Remakes: Getting Bad Movies Right The Second Time Around, Maybe

Remakes: Getting Bad Movies Right The Second Time Around, Maybe

The market for Hollywood remakes is a big business these days for studios looking for a known quantity to prey on the public’s short-term media memory. And more and more the thoughts process is removed from these productions, turning them into paint by numbers affairs that filmmakers desperately attempt to convince you are deep, auteur projects.

These are LIES of course and this is only an effort to make money. At this point, the studios are basically doing something wrong, promising their parents they won’t do it again and it’ll be different this time, and then doing it at least five to seven more times this month alone.

The worst is all these remakes of movies that weren’t all that good in the first place. It’s a practice that is almost as bad as remaking a movie that was great when it first came out, but this time your original material is floating in the toilet and refusing to sink.

Yet people see these things!

Now there are exceptions, like the recent remake of “Judge Dredd” starring Karl Urban. It was a B-movie slice of entertainment that was enjoyable and improved on the Sly Stallone vehicle that gave Armand Assante work back in the mid-90s.

So let’s take a look at some of our future remakes and sift through the smoke and mirrors to find out which are going to be improvements and which are going to stink up the house on their way to the theater.

The Addams Family

Nothing like a little mayhem to get you in the mood for the holidays.

Now, this remake is an interesting proposition. Tim Burton wanted to make a stop-motion animated version of the Charles Addams’ original incarnation of the creepy clan. Burton wanted to take it in a different direction than the films and TV series, sticking closer to the gothic flavor presented in Addams’ New Yorker cartoons. Think “Corpse Bride” or “A Nightmare Before Christmas” in style, but with Uncle Fester and the rest of the gang inhabiting the screen.

Sadly, Burton is out and the film continues onward at MGM without his presence. That doesn’t mean his DNA isn’t involved in some places with his “Corpse Bride” screenwriter helming the script. But without Burton, who knows what we will end up getting. Even when he is bad coughPlanetOfTheApescough Burton still delivers a buzzworthy theater experience and that’s what studios look for. Now we might get a murky, Dreamworks-esque view of animation with bad humor and puns strewn around like a minefield.

Forecast: cloudy with a chance of explosive grave robbing.

Pet Sematary

The reported remake of the film that ruined spelling bees nationwide recently found a new director and is on the way to becoming a reality. Since the idea started being bounced around way back in 2010, it’s had a connection to the recent spate of horror remakes we’ve been forced to endure at the theater.

But why “Pet Sematary?” Was it that influential or popular? Sure, it spawned a sequel starring the original John Conner, Edward Furlong, and the voice of Mr. Crabs, Clancy Brown. But we all know that sequels don’t warrant remakes though; it’s the other way around.

And it’s not the only Stephen King novel on the docket for a remake. An oft-rumored remake of “It” for the big screen has been shopped around and we just recently saw a third remake of “Carrie.”

All and all it’s a bad idea. “Pet Sematary,” while worth a decent scare, isn’t worth a remake. Just imagine what we got back in 1989, but now updated with awful CGI for the cursed feline and child turned sour by the Indian burial ground. And they’ll throw in unnecessary sex scenes with the old man and his wife and…we just can’t.

Forecast: F5 Tornado killing your pets, forcing your hand and bringing on a bloody front of death and mayhem.

Drop Dead Fred

Universal wants to crush every fond memory of Phoebe Cates by developing a remake to “Drop Dead Fred,” the vehicle about Cates and her imaginary friend, who is both a lunatic and British, coming back to help her navigate her adult life.

This is an example of a very vocal group of fans raising interest in a film property and a studio attempting to pounce on that iron while it is hot with a remake. The vocal minority has worked wonders in the past with a film version of “Firefly” and the return of “Arrested Development” on Netflix, but it can rarely work for a film that was lambasted by critics the first time around and barely pulled in enough money to cover craft services on the set.

Worse yet, newly minted revolutionary Russell Brand is attached to portray the title imaginary character. This would be his second remake following the abysmal remake of the Dudley Moore classic “Arthur” a few years back, leaving little doubt that a lower quality product like “Drop Dead Fred” will sprout a better result.

