Throwback Thursday is a day to reflect. A day where we can look back to the golden years of Hollywood, the funky flicks of the 70s, and the post-mod movies of the 90s so as to revel in our nostalgia. Today we look back to some of the greatest movies ever made…and the brutal remakes that came after. Here are our fast five most unnecessary remakes:
Alfred Hitchcock was a genius. He shocked the cinematic world by flipping Hollywood’s classical narrative on its head, he created one of the greatest thrillers of all time and he produced a shock ending that still has people talking. So what in the world would possess Gus Van Sant to re-make it, in color, with Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates? This disastrous remake deservedly won both the 1999 Razzie for ‘Worst Remake or Sequel’ and ‘Worst Director’, it was even was nominated for ‘Worst Actress’ for Anne Heche’s portrayal of Marion Crane; Janet Leigh she is not. When asked “Why in the hell would you want to do a shot-by-shot remake of Psycho in color?” Van Sant replied“So no one else would have to.” Later, he went on to explain that the Psycho experiment’s purpose was to show that one director holding a camera is completely different to another, even if they are shooting the same character in the same place. As Van Sant said “Our Psycho showed that you can’t really appropriate. Or you can appropriate but it’s not going to be the same thing.” We couldn’t agree more.
Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, and William Holden lit up the big screen with class and character; they were true Hollywood stars whose very names instantly evoke a sense of glamor and beauty, a reminder of a golden age that has since passed. Under the careful guidance of Billy Wilder, these actors made Sabrina an Oscar winning classic.
Harrison Ford, Julia Ormond, and Greg Kinnear are fantastic actors, they are warm and relatable and very entertaining, but compare them to breathtaking, old Hollywood stars and they will fall short. Julia Ormond could have given the performance of her life but it was never going to be that of Audrey Hepburn. No one can match Audrey Hepburn. The remake will always be held up against the original, meaning that it never really had a chance. Wilder’s version is so infused with Bogart’s rough charm, Hepburn’s doe eyes and Holden’s charming smile that there was no way for Sydney Pollack to successfully remake it. He gave it a good try and even Roger Ebert appreciated the attempt, but to remake a classic and expect better results is just down right foolhardy.
In 2007, Frank Oz directed a fantastically dry, British comedy that’s cast included Peter Dinklage, Alan Tudyk, and Kris Marshall. It centers around the funeral of a man who has been leading two lives; one that his family knows about, and one that they will discover on the day of his funeral. This film finds humor in the darkest of places, including the coffin. In fact, one of the most memorable scenes takes place when Daniel opens his father’s casket to say his goodbyes, the camera follows his gaze and the audience waits for a reaction, perhaps even a glistening tear. Instead, he informs the funeral workers that they’ve brought the wrong body. This moment is played to perfection as the audience try desperatley to resist laughing at such a terrible mistake but fail miserably. The film is about laughing at the improper moment, finding humor in the dark and learning to have a macabre sense of humor.
Unfortunately, in 2010 Neil LaBute decided it was necessary to remake the film in a more slapstick American fashion. The same scene takes place, this time with Chris Rock as the son in mourning, and an old Asian man as the mistaken body. The joke becomes obvious, unfunny and totally missing the point, much like the rest of the film.
This 1978 classic has horrified, spooked and scared generations of horror fans. The character of Laurie shot Jamie Lee Curtis into stardom as the final girl trying to survive the terrifying pursuit of Michael Myers. John Carpenter soon became a film lover’s dream as he created shots that combined sex, blood and phallic symbolism – the horror movie staples.
In 2007 Rob Zombie directed the Halloween remake, a film that was truly terrifying for all the wrong reasons. Scout Taylor-Compton plays the final girl, who by the end of the film, we are hoping will actually die at the hands of Myers. While Curtis played the role of victim with a kind of determination that the audience cheered for, Compton whines and dithers her way through survival. I was hoping that a horror remake would include a more modernized look at the female role; perhaps Laurie could be more monster hunter than final girl. Sadly, this is not the case. Unsurprisingly, the film fails to live up to the name of the original and ultimately Carpenter trumps Zombie.
Movies from the 80s just have something about them; a kind of childish innocence mixed with adolescent woes and adult tragedy. Footloose deals with oppression, depression and repression all to the soundtrack of Kenny Loggins with the tagline: ‘One kid. One town. Once chance.’ Awesome.
A fresh faced Kevin Bacon sets out to fight the religious repression of a small mid-Western town through the power of dance. This street wise kid has moved from the big city to a place where dancing has been deemed untrustworthy and rock and roll is the music of the devil. With the support of Ariel, the troubled preacher’s daughter, Ren rallies his classmates together in support of a senior-prom. Their only obstacle is Ariel’s father, Revered Shaw Moore, who considers music and dance to be a recipe for disaster. Ren comes of age as he falls for Ariel, gains purpose in his new town, and dances like he’s in an MTV music video. Let’s hear it for the boy.
2011 dance movies do not have the charming innocence of the 80s. They tend to be flashy, pompous and generally unnecessary. It was hard to believe that dancing was banned in a town, no matter how small or religious, in the 80s but in 2011? The whole premise of the film seems off, the substance is lacking and the acting just isn’t up to scratch. Yes, Kenny Wormaid and Julianna Hough can dance, but this isn’t Step-Up 17, this is an anguish filled fight against authority, that just happens to take form through some nifty dance moves. All in all, another completely unnecessary remake.
Love remakes? Hate them? Let us know! Tweet us at @moviefiednyc #TBT
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