Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday the Thirteenth, Again

We had one last month, then again this month...another Friday the 13th. If you're the superstitious kind, you're probably completely freaked out. Myself, I've never had much trouble with the day. I actually court trouble by choosing 13 as my favorite number. Can't really pin blame for anything bad on it. I think its funny that hotels skip the 13th floor and such, as though the people on the "14th" floor aren't really on the 13th anyway. Found an interesting article on it here, if you'd care to read up. Apparently, the fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskavedekatriaphobia. That's a mouthful.

Instead of talking about superstitions today, I'm actually going to go in another direction and talk about movie remakes. Apparently they've released a remake of Friday the 13th that came out in theaters on February 13th. (I know, I'm a month behind, but I don't really do horror flicks.) But it's not a 27th sequel, but a remake of the 1980 original.

This seems to be the trend anymore. They're remaking Nightmare on Elm Street. Footloose. The Birds. Clash of the Titans. They're even remaking Rocky Horror Picture Show (which I must say gives me cold chills at the mere thought of the cast of the Hills equivalent adulterating my favorite film.) Horror flicks tend to be the most popular choices for remakes - Prom Night, The Hills Have Eyes, The Haunting of Hill House, The House on Haunted Hill, etc., but even more mainstream movies are being redone. Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Longest Yard.

I don't get it. It always seems like they choose either movies where the original was just fine, thankyouverymuch, or where the original was so terrible, it really didn't warrant a second attempt. There are so many remakes, you might not even know the movie is a remake. They change the name and if you don't pay attention, you don't realize "I Am Legend" is a remake of "The Omega Man" from 1971, which is a remake of "The Last Man on Earth" from 1964.

Some say its because every story has already been told. As a writer, I know that's crap. Of course, there are basic hooks that most stories contain (secret babies, woman in peril, etc.) but given 10 authors that same three hooks and you'll get 10 wildly different books. I think it has more to do with movie executives wanting to put their money behind a proven product. Who needs to pay a screenwriter to come up with something new when some studio flunky can tweak an old script and make it new?

I'm indignant on behalf of the screenwriters of the world. I wouldn't mind writing a screenplay one day. Have you seen a remake that you really loved? I think The Thomas Crown Affair with Pierce Brosnan was better than the original. How about one that was just dreadful? Any films that shouldn't be remade under any circumstances? Curious minds want to know. One commenter today will pick up a DVD of the original Romeo and Juliet by Franco Zeffirelli. The best, in my opinion.



Playground Monitor said...

I agree that the Pierce Brosnan remake was better except it didn't have that whirling kiss the original had. The remake of Miracle on 34th Street with Mara Wilson was better than the Natalie Wood original.

I've heard they're going to remake "Romancing the Stone." Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Verification word: diccle as in "Don't diccle with a movie that's already great."

Anonymous said...

only oceans eleven with hot men like george and brad

dont enter me in pirze ty

Jean said...

I agree about Thomas Crown and Romeo and Juliet.

I may get stoned for this. Though I expected a train wreck, I liked the 80's Don Johnson mini series of the Long Hot Summer better.

Gone with the Wind should only be remade as a musical set in the future.

Christine said...

Freaky Friday remake not nearly as good as original, but my daughter loved it. The reason for the contemporary remakes is the original story was good, but the next generation can't relate to the era. If the story was able to generate money back in the day with teens, chances are it will again if revamped.

It's like getting a cosmetic face lift.

Linda Winstead Jones said...

Remakes: I disagree with PM about Miracle on 34th Street (I love the original!) and agree with Jean about The Long Hot Summer. (though technically that was a mini-series and the original was a movie, so there was twice as much time with the Don Johnson version. Unfair advantage? :-) Most remakes are weaker, but not always. I mean, WHY remake The Longest Yard, with Adam Sandler, for goodness sake. :-/

My husband always claimed Friday the 13th was lucky for him. My middle sons says the same. I usually don't pay much attention to the day, don't look forward to it or fear it.


Problem Child said...

The Zeffirelli R&J? Gag. Snore. Ugh.

I actually wrote a paper in grad school comparing the Zeffirelli to the Luhrmann version so I can go on about this topic for days on end and you will be very sorry you opened that can o'worms. I will spare the blog readers, but bring it, SP.

Anonymous said...

I don't really watch a lot of movies, so I don't have an opinion one way or the other. Sorry!

Darling Geek said...

I Am Legend is not actually a remake of either The Omega Man or The Last Man on Earth. They are, in fact, all movies based on the same short story (named I Am Legend) and all interpret it differently, which isn't quite the same thing.

The slightly ironic thing is that none of the movies stay particularly true to the original story. Go figure.

About the only remake I can think of that is better than the original is (John Carpenter's) The Thing (1982).