Out of all of the remakes on this list, this one is just mind-boggling (well this and “House Party.”) These are the kind of decisions that either pay off in the face of all that is right in the world or get being shunned from Hollywood forever.

Forecast: It’s a dreary, dreary outlook for all us with this one. Buy two umbrellas and try to be whimsical.  

Commando

A “Commando” remake is a bad idea for a few reasons. The first reason being that the original is down right perfect and a worldwide phenomenon as referenced in this African child’s retelling of the story.

The second reason is that without Arnold Schwarzenegger, this is just a random, generic action movie with “Commando” slapped on the marquee. What is to differentiate this from “Taken” or any other movie where our main character has to use skills from his past to rescue his daughter or family from evil military forces?

A big reason this doesn’t work is because a movie like “Commando” is a product of the 1980s, a time when killing bad guys and winning proxy wars on screen was acceptable. However, 9/11 happened and today’s action heroes inhabit a world where dangers have to be more realistic because the audience is living it. We also face the issue of having the audience be more global from a business standpoint, a world where movies like the recent “Red Dawn” remake have to postpone a year to remove all references to their Chinese villains. Related, it’s funny how movies like “The Expendables” get relegated as goofy nostalgia trips these days, but used to be the gold standard of non-PC action movies.

Forecast: Cloudy days ahead…or is that smoke? And flames! RUN!

Death Wish

A “Death Wish” remake sounds like a fine idea. The casting is another thing entirely. Robert Downey Jr., Brad Pitt and even Will Smith have been connected to the role Charles Bronson owned for five movies and that can’t sit well with anyone.

We just can’t take Robert Downey Jr. serious in a role concerning a man whose wife and daughter have been brutalized to the point that he seeks cold vengeance on the streets of New York. Brad Pitt flat out can’t act past being the good guy everyone likes and only does the bad things when pushed to the brink. And Will Smith is on a string of bad roles as is and should not be allowed to ruin this one with his family man schtick.

The role needs to be played by someone who is believable as a man who is concerned about family, but able to go over the edge. The James Wan helmed adaptation of “Death Sentence,” the original written sequel to “Death Wish” by Brian Garfield, featured Kevin Bacon in a role similar to Bronson’s, but disconnected from the series.

It’d be nice to see an updated, streamlined “Death Wish” remake to bring the series back to being grounded, but NO WAY with Downey, Pitt, or Smith. NO.

Prove me wrong.

Forecast: Uncertain waters show several dangerous fronts on the horizon. You might want to take the family back home and lock the doors.

House Party

Kid ‘N’ Play were privy to a solid franchise when “House Party” came out in 1990. It spawned two sequels featuring the duo and a fourth that seemingly only proves to be a party in name alone.

So why remake it without Kid ‘N’ Play? Why not play up the nostalgia and bring them back for a final team up party to end all parties?

The original was a who’s who of African-American talent from Robin Harris to a fresh Martin Lawrence long before “Big Momma’s House” was even a glimmer in his mind’s eye.

According to reports, Nick Cannon is at the forefront to star in this remake, but the entire thing just feels pointless. Almost as pointless as “Commando!” And the “House Party” sequels became fodder for jokes in other movies by the time a fourth one rolled around.

It’s a poor decision all around, but shows that studios clearly care more about easy marketing than fresh ideas and stories to draw viewers to the theater.

Forecast: Stale, thick fog enveloping the area and choking the life out of the populace.

Short Circuit

Fisher Stevens’ prayers have been answered with the “Short Circuit” remake that no one else could’ve possibly wanted. The adventures of Johnny Five spanned two movies and always felt like a sort of “ET” rip off, but with a lovable robot instead of a dookie-colored alien.

It is beyond us as to why we would need a remake in an age when technology has advanced to the point where we have to imagine robots looking like ourselves to be amazed at the movie theater. Certainly it would be a nice way to play on fears brought with the idea of singularity and technology outgrowing our usefulness and deciding to branch out on its own, but a “Short Circuit” remake is most likely not going to achieve such lofty dreams and ideas.

