As I mentioned last week, comic-turned-actor Russell Brand hit the ground with a splat in his ill-advised remake of the 1981 comedy classic, Arthur. Truth be told, there was no other alternative. And it’s not just Dudley Moore’s legendary performance. There are half a dozen performances in the original Arthur that cannot be topped. Remember Barney Martin playing Liza Minelli’s father Ralph, weeping quietly in the corner after she tears up the check Arthur gives her? That’s comedy.
In an attempt to fool us into thinking a remake is not a remake, Hollywood is now calling a remake a ‘reboot.’ It’s a re-imagining of the original concept with 21st century vision, creativity and technology. Do you want to see vision, creativity and technology? Check out the upcoming Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Yes, the concept existed, but no, nobody ever thought to explore how the man-ape power shift came about.
That’s a great idea. Remaking Arthur was a terrible idea. If you want to remake a Dudley Moore movie, remake Ten. Cast Gerard Butler and Brooklyn Decker and you’re done. That being said, I thought I would give a heads up to the Hollywood execs who might be considering flying too close to the sun. There are certain movies that should never be remade, ever. Arthur was one of them. Here are a few more.
Leave it alone. It is perfect just as it is. And you know the temptation is there. If you want to remake an alien encounter movie, take a run at any one of a dozen camp sci-fi movies from the ‘60s. You know, the ones where the special effect is a toy flying saucer hanging from a string.
Raiders of the Lost Arc
I know I’m on a Spielberg streak, but there’s an obvious reason for that. You just know as the computer generated imaging technology improves, studios will be champing at the bit to remake effects-driven films, but leave this one alone. Apparently, they’re still making sequels with Raiders, so we should be safe. If you want to remake a Spielberg movie go for Jaws—a great movie, but the effects could use some updating. My kids watched it and thought it was a comedy.
Animal House is comedy perfection. Don’t even think about it. The same goes for Caddyshack, Stripes and Ghostbusters. Hopefully, they learned their lesson with The Blues Brothers 2000, but you never know. If you want to remake a raucous R-rated college comedy, take a stab at PCU or Van Wilder or any one of a thousand duds. (I actually thought both of those movies were funny, but for some reason they didn’t appeal to a broad audience).
All of them. Primarily because you could never get away with being as politically incorrect as Brooks is. The man is a comedy genius. I could maybe let you have Spaceballs, but that’s it.
I was hesitant to mention The Sting because I didn’t want to give anybody any ideas. I mean, it has one of the most perfectly constructed plots ever written. I’m kind of surprised it hasn’t occurred to some upstart to sign Clive Owen and Bradley Cooper and remake it, but so far we’re safe.
That’s just a few. There are literally dozens of others. Remember when Ben Affleck wanted to remake Casablanca with his then-fiancée Jennifer Lopez? We dodged a bullet with that one, but there’s no shortage of ego in Hollywood. All we can do is wait and watch. LN