I recently saw a list of a hundred movies that are getting remakes. That’s right, ONE HUNDRED movies. This list included some that made me accept the reality of it being necessary, however some on the list are barely ten years old. How in the name of all that is sacred in movie making are you going to convince me that “American Psycho” needs a remake?
I won’t say with unabashed certainty that I loathe remakes. I understand we have new generations coming up who might not otherwise see a great movie due to it being “outdated.” I understand that a movie production company will generate profit by introducing a title that they hold the rights to with an “improved” visual style for current times. I get this. It is sad that movies are treated with the same respect that technological gadgets are, in that if it can’t be updated, it’s not worth having. It’s also sad that these film companies use this logic as their reasoning. If that’s the case, where’s the remake of “Gone With The Wind,” or “Ben Hur?”
There are some seriously great classic movies out there that can be enjoyed in their original form. I say classic loosely as some of them are from my childhood and I have still not come to full terms of my mortality.
Please keep in mind that what you are about to read is merely the opinion of this guy. You may agree, you may disagree, we may just agree to disagree. That’s fine. I can accept that the world does not think like me. It’s a tough pill to swallow, definitely, but I can accept it. I do believe that there are some movies you just should NOT touch, because they were done right the first time. These are in no particular order, as I am not compiling a list of greats. Just a list of don’t touch these movies and ruin them. Here's #1 - #3
1. "Deliverance" Released in theaters July 30, 1972
This movie revealed some beautiful scenery of the American wilderness through some rather epic cinematography, it introduced us to banjo playing by an "Uncle Daddy" type figure, and it was also the first movie to unknowingly coin the phrase "Brokeback Mountain."
This story follows Ed, played by the ever so gifted actor and daughter maker Jon Voight, who is on a mission with his friends to enjoy some roughing it in the woods, Lewis and Clark style. They are hoping for a quiet, relaxing adventure in the deep wilderness where men go to bond. What they encountered instead was a fight for survival. Not just the survival of their individual existence, but the survival of their “innocence,” if you will. It was adventurous and suspenseful in every way imaginable. The camaraderie between these friends was enhanced rather quickly after encountering horny moonshine runners from the mountains. I will not go any further on that subject.
A remake of this movie, I fear, would try to make it something it's not: an action packed movie between mountain men and a band of Iraqi War Veterans. It was meant as a thriller, a movie that kept you on the edge of your seat. There were moments of action, but the core of it, the heart of it, was storytelling meant to keep you wondering. Plus who else other than Ned Beatty would see the script and say,"Oh, I get to squeal like a pig while some crazed mountain man sodomizes me? I was MADE for this part!"?
2. "Gremlins" Released in theaters June 8, 1984
So, you want to get your kid something special and original for Christmas. Why not get him a Mogwi? Sure, the mysterious Chinese man said it wasn't for sale, but what does he know? You have the best kid in the world and he'll be totally responsible with it. After all, he DOES have a dog.
Chris Columbus is a great storyteller, with titles like "The Goonies" and "Only the Lonely" in his repertoire. Joe Dante was no slouch in the directing department, with “Innerspace” and “Small Soldiers” to be included on his resume. These two took a premise from pilots of WWII and made them out to be the not-so-scary monsters imagined by many fly-boys, but rather a mischievous and comical bunch who did nothing but make you laugh and feel sorry for a small town at the same time.
Now granted, the technology at the film’s release was nothing by comparison to today's standards. Seeing this with updated tech would be cool, but there is, I fear, the element of storytelling where this movie could lack. For all we know, the new “”visionaries” of the remake may try to give us an idea that the CDC created these things as a WMD and it got out of hand. I know it sounds ludicrous, but is it really THAT ludicrous? The original had such fine tuning to everything that adding something or taking something out just wouldn't serve this gem of a movie justice.
3. "Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind" Released in theaters November 16, 1977
Usually movies involving someone who sees a spaceship paints a picture of them being some crazed redneck with a fear of being probed, or a cry for help to a rape hotline because said probing occurred.
That wasn't the case for good ole' Roy Neary, played by Mr. Holland (Richard Dreyfuss for those who don't get references to other movies). Nope, this guy gets buzzed by a UFO while witnessing railroad crossing signals going haywire and does what any rational human being in the same predicament would do: he sculpts mashed potatoes into a familiar shape, followed by filling his living room and dining room with yard soil and trash to make an even BIGGER replicate of his vision.
Look, this is Steven Spielberg, as both writer and director, and that guy knows how to tell a story and convey said story onto the screen. Argue with that all you want, because you are entitled to your own dumb opinion (sorry, I don't think you're dumb). For storytelling credibility, see Lincoln, Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List, and War Horse. These were well told stories combined with visuals that the human eyes and brain couldn’t process all at once. The visuals in Close Encounters, even for the time period, were breathtaking. As a kid, the scene where the young Guiler boy is in the front door and it flies open showing a multitude of flashing lights was just freaky, in a fantastic sort of way. Capturing moments like that again using updated technology would require less creativity, I believe, as a computer could do it for you (and before you lambaste me for thinking a computer operates on its own accord, simmer down now). Plus, they would probably bring in Lady Gaga and/or Miley Cyrus to do the harmony played at the end as a means of communicating with the aliens. If that be the case, I say to them, “Please, take them home with you. Good day, musical aliens.”