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This week, Merryland Girl chose the topic, and she asked: What are FIVE movies that should never, ever, EVER be re-made? Talk about why for each of them. Here’s my take:
If you know me, you know I am not a “movie person.” I struggle to sit through an entire movie (adult-onset ADD, anyone?) and going to the movies is a punishment for me (a topic for another post, perhaps, but it involves mouth noises). But, of course, I have a list of movies I truly love and would never, ever want to see re-made.
But as I thought about those movies, I realized my post would be very short, as my reasons for not wanting those movies re-made would be the same for each: they got it perfectly right the first time. Right casting, right script, right direction, right right right. Sixteen Candles? Don’t even think of touching it. Zoolander? Absolute brilliance. Casablanca? The Usual Suspects? The King and I? Done completely right the first time.
And, so, I decided to “flip the script” (ha!) and do the opposite of what Merryland Girl asked. I’m putting forth a list of five movies I wish would be re-made and the reasons why. And here we go:
(1) Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: One of my top ten favorite books EVER . . . and an abomination of a movie. Clint Eastwood should have been arrested, convicted, and imprisoned for what he did to that gem of a book. The casting? Horrific. John Cusack? Really? I love John Cusack, but he always plays the same character (even when that character isn’t the one written). John Berendt, the narrator of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is worldly and rather smooth. John Cusack? Is not. Berendt skillfully inserted himself into the Savannah social scene and didn’t play sides. Cusack’s character? Did not. Worse, Eastwood cast his daughter, Allison, as the “heroine,” but (a) she could not for the life of her consistently retain a Southern accent throughout the film; and (b) THERE IS NO HEROINE IN THE BOOK! The only reason I watched the entire movie was (a) Kevin Spacey was fan-flippin’-tastic as Jim Williams; and (b) the stupid videotape got stuck in the VCR and would not let me either fast forward or eject until it reached the end. I so wish someone would re-make this movie in a manner true to the book and to the beauty and quirk that is Savannah. But only if Kevin Spacey reprises his role.
(2) The Natural: Yes, another book-turned-film that made me cry for all the wrong reasons. I read Bernard Malamud’s classic novel in high school and absolutely loved it. The story is dark and compelling, the hero is no hero. And then along comes director Barry Levinson and actor Robert Redford and suddenly we have a movie meant to give us the feels, complete with a classic hero running bases in a shower of exploding field lights. Gag. Had Levinson or Redford read the actual novel, they would have realized the title was meant to be ironic, as Roy Hobbs is both inherently talented and greatly flawed. I cannot argue that the cinematography was beautiful, and I enjoyed the soundtrack a great deal. But someone needs to make a film out of the actual book. Please.
(3) Little Shop of Horrors: I can hear Merryland Girl’s head exploding from here. She loves this movie (it may even be on her list of movies not to re-make). I wanted to love this movie, I really did. I mean, it starred Rick Moranis! It featured Steve Martin (one of my all-time fave actors/writers/comedians) as a sadistic dentist! I don’t remember what, exactly, I hated, but I remember feeling the hate and I remember not liking anything but Steve Martin. I stayed to the end only because I was with a group and didn’t have another ride home. I cannot honestly say I want this movie to be re-made, but I hold out hope that perhaps someone can create a version that doesn’t make me want to poke out my own eyes with the straw from my giant movie soda.
(4) Joe vs. The Volcano: See #3, above. Wanted to like it, thought it was ridiculously stupid, stayed only because I was with other people (and cell phones didn’t exist back then, so I couldn’t go in the lobby and complain about it on Facebook while I waited). To me, when you combine Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, magic should happen. But it did not. Stupid, stupid film. You know what, don’t bother re-making this one, Hollywood! I don’t think even Kevin Spacey or Steve Martin could save it.
(5) Shortcuts: So, esteemed author Raymond Carver authored nine short stories and collected them under the name Shortcuts. And then esteemed director Robert Altman took said collection and dragged it out into the WORLD’S LONGEST MOVIE EVER. Oh my gosh, it was actually painful. This time, I did leave the theater because I could not sit still and process my excessive anger. The movie dragged on and on and on, and though I do not remember much about the film, I remember disliking every single character and every single plot line. Funny thing: I had not read the short story collection prior to viewing, but I read it after – and I liked it! Thus, Mr. Altman should be verbally berated for this film, and someone else should give it a shot. (Humble suggestion to anyone who tries: cut the film off before the three-hour mark. Thank you.)
So, there you have it. Curious to hear which movies, if any, you, my Five Loyal Readers would love to see re-made and why. Perhaps I hated them, too. Or maybe I can give them a whirl and see how long I last before I throw the remote at the TV and call it a night.