many knowing winks) to match the innocent little family films of the fifties and sixties.
  9. Please. I didn’t see it. I don’t know anyone who saw it. I’m not entirely sure I want to know anyone who saw it. Please.
  10. Horrible idea, horrible execution. Peter Sellers made those movies special. Trying to mimmic him would be an ugly pantomime; trying to redefine it would require someone very special. Feel free to judge Steve Martin’s efforts on your own, but know this: the results were even worse than I expected.
  11. Keanu Reeves has made three decent movies that I recall off hand: Speed, The Matrix, and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Bill and Ted Go To Hell was acceptable to me only because I was young enough to be forgiven my lapse in good taste. Point being, this movie isn’t on that list. It’s on Keanu’s other list: the long list of movies that he has either ruined (how the hell did he find his way onto the set of Much Ado About Nothing? It had to have been an accident. Had to have been.) or movies that were worse for his presence (Dracula and Johnny Mnemonic spring to mind).
  12. What a disappointment. It could have been good. It wasn’t.
  13. Another one that confuses. The original is a cultural artifact, and an odd artifact at that. A remake should have been unthinkable.
  14. Never saw it. Actually, I never even noticed its existence.
  15. I say again: “Please. I didn’t see it. I don’t know anyone who saw it. I’m not entirely sure I want to know anyone who saw it. Please.”

OK, fine, here’s your freakin’ context.

Feel free to add your own to the list, but you’ll have to provide your own context this time.

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I can very happily say that I have watched exactly zero of these movies.

My current rule of never paying for watching a Hollywood movie really pays off: I might miss a really tiny amount of good movies I should have seen, but I never waste a minute watching this kind of garbage.  And I do still see the best movies: if a movie is good enough for a friend to have bought it or borrowed and burned it, I’m more than happy to borrow it and watch it for free.

Before anyone blames me for being a pirate and/or selfish free rider, I want to point out: the choice is not between paying or not paying to watch a movie, it is between watching a free movie or not watching at all.  So for me getting to watch a movie for free, Hollywood at least gets a little positive word of mouth.

Aside from that, here are my thoughts on remakes:
Some movies should just be left alone.  Unfortunately, it can be hard to tell which ones.

I think some movies can/should be remade due to changes in technology.  Would cellphones or the internet or improved medical care change the suspense in a thriller?  Can you still pull it off?  Then remake it!

That being said, you gotta know that sooner or later, they will remake “Groundhog Day.” There is no possible reason to need to remake it.  Remaking it could only ruin it.  I hate everyone actor/actress in that movie, yet it is quite possibly my favorite movie of all time, it’s that good.  So you know that sooner or later, they will destroy it with a useless, insipid remake.

One last thought:
Does it count as a remake if it is a remake of a foreign film?

If so, then the worst remake of all time is the remake of the Korean film entitle, My Sassy Girlfriend.  Gosh, the original is as wonderful as the American remake is painful and horrible.

on Apr 16 2010 @ 12:42 AM

One of my favorites is The Tall Blond Man With One Black Shoe. For me, the Tom Hanks remake just doesn’t compare. Ditto with <em>Shall We Dance<em>, although I’ll admit to never having seen the remake - I just don’t see the point.

The Clint Eastwood “man with no name” movies were pretty good remakes, though.

on Apr 16 2010 @ 07:55 AM

Well, except for #1 and #10, your comments could each apply to scores of films ...

Now as for remakes of remakes ... the Yojimbo, Fistful of Dollars, Last Man Standing set has a real stinker in it that almost no one remembers.  David Carradine in The Warrior and the Sorceress.  You have to pay close attention, but it is also derivative of Yojimbo/Fistful.  And it is worse than anything in the list.

on Apr 16 2010 @ 08:33 AM

Now what I think can be a more interesting list:  TV series that were better than the movie they were based upon. 

My list:  Highlander, Stargate SG1, La Femme Nikita.

on Apr 16 2010 @ 08:35 AM

Nathan, the thought of a Groundhog Day remake is seriously disturbing me. You’re right: someday, someone is going to think that it’s a great idea. And they will be so, so wrong.

Wheels, I didn’t know that the Tom Hanks movie--pretty lightweight, but inoffensive--was a remake. I’ll have to track down the original. Shall We Dance was, in the original form, an absolutely beautiful movie. The American remake made no sense, though; the main character needs to be Japanese for the plot to truly make sense.

