Friday, June 4, 2010

Question: Remakin' It

Today’s discussion requires a little longer intro. There are many movies out there that are calling out for a remake. Some could have been so much better with a few simple changes. Some could benefit greatly from more modern story telling conventions. Others could have been better with better effects. And then we have. . . Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. No, I’m not joking.

For the rare few of you who haven’t seen Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, it’s. . . well. . . it’s a putrid movie. Poor story, bad film quality, lousy direction, horrid acting, uncreative, gimmicky, cutesy, mimes. . . need I go on? Haven’t we suffered enough?

But let’s look at this from another angle. This sucker had potential -- the concept is brilliant, it’s just the execution that stunk. Seriously. Take the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton and a dozen other hot acts from the 1970s (Aerosmith; Earth, Wind & Fire; Billy Preston; Alice Cooper; and everyone else who sang a song in the 1970s), and let them make a musical that uses only covers of Beatles songs! Sweeeet!

I would love to see this movie remade. But when I say “remade,” I mean scrap the whole darn thing and start over. Get a new plot. Get new covers of the Beatles material. Get a competent director. And have at it.

What film(s) would you like to see remade and why?


BevfromNYC said...

But Andrew, if you were an acid trip while watching it, I am sure it was a brilliant movie! Don't 'cha think?

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I was wondering why that big pink rabbit kept knocking at my windows while I was trying to watch the movie! LOL!

Seriously, the movie is horrid. But I think the concept is great and I would love to see it remade with a more serious tone.

JG said...

This is a real catch-22. Remakes are almost never as good as the originals. If they make Pride and Prejudice one more time I think my head will explode.

I think The Thin Man movies would be fun to remake, even though my mind is fighting the many ways they would be bastardized. In the originals both characters were incredibly modern, though I think "the fun alcoholic" character is probably too politically incorrect to pull off today. At least, whenever I try and show them to my friends, they always remark at "how much they drink." I came from a family of teetotalers and we never even noticed! They were just...happy. :)

AndrewPrice said...

JG, I enjoyed those films, but I think you're right that the fun drinker is no longer an acceptable character in modern Hollywood. Instead, we only seem to get the obnoxious drunk at this point.

Also, I think you're very right that they were modern characters -- surprisingly so given the era when these films were made. It wouldn't take much to see them as characters from 2010.

In terms of bastardizing them, yeah, there is that. They would probably try to turn them into gun wielding, car-chasing action heroes. Bummer.

JG said...

I was thinking more along the lines of trying to CSI them. Everything today is forensics and technology, which is cool, but nothing beats old fashioned deduction.

AndrewPrice said...

JG, I've actually been thinking about that lately. I miss the old fashioned deduction stories. All the CSI stuff is just too technical and too bland for my tastes.

I miss the Hercule Poirot's of the world!

BevfromNYC said...

Actually Andrew - It would be interesting to see what Tim Burton could do with Sgt. Pepper .

The Thin Man series would have the same problem that producing any Noel Coward play has - lots and lots of drinking and smoking. And it's built into the dialogue.

BUT if you go by the premise that they were "modern", you could use the modern day equivalent like and make them wheatgrass swilling vegetarians. That might work. The Thin Man plots are still great and timeless.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, You could just go against the grain (no pun intended) and take them at face value -- let them drink, don't convert them into the modern stereotype of obnoxious alcoholics, and see what happens? It would be unusual in the modern era, but that might make it stand out?

Tim Burton would be an interesting choice for a Sgt. Pepper remake! He's messed up enough to produce something quite brilliant!

Anonymous said...

I love The Thin Man (the sequels less so and I don't even remember the last one) but I don't want to see them remade. "They didn't get anywhere near my tabloids!"

Capricorn One could be remade today. The Elliot Gould character would most likely be a blogger or something but everything else can remain roughly the same. I read a couple years ago that they were actually doing this but I've heard nothing about it since.

I Am Legend deserves another go since the Will Smith version left much to be desired. Or better yet, put it to rest.

