August 17, 2007

Marquee Makeovers: Imaginary Re-Dos of Current and Recent Movies with Classic Directors

I'm not going to take the fatalistic approach of many self-appointed film scholars and say that modern-day cinema is all crap. It's not. I've seen some great movies this summer - why just a few days ago, Superbad renewed my faith in the teen sex comedy. (The fact that it was written by a 14-year-old Seth Rogen and his friend - and has writing that kicks the ass of most of its peers - is a huge slap in the face to Hollywood. But I digress.)

Having said that, there IS a lot of crap out there. For everyone who moans about the demise of artistic, meaningful cinema, I have news for you: mad scientists in a volcano somewhere have discovered that these here moving pictures make MONEY. Money can buy you toupees and sports cars so people will have sex with you. As aging Hollywood bigwigs do not wish to remain celibate, they make crap. I know this is the system, but still a little part of me dies whenever somebody rents Wild Hogs at the video store.

I can't change the system. But I can create fantasies in this blog. So, without further ado, I present to you my dream "marquee makeovers" - pairing classic, talented directors with recent craptastic movies to see if they couldn't fix em up a little.

1. License to Wed, as directed by Alfred Hitchcock
The real movie: Sadie (Mandy Moore) and Ben (John Krasinski) are engaged, but a wacky reverend (Robin Williams) insists on putting them through a series of tests to determine their readiness for marriage.
The Hitchcock version: Hitchcock once lamented that he was a typecast director, and that if he directed Cinderella, "the audience would immediately be looking for a body in the coach." Well, sorry, Hitch, it's gonna continue here. Lovely Sadie has a whirlwind romance with dashing Ben, a man with a mysterious past. Despite knowing little about him, she enthusiastically accepts when he proposes. Her family doesn't approve of the union, so to get their approval, she enlists the blessing of a local reverend who is new in town. He agrees to bless the couple and perform the wedding only if they undergo a series of tasks to prove their devotion. Unbeknownst to Sadie and Ben, this man is only posing as a reverend to hide from the police, as he is wanted for several murders! The reverend's tasks are just an excuse for him to monitor their every move. Meanwhile, Sadie's relationship with Ben has become strained, as he has started acting strange. He is fed up with the tasks and just wants to elope somewhere and begin anew. One day, Sadie goes to the reverend to discuss the tension in her relationship, and he suggests they go for a walk. Back at the house, Ben is reading the newspaper and there is a picture of the reverend and a headline describing him as a wanted killer. Realizing that his fiancee is alone with this madman, he races to the church. By now, the reverend has already led Sadie into the woods, so Ben runs around like mad trying to find them. He sees them in the woods and shoots the reverend dead. He explains it all to Sadie, and they go to the police. Except you never know if the reverend was really trying to kill them OMG!

2. Blades of Glory, as directed by Billy Wilder
The real movie: Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell) and Jimmy McElroy (Jon Heder) are figure skaters disqualified from competing in the mens' singles anymore, so they compete as a pairs team.
The Wilder movie: Billy Wilder takes you inside the cutthroat and ethically ambiguous world of men's figure skating. Chazz Michael Michaels used to be the figure skating king back in the day, but an aging body, a flurry of scandals and a love of liquor caused him to fall from grace. Jimmy McElroy is the new kid to the sport, unspoilt by its demanding nature. Despite his skill and youthful optimism, Jimmy doesn't make the cut for the Olympic men's singles competition. Chazz, desperate to get back in the game and reclaim his glory, pounces on the naive Jimmy and offers to defy convention and become a pairs team with him. Jimmy idolizes Chazz and accepts the offer immediately. The trouble is, the public doesn't want any more of Chazz, and their partnership starts to tarnish Jimmy's image. Jimmy realizes this, but dumping Chazz would mean sacrificing his spot in the Olympic team. He tries to wait it out, knowing he'll lose the dead weight immediately after and be a star in his own right. Chazz, meanwhile, realizes that his plan to use Jimmy has backfired, and seeks his revenge. At the Olympics, Chazz gets violently drunk and takes several pills before he is to compete. He is a disaster out on the ice, dropping Jimmy in almost every lift and causing him to be seriously injured. At the end of the routine, Chazz collapses dead from the drugs next to a stunned and wounded Jimmy.

3. I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, as directed by Woody Allen
The real movie: Chuck (Adam Sandler) and Larry (Kevin James) are two hetero firefighters who fake a domestic partnership for the benefits.
The Allen version: Chuck is Jewish, which is half the screenplay right there. Then add a lot of shots of New York. Then the two actually fall in love, and date for a while, but decide it won't work out.

