Monday, June 1, 2009

Pluck You Too, Hollywood! The summer work stoppage/boycott

After reading reviews of Terminator: Salvation, and seeing how for some reason Star Trek is outselling it, I had an epiphany. Why the hell am I slapping down a ten spot to see Hollywood screw up my beloved movie memories with endless sequels, remakes and re-imaginings? Now on the other hand, one of the best movies last year was a sequel (Dark Knight) but most of the time they miss the mark. Terminator is slowly going the Alien route, having killed off Sarah Connor in #3 and the changes made in the latest seem capricious.

The raves over Star Trek make it appealing, but I've never been a fan, so I can wait for cable. Why should I see Sylar Spock when I can go see Pixar's Up, something refreshing and new? Why should I go see Land of the Lost, even though it looks funny, when Year One with Jack Black and Michael Cera will probably be just as funny? I'm perpetuating this remake frenzy, and why? So I can complain about it? As I posted earlier, remakes are nothing new to Hollywood and some of the greatest movies ever are actually remakes, such as Ben-Hur and The Maltese Falcon. But each year we get more and more, and I'm tired of going to see mediocre ones like Get Smart, which was cute but unnecessary.

I think the final straw was the news that Bill Murray finally gave in and is going to join in for Ghostbusters 3 next year. After the abysmal sequel, why bother? The first movie is great, but should have been let alone. With so many other movies to see, I'm going to avoid as many re-'s as possible. We've got so much to look forward to without rehashes this year:

Up - Pixar has been on a huge roll and while Cars was a very profitable less memorable film, seems more in the grain of WALL-E and Ratatouille. Definitely going this week.

Public Enemies by Michael Mann, starring Johnny Depp is going to be huge. We haven't had a big old-timey gangster flick since what, Road to Perdition? And Mann's take on it will certainly be memorable. It's something we know well, like The Wolf Man - I was actually very eager to see Benicio del Toro play Larry Talbot, but I love the original so much that I don't need better make-up and lots of blood. I'll watch it, but probably on cable.

Year One - Ivan Reitman has been spotty lately, but Jack Black and Michael Cera as cavemen is such a great concept that I'll give it a try. Oops, this is directed by Harold Ramis- who's also been spotty (Analyze crap!) but Caddyshack makes all forgiven. And The Ice Harvest was good.

Bruno - After Borat, Sascha Baron Cohen can do no wrong. Okay, Ali G Indahouse wasn't great, but it was still funny. Bruno is set to

Shutter Island - Dennis LeHane's novel set in a 1950's mental asylum, directed by Scorsese. He's never boring, so this is a must see.

Sherlock Holmes - Okay, you might call this a reimagining, but the only recent Holmes movies I've seen are Young Sherlock Holmes, They Might Be Giants and Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother, and they were all reimaginings anyway. Plus Robert Downey Jr. and Guy Ritchie? C'mon.

Jennifer's Body - Diablo Cody's next one, described as "When a gorgeous cheerleader is possessed by a demon and starts feeding off the boys in a small Minnesota farming town, her "plain Jane" best friend must kill her, then escape from a correctional facility to go after the Satan-worshipping rock band responsible for the horrible transformation." How can you say no?

Drag Me to Hell - Sam Raimi's return to horror, about a bank worker who gets a gypsy curse. After the bailouts, we all need some catharsis!

Inglorious Basterds - If you haven't heard of Tarantino's new World War 2 flick you don't like movies. His movies are always good fun.

Moon - some real science fiction in the 2001 vein? Sign me up!

The Hurt Locker - thriller set in Iraq by the director of Point Break!

District 9 - "A sci-fi/action story set in a fictional world, where extraterrestrials have become refugees in South Africa." This could be awful or awesome.

Ponyo on the Cliff - Hayao Miyazaki's latest!

Extract - Mike Judge's latest office comedy. The trailer looked good to me, and I liked Idiocracy so he has nothing to prove to me.

9 - "When 9 (voice of Elijah Wood) first comes to life, he finds himself in a post-apocalyptic world where all humans are gone. Upon discovering a community of other beings like him, 9 takes the lead in an effort to strike back at the machines that control the world and are bent on exterminating most signs of life." An expansion of an Oscar winning animated short, it promises to be unique and amazing.

The Invention of Lying - Ricky Gervais stars, writes, directs. Nuff said.

Where the Wild Things Are - Spike Jonze nearly lost control of this adaptation when a test screening made kids cry. But he still has the reins and the monsters will be actors in big suits, with the faces animated. The trailer looks simply amazing.

The Road - Cormac McCarthy's post-apocalyptic nightmare, starring Viggo Mortensen as the father. It was a great book and looks to be a great movie.

