So like five years ago at Boulder Creek, my friend Jay accused me of acting like a fuddy duddy because I was worried that kids on wheelies were going to fall and kill themselves on the sharp-edged fireplace in the entrance lounge. I personally still think I had a valid concern, but that day helped remind me that truly, no matter how misanthropic I can be from time to time, I don’t want to be that jerk yelling some variation of “Get off my lawn!”
Sometimes this is an uphill battle, so I try to find different ways to counter-balance with the positivity of an open mind! One thing in particular that I’ve tried to work on over the past several years, is trying to not automatically get all angry and butthurt over Hollywood remakes.
It is hard sometimes; hoo boy, let me tell you. I think the angriest I ever got was back when they were saying that a “Buffy” remake was in the works and Joss wasn’t involved and it was like wtf. Then, however, “Vampire Diaries” came out and at very least, bought us all a few more years between real and fake “Buffy.” (No disrespect to “Vampire Diaries,” which is on my bucket list and I hear is awesome.)
So anyway, I let myself have That One. That one glass of haterade, because dude:
a) It is “BUFFY.” And “Buffy” is the closest thing I have to being a Trekkie – you know?
b) TOO SOON! TOO SOON! Kind of like when Jessica Simpson covered Robbie Williams’s “Angels,” and it’s like “Hold your horses, Jessica; that song came out five minutes ago!”
But/so given my very strong reaction to the threat of a “Buffy” remake, and given the threat/promise of remakes of “Footloose” and “The Karate Kid,” my survival instincts kicked in and realized that I had to either let this all go – embrace it, even! – or become a bitter shell of a woman who collects cans just to throw at people I don’t like.
Though it isn’t always easy, I have tried to go with the former. I remember hearing several years ago, a debate over someone or other’s acquiring and using the rights to Jimi Hendrix to sell soda or some such. One person was like, “It’s selling out; Hendrix’s spirit is not being properly represented.” And I was like, right on. But then the other person countered that Hendrix’s art stood on its own, and if a whole other generation was exposed to his music thanks to this posthumous sponsorship, then that is awesome. And I was like, right on.
NO, I really am not super crazy about the daily (and gaining in momentum!) reminders that I am Not So Young Anymore. Watching a 3-day marathon of “30 Rock” helped shine some light on that. And Tina Fey’s perspective is one that inspires me at every turn. To laugh at the stuff that sucks about getting older, and rejoice in the stuff that rules. Though I’m not sure Ms. Fey would ever use the words “stuff” and “rejoice” unironically.
Point being. I’m getting older, and while I know I’m still young-ish on various charts, as I mentioned the other day, it’s like, other people’s turns now. To be young-minus-the-ish.
IMO, if art is truly art, or even just awesome, it will stand on its own, and it will age okay. Dated =/= obsolete. If Jaden Smith has even an ounce of either or both parents’ talent, and can get younger kids interested in a movie about an underdog who channels his helplessness into positivity? Stellar. Maybe they’ll watch the original and the remake with a parent, and bond. Maybe they’ll watch the original and laugh and make fun of the old-fashioned people the way I sometimes used to do back in the day. Maybe they’ll ignore the original entirely and just watch the remake, because they’re kids and not film students, necessarily. Either way, anything that gets kids to watch movies about rising above bullies and gaining confidence in oneself is all right (Larusso!) by me.
And now that I’ve gone on about it for awhile, here are some remakes throughout my life, that I’m personally happy got/are getting made, and help salve the pain when I hear about yet another remake in the work.
Oh and despite talking about TV a few paragraphs ago, for sake of time and sanity, I will stick to movies for today’s list(s)!
Warning! Some spoilers in the videos!
Remakes I’ve Liked
Little Women (1994)
Figured I’d start with this one, because it’s probably the most objective one on my list. See, I grew up with Little Women. It was my favorite, favorite, FAVORITE book of all time when I was four years old. I was pretty obsessed. So I’d seen the earlier movies from a very young age. Perhaps this is also a fitting first pick because from a young age, I was able to see that sometimes, remakes weren’t an actual plot to make you feel put out to pasture. It just meant that people loved something, a lot. And/or stood to make money off of it, but the two need not be mutually exclusive.