4. Rush Hour 3 as directed by John Huston
The real movie: Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker are back, and now they're fighting the Chinese mafia in Paris or something. Whatever. Hey, isn't it funny that they have trouble understanding each other?
The Huston version: Chan and Tucker (does anyone even know their character names?) are jaded cops who reluctantly go to Paris despite fatigue and indifference. They're hunting for an enigmatic and charismatic mobster who is smuggling a valuable and stolen amulet across country borders. Their search takes them to the Swiss Alps, where they get lost among the terrain. There are signs that the mobster was there, but they are difficult to follow. The days are long and the pair engages in lots of intense dialogue about life. Chan starts to go kind of nuts and becomes suspicious that Tucker wants to kill him, so he runs away while Tucker sleeps to hunt the villains on his own. Tucker awakes and figures that the bad guys have captured his trusted partner, so he goes in heated pursuit. He encounters the mobster and his posse, who outnumber him and shoot him to death. Chan, meanwhile, sets up a complicated trap utilizing his natural surroundings, which the villains fall into nicely. Victorious, Chan delivers a scathing monologue to his captives, and then walks off into the sunset.

5. Evan Almighty as directed by Orson Welles (and yes, I am familiar with Welles' directing career outside of Citizen Kane)
The real movie: In this sequel to Bruce Almighty, God (Morgan Freeman) warns Evan (Steve Carrell) of an impending flood, and instructs him to build an ark, a la Noah.
The Welles version: Evan grew up poor, but has worked his way up and became a successful businessman. Now rich and arrogant, he believes that he begins to hear the voice of God telling him to build an ark. He does. He alienates his family and friends and becomes a huge jerk. But he also employs lots of people to help, and soon creates a thriving ark-building empire. The police get word of this profitable operation and decide to steal it from Evan and claim it as their own, because it's an Orson Welles movie so the cops are corrupt. Evan doesn't really notice this, because one of his workers has a femme-fatale-ish wife who hangs around all day and flirts shamelessly with Evan, who falls hard for her. They make secret plans to escape together on the ark. But then the woman's husband turns up dead, with Evan as the prime suspect. Scared for his life, he forgets all about the woman and runs away. He falls ill, and unable to seek medical attention because the police would surely find him then, he dies alone, leaving a trail of broken hearts and corruption. Did I mention that all of the above is shadowy and full of deep-focus cinematography?

What other good makeovers can you think of?

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh My
I haven't even read the whole thing
I just got to the "Chuck and Larry" one directed by Woody Allen

I can't stop laughing

Anonymous said...

Reply to above comment...

I did the same thing! Woody Allen... so true!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. The Allen one is my favorite. But I wonder what a Howard Hawks remake of "John Tucker Must Die" would look like.

A. H.

Andrew said...

Mine too. Maybe Mr. Allen should remake it.

I'd like to see what would happen to Becoming Jane when directed by Vincente Minnelli

Anonymous said...

I would like to see Ray Harryhausen's Transformers. That would be really cool.

bobo said...

Jean-Luc Godard does 'Dude, Where's my Car?'

:)

Starnarcosis said...

Hitchcock does a rom-com about a married couple who are bored with each other and suddenly discover they aren't actually married, so they split up, only to find they still love each other .. oh, wait a minutes, he did do that (Mr. and Mrs. Smith).

John Ford does Pearl Harbor?

Anonymous said...

How about if Martin Scorsese directed an update of Infernal Affairs without the character development or subtext? Oh wait....

Eternality said...

Interesting analysis of classic filmmakers remaking modern offerings. A great read!

Dean said...

Resident Evil as directed by John Romero would run for three hours and be focused around the conflict of the commandos' desire to get the hell out of the facility with the desperate need to contain the T-Virus. Their inability to cooperate with respect to both results in the commandos becoming zombie chow and the escape of the virus into the nearby city. Those who have seen any of Romero's Dead trilogy will know how important the first four words of the previous sentence are to the plot.

Anonymous said...

Who's John Romero? He's a game designer...
I think George A. Romero would make a nice resident movie... :P

Alex said...

Stanley Kubrick directs 300. There'd be a lot of slow-motion, and blood flying around, and, wait a minute...

filmmaven said...

"Wild Hogs" as directed by Akira Kurosawa.

Chris said...

The Rush Hour 3 one had me lolling all over the place. Kudos!

Anonymous said...

two deffinitly spring to mind

1; Evan Almighty directed by Cecil B. DeMille

and

2; Death proof directed by Sam Fuller

others to ponder... INLAND EMPIRE by Fellini and Munich by Fritz Lang

Anonymous said...

How about Van Helsing directed by Steven Spielberg or James Cameron?

Bob said...

The Nanny Diaries by John Waters

Anonymous said...

No Reservations by Brian DePalma
Daddy Day Camp by Martin Scorcese

Anonymous said...

How about Alfred Hitchcock remaking Disturbia, that would be great :')

Anonymous said...

The Nanny Diaries by Scorsese. Scarlett Johansson blows her top several times, once smashing a wineglass over somebody's head as "Gimme Shelter" plays in the background.

Eric said...

Zodiac directed by Brian De Palma or Grindhouse directed by Dario Argento (Planet Terror) and Jan De Bont (Death Proof)...

How about Spike Lee or producer John Singleton directing Black Snake Moan?

What about Across the Universe directed by Milos Forman or Hairspray directed by Jacques Demy?

Finally: 1408 directed by John Carpenter?

Anonymous said...

Frank Capra remakes Halloween

Michael said...