The Lovely Bones - Peter Jackson's adaptation of the morbid fantasy tale of a 13 year old girl looking at her family deal with her rape and murder, from the afterlife. The book was a huge hit, and seeing such a queasy subject on film, under Jackson's hands, should be something else.

Avatar - James Cameron stops mucking around underwater and makes a huge science fiction action flick? I've waited for this for ages. The 3-D stuff I can take or leave, but I'd rather anticipate this than Tony Scott's remake of The Taking of Pelham 123 - I love the original and Tony Scott lost all cred with Domino.

So you know what? I got plenty of movies to see without giving one dollar to the remake machine. If you bitch about them, you have no excuse if you give some unimaginative producer your $10. There's plenty of good out there without making movie versions of every '70s TV series, or by remaking every gory '80s horror flcik with fake CG blood. Speak with your wallet, or your Fandango account! Pluck You, Hollywood!!!

39 comments:

Joseph said...

How could I have forgotten about Shutter Island? I'm really looking forward to that one. Love the Scorsese / DiCaprio team.

And Moon sounds awesome. Can't go wrong with Sam Rockwell.

Raquelle said...

You tell 'em! "No More Bad Remakes"!

This was a great list to read. You really are up on all the newest films.

I love Peter Jackson (Heavenly Creatures is a personal favorite of mine) but I'm avoiding Lovely Bones like the plague. I avoided the book but had to read it as an undergrad (boo!). Although I'm sure, Jackson has done a great job with the film.

So do you watch every new film that comes out? I think I might see "Up" it looks very cute.

Hey I started a new food blog by the way! I plan to take lots of pictures of good food. I'll send you the link if you want.

Tommy Salami said...

You bet I'd like the link! I wish I saw every new movie, but I see as many as I can. Up is definite, and Public Enemies. I seem to enjoy the cinema experience less and less lately mostly due to the audience and cheap theater operators with dim projection bulbs.

J.D. said...

Tommy: I feel your pain. I'm tired of this endless glut of remaking, reimaginings and sequels. I am DEFINITELY there opening day for PUBLIC ENEMIES and have been dying to see Raimi's new one.

The trailers for YEAR ONE have not wowed me and the film looks painfully unfunny. Didn't CAVE MAN teach Hollywood anything?

Tommy Salami said...

Aw, J.D.! I loved Caveman with Ringo Starr! It was even an 80s Trash of the Week.

Sazeech his own, as my grandfather would say. I'm halfway through your excellent Goodfellas post. Been busy. Great reading, though!

Peter said...

Movies are $10 now?

Ah, crap. Oh well...I'll save my $10 for Tarantino. The rest can wait for loaner DVDs, since I don't have cable.

Anonymous said...

What a stupid fuckin' article. You're a fucking idiot.

nidgital said...

Your hatred of remakes/sequels seems to have blinded you a wee bit. Tarantino's Inglorious Bastards is a REMAKE of the 1978 Quel Maledetto Treno Blindato http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076584/ something that film fans should know

Tommy Salami said...

Anonymous: You're a gentleman and as scholar.

nidigital: Inglorious Basterds story is completely different; he's just riffing on the title. I reviewed the original here a few months ago- it's about a few guys who escape court martial, accidentally kill a squad of allies undercover as Nazis, and then take over their mission. The new one has Brad Pitt with a crew of Nazi hunters. And I wants my scalps!

It's probably no more a remake than Kill Bill was a remake of Lady Snowblood and The Bride Wore Black and They Call Her One Eye.

MaorGillerman said...

Check out The Hollywood Saloon padcast episode called "Fertile Cinema" for a great discussion about sequels and remakes and the fact that Hollywood isn't cultivating new brands anymore, but relying on the tired ones.
http://www.hollywoodsaloon.com/podcast.html

Troy said...

Great article! I can't wait for Public Enemies and Shutter Island. I just finshed the book for the latter and it was amazing. I did think you forgot one movie and that was The Hangover. I don't think it's a remake or anything, but I could be wrong. If it's not the movie looks very funny and I can't wait to see it this weekend.

Byron the afro-filmviewer said...

Damn fine list...I concur with almost all you said!

Stephen said...

THANK YOU for making me feel optimistic about this coming movie season. This July-thru-August was looking pathetic. Every year seems to be littered with more sequels and remakes.

IMHO adaptations should also be excluded when looking for a line-up of innovative films, but your list is still full of great synopses.

Anonymous said...

"Tony Scott lost all cred with Domino".

Tony Scott had cred?

Anonymous said...

FYI...

Inglorious Basterds? A remake...
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076584/

Tommy Salami said...

Tony Scott makes a lot of crap, but True Romance, The Hunger, Crimson Tide, Man on Fire and even Enemy of the State were pretty memorable.

rayanselmo said...

