HE SAID: Remakes

June 10, 2010

Not the same chemistry. Though that might be ok.

So I’ve touched on this before, but now that “K-Day” is actually just about here, I need to vent.  How can someone in good conscience remake a film as timeless as Karate Kid?  I just don’t understand it.  It is a classic that quarterlifers such as myself see as one of the major marks of their childhood.  Just because we have new technology to make things “better” does not necessarily mean we always have to use it (unless you are Bud Selig, commish for MLB, use technology for replay please so kids with perfect games can actually have them).

A little too close...

And the original Karate Kid was not just some joke of a kids movie…Pat Morita got nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.  This was a well done movie, that I still have trouble turning off no matter how often it comes on ABC Family.  Were there issues? Of course…why would you move a junior in high school across the country for a waitressing job? Why did there have to be sexual tension between Daniel and Miyagi?  How inthe world is Elisabeth Shue actually into Ralph Macchio, which was the most unbelievable part of the original. Why do these things matter to me? Oops, that’s a whole different subject.

Now we are getting a remake, with a stunt man as Miyagi and an 11 year old learning effing kung fu (NOT KARATE).  I guess the bottom line is – what’s the point? I mean, I totally understand them making the A-Team into a movie.  It was never a movie, but even if you consider it a remake it makes sense…in this case our newer technology will make it a hell of a lot cooler than the original TV show, even if Mr. T isn’t involved.  Same thing with the two latest Batman flicks, which are not considered remakes either, but instead rebirths.  And after a Clooney and Kilmer sighting as Batman, it was definitely necessary.

But now people are calling for The Outsiders, The Goonies, Red Dawn (already in production, to be released around Thanksgiving).  When does it end? Maybe I’m just being selfish because these are some of my favorite childhood memories that I don’t want ruined by Michael Bay, who was most accurately described in the movie Team America – “Why does Michael Bay get to keep on making movies?”  Would there be an uproar from our parents generation if some jackass in Hollywood announced a new Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid starring Nicolas Cage and Aston Kucher? Alright that’s it, I’m done…I hate being angry.  But if this enrages you as much as it does me let me know, I’ll picket with you outside theatres this weekend.

SHE SAID: Remakes

June 10, 2010

Jeremy, I hate it when I agree with you because I feel like it makes our blog so boring.  Instead of lambasting you, I’m just saying, yeah, good point.  Which is not that interesting because we are supposed to be contrasting views on arbitrary themes.

Also, as we discussed online earlier, you writing a post about the Karate Kid (or the remake) with me as a sounding wall is kind of pointless since I have not seen either film.  Although, it sounds like I’m not to blame for the second one since it hasn’t been released yet.  It’s akin to me posting about the hassles of getting my period and expecting you to deliberate what it’s like being a woman with me.

Carrie - Original and Remake

On a broader note, as far as remakes go, Hollywood is to blame for the the general impressiveness:  either the original stunk and a remake was necessary, or they are unimaginative and running out of ideas. Either way, both are depressing realities to face for a nation waiting patiently while reclining on the couch for someone to inspire us pay $12 to sit in the darkness snacking on overpriced junk food while visually ingesting drivel.  A positive outlook, I know.

To compare it to a similar idea … why are some musical covers more successful than others?  Why is it okay for Susan Tedeschi to slay Angel From Montgomery and Don’t Think Twice, but it’s not okay for a director to remake Karate Kid, The Parent Trap or Carrie?  Why is it okay to remake the Bourne Identity, but not okay for Madonna to massacre American Pie?  Why can I not stomach American Idol?  If an artist, be it an actor, singer, musician, producer or director, can somehow make the piece their own and it is artistically new and interesting enough, then bring on the covers and the remakes.  If you are going to revisit history, best to interpret it, rather than regurgitate it.  If, however, you are simply going to record the original with your voice and/or new mediocre actors, please don’t bother.  The original, even a completely forgettable one, will still blow any successive version out of the water.

Movies are a much more challenging undertaking due to the amount of people involved, the length, and the confines of the story.  Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 remake of Romeo and Juliet is one of the few that comes to mind and its success lies in his placing it in modern day.  Unfortunately, this was not an effective approach for Gil Junger’s 1999 movie, 10 Things I Hate About You.  Had Julia Styles not been hot and grating on a table, this would have been forgotten rapidly.  On a side note, I’m relieved that Hollywood has stopped trying to push crappy movies with the whole “based on a Shakespeare text” defense.

