By The Nerdling
There is no such thing as originality anymore when it comes to films being released in theaters. All the big-time studios are too scared of making a teeniest of dents in their massive fortunes to try and do something new. It doesn’t help when more than a few original films have crashed and burned at the box office. But that’s what happens when the plots of those movies make little sense or the marketing department doesn’t know to do their job. Reboots and remakes tend to be fairly safe in terms of box office numbers.
So, why not lean into the trend for a moment and think about possibilities? Ryan Reynolds sure has. Last summer, the Deadpool star signed on to produce a remake of Home Alone called Stoned Alone. Basically, it is the premise of the 1990 holiday family film, but instead of an 11-year-old accidentally left behind by his family over Christmas, the remake will feature a 20-something who makes the best of missing his ski vacation by getting seriously high. Baked to the max, he thinks he hears burglars breaking into his house. Now that is a remake most all of us can get behind! The same basic premise with a great twist.
There several movies from days past that could use some general updating. It could be something simple modernizing the basic premise for current times. Or something broader, such as greater world building. But it needs to be more than just inserting women into the previously male roles. Looking at you The Hustle.
While I may not have the best of ideas for how to update these films, here are four movies perfect to be remade:
The Original – A comedy about the behind the scenes world of soap operas. Sally Fields is leading lady, Celeste Talbert, in the middle of a crisis. Paranoid everyone is against her (it doesn’t help that most everyone is), Celeste attempts to shield her niece, Lori (Elisabeth Shue), from becoming an actress. Celeste’s former lover and costar, Jeffrey (Kevin Kline), is hired back to the show as a ratings boost (an act of sabotage) leading to the spectacle behind the camera becoming more drama-filled than the soap opera itself.
Remake Potential – I know this premise was already remade on the one and done series Telenovela and soap operas are all but dead. But there are more than enough evening dramas series whose plots rival the outrageousness of General Hospital or The Young & The Restless. A few of them even had some public behind the scenes drama that could serve as inspiration. The many (and highly publicized) departures of various cast members from Grey’s Anatomy and NCIS come to mind first. What could work even better is making a 24-hour news station the focus. CNN, MSMBC, and Fox News treat the day’s events like a soap opera unfolding before them to keep viewers. Why not satirize them as nothing more than peddlers of drama?
The Original – Forest boy, Jack (Tom Cruise) must stop Darkness (Tim Curry) from slaughtering the last of the unicorns and plunging the world into eternal night after his princess love, Lili (Mia Strong) breaks the natural laws and places the last of the unicorns lives in danger.
Remake Potential – Fans might not be too severe on a new take of this movie since the original is on the campy side. It is very 80’s and could use a CGI update as well as a clearer message of combating climate change. What makes Legend unique is there is not a “Chosen One” plot to it. That narrative has been overdone in fantasy. The genre would be better off without any more specials coming to the rescue. The hero or heroes need to be everyday citizens willing to step up and inspire others to take up the cause.
See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989):
The Original – The bind Wally Karew (Richard Prior) and the deaf Dave Lyons (Gene Wilder) are two friends who help guide each other through their daily lives. The two men “witness” a murder, but odd circumstances have the police suspecting Wally and Dave. Using their unique skills, they must catch the murderer and clear their names.
Remake Potential – Buddy comedies never go out of style and this one has a good hook to it. If you watched the trailer, you can tell the original had quite a bit of humor at the expense of Wally and Dave’s disabilities. That brand of crass humor would need to be toned down or just simply done away with. But the film does make an effort to show people with disabilities having fun, working, and living life. More of this needs to be out there in the mainstream. A remake could also open doors to the massively unrepresented blind and the deaf community in Hollywood.
*batteries not included (1987):
The Original – Tenants of a rundown apartment building are hassled by a major corporation to vacate and make room for new development. The CEO even goes so far as to hire a group of local thugs to trash the apartments and the diner run by building owners. Salvation for the down and out residents comes in the form of two, tiny, living spaceships. The alien creatures repair the damage and befriend ragtag group.
Remake Potential – A sweet science fiction tale of hope and family would not go amiss. And it is not like the catalyst plot is out of date. Gentrification and globalization continue to drive lower-income households out into the fringes of society. Everybody wants to see the underdogs triumph and the building is full of them. An elderly couple where the wife suffers from dementia, a struggling artist and his burgeoning relationship with a pregnant woman across the hall, and a retired boxer with CTE banding together with the little spaceships to save their home. Neighbors banding together and going against the man is the inspiration we need.
Hollywood is not going to stop with the remakes any time soon. So why not update some lesser known films with modernizing potential?
What movies do you want to see updated and remade? Let us know in the comments section below.