Bi-Weekly Essay Question (May 28, 2015)

Every couple of weeks, the OFCS polls its members with a question related to movies. It can be serious or amusing, but each member is given the opportunity to submit a short response to the question, which we will then post on Thursday mornings. Here is this week’s query.

Essay Question #13: With all the remakes (Poltergeist) and sequels (Mad Max) of much older films this year, what lesser known films from a bygone era would you not mind seeing remade, rebooted or sequelized?
Jeremy Kibler @ The Artful Critic

Responses

Mike McGranaghan @ The Aisle Seat
The 1984 Nick Nolte drama TEACHERS is ripe for a remake. It’s one of those movies that has some notable flaws that prevent it from reaching its full potential. With an updated script that keeps the things that work and shuttles the things that don’t, it could really be a smart look at our modern educational system.

Also, I’d love to see someone redo the crazy 1980 horror movie BLOOD BEACH. If you’ve never heard of it, go Google the trailer.

Peter Nellhaus @ Coffee, Coffee and more Coffee
A remake from the novel, “A Many-Splendored Thing” by Han Suyin. While Henry King’s film, “Love is a Many-Splendored Thing” is beloved, it was hampered by being from the perspective of an American male, and Hollywood’s rules regarding depictions of interracial romance.
A new version should be made with a female star of Eurasian decent, like Cecilia Cheung, and directed by a female director, Hong Kong’s Ann Hui, who’s own background as half Chinese-half Japanese informs her understanding of being an outsider in Hong Kong.

Kristen Lopez @ Awards Circuit
As a classic film reviewer I hear a lot of people say that anything pre-1960 is untouchable and I’m definitely open to certain movies being remade. Sure, I don’t want to see remakes of West Side Story (although I have given dream casting for that) or The Wizard of Oz, but, then again, so many classic films are “of the era” that remaking them today would require audiences remembering their original intent. I could certainly see movies like I Married a Witch, Chase a Crooked Shadow, or The Constant Nymph being remade, but I don’t think I’d want to.

Candice Frederick @ Reel Talk Online
I wasn’t a big fan of the original, but I wonder whether When Harry Met Sally could benefit from a remake.

Robert Cashill @ Popdose
In a world where Stallone and Schwarzenegger can still get mileage out of characters from the 70s and 80s, none. But since you asked: coming on Blu-ray soon is The Osterman Weekend (1983), a swan song for Sam Peckinpah disguising a more orderly storyline that might make for a good Robert Ludlum adaptation. I liked the film of Gorky Park (83) OK but a whole series of movies or TV shows could be built around the character of detective Arkady Renko.

Jerry Roberts @ Armchair Cinema
Long ago, when reviewing the awful remake of “Born Yesterday,” the late film critic Gene Siskel came up with a simple but very viable to the solution to the issue of remakes. “Why remake good movies?” he said “Why not remake movies that were bad, make them better?”

That solution would apply to many films but none more appropriately then “Wild Wild West.” Barry Sonnenfeld’s adaptation of the 1965-1969 CBS out-of-time western had every potential to be something special. In an era that embraces steampunk, this material has never been more apt for the current culture. But first, it needs a few changes. First and foremost – deflate the ego. Give the movie actors, not movie stars. Actors who actually fit the roles they’re playing. Give the material a spirit of fun, and ditch all the bloated negativity that killed Sonnenfeld’s ego blast. This can be done.

Francis Rizzo III @ DVDTalk
Though I love to listen to cover versions of songs, I’m a rather staunch opponent of the film remake, since a very rare few are any good, aside from exceptions like Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead and Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s 11. Now, I don’t consider an American version of a foreign film to be a remake (nor do I consider it to be necessary), but I do have a few rules for a remake. First, 20 years should pass between the films (unless it’s some weird stunt like a director remaking their own film or two directors remaking each other’s work) and second, the original should have either had technical shortcomings that could now be overcome, terribly dated references that prevent audiences from appreciating the story or terrible execution of a promising tale. I’m a reasonable man and I think these are reasonable demands.

So if given the chance, what would I choose to remake, given my rules? Honestly, no title jumped to mind immediately (outside of a preemptive remake of the upcoming Jem and the Holograms movie), but a genre certainly did: book adaptations. As these are, by their nature, interpretations of another work, they are open for re-interpretation to see what else could be done with the material. But what books have been slandered in cinema and are deserving of a second chance? I thought about Alfonso Cuaron’s Great Expectations, in which he abandoned a terrifically funny and engaging story for a modern tale merely inspired by Charles Dickens’ novel, but that was more of a missed opportunity than a bad film (and it also gave us a terrific soundtrack.) The one I would greenlight though, likely at great hazard to my personal and professional reputation, would be a remake of William Huyck’s much-reviled adaptation of Steve Gerber’s Howard the Duck. Terrible dialogue and a bizarre overall tone were big enough issues, but the puppet-like Howard was such an odd sight to behold it kept viewers from buying in, resulting in a massive flop. However, with advancements in CGI capable of making an anthropomorphic duck more believable and audiences tastes becoming more welcoming to absurd comedy, perhaps in the right hands, say a James Gunn or a Marjane Satrapi, a new Howard could take flight. If the reaction to Howard’s cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy was any indication, it would seem that all is forgiven.

Samuel Castro @ Ochoymedio.info
Como escribo desde Latinoamérica y específicamente desde Colombia, espero que nunca a nadie se le ocurra hacer un remake, pasteurizado y con fotografía de comercial de perfumes, de esa pequeña maravilla nuestra que es “La estrategia del caracol”.

Andrew Wyatt @ St. Louis Magazine
If we’re talking existing franchises, I wouldn’t mind seeing Joe Dante return to the GREMLINS films with a third chapter. Not a reboot and not a true sequel, but a new story about the Mogwai in a new context. The right 21st century screenplay in Dante’s hands would be amazing, I’m convinced. (Perhaps penned by Phil Lord and Chris Miller of THE LEGO MOVIE; or even Joss Whedon in his THE CABIN IN THE WOODS mode.) Dante’s made some standout comedies since the anarchic GREMLINS 2: THE NEW BATCH—MATINEE and LOONEY TUNES: BACK IN ACTION don’t get enough love—but the the first GREMLINS really showcased his mastery at blending a perfect ratio of horror, action, slapstick, and satire. That nimble juggling of tones is missing from Hollywood features today, and it would be refreshing to see it again. Dante’s continual tinkering with his prescient “re-mix film” THE MOVIE ORGY hints that he still has some barbs to throw.

Rick Aragon @ Rick’s Cafe Texan
I think “Forbidden Planet” would be a good candidate for a remake, especially with the advances in CGI that they could use. I also think, if done right, certain silent films, particularly lost films like “London After Midnight” would be good candidates.

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