Will this new version of The Karate Kid shed new light on the relationship between student and teacher?  Will the acting provide new depth to the characters?  Will the setting, the medium switching to kung-fu, the star power of young Mr. Smith and Jackie Chan make this newer version go down in the record books?  Probably not.  And chances are, I’m not going to see it anyway.  But, I am looking forward to Grace Potter’s new album, if I can get my hands on it.  She killed, in a heel stompingly good way, the Beatles classic, Come Together, the last time I saw her live in Burlington.  When done well, I love the revisiting of an old classic, the respect shown to the artists that have come before and influenced today’s creators.  I would be upset if it weren’t happening.

HE SAID: Books Made Into Movies

August 12, 2010

I apologize a bit because this topic is kind of similar to our Remakes post a few months back, at least in terms of the underlying theme of lack of originality in Hollywood (ironic because I’m showing a slight lack of the same thing in my post).  But the fact remains this topic hit me karma is going to hit Lebron James last night when I was watching “The Lords of Discipline,” an early 80s flick based on the tremendous Pat Conroy novel with the same name.  The book climbed into my top 10 this summer, and the movie rendition made me want to vomit.  Though it starred a relative who’s who of 80’s stars who never really panned out (Judge Reinhold, Michael Biehn, David Keith), it was barely even a cliff notes version of the book.  After the movie I did what any normal individual does, and studied the crap out of it on IMDB.  What did I come upon? The movie version of Ayn Rand’s renowned “Atlas Shrugged” is finally in production.

At one time rumored to be starring the likes of Brad Pitt and Charlize Theron, it is now starring absolutely no one and being directed by a dude who’s main credits include 12 episodes of effing One Tree Hill.  Suffice it to say, I almost threw up on top of the throw up the movie I had just watched caused.  I know Congress is busy and all (oh wait, no they aren’t, they are in recess for a fu$king month, cause that makes sense), but since they have always been hellbent on getting involved in shit that shouldn’t involve them – steroids in baseball, concussions in football – why can’t they delegate a committee to put down productions such as a C- version of one of the greatest books ever written?

I don’t think we should just put the kibosh on making books into movies, but at the very least, a screenplay must be ok’ed by a committee of people who think it will do the book justice.  After all, some movies based on books are tremendous (Mystic River, Watchmen, the Police Academy Series).  But most suck.  We hear the same bullshit excuse all the time, “there just isn’t enough time in a movie to fully develop everything.”  Oh, ok…in that case…don’t make it!

All this anger probably can be traced back to October of 2004, because like everything in my life, it relates to the Red Sox.  What should have been unequivocally the happies moment of my life remains to this day slightly soured because the Farrelly brothers used the first Red Sox World Series celebration in 86 years to film the end of an abysmal version of Nick Hornby’s “Fever Pitch.”  Thanks alot assholes, you two clowns should’ve hung em up after “Outside Providence.”

SHE SAID: Books Made Into Movies

August 12, 2010

Wow.  Jeremy’s passion in regards to this topic is evident in the amount of spelling mistakes and grammar violations in his post.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of the run on when you’re in the moment, but he’s never made this many violations in one post before.

Books made into movies.  Yawn.  I don’t think I know one person who would argue that a movie version of a story has been better than the book.  Have there been decent remakes?  Sure.  But decent is where it ends, and the number in that category is small.  More often, the movie is pretty terrible if you loved or respected the book and gives my mother ammunition for her anti-technology rants at the dinner table.

I don’t really understand the urge that must come over some film maker to make a book into a movie.  From the first moment of conception, you’re sacrificing something about the book.  If you enjoy something, why would you want to compromise it?  To work as a movie, the story needs to be truncated, since most books wouldn’t fit into the 2 hour time frame, and then forced to work visually on screen.

It bothers me that an author will slave for months and sometimes years over a book and then, to make it into a movie, scenes and characters will be cut.  And what bothers me even more is when a romantic interest is added because apparently America’s audience can’t sit through a movie unless there is some heavy petting going on, or at least some heavy pining or lusting.

And as far as the visual element goes, most times I’m more psyched with what my head envisioned than with what is mass force fed the audience in the theater.  I’m risking sounding like my mother here, but the imagination does wonders with the written word and there is something lost by succumbing to someone else’s vision of Terabithia or Hogwarts or a dashing leading man.

And when I see that Atlas Shrugged (the book responsible for turning me into an unbearable elitist asshole for the last of my teen years) is going to be translated for a theater audience and will now be accessible to people not willing to work through the 1000 pages of the book, I wonder how the producers and directors don’t see the irony.  Although, perhaps some people would disagree with me and argue that making the “Republican Bible” more available is a good thing.

There are great movies that have been made from books: The Graduate, The Godfather.  There are also some important historical movies that have been made based on books: Gone with the Wind.  But for the most part, I think movies do better when they are not based on a book.  Or at the very least, not based on a beloved book.  There are times when a picture is not worth a thousand words.  And it’s clear both movies and books have their significance without needing to borrow from one another.