Is it just me, or does District 9 sound like a remake/reimagining/regurgitation/whatever of Alien Nation? Also, you left out Away We Go, which sounds like it might be something my wife and I have been long for for years: a date movie for intelligent adults.

That being said, THANK YOU for the reminder re: Moon, which looks like it's going to kick tail and take names. I'm on that one like a business suit.

Stacey said...

I have to correct you on two film releases. 'Sherlock Holmes' isn't due out until Christmas of this year and 'Where the Wild Things Are' is slated for an October release. But I do agree with your point here and desperately wished for these two films to be part of the Summer Slam... The bastards just didn't agree and now I must wait to see two films I've been dying for for the last two years. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

The number worthwhile sequels in film history can be (arguably) counted on one hand: The Empire Strikes Back, The Godfather Part II, French Connection II... It's largely an exercise in greed and commerce, not quality art.

In this era of stagnating American culture, bad TV shows are turned into bad movies, bad movies have multiple sequels, and American culture is thus mired in diminishing returns.

I no longer see sequels or watch television, as other than special effects, there is really nothing to see that has not already been wholly exhausted.

America was once labeled as "only being good for music and movies" - now it can't even supply either of those with any artistic relevance or credibility.

R
NJ

jer said...

Not to nit pick, but at least go to a movie based on the right info, i mean you're hesitant to go see Year One, because Ivan Reitman has been spotty? Year One is the brain child, and directed by Harold Ramis.

That should be the reason to see this!!!

Tommy Salami said...

Yeah, I always mix up Reitman and Ramis for stupid reasons. Corrected. Thanks.

Kevin said...

Nice list. I would agree there seems to be a few movies out there that are truly worth seeing. I'm really excited about Public Enemies and Sherlock Holmes. I have already seen Drag Me to Hell, and it was worth the wait.

I don't have a problem with remakes, per se, but I just hate it when they don't treat the characters and ideas with the respect they deserve. Example, GI Joe.

Anonymous said...

Flicker looks good. It's coming out this summer.

Andrew said...

Anon, there are many more great sequels than what you listed. Terminator 2? Evil Dead 2? Aliens? X-Men 2? The Dark Knight? Toy Story 2? And that's just what I came up with off the top of my head.

billbd4444 said...

Brothers Bloom-an excellent substitute to the "Summer Popcorn Blockbuster"--great cast and even better story

Austin said...

im surprised he didnt mention Inglorious Bastards by quentin tarantino thats totally new and gonna be epic as fukc

Stacey said...

Austin...
Either put down the beer or the bong because 'Inglorious Basterds' is mentioned midway through the list.

Joe said...

Inglorious Basterds IS a remake.

Tommy Salami said...

Andrew, I mentioned Dark Knight; X-Men 2 is ok, and the rest are 10 and more years old. Sequels aren't universally bad. Godfather Part II anyone? But is there a really good 3 or 4 anywhere? Terminator: Salvation is a 4, so's Alien: Resurrection.

And once again, Basterds might take the title of the 1978 film, which I love, but the plot is completely different.

I also have no problem with adaptations. But I'll avoid Angels & Demons anyway, because the book sucked. Heck, Land of the Lost is starting to look good, and I wouldn't mind Sid & Marty Krofft getting some cash.

Anonymous said...

Where can you still see a movie for only $10. My 3 closest theaters are $14.75, $15.50, & $16.25... Hell, Matinees are $11.25. Do you live in Zimbabwe or something????

Tommy Salami said...

Close: New Jersey. Stadiums are $10.50, it's $12 in Manhattan... where do you live? Guessing California.

Anonymous said...

East Hampton, Long Island

Iván said...

isn't inglorious basterds a remake?

Brendt said...

Here in fly-over country, movies are still $10.

Anonymous said...

What about Francis Ford Coppola's Tetro? Yeah, some of his recent stuff has been crap, but this one might be pretty good.

Evan Waters said...

Why do adaptations get a pass? LOVELY BONES and THE ROAD are no more original, they're just ripping from a different medium. Wholly original works are rare- and frankly I don't see the point of writing off something solely because it's not an original property.

Anonymous said...

not to get all high and mighty, but isn't bitching about the un-originality of hollywood . . . unoriginal?


for me, i'll keep going to the movies for a few hours of enjoyment until they come out with The Bible 2. then ill stay at home.

Anonymous said...

Public Enemies is a remake! ha ha but it's a new vision there was actually a tv movie based on the same story, and had a lot of the same characters, however it is somewhat a different story, but both have the same ending. get your facts straight

Daniel Getahun said...

Great points and good for you for staying strong. All of those fresh movies are the reasons we SHOULD be getting excited year after year.

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