Monday, March 16, 2009

Remakes that Should Happen

Watching more previews before the start of "The Watchmen", I was reminded of how horrible Hollywood has become with remaking good films. Classics of their genres like "Last House on the Left", "Total Recall", "Death Wish" and "The Longest Yard" get remade, but do we really want to trample on memories and be inevitably let down by a subpar product just to feed some lead actor's ego. What I want to see Hollywood do is remake movies that did not work because the technology was not there yet for action/sci-fi movies, the lead was cast because of their oral skills, or certain plot points were changed because the audience was not ready yet for such an crazy moment.

One mini-series I would submit for this treatment, and I may have mentioned this before, but Wild Palms would be a great candidate for a rebooting. This miniseries would be even more timely in the era of rapid pace technological innovation and blue state fears of evangelicals that is today. We could eliminate Oliver Stone and Jim Belushi's involvement. Seriously, why does anyone believe anything Stone does or says anymore? Why would anyone think Jim Belushi would be a good lead for a drama? Rare trifecta of Lilith from Cheers/Frasier, Dana Delaney and Kim Cattrall all near their peaks and not the typical Hollywood romantic leads. This feels like a great HBO series. The extra comedy is to be filming it after the future date used in the first miniseries. Wild Palms was a great concept, maybe a bit too ambiguous for tv, and had a terrible dramatic lead. Put this on HBO, cast this guy as the lead, and populate it with good actors, damn the sexiness or big name cache (like the Wire did). I'd cast "that guy" as the lead because he does well with serious characters, he can play dicks or complicated people, and he's believable. I'd follow the general storyline of the original with some tweaks and develop storylines over longer episode arcs.

My second nominee is a good comedy that fits very very well with recent moves by many Americans: The Burbs. With the rapid expansion of the subrurbs in the last 20 years, and the jokes of McMansions, strip malls, nail salons, cell phones, 12 year olds having sex with teachers, this could be comedic gold. Timestamped for today and have it serve as a capsule of the 2000s suburb experience. Steve Carrell feels like the right lead for the movie. I can see him really exploring the psyche of the suburban dad in absurd situations. This is not a huge leap from his role and situation on "The Office". Couldn't we have a mom that dresses only in velour track suits?

A final entry for tonight would be an action/sci-fi film: Westworld. The story is brilliant about robots run amok at a fantasy park. Michael Crichton wrote & directed it, then repackaged it nearly 20 years later with dinosaurs and genetic engineering to write Jurassic Park. There is the classic hero quest where one guy goes with his experienced pal to an amusement resort to play out old West fantasies. Eventually, the evil gunslinger and other robots go haywire, kill his buddy and then force the hero to use his newly learned skills to escape alive. Since the special effects would be the robots' "insides" they could make some cool gizmo special effects and make the travel scene better, but not throw too many CGI moments into the movie to make it overdone. Reading the Wiki page for Westworld, I see someone has beaten me to the punch. I'd go for it all here with an R rating and a couple more obstacles in the here's path as the black hat gunslinger chases him down. As he would go to other regions of the park, he would be attacked by other robots. No love interest (like the first), but I can see writing in a female he helps survive the Roman wing of the park halfway through. There would be nudity showing the robot sex fantasy feature of the park. For the black hat, gunslinger robot, I'd go with Keanu Reeves, as playing an emotionless and creepy d-bag is his specialty. Steven Seagall would not be a bad 2nd choice, as he'd do it for a bag of food, saving the studio money. I'd get a dumb ass, Mountain Dew adrenaline jacked actor like Paul Walker to be the Brolin character, and I would have him be one of those adrenaline junkie, extreme sport d-bags that you find in many bars. For the lead everyman, nerd role, I would go with Paul Rudd. He is not physically imposing, is an everyman, can play cerebral if needed, and people like him. People would want to see him survive. My problem with him is that he's made such a name being in comedies now, that I don't know if he could sell a sci-fi/action flick.

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