How about Takashi Miike redoing "Good Luck Chuck"?

Anonymous said...

I know that the film hasn't been made yet, but for some reason, this just works for me:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, directed by Sam Peckinpah.

popcornninja said...

Great Post! I love the whole idea of it. Thanks for making me laugh!

Anonymous said...

Samuel Fuller's "Hostel"

John Cassavettes' "Saw"

Anonymous said...

Akira Kurosawa's War

Sam Peckinpah's Smokin' Aces

Frank Capra's The Astronaut Farmer

German Gabriel said...

"Evan Almighty as directed by Orson Welles (and yes, I am familiar with Welles' directing career outside of Citizen Kane)"

Something tells me you aren't.

Anonymous said...

The Devil Wears Prada by Sam Peckinpah. Wow.

Anonymous said...

German Gabriel said...
"Something tells me you aren't."

Something tells me you're a jackass.

Rahi said...

How bout this?

Charlie Chaplin directing 'Die Hard'(any of the sequels would do!). No guns except shoes or brooms(lol). The Tramp and John McClaine both are vulnerable in some sense(one have no family and other has least connection with family). At last scene of the movie, bad asses would not be dead(saving loads of bloodsheds). And most of all, No more F-words(silent era!), though fingers might be 'useful'(!).

Julie said...

Thanks for your positive feedback and/or suggestions! Believe it or not, I was considering a Scorsese version of "Daddy Day Camp," but I just couldn't work it out in my head. For whoever suggested a Hitchcock "Disturbia," I'm bad at reading internet sarcasm, so I hope they know that Disturbia is a remake of "Rear Window." I also tried to match the director with the approximate genre they're good at, but I would be so down with a Howard Hawks "John Tucker Must Die." My only question would be: would this be Hawks in gangster mode or screwball comedy mode? Both would be fun.

Anonymous said...

sergio leone does dodgeball

Anonymous said...

How about Douglas Sirk doing the Sex and the City movie?

Anonymous said...

Sam Peckinpah directing "Shrek".

Anonymous said...

tobe hooper manning the wicker man remake... or even george a romero...
Underworld Evolution as directed by John Carpenter would be cool, as would The Number 23 directed by Hitchcock, or even A sound of Thunder directed by Stanley Kurbrik or George Lucas... think of the possibilities...

Anonymous said...

can you imagine THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT directed by doco-wiz himself, Michael Moore? he'd go on about how much random s**t was going on around him and how it was all a big conspuracy to create terror(ism).

Anonymous said...

David Cronenberg's Kill Bill.

I think he'd do way better than Quentin, because he'd hire a proper writer and not bog the movie down in pointless dialogue for the sake of having people speak. Also, The Bride could undergo a sort of primordeal change and become more tortured by the fact that she has to kill Bill and so many of his minions, and thus provide gravitas to the proceedings. While also being ultraviolent.

Or Cronenberg's Hostel.

Matt said...

I noticed some people suggested remakes of Tarantino films by other directors. I personally believe that Tarantino is a grwat director and his films are god enough as they are. Oh, and how about 3:10 to Yuma as directed by Sergio Leone?

German Gabriel said...

"Anonymous said...

German Gabriel said...
"Something tells me you aren't."

Something tells me you're a jackass."

I may be a jackass, but that doesn't change the fact that this guy hasn't seen any of Orson Welles' films, beside "Kane...". If that

Anonymous said...

Superman Returns directed by Richard Donner.

Or...

V for Vendetta directed by Ridley Scott

Or...

Old School directed by John Landis

Oni no Sweeney said...

Norman McLeod (Famous for Marx Brother's movies) directing "Shoot'em Up"

Anonymous said...

Roman Polanski directs Deep Impact.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...

German Gabriel said...
"Something tells me you aren't."

Something tells me you're a jackass."

I may be a jackass, but that doesn't change the fact that this guy hasn't seen any of Orson Welles' films, beside "Kane...". If that


Ummm, German Gabriel, I clearly see Touch of Evil and The Lady from Shanghai in the Welles' Evan Almighty--so that makes at least two other Welles movies she knows. I won't call you a jackass, but I will tell you you're wrong.

German Gabriel said...

"Ummm, German Gabriel, I clearly see Touch of Evil and The Lady from Shanghai in the Welles' Evan Almighty--so that makes at least two other Welles movies she knows. I won't call you a jackass, but I will tell you you're wrong."

That's not the point. The point is that anyone who helps perpetuate the myth that Welles never made any other great films besides "Kane" is, at the very least, an ignorant.
And OF COURSE I remember all those animal jokes in "Lady vanishes" and "Touch of evil". And don't forget all the animal jokes also to be found in "Othello" and "Falstaff"

Julie said...

"The Lady Vanishes" was directed by Hitchcock, not Welles. And let me say I am truly touched that you like my blog enough to carry on an inane squabble on it for days.

German Gabriel said...

Actually I meant it as a joke. I realize now what a pathetic joke it was. And yes, I actually like your Blog very much. The fact that the discussion IS inane is what keeps me going :)