People should be treating “Wall-E” as the “Short Circuit” remake that does the idea justice. Johnny Five wakes up in the future as a worker bot and falls in love with a futuristic robot voiced by Ally Sheedy who teams up with him to save humanity and bring the planet back to life. Instead, Fisher Stevens gets the call to put on the dark skin makeup and play Indian stereotypes to a mass audience once again. Great.

Forecast: Cloudy with a chance of overt racial stereotypes! We’re pretty sure someone is just urinating on us at this point.

Point Break

Get out of here. Leave. There will be no such thing.

Forecast: Fuck you.

You may also like...

  • Homestar

    I agree with all of this except Pet Sematary. The first movie was really bad, but the book was great. There is so much suspense in the novel that didn’t make it into the film, and the emotional destruction of the family could really be addressed. The book creeped the hell out of me, while I laughed at the movie.Whoever remakes Point Break will be as hated as George Lucas. Maybe even more.

  • msanthropesmr

    Drop Dead Fred? DROP DEAD FRED? That movie sucked like an Oreck! And I lurv me some Rik Mayall. The Comic Strip Presents was genius stuff.

  • rebecca

    Y’all Drop Dead Fred haters can fuckin’ suck it.

  • mtn_philosoph

    Didn’t know that Pet Sematary had ever been made into a movie even once. “Commando.” Is that the one where no one wears any skivvies?Never heard of “Fred,” “Party” or “Circuit.” I know, I know. Sorry. I had heard of “Point Break” but never saw it, and was never tempted to.Remake “Death Wish” with Louis CK in the lead. He’ll never do it, but it would be effin’ great. No? OK, more seriously then: Jesse Plemons. Why not? The role requires someone who comes off as innocent enough on the surface to have been seriously victimized once, but who is dark enough on the inside to go out and seek revenge. And who fits this profile better than Todd Alquist?Sure, Charles Bronson unquestionably owned that role the first time around. But still, I always had a little bit of a problem with him in it. I mean, just look at the guy. Would you ever want to f*ck with him?No, you need an actor like Plemons, who can look all sweet and innocent while simultaneously being all sinister and dangerous. You might think that you could mess with him, but you’d be wrong. And dead.Second choice? Adam Braverman himself, aka Peter Krause. Think about it, and you’ll see why. But he undoubtedly won’t (and really shouldn’t) do it while Parenthood is still airing. Jesse Plemons should be available right now though.

  • Jason M

    The “Short Circuit” remake makes me angry, here’s my tangential connections to the rest: 1. Addam’s Family. Isn’t the first movie kinda already a retread of the original series? When I was living in Savannah, Georgia, I gave Christina Ricci her membership at the movie rental place I was working at, circa 1994. She had a little entourage, and she was pretending to be exhausted with people quoting Wednesday Addams lines at her. 2. I “saw” Point Break when I was in jail overnight in Las Vegas. I put saw in quotations, because they took my glasses due to their fears I might use the arms to make a shank or something. I sat under the tv and listened to the entire movie while biding the right time to make my move for the toilet. 3. “Commando”. I got the Ahnold action figure for that movie when I was a kid, pretended he was Terminator Vs. G.I. Joe. That’s all.

  • Ambignostic

    “The role needs to be played by someone who is believable as a man who is concerned about family, but able to go over the edge.” That would be Bruce Willis. I am not even kidding.

  • mtn_philosoph

    More out-of-the-film-can thinking re: casting.”Death Wish” remake:Weird Idea #1) Redo the movie as a dark comedy/dramedy. Cast Jack Black in the Chas. Bronson role. Don’t laugh, Think about it.Weird Idea #2) Turn it completely around and have the Bronson character played by a woman.Oops – already done on the small screen. It’s called “Revenge.” That series is kind of slow and soapy, though.Rob Ford biopic: Kevin James as the feckless mayor.