Movie Remakes Are Bad

Cageboys like movies.  Cageboys have strong feeling about movies.  In general, it’s nearly a Cageboy trusim to say that MOVIE REMAKES ARE BAD.  In most cases, remakes are just Hollywood being lazy.  And in nearly all cases, remakes never improve on their originals.  Every once in awhile some fancy-pants director will take an obscure foreign film and remake it into an OK American film.  But for the most part, the movie-going public is not all that aware of the original and therefore the remake passes as an original work. 

In movies, there are some sacred cows…movies that simply cannot be remade.   In many cases, they are not even at the top of the cinematic food chain – there are just qualities about them that cannot be improved upon or altered in any pleasing way.  Case in point – Jaws.  Cageboy #1 here believes that Jaws happens to be the greatest film of all time.  I never miss a chance to watch Jaws.  It’s just terrific from start to finish.  Scared the living hell out of me in the 70’s and is responsible for more water-born neurosis in this country than anything else.  But, seriously…when you watch that flick..is there anything more pathetic looking than that mechanical shark?  It sucks.  The actors who worked on the film will tell you it sucks.  It looks as fake as can be.  Therefore, Spielberg chose to use it sparingly in the film.  NOT showing the shark actually made it a better movie and made you overlook the imperfections in it when you DID see it.  But the temptation in Hollywood, I’m sure, is to go in and use today’s digital technology to redo the flick with an ultra-realistic looking digital great white.  Let’s hope that never happens because that would be wrong.  SO wrong.  So very very wrong.

And there are many others.  Animal House leaps to mind – you’d never be able to recapture the essence of that movie.  Blues Brothers.  Caddyshack.   They tried with Psycho – no dice.  They butchered Willy Wonka.  How about Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or Wizard of Oz?  I suppose “The Wiz” was a stab – but that was an entirely different concept and doesn’t count. For the most part, Hollywood shys away from attempting to remake the really great, universally heralded films.  The industry likes to poke at the movies that are off on the fringe.

So, I’m skimming Variety this morning and I come across the item below about a planned remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  I’m not going to even suggest that “Rocky Horror” be nominated into the Cageboy movie hall of fame, but I will confess to investigating the phenomenon that IS RHPS up close and personal on a number of occasions.  As such, I can absolutely and authoritatively say that remaking this film is entirely unnecessary and can only lead to bad things.  The original film wrings every last drop of whatever from the original screenplay.  Tim Curry is ultra-magnificent.  Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, Meatloaf, Little Nell, Richard O’brien and the scary broad that played Magenta – they are all the picture of perfection in their roles.  The music is brilliant.  The cinematography is perfectly balanced with imperfection, continuity errors and cheese.  It is perfect in it’s imperfection – if that makes any sense.  And if, perchance, you are not a Rocky Horror aficionado or veteran – DO NOT, by any circumstances, go rent it from your local video store and watch it on DVD.  This is a film that even your most hardcore Rocky-phile cannot and will not watch in their home.  It is extremely difficult to explain – but the film is an experience.  As a movie, it stinks.   But to see it live is an experience that one will not soon forget.  When the weird turn pro is when one is truly prepared to enjoy RHPS in all it’s freaky goodness.

That being said, let’s hope this is a concept that dies on the drawing board.

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MTV is doing the time warp on a remake of 1975 cult classic”The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

Lou Adler, exec producer of the original film, is partnering with BermanBraun and Fox Television Studios on the new rendition.

Two-hour remake will use the original screenplay by Jim Sharman and Richard O’Brien but may also include music not featured in the original.

Helmer and casting decisions have yet to be announced.

Fox is in discussions with BSkyB and Sky Movies to co-finance and distribute the telepic abroad.

Timetable for the start of production hasn’t been established yet but the partners aim to move forward quickly once the final elements are in place.

“I’d like to see it shown a year from this coming Halloween, but that’s up to MTV,” Adler said.

BermanBraun principal Gail Berman will exec produce the project along with partner Lloyd Braun. Berman has been attached to a “Rocky Horror” remake dating back to her tenure as Fox programming chief (Daily Variety, July 1, 2002).

The original “Rocky Horror,” starring Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick and Meatloaf, has grossed $140 million in domestic box office over the years, primarily from the wallets of youthful audience members who have shown up for midnight screenings over the past three decades.

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