This might come across as an ego trip but I could've made a better Get Smart movie than the one they did a couple years ago! Keep Steve Carrell and Alan Arkin, ditch everyone and everything else. Hire Sledge Hammer! creator Alan Spencer to co-write it. And hire Catherine Bell as an age-appropriate 99.

I'd love to see a remake/reimagining/whatever of another Marx Brothers film. A Night at the Opera was the inspiration behind the underrated Brain Donors. I'd love to see a modern day Animal Crackers.

StanH said...

The Beatles touched on a little of Sgt. Pepper in their cartoon Yellow Submarine, and of coarse the latest “Across The Universe,” touched of several Pepper songs. I’m with Bev Tim Burton could do it justice.

AndrewPrice said...


Last I knew, Capricorn One is being remade and I'm looking forward to it, though I enjoy the original immensely.

I Am Legend could have been SO much better. I understand they are actually making a prequel now, but I think it won't be anything more than Outbreak staring Will Smith.

I loved the original Get Smart, but I turned off the remake because it was just a total waste of time. I like the choice of Catherine Bell as Agent 99 -- good casting. This is the second or third time you've come up with good casting suggestions. You should be a casting agent. . . sounds like your niche! :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, I haven't see Across the Universe but a lot of people recommend it highly.

Tennessee Jed said...

to hell with Paul McCartney. Did love their music, but never could buy into any of the movies

Unknown said...

Andrew: White Line Fever. I'll play the lead (a truck driver). At least that's what I felt like after dragging that 29 foot moving van behind me for 450 miles. And instead of the lead being a returning Vietnam vet, I'll have to modify the script so I'll be a returning Vietnam War protester. I'm a stickler for accuracy, you know. LOL

BevfromNYC said...

Okay, reality check - I was watching "Carole King and James Taylor at the Troubadour" - Carole King is 68 years old and James Taylor is 62 years old! AAAAAAGGGGHHHH! I am hyperventilating...[breathing into paperbag....]

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, McCartney needed Lenin to make good music and he needs a better brain to make good politics. . . he should shut the hell up.

Their movies were difficult, to say the least.

BevfromNYC said...

LAWHAWK!!!! How's country life?

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I know exactly what you mean! Have you see "boyish" Peter Frampton lately? He looks like Grandpa Simpson!!!!

And Ronnie James Dio just died of old age -- he was a youthful rock god when I was in Jr. High!

These people aren't supposed to be this old. I don't know what's happening, something me be going wrong with the universe!

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I saw you more as an 18 wheeler type?

BevfromNYC said...

Andrew and Tennessee - I have a friend who says that the Beatles are dying in order of talent and McCartney has a loooong life ahead of him.

I agree, but I think it gives short shrift to Ringo. I think he has never gotten the respect he deserves, but then he's laughing all the way to the bank...

Anonymous said...

I don't want to mess with the Marx Brothers either! But in the early 90s, the Zucker Brothers produced a film called Brain Donors. It was "inspired" by A Night at the Opera and is probably considered a "cult movie" by the two dozen people who have heard of it.

All I'm saying is it'd be interesting to see a modern movie try to recapture that anarchic spirit. And if it's based on, say for example, the original Kaufman/Ryskind stage shows that the early Marx films were based on, it'd be a neat experiment.

Now if they mess with the Three Stooges, there will be hell to pay!

Me as a casting director? Not to sound un-PC but from what I gather about many (but not all) male casting directors, I'm too hetero for the job. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I used to think that Ringo was just an add-on to the Beatles, but then a friend of mine explained to me how intricate and innovative much of his drumming was -- very impressive actually. That gave me a new found respect for Ringo.

In the end though, I don't think any of them were nearly as good alone as they were as a group. What an amazing group they were.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, It may or may not surprise you, but I've seen Brain Donors. I didn't know it was a "remake" of Night at the Opera when we rented it, but a few minutes in I started to recognize the similarities.

In all honesty, I don't think you could remake Night at the Opera today because it relied so much on perfect timing, and Hollywood has abandoned perfect timing for clever editing -- which just isn't the same. It's that timing that gives you the chaos feel.

