Malakas Of The Week: Hollywood Hacks

I hate remakes. There was never any reason to remake, say, Sabrina. When it came out I said: Who can top Bogie, Audrey and Holden? They didn’t and it also laid an egg at the box office.At the time they claimed they did it because the original was in black and white. The original was not only a classic but boffo at the box office. Billy Wilder was alive at the time it came out and, while he didn’t like the remake, he didn’t object to being paid a second time for his script.

The latest unnecessary remake is ofFootloose. Not a particular favorite of mine but it was a pretty good flick and also a big hit. It was in color so the other lame excuse doesn’t apply. Not only that but it’s essentially a recreation.Here’s how Roger Ebert led his review:

There’s one thing to be said for a remake of a 1984 movie that uses the original’s screenplay. This 2011 version is so similar — sometimes song for song and line for line — that I was wickedly tempted to reprint my 1984 review, word for word. But That Would be Wrong. I think I could have gotten away with it, though. The movies differ in such tiny details (the hero now moves to Tennessee from Massachusetts, not Chicago) that few would have noticed.

Was there then, or is there now, a town in Tennessee or any other state in which the city council has passed a law against “dancing in public”? There may have been a brief period, soon after Elvis first began grinding his pelvis, and preachers denounced rock ‘n’ roll as “the devil’s music.” But for most young moviegoers, this plot point is going to seem so unlikely as to be bizarre.

I can’t top that, y’all, other than pointing you toMatt Zoller Seitz’s list of the worst remakes of all time. Remember this: behind every movie remake there’s lassitude *and* malakatude.

Don’t even get me started about teevee shows remade as movies…

8 thoughts on “Malakas Of The Week: Hollywood Hacks

  1. Kevin says:

    Rather than remake movies that were fine on their own terms (such as the upcoming all-black reboot ofSteel Magnolias), why not remake movies that had good source material but were badly botched by the studios?The Bonfire of the Vanities comes to mind.

  2. adrastos says:

    Fine example of a movie that could be improved.

  3. Remakes SUCK. You may be happy to note that NBC has already cancelled the remake of “Charlies Angels.” Not that I was a big fan of the first version but in hindsight there’s a campy quality to it, and it was a part of my youth. I remember we all wanted Farrah bangs in junior high. What can I say. But remake the show? NO.
    These movies and TV shows are a part of our popular culture. They are connected to a particular point in time, they resonate on a cultural level for very specific reasons. There is no reason to remake these shows or films unless you can say something relevant to the current culture and time.
    They’ve been playing the old “Footloose” on cable and I’ve seen previews of the new one. It looks like the script is basically the same, they just added raunchier dancing. The idea that a town would ban dancing within its city limits was pretty much a stretch back in the 80s but 25 years later it’s even more ludicrous.

  4. joejoejoe says:

    Movies remade as TV shows aren’t bad. M*A*S*H worked out. The Odd Couple. I loved me some Planet of the Apes TV as a squirt.
    I wonder why it works one direction but not the other?

  5. Elspeth Ravenwind says:

    The original “Footloose” was an EIGHTIES movie…it didn’t need to be “remade” – at ALL.
    What next? “Top Gun” but instead of a fighter pilot, he’s a remote controller for military drone aircraft? Doesn’t fly, so to speak. But someone may try for it.
    The only thing worse than making t.v. shows into movies is BOARDGAMES INTO MOVIES…NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. “Battleship”? End.of.story. (or will there be a celebrity-voiced-over C.G. version of “Sorry” coming out in a summer or so?)
    And, I can’t stand when they take a book that was phenomenal…and then in the movie version – change the plot line. “The Runaway Jury”…from ‘cigarettes’ in the book to ‘guns’ in the movie? WTH? Did the tobacco lobby weigh in? “Chocolat” – from the ‘local priest’ to the ‘city manager’? Did the Catholic church get wind and say “no way”? No reason and because they changed a pretty decent character/plot point – it threw me the whole movie. If you don’t like the story as-is for your screenplay, write your own damned story and go.from.there.
    Okay, I’m off to find the original “Footloose” soundtrack to jam out to the way the songs were SUPPOSED to sound…not bullshit twangy. I hope Kenny Loggins made them pay through the nose to access the songs.
    (no exclamation points…new.world.record for me)

  6. MaryRC says:

    Actually every time I see the original Sabrina I want to remake it myself, although certainly not with Harrison Ford and Julia Something.
    Bogart was too old for the role, he was sick and he didn’t like Hepburn and it shows. There is zero chemistry between them and Bogart looks as embarassed as Astaire did in Daddy Long Legs romancing practically-teenaged Leslie Caron. As I understand it, Holden was supposed to have the Bogart role which would have been wonderful since he and Hepburn had chemistry in spades. Then Cary Grant wanted to play the Bogart role which relegated Holden to the younger brother. Then somehow Bogart got the Grant role … whatever. Bogart may be an icon but he is wrong, wrong, wrong for this part.

  7. Beauzeaux says:

    I saw the original Sabrina when it was first released. I didn’t get any feeling of dislike between Bogart and Hepburn. He was old for the part but he still had that Bogie magic and at 18 I would have run off with him in a minute.
    The remake sucked because none of the actors in the newer version had anywhere near the magic of the original cast.

  8. SnarkyPam says:

    Saturday night I attended a Cinematic Titanic event (basically, a live theater version of a Mystery Science Theatre 3000 episode) and they did short stand-up bits before the movie started. One of them said that they got pulled over for speeding on the way to the theater, but it was OK, because the cop let them off with just a warning: Don’t go see Footloose!

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