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Let’s (Not) Do It Again

Movieline has a post reacting to the news that someone’s remaking Logan’s Run with Ryan Gosling by making a list of 50 movies that should never be remade.  The criterion they use is that the movies have to be susceptible to a remake — that is, it has to be plausible that someone in Hollywood could buy the rights and try to do it.  The problem is that I don’t think there’s a single movie that Hollywood WOULDN’T try to remake if someone saw a profit potential in it.  Movieline’s Louis Virtel gives the example of Gone With The Wind as one that wouldn’t be remade, but I wouldn’t be so fast to assume that it’s sacrosanct.  If they announced tomorrow that a remake of GWTW with Justin Bieber was on track for a Fall premiere, I wouldn’t be surprised.  Appalled, sure, but not surprised.

Movieline‘s list, and your nominations, after the jump:” />
The Movieline list includes movies I don’t think were all that great to begin with (GreaseBullets Over BroadwayClue?!?  Okay, those HAVE to be tongue-in-cheek) and movies that absolutely COULD be remade (You don’t think someone’s considered “updating” Rosemary’s Baby?), but some of them should be on a preservation list (Chinatown and Airplane! so perfectly did what they did that a remake isn’t even thinkable).  And, really, in the right hands, you CAN remake most movies.  The Coen Brothers did a pretty good job with True Grit (and, yes, I know, they say it’s not really a remake because they hewed closer to the book.  Two movies, same story, same name, same characters, same source material… remake).

But you can make a better list.  Nerdist readers come from a different perspective, and I imagine your do-not-touch list would include a lot of movies, especially in the sci-fi, fantasy, and horror genres, that might not occur to the Movieline fans.  So make your nominations below.  And I nominate Local Hero.  Can’t do that better than it’s already been done.

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36 comments

  • hey guys warner bros has just finished a script for a live action AKIRA movie starring zack effron set in new manhattan NOOOOOOOOOOOO!
    This movie is going to be a abomination against the original source material hollywood hasn’t learned from the tekken movie,king of fighters,last airbender disasters,please someone stop them.wheres kira when you need them?

  • Sawyer, I don’t so much see a correlation between how old a film is and how much better its remake would be. But I do see that the older the film, the more likely a candidate for a remake it becomes. Because the original could be updated. The new True Grit appeals to our sensibilities of today. I don’t think it would have been well received in the 1950’s, though, at its modern level of violence.

    Also, I could totally see a remake of A Clockwork Orange being good if someone talented out there felt that there’s another interesting angle to the story that should be shared.

  • totvornottotv: So when you talk about talented people working on the modern Mission Impossible franchise, whom do you have in mind? Also, why do I feel out of breath after reading your post?

    Alex: Speaking of Cold War reliant movies being remade, a remake of Red Dawn is well into production, last I heard.

  • Let’s see…Anything that relies heavily on the Cold War tension for the story. It is nearly impossible to recapture that mentality in this day and age. It may be possible if you try to make it a period piece, but that is usually not the case with a remake. E.T., Milo and Ottis, Bambi, Alien, Terminator, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and Donnie Darko off the top of my head.

    Two movies that I think could be remade that I know a lot of people won’t agree with are Breakfast Club and Revenge of the Nerds. There is nothing wrong with the originals, but I think the themes and stories are still relevant and can be updated for a modern audience.

  • I would have to go with “Now,voyager”. If they remade that and it didn’t do well then everytime I would tell people what my favorite movie was, I would be meet by stares of disbelief much like I give to people who come into my store asking for “Deathrace”. ( the original was actully okay and thought it should be remade but I was thinking along the lines of making it better not worse)

  • sawyer if the talented people want to tell a different story why are they so dependent on name recognition of the classics come up with a new title don’t piggyback off other peoples work.A good example of name recognition only is the mission impossible movies they have the name however are awful when compared to the original they have retained none of the concept of the source material except the title and theme music the entire mythos of the movies and mo of the characters is completely different to the tv shows the purpose of the show was to get the marks to do what they wanted without ANYONE knowing they were being conned where in the movies they were all special effects flash and stupidity.