Robin, I didn’t watch any of those TV shows, but I’ll say this: I really enjoyed Highlander (the first movie). Everything that came after it--the movies and the TV show--made no sense at all. “There can be only one,” damnit, and at the end of the very first movie, there was only one. There wasn’t really any more story left to explore.

On a more serious note, you’ve almost made me want to see The Warrior and the Sorceress. I am perversely attracted to bad movies. I’ve seen Cuba Gooding Jr.’s Boat Trip twice.

I am shamed.

on Apr 16 2010 @ 09:16 AM

Warrior and the Sorceress will bring you greater depths of shame.  It is unwatchable.

The Highlander TV series was good IMO.  The movies were uniformly unwatchable.  You’ve never seen Peta Wilson in La Femme Nikita?  You poor man.

on Apr 16 2010 @ 10:06 AM

Gah! Would it have hurt Fox to just put the list in plain old HTML form? Maybe they just haven’t heard about the < LI > tag. Screw their slideshow. I have no idea what movies you’re talking about. My first guess at #9 was Battlefield Earth, which I would watch as a remake only if it were done by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Or maybe Ridley Scott, if they could resurrect the original script from before the Scientologists butchered it.

Is The Warrior and the Sorceres the one with the guy in the tub in the middle of the desert? If so, I might want to watch it, just to revel in how dreadful it is.

It just occurred to me that no-one ever remakes famous porn flicks. (Or maybe they’re all just remakes.)

I don’t agree that SG-1 is a better TV series than the movie. As good, initially. But I’ve watched through season 8 now, and it’s been jumping the shark with too much frequency. Yeah, I expect a certain amount of deus ex machina plotline, but enough already. Yes, I will watch the final 2 seasons. Then I might see whether Atlantis is interesting.

With the right cast, director, etc., a remake of Solaris would be worth doing.

on Apr 16 2010 @ 03:34 PM

No, Jed, that was Circle of Iron.  Which is better than Warrior but not a lot.

Stargate SG1 has some seasons where they were phoning it in, and jumping the shark ( sometimes with self-referential humor ) but it was still better than the film.  (BTW three actors from the film appear in the series, did you spot them? ) Atlantis is very uneven.  Some seasons just sucked badly, and some were better.  So far, Stargate Universe has been higher quality.

on Apr 16 2010 @ 06:57 PM

There is only one Highlander movie.  There can be only one Highlander movie. It is possible that you thought that you remembered others; you remember incorrectly.

Repeat after me, “There is only one Highlander movie.”

And the series is pretty good, though I’m not sure whether it’s better than the* movie.

* Remember, there is only one Highlander movie.

ps. Numbering your comments in the opposite order from that chosen at the link is, ummm, special.  8-)

on Apr 16 2010 @ 11:57 PM

I did a little research, and I have to say there is no way The Warrior and the Sorceress is a bad movie.  If for no other reason, because this is what wikipedia says about the movie:
“The female lead (Naja, played by Maria Socas) spends all of her screen time topless.”

I can’t see how this doesn’t make the movie worth watching at least once:
Go to:
Then click on “fotos”

It is interesting how so many of the worst movies of all time are in the fantasy/sword&sorcery genre.

My favorite “so bad it’s good” movie is Beastmaster.  Again, no movie can be truly atrocious that has Tawny Kitaen’s bare winnibegos on display, however briefly.

Another really horrible movie that I remember fondly is Hawk the Slayer.  It’s worse than The Warrior and the Sorceress because it lacks even one bare boobie.  Much less the traditional pair. Still it had its fun moments for a 14-year-old who was totally into AD&D at the time.

on Apr 17 2010 @ 12:33 AM

Um, Tanya Roberts was in Beastmaster, not Tawny Kitaen.  My apologies for any confusion or distress I may have caused.

on Apr 17 2010 @ 01:54 AM

Doug, I considered the post title to be fair warning. Aside from that, I might need to apply your amnesiac standard to the Matrix.

Nathan, your taste in fantasy movies is atrocious (and so is mine). I believe that’s because there are so few good examples on display--which makes me want to list the good ones, of course. Come back for that list Monday morning.

on Apr 17 2010 @ 08:56 AM

My taste may well be in the gutter.  Well, I’ve found the gutter is warm, out of high-speed traffic, and you always find good company there.

(quote about gutters stolen and altered from somewhere I can’t recall)

on Apr 17 2010 @ 09:40 AM

#11 - Point Break.

on Apr 20 2010 @ 09:40 AM
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