Anyway. By the time the ’94 “Little Women” remake came out, I could easily have been dismayed. My first childhood literary love, murdered by these modern-day hooligans!
Instead, I have so much love for the new(est) movie version. Especially because Amy was always my favorite March sister, and Kirsten Dunst rocks it out of the park so hard.
Anne of Green Gables (1985)
They made an earlier version, wherein the star actually changed her name IRL to Anne Shirley! Intense. And I did watch it, but nothing could compete with Kevin Sullivan’s ’85 version starring the perfectly – and I mean that word very, very literally – cast Megan Follows as Anne. This was another book I loved as a kid, though at 11 not four, and Follows was 10 times better than even the best Anne that I could have imagined. RIP and love to Colleen Dewhurst and Richard Farnsworth, who couldn’t have been better. It was a great cast, with glorious cinematography, and just in general, it’s aged so well. I guess in a way it might be easier to skirt that obstacle with period pieces, but as someone who grew up in the ‘80s, I still find it impressive, because I mean: “Grease 2,” anyone? “Period piece” is no guaranteed road to safety when you are a movie made in the ’80s. Kudos, “Anne of Green Gables.”
(And no, I didn’t make it through this video without many tears.)
Funny Games (2007)
I wrote about it recently, and will try not to beat a dead horse. Or (SPOILER!!!!) dog, as it were. But it obviously belongs on this list. Still haven’t seen the original, but since I’ve just watched “Them,” and am still haunted by “The Strangers,” I may wait awhile before revisiting the scariest (IMO) home invasion movie of them all.
Father of the Bride (1991)
I saw this DVD in the library the other day, and all of a sudden the world smelled like snow, Sunrise Mall, and Passion by Elizabeth Taylor. I was 16 again, and always will be when this movie comes on. There is no other movie in the world like that, for me – pure transportation back to a time when really, sometimes, you could fall asleep with a budgeting article on your lap and a tense expression on your face, get through a terrible blender argument, and still somehow end up amidst white lights, swans, laughter, and tears, that only the early ‘90s could bring in such a way. Much like “Poltergeist,” this is a movie that I fell in love with for the youngsters because I was one (and Kimberly Williams is so great), but as I get older, appreciate on a whole other level for the grown ups. I love Steve Martin and Diane Keaton together.
Remakes I Want To See
Halloween (2007) and Halloween II (2009)
I saw the original (first) “Halloween,” and it was okay. I think maybe I saw it for the first time too late in the game, and it more reminded me of watching movies in the early ‘80s, instead of engaging me. You know? Which is why I was excited that my beloved Mr. Zombie was remaking “Halloween.”
Why haven’t I seen it yet, seeing as it came out five years ago? Good question! For which, I have no good answer, other than I tend to be a bit scared of horror movies, still! But I’m getting there, slowly but surely and with a little help from my friends 😉 And I love Rob Zombie. His music is my lullabies, and his uber-violent movies don’t really bother me at all. (I’ve seen “House of 1,000 Corpses” and “The Devil’s Rejects.”)
I even went and bought “Halloween II,” without having seen Zombie’s “Halloween!” Part of that is due to my love for Brea Grant, but still. Now, I am actually saving Rob Zombie’s “Halloweens” for “Halloween” (may as well, right?), but point is, it’s a remake that I’m happy exists, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to like it, seeing as I don’t not-like anything Rob Zombie’s created thus far.
21 Jump Street (2012)
Granted, this is running with the concept of a television series and turning it into a movie, but I think it counts, since the original was all super cool when I was young. And like, hey, it was an awesome show because what is not to love about the drama, angst, and hijinx of being a 20-something and going undercover in a high school? “Never Been Kissed,” anyone?!?!
What are your thoughts on movie remakes? Any favorites? Most despised?