  • actually, after reading the comments, batman was an awesome remake, I think Heath gave the Joker a whole new dimension of crazy.

    as for a godfather remake…I think watching the original is getting tough these days, since the scenes are sooo long now that we’re used to the quick cuts. on the other hand, I very much doubt someone could make a watchable remake of it…

    and third (let’s pretend I was counting, up to this point) most big movie hits these days get sequels. and most sequels seem to have the same plot anyway, they just have a really bad script, bad actors and a lower budget…anyone seen the butterfly effect 2?

  • Chris, I think the good remakes have less to do with the time difference between the two movies, and more to do with the quality of the people working on them, which holds true with True Grit as well. Just as an example, The Thing From Another World and The Day The Earth Stool Still both came out in 1951, and both were remade, the former in 1982, the latter in 2008. To go with the idea that time and quality have a correlation, it would follow that the 2008 version of The Day the Earth Stood Still would be a better film and remake than 1982’s The Thing, yet anyone who actually tries to argue this case would be institutionalised faster than you can say “What the frak?” And then there are some movies that simply don’t get dated, like Rear Window or A Clockwork Orange. Like Perry said, some movies are so perfectly done that a remake can, at best, replicate the original (and then you end up with Van Sant’s Psycho, and nobody wants that).

    Ultimately, I think it comes down to why someone wants to do a remake. If it’s to cash in on name recognition so people will fork over money (“Hey, I remember The Maltese Falcon being an old movie, and Jon Heder seems like a capable replacement for Bogart. Let’s watch that tonight, honey.”) then the idea should be aborted asap. On the other hand, if the remake is being done because the filmmaker genuinely wants to tell a story, and thinks he/she can do it better or differently than the original, I say go for it, because that’s how we end up with 1982’s The Thing and The Coens’ True Grit. Even if it doesn’t work, atleast they tried, and I can respect that.

  • To be honest, most of the movies people have mentioned here are still contemporary. No one wants to remake the Big Lebowski because it’s still not old enough. Just wait about 30 years from now, when all the movies we love today are totally dated in their costume, slang, special effects, filming process used… then we’ll welcome the remake. You may notice, the best remakes come outta originals that are now very very old and dated (i.e.True Grit).

  • McFly! Is there a disconnect here? As I see that the Halloween poster is listed “seemingly” as a movie that should not have been remade?

    Helloo…I think @nerdist would have something to say about this..lol!

  • Some of my picks might be obviously but here goes. ANY Indy movie should be left alone. You can’t and will not be able to do those better. Forbidden Planet is untouchable in my book. The French Connection should be left alone. Dirty Harry movies are just fine the way they are wouldn’t translate very well to modern day. If a police officer did what Harry does in those movies, he’s be in jail. Westworld should be left alone, even though it could use some updating in the special effects area, there is no need to soil the market with a remake. Here’s and idea, come up with your idea and make a movie about that. It’s a novel idea I know, but it can be done, but Hollywood is too lazy now and would much rather take the less risk, more reward route and give us recycled garbage pretending to be good. -Michael

  • sawyer oh noooooooooooooooooo! hollywood has never remade a asian cinema classic anywhere near the quality of the original they have all sucked beyond belief old boy, lady vengeance, sympathy for mr vengeance, .battle royale should NEVER BE REMADE IN HOLLYWOOD! pulp fiction,godfather 1,2. godfellas,casablanca,to kill a mockingbird,animal house,national lampoons vacation or christmas vacation,real genius,war games,true romance,res dogs,ghostbusters,ghost in the shell,

  • @Derek:

    They are remaking the Vengeance trilogy in Hollywood. Will Smith is attached to the lead role, last I heard, with Spielberg attached in some capacity (as producer, I think), although they’re using the True Grit line of “book adaptation, not remake”.

