Friday, October 21, 2011

Remakes - Why Make Them?

I don't have another movie review to post or a soundtrack. And I don't want to share a preview with you that I thought did a good job with relaying the story without spoiling it. I am here to discuss why remakes they are popping up left and right and why this is starting to make me angry. Yes, angry. I don't normally allow negative emotions in when I am talking about my favorite past time, but recently I have noticed that a few filmmakers are remaking some classic movies from my youth. I don't get it. Will someone please explain it to me?

Is it really just to make money? If so, I understand that motivation. Who doesn't want to make money? Heck, I am writing about movies - the love of my life - in hope of making money at it someday. So, trust me, I get that. But what boggles my mind about some recent remakes is why they chose specific films to redo? The Footloose remake was just released and now....gulp... possibly The Breakfast Club may be in the works - yes, you read that right. Right now it is just a table read but rumors are flying it could be made. (Jason Reitman is heading the table read.)

I had someone recently say, "Why do they keep ruining my childhood?" when I mentioned the remakes. I totally understand her response, most of my generation does. Yes, I am referring to us 80's kids. We hold some of these movies dear to our hearts because they allowed us to escape the drudgery of our childhood. Maybe they weren't critics' favorite choice of that year but we LOVED THEM! And remaking them almost slaps us in the face with saying: Okay, you are grown up, move on and let's have today's kids have a chance at digging into their pockets.

However, people today, including the gadget-savvy youth, have DVDs, download capability and maybe some even still have VHS tapes - not to forget the thousand times The Breakfast Club has been on television. We have ALL seen the movie - know it by heart and have even showed our kids the movie. This one translates to today beautifully. So, why even think of remaking it? There is no need. I say, come up with an original idea for a story that represents the youth today about how kids never feel like they fit in or how hard it is to be a child in today's climate. Someone out there has a script about that, I promise!

There are thousands of screenwriters, I being one of them, who actually have ideas with new concepts for stories for the studios, but one of the toughest things in the world is to actually get someone to read your script. So, this is another reason why it irks me to see a remake being released.

Again, trust me, I know how hard it is to get your script read let alone sold. I have a script that is actually set in the 80's about a girl coming of age with her sexuality and has mixed in all the nuances of the 80's within the script. However, the story is told as a flashback through a diary so the current teenager reading the diary learns that every girl goes through the same thing. I have tried for the past year and half to get it read. I have submitted to contests, knocked on every door I can and even called in favors of those even with the slightest access to Hollywood. Nada, zip, nothing.

Okay, I just realized I sort of made this all about me and my dreams that seem harder and harder to obtain. Sorry, it's a habit.

Yes, there are great movies today showcasing the trials and tribulations of today's teenagers. Juno leaps to mind. A brilliant story about a pregnant teenager who decides to give up her baby for adoption to a couple even though one isn't sure they are ready to be a parent. It was an original idea that had everyone scratching their head: who is this scriptwriter, Diablo Cody? She is someone, that all of us who live and breathe movies envy and admire, who actually broke through the thousand layers of lead that block the rest of us from getting our shot.

Many remakes have been produced and done well and I have enjoyed many. However, they are usually films from long ago that no one from my generation saw - mainly because they were never re-released on tape or we never heard of them before. Also, many were either poorly made at the time or soon forgotten but a good story was there that needed to be retold. Some movies are remade because the technology is so much better today for special effects but one movie that comes to mind that should never had been remade is Willy Wonka. Tim Burton, who I adore along with Johnny Depp, came out with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory a few years ago. Apparently, they kept the story closer to the book. However, I didn't like it. Willy Wonka was made in 1971 - I was 1 year-old but still watched that movie probably two dozen times, if not more, during my youth. I had no issue with watching an older movie with low-budget effects.

I just asked my 11 year-old son, who saw both movies, and he prefers Willy Wonka. Sure he liked the other one but Willy Wonka was just a great movie, with the best actor for the role that made an indelible connection with the audience. So, this leads me to remaking and who to play the classic roles. Gene Wilder was brilliant as Willy Wonka and will always be Willy Wonka for me. Johnny Depp, who I think is one of greatest actors today, did his best at trying to create his own version but it fell way short for me. Why? Well, Gene Wilder already embodied the character so well that there was no need to try and rework it. No reason - at all.

Well, I am done. There is nothing more I can say about this subject. I know I am not alone in this mode of thought, and I know I can't change anyone's mind in Hollywood to stop what they do. However, if Jason Reitman is listening, please consider what I said here today. Enjoy the table read but please leave The Breakfast Club as a John Hughes film - and allow us children of the 80's to never forget what was ours.

Don't you forget about us, please!!


Jen and Tonic said...

These studios need to stop ruining great old movies. With so many writers out there, they can't find one NEW movie idea to entertain?

Tired of Previews said...


Dan LaFollette said...

This was a real nice piece Katy. I now want to go and read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory again. It was about 40 years ago when I read it the first time.
I completely agree that all of the remakes (some are remakes of remakes)are simply a way of unimaginative people to make a buck.

Tired of Previews said...

Thanks, Dan. Remakes of remakes - reminds me of The Thing - now 3 versions. *head spinning*