Movie remakes in a race to the bottom

 
 

It’s no secret around here that recycled ideas are often, well, garbage. Many of us suffered through

Bionic Woman (which even

Katee Sackhoff couldn’t rescue), I’d guess that very few of us bothered to suffer through

Catherine Zeta-Jones in the unnecessary No Reservations, and scribegrrrl and Malinda

have already expressed apprehension about plans for a new Barbarella. So Moviefone’s recent

25 Worst Movie Remakes of All Time” is a little bit like shooting

(already dead) fish in a barrel — fun, perhaps, but also depressing, kind of like 101 Dalmatians, which made No. 11 on the list.

Fun due to the presence of Glenn Close, with some of the best movie hair around; depressing due to the presence of Glenn Close, who may be the perfect Cruella but who really

can do oh-so-much-better. Give me boiled bunnies over yappy puppies any day, Glenn. Better yet, give me power suits and power trips of the non-puppy sort.

Sadly, there are numerous great actors stuck on Moviefone’s list. Checking in at No. 20 is The Planet of the Apes, with a furred Helena Bonham Carter missing the

quirky target and hitting the just-plain-wrong bull’s eye.

Granted, I blame this one on Tim Burton, not Carter. Usually he does right by her, and by audiences, but how he could attempt a serious take on a camp classic, I’ll never

understand. Thankfully I’ll soon get to see Sweeney Todd, and I’m guessing that will quickly

erase any of the lingering resentment I have after wasting my time on Apes.

A few other Moviefone choices I agree with are Meet Joe Black (most b-o-r-i-n-g movie ever), The Truth About Charlie (though since the original Charade is one of

my favorites, I might be a bit biased here), Psycho (fine as a film school exercise, maybe, but nothing in its own right), The Stepford Wives, Godzilla,

and City of Angels (one of the few movies I have actually walked out on — don’t

ask me how I ended up attempting it in the theatre to begin with). There are far too many that could have vied for a spot on the list and didn’t make it, but one of the ones I’d vote for would be

Yours, Mine and Ours.

Yes, the original is as cheesy as they come, but with her comic timing and husky voice, Lucille Ball was able to pull off a performance that was hokey and hilarious

instead of hokey and a lesson in how not to be even remotely hilarious.

So, depressed yet? Moviefone is right, bad remakes abound. But there are a few good ones, so to end on a positive note, I’ll take a moment to give credit to Father of the Bride

(unnecessary but an inoffensively good excuse to see Diane Keaton be radiant), Ocean’s Eleven (which was an actually fun caper flick instead of a flimsy vehicle for

the brat pack), and my absolute favorite, Victor/Victoria. Perhaps it’s cheating because I’ve never seen the 1933

German original, but has Julie Andrews ever fulfilled as many fantasies as she did when she donned drag?

Maybe remakes aren’t so bad after all.

No, I take that back — I won’t let myself be distracted. Because I know there are so many that Moviefone missed (including those remakes that aren’t relatively recent; their list didn’t really seem like an all-time

list at all), not to mention the book, comic, and TV adaptations that didn’t even get considered on a movie-to-movie list. So, the perennial question: Should remakes ever happen? Should they be

judged against the originals or on their own? (I’d say that most of the ones here are bad, with or without the comparison.) Are there things on the list that shouldn’t be, or missing movies

that should be? Better yet, are there other brilliant remakes that we shouldn’t miss?

 
 

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