10 movies Hollywood shouldn't remake but probably will

Top 10 Andrew Blair 20 Jan 2014 - 06:28

Is nothing sacred? Not in Hollywood it isn't. Here's Andrew's list of 10 movies that shouldn't be remade but probably will be soon...

Let's play devil's advocate. Brief Encounters got remade in the 70s. It's almost as if we like telling the same stories again and again.

To say Hollywood is creatively bereft is a satisfyingly hyperbolic simplification. It simply has no need to work harder. An audience gets the films it deserves, and there is no separate box office revenue for 'watched ironically'. The money drips down into smaller, idiosyncratic projects, so everyone gets to watch the kind of films they like. That's the theory, certainly, so do the ends justify the means?

Let's just assume, for a second, that the Naked Gun remake is an averagely amusing comedy; not terrible by any means but clearly not a patch on the original. Would a new idea from the same cast and crew make the same money? Possibly. Identity Thief ("...another Hollywood comedy content to dance in a field of shit" – Den Of  Geek) took a US gross of $134,455,175 according to IMDb. It's perfectly possible to make dross and earn bucketloads of cash, and indeed do this repeatedly.

So, given this, wouldn't it be lovely if filmmakers stopped trying to lure unwary cinema goers into their remake with the vague hope that it might not be That Bad? Sure, but it won't happen unless audiences stop going to see such films, and there is some allure in a revisit of a much-loved concept, even if we know it's going to punch our childhood right in its big wide eyes.

Remakes are a fact of film for this and many other reasons. Hence, here are ten films which we'd like to be left alone, but almost certainly won't be.

1. Tremors

A great low budget B-movie monster yarn, Tremors wasn't a hit on its original release, but found an audience on VHS. This is precisely the sort of film that gets remade on a bigger budget. You can say it's bringing the original to a wider audience, and the director will almost certainly be quoted as saying, "We really respect the original, those guys did great work, but I think we've come at it with a modern sensibility, updating it for the 21st century."

What this means is, "We've made some CGI enhancements to the monsters and a twist ending that will annoy people, and all the supporting characters are paper-thin redshirt halfwits, apart from the stoner guy who will probably be Oscar nominated in three years' time and deeply regret being involved in this film."

Vague plans to remake Tremors existed in 2009, but nothing has been heard since, hopefully because no one is listening.

2. Groundhog Day

Nothing is sacred, even the most irritating candidate for a remake ever. When this happens, on top of all the anger based on the actual film, the number of crap "Hey look, it's happening again" jokes that will ensue will cause people to try to bite their own eyes out in frustration.

3. Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure

Here's how this one goes down: the proposed sequel enters development hell, costs spiral and Keanu Reeves' box office appeal decreases after 27 Ronin (the cheaper sequel to 47 Ronin). The plans become a reboot featuring cameos from Reeves and Alex Winter, and - because someone thought it was a good idea at the time – Shane Carruth is brought in as a time travel consultant. Reviews are unanimously along the lines of "The world is not ready for Primer with dick and fart jokes".

4. Con Air

Simon West's bravura bout of mangasmic mayhem is like an old, violent friend you like to slip into from time to time. What better way to bring it to a larger audience than knocking all the rough edges off it and making it a delightful 12A family funfest?

The film will star someone deemed the new Channing Tatum, and Bruce Willis will cameo in his now familiar "Five Minutes of Bruce Willis But With Dead Eyes" role.

5. The Breakfast Club

Remaking The Breakfast Club would be pointless, because it isn't as if there hasn't been a good high school comedy since. People keep on making them, and people keep on liking them. While search engine results for 'Breakfast Club remake' suggest that audiences believe a remake to be inevitable – and, potentially, quite good – it's worth noting that every few years there's usually a pretty good teen comedy made, and that these are neither sequels nor remakes: Heathers, American Pie, Mean Girls, 21 Jump Street, Napoleon Dynamite, Superbad...the list goes on.

Given that the genre continues to be a fertile source of stories, why bother remaking an old one?

Well, same reason anyone remakes something – they think they've got an new twist on the story, and the studio knows that even if it's awful they'll at least suck in the morbidly curious.

6. Basic Instinct

Seeing as every other Paul Verhoeven film is getting remade, Basic Instinct is probably going to be next by virtue of it being a surer bet than Showgirls. While it will be difficult to top Basic Instinct 2's Stan Collymore cameo, and despite Brian De Palma's erotic thriller Passion being received about as well as a willy in the mail, the time is probably right for Ewan McGregor to step into Michael Douglas' shoes, having the requisite acting chops, willingness to get his bum out, and that endearing "Not quite American but not quite anything else either" accent that remains uniquely his.

7. Lawrence Of Arabia

If the few forthcoming Biblical epics (Noah, Exodus) do well, attention will be focused on other films that involve sand and buttock-sapping running times. Someone will see Peter O'Toole's face during the Oscars, then someone else will do the maths, and realise that – rather than one film that no one has the patience to watch at Christmas – they can make several shorter films and increase their box office takings.

The original Lawrence Of Arabia was 216 minutes long, which means that there's a trilogy out there with T.E. Lawrence's nickname on it.

Only, because the original had no speaking parts for women, it will now star Jennifer Lawrence.

If I'm honest, I would watch that.

8. Scream

Horror classics get rebooted and remade. The Exorcist is a rare exception, and even that spawned sequels and a prequel. The Thing, The Evil Dead, Nightmare On Elm Street, The Hitcher, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, The Amityville Horror and The Omen have been remade to little critical acclaim but decent box office returns. Scream is considered a modern classic, and as such will almost certainly get remade quite badly at some point. Expect it sometime after the Poltergeist remake, expect to leave the cinema feeling like you've been slowly filled up with cement.

9. Alien

The year is 2018. With Ridley Scott executive producing, fans' fears were not remotely assuaged. Technically, the film was Prometheus 3, but the script – written and directed by debutant Chobe Renton – was set on another ship contemporaneously with the events of the 1979 original. The ensuing three hours was a decent, well-made but ultimately hollow experience marred by unconvincing characters, huge plot holes, and dialogue such as "The only way to survive is to not die for ages".

10. Psycho

Platinum Dunes acquire the rights to Psycho when an executive accidentally backs his right nut on a game of Bejewelled Blitz, and then has to hastily backtrack. Michael Bay's churnmongers then announce their intention to do a remake of the 1998 Gus von Sant film, and everyone in the world simultaneously decides to cover all their facial sensory organs in Tipp-Ex.

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