If you went to the movies this weekend, you probably saw posters or previews for remakes of Clash of the Titans, The Karate Kid and Tron.
Utterly bankrupt of anything resembling an idea, Hollywood is in the midst of a remake frenzy, with dozens more in various stages of production, including Footloose, Romancing the Stone and Short Circuit.
I’m not against remakes—John Huston’s The Maltese Falcon was the third on-screen crack at Dashiell Hammett’s novel—but with the obvious Gen-X nostalgia trend, it’s clear that Hollywood is nothing but a soulless distribution vehicle for recycled brand names and childhood memories (if the two are even still distinct).
That’s fine, but why remake movies that weren’t even good ideas in the first place (except for Tron, which is seamless)? With that in mind, and acknowledging beforehand that the studios botch everything they touch, here are the first five of 10 films that I think Hollywood should actually consider remaking:
Crossfire: The homicidal homophobe of Richard Brooks’ novel was changed to a homicidal anti-Semite in Edward Dmytryk’s OK 1947 film, but going back to the original source would give it new relevance.
54: I’d love to see a film about Steve Rubell’s hedonistic Studio 54 reign, but Mark Christopher’s 1998 stinker is dopey and prudish.
Ben-Hur/Wings: Here are two Best Picture winners that creak with old age. The 1959 Ben-Hur is unwatchable, save a 15-minute sequence helmed by the second-unit director, but Lew Wallace’s story still has potency. Wings mixes terrific flying sequences with inane silent dramatics, but how could a modern action movie about daredevil World War I fighter pilots fail? Oh yeah … Flyboys.
Catwoman: Superheroes, sex, some starlet in a leather cat suit—there’s no reason this can’t work. Just lay off the CGI kitties next time.