I didn't know being not-hetro was a job requirement? So much for the casting couch huh?

USArtguy said...

A Christmas movie I mentioned back when we talked about them last year was "Beyond Tomorrow". I would like very much to see it remade. I thought I had seen all the old 1930s-1950s Christmas movies but discovered this one at a dollar store. Anyway, though I enjoyed it, I feel this movie could have been (could still be) a true classic with just a few changes. One of the things it suffered from was confusing editing in a few parts. Another point that I felt distracted from the main point of the story was a little too much emphasis on the Catholic version of the afterlife. Nothing against that per se, just in the context of the movie I thought it was a bit heavy handed.

It was colorized in 2004(?) and the name changed to "Beyond Christmas", which is a better descriptor, but they edited even more which made the confusing bits even more so.

A series of movies I think might be cool is the old Dean Martin as a secret agent... Matt Helm. I've only seen one and that was on TV when I was a young teen. I don't remember much about it now but thought it was cool at the time. I think it was called "The Silencers". Anyway, what I would change is to make it serious ala the more 'realistic" James Bond of late. It was kind of a spy spoof... I'd do it as more spy and less spoof and I'd let ScottDS pick the cast! Who could replace Dean Martin?

One other Spy Movie I really liked and would like to see updated is "Hopscotch" with Walter Matthau. Again, I haven't seen that in years but I don't think I would want to change it much, just update so another generation could enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

It's not a requirement (!) but when I read complaints about the lack of "leading men" and the preponderance of "whiny emo types," gay casting directors are usually named as one of the culprits. (I'm not knowledgeable enough to continue that line of thought and have nothing to add to that "theory.")

Frankly, it does surprise me. I don't know what happened but from reading IMDb, Brain Donors was originally titled Lame Ducks and Paramount had a big marketing campaign planned. Then at one point, the title was changed and the film was dumped into theaters. My dad rented it for my brother and I when we were younger and we laughed our asses off (despite not getting the innuendos). It's still funnier than most comedies made today.

All of the Marx Brothers films rely on good timing. And you're right - it couldn't be made today. But I'd still like to see a "brave" comedic filmmaker attempt to make an old-fashioned screwball comedy, with people coming in and out of rooms and stuff like that. Woody Allen does it every fourth or fifth film. John Landis tried it with Oscar. Frasier did that stuff in primetime every week. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

USArtguy, I have to admit that I haven't seen any of these. I've heard of Matt Helm, but I never saw it. I do like Dean Martin. In my mind, the best replacement for Dean Martin would be George Clooney, but then I don't have Scott's casting vision!

I do think that spy movies are a genre that is strangely neglected. We have the action guys like James Bond and the "betrayed by my country" guys like Jason Bourne, but there's very little in the way of spy-story spies.

BevfromNYC said...

Gotta' love those writers who wrote under the Hays Code. Filthy stuff, but who knew? Man, they were clever!

I'm still a little freaked out that Carole King is 68 years old...but she's still got it!

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I thought most casting agents were women -- at least they are every time I've looked them up. And yes. . . I will see who cast films when I start seeing a lot of the same faces appearing in different films.

I think that there have been several recent attempts to recreate the "screwball" comedy. I think that the Ocean series, Intolerable Cruelty and Down With Love were recent attempts, but they all missed the mark. None of these had the timing needed to give them the energy of the old screwball movies, and they substituted "posing" (as in models) for cool/hip.

(FYI, I enjoyed the Ocean series, but not the other two.)

I enjoyed Brain Donors but not enough to recommend it to anyone.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

This will border on Sacrilege, but I'd like to see what Christopher Nolen would do with The Third Man or maybe Fritz Lang's M. I love both those films, but I wager Nolen's take would be great.

And I'd like all the Star Wars films remade except Empire and 2/3 of Return.

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, It would make a lot of people happy if they redid the most recent three Star Wars films.

A remake of Metropolis would be pretty neat.

Unknown said...

Bev: It's amazingly quiet. At night, it's so dark it's like being inside a sealed chamber when the lights go off. But I love it. I'll tell you all about it on Sunday and Monday.

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