Anonymous said...

very interesting. i agree with you about the "remake" fiasco occurring. it all boils down to the money thing. *sigh*

the remake i like best is "Sabrina" with Harrison Ford & Julia Ormond. The remake has the heroine as a stronger woman, I feel. Although I hate to say it because I adore Audrey Hepburn.


Maureen said...

I can't think of a remake that I liked better than the original. One movie I can't imagine being redone is Gone With the Wind.

Caroline said...

Remakes - lov'em'or hate them. Most remakes I find are a dissapointment as I always seem to be comparing the original! The remake of Casablanca was a disaster. "From Here To Eternity" should never be redon! Some reakes do work though - my dh says the remake of the Alimo was great! Others that may work because of great computer graphics these days would be something like Ben Hur. That chariot race was just the best! Anyway I'm rambling now so enough! Regards - Caroline

housemouse88 said...

Now that I know they are remaking Footloose, I want this remaking trend to just please stop. I love Kevin Bacon. I have a feeling it's going to be the one movie they will remake and destroy.

Maybe movie executives need to start taking a poll of people to see if the movie needs to be remade or not.

Have a great day. Please enter me in the prize.

Lynn Raye Harris said...

I dislike horror movies and think they are a waste of money and celluloid. And yet, since I'm not Empress of All I Survey, no one is about to listen to me. *g* The remakes will go on, probably because the story is good enough for scaring teenagers and adults. And I agree with Christine about kids not relating to the previous generation movie. You have to give them one in their time where the clothes aren't weird and there are no cell phones.

And do you know WHY they make these movies? I once had the pleasure of meeting and listening to Margaret South give a talk. She co-formed a film company with Bette Midler and another woman whom I forget. They were responsible for such movies as Beaches.

Anyway, Margaret said that the reason movies are made the way they are is because the biggest consumers of movies at the theater are teenage boys. (With Twilight, I think you'd have to include girls too.) Teenagers go to the same movie again and again, they buy all the products, and they tell all their friends. And the cycle repeats. That's where the money is, which is why the quiet film about someone going through life doesn't do as well as the blockbuster at the theater.

My explanation is far more simplistic than hers was, but I thought it was fascinating coming from a woman who'd written screenplays and made movies.

That's not the whole story, of course, but it's why you find Friday the 13th part 80 or Transformers part 10 at the theater and a film like Slumdog Millionaire only makes it in if it gets critical attention.

Oh, and totally agree about LHS with Don Johnson!!! Judith Ivey's southern accent was AWFUL, but Don made up for it by being so sultry and mysterious.

Smarty Pants said...

Uh, oh. I can see a wicked gleam in PC's eyes.

I am not going into some indepth analysis of various R&Js with you PC. Forget it. You'll stomp my head in. All I know is I've seen the Zeffirelli version several times and can't make it through more than five minutes of the Baz version. And I like Baz Luhrmann. Love Moulin Rouge. Just can't watch R&J. Personal preference. Plus, I just happened to have a copy in my giveaway stash and it was appropriate.

And no, I do not want to discuss this at lunch. :)

Liza said...

I have to agree that the Mara Wilson remake of Miracle on 34th Street is my favorite remake. I don't think it's better than the Natalie Wood version, just a really great remake. This weekend Disney is putting out the remake of Escape to Witch Mountain, now called Race to Witch Mountain. I know there have to be people in Hollywood that can come up with new ideas. Do it already and leave the old movies alone!

Problem Child said...

Oh, oh, can I be Empress of All I Survey? Because that would be awesome!!!

SP, you bring up Shakespeare and think I'm just gonna let it go? Hello? Have we met before?

catslady said...

I think the trick here is if you saw the original you normally hate the remakes but if it's new for you than the new one is just fine. I don't seem to like any remakes.

Kathy said...

Darling Geek, the remake of The Thing with Kurt Russell was totally righteous!!! I'm so glad someone else thinks the way I do.

They're remaking The Green Hornet with Seth Rogen. Huh? Interesting casting choice which could make or break the movie. (Please don't mess with my comic book heroes!)

Remakes of Halloween are rank. Nothing tops the original. I did, however, like the remake of The Fog!

Smarty Pants said...

Ack! Worst thing I could read... they're remaking "IT" by Stephen King and doing it as a theater release instead of a tv miniseries. Of all the things to redo... damn clowns.

Amy S. said...

They are remaking a lot of the horror movies. I can't see Nightmare on Elm Street being good without Johnny Depp. I have been wanting to watch the new Friday the 13th.

Kathy said...

IT is something I simply cannot stand to see remade into anything but shredded reel or paper. I have a passionate dislike for clowns now because of Stephen King's IT.

You're not alone, SP!