We have reached a tipping points for passivity, and it is the fault of each and every one of us that has allowed Hollywood to gradually move the line until reaching the point where there’s nothing you can say about any of these films, because it’s just business as usual.
I ran a column on Ain’t It Cool called “Remake This!”, and when I started it, I thought it was a mildly distracting trend that would run its course quickly. But that hasn’t happened… not at all. Instead, it seems like it’s ramped up over the last few years, and now it’s just crazy.
Case in point: “Romancing The Stone.” When that film came out, it was a last chance for Robert Zemeckis, who had been mentored into the business by Steven Spielberg. He and his writing partner Bob Gale wrote “1941,” which was a much-loved script but then became the first overt flop of Spielberg’s career, which led many people to point at the writers as the problem. Not Spielberg, though. He believed in them, and he was involved in both “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and “Used Cars,” both of which went belly-up at the box-office. I like “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” but I’m damn near rabid about “Used Cars,” which is brilliant. Zemeckis floundered for a few years before getting handed a script by Diane Thomas that easily could have just been turned into a crappy Indiana Jones ripoff. But Thomas was a better writer than that, and Zemeckis recognized something special in her work, so he took his shot, and the result was one of those perfect collisions of commercial appeal and genuine skill on the parts of all involved. That script is one of the greats of the ’80s, a sly poke at the notion of romance novels and the men they create, the women that read (and write) them, and the self-interest of treasure hunters. It’s packed with great characters, witty dialogue, and high adventure.
And so of course, they’re remaking it now with Robert Luketic, director of “Legally Blonde” and “The Ugly Truth,” stepping in to direct.
Already the question has been asked, and it’s a valid one: do you think he’ll cast the stars of “The Ugly Truth” together again in the Michael Douglas/Kathleen Turner roles?
Here’s my succinct response to the entire situation:
I mean, really. No offense to Katherine Heigl or Gerard Butler, both of whom seemed like lovely people when I met them, and no offense to Luketic, whose work appeals to someone, even if that someone isn’t me. But “Romancing The Stone” doesn’t need to be remade. You know what made that film great? Diane Thomas wrote an original story that paid homage to things she loved, and she invested it with real heart and soul. It worked because it was personal and because she meant every word of it.
Remakes are the very definition of impersonal filmmaking. They are product. That’s it. That’s the purpose they serve. They exist simply to exploit the recognition of something that someone else created. Yes, there are good films that have been remakes. I’m not saying it’s impossible. But at this point, if that’s all our industry does, then we are broken almost beyond repair.
I am praying now that this project does not happen. The same articles that talked about this film’s development also indicated that “Overboard” is being remade, and that’s the opposite situation… a film so awful I can’t imagine anyone sees any potential in it.
I feel more and more each day like I don’t recognize the current Hollywood landscape. This is not the industry I thought I signed up for.
My special thanks to my friend Jenn for sending me that hypnotically horrible “Jersey Shore” gif. It is a truly awful thing, but boy, does that sum up the feeling that so many of these remake announcements cause in film fans, day after day after day.
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