  • Movies that are largely auteur-driven shouldn’t/can’t be remade. The aforementioned Tarantino or Wes Anderson movies *can’t* really be remade because the style of the director is so hugely embedded in the film. Ditto for movies that really rely on the state of the world or pop culture at the time, like Network. Whereas “high concept” movies are ripe for remake because the log line (brash fighter pilot and goofy pal go to the Navy’s most competitive flight school!) is bigger than anyone on the creative team and they’re easily transferable.

  • You know what? I’d LOVE to see the Godfather movies (or the novels) re-imagined as feature-length animated films. With the right creative team, I think that would something worth seeing.

    I’m imagining traditional animation, not CG. Although it might be interesting to see Pixar do a heartwarming comedy about a family of Sicilian-American pigeons. (Yes, yes, Animaniacs, I know. I KNOW!)

  • Godfather I&II (go ahead and remake III if you’d like), Almost Famous, any of Wes Anderson’s films and especially The Life Aquatic, the Sting, the Usual Suspects, the Rocky series. Just the first ones off the top of my head.

  • I recently watched Logan’s Run, which we seemed to love when I was a kid, and whoa, it was boring, and though there were interesting ideas, I don’t think it not only didn’t age well (terribly, in fact) but was oddly paced, slow, and very much worth remaking.

    About remakes, remember, nothing should be considered the pinnacle. Isn’t that like saying no Shakespeare works should be remade?

    Of course, never remake Scott Pilgrim. Leave that alone forever.

  • I, for one, would LOVE to see the Star Wars movies remade. They’re so ingrained in my brain — the cognitive dissonance would be unbelievable.

    I’d put The Big Lebowski on the “do not touch” list. And if anybody dares touch the Vengeance trilogy… well, actually, good luck. Try to make on-screen, incestuous sex palatable to the major studios.

  • I’m okay with book adaptations being remade because, to me, it’s like staging a play. Comic book movies can be rebooted and readapted because that’s what happens to the comics themselves. If I wrote an original script for Hollywood, though, I’d hate to see it be redone by someone just because they think they can do better.

  • It’s funny that Logan’s Run was the tipping point that led to that article. Logan’s Run is one of the few movies that I think SHOULD be remade. Or rather, made properly the first time. If they ignored the 1976 movie completely and stayed true to the novel it could be very well done. Unfortunately, I doubt it will happen that way. For one thing, moving Lastday from 21 to 30 undermines one of the main points of the story severely enough that I’m annoyed already, and it’s just about the only thing we (kind of) know so far. So bah, humbug.

  • Upon reflection, I agree with Tzvi. A remake subtracts nothing from the value of the original. If it’s a bad film, then it will perish and be forgotten quickly. (Do you remember Gus Van Sant’s 1998 Psycho remake? Anyone? I had to look it up to reassure myself that it existed.) And there’s always the chance that it will be something good, like the aforementioned True Grit.

    If remakes, reboots, re-interepretations, etc. were detrimental to the value of the source material then Shakespeare’s plays, Batman comics, and Final Fantasy VII would no longer exist. QED

  • I think the premise of not remaking films is kind of hogwash. These are not physical objects that need historic preservation, these are ideas, stories. They can be expanded on, retold. In all honesty, there aren’t that many stories to be told. What makes most films interesting is how the story is told. So remake films hollywood, most of the remakes will be crap and forgotten, some of them will be great and well imagined.

    So in the opposite direction…
    While the wouldn’t, I would like to see the Coen Bros remake Dr. Strangelove. Hear me out, the original Dr. Strangelove was a perfect movie. But the intense tension in the movie undercut with sharp critical absurdity, is right in the Coen Bros alley, and really is very reflective of our current environment.

  • But where do you draw the line between remakes and reboots? Would it be acceptable to do a reboot when a remake wouldn’t be possible? Is there a certain point where you’ve rebooted it too many times?

  • Hmm, have to give this some thought. My first nomination: any of the Alien movies. You can do sequels and prequels, but not remake the movies.

    Also? Anything by John Hughes. They had a few on the list, but I want it known that his entire body of films are to be left the FUCK alone.