Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Is Hollywood Out of Ideas?

I’ve come to the conclusion that, by and large, Hollywood has run out of new ideas.

Why do I say this?

I base this judgement on the incessant, constant, ridiculous re-hashing, re-booting, re-making, and re-telling going on over on The Left Coast.

You gotta admit, this problem has been around for awhile, though…. some themes just find themselves on constant repeat. Take, as an example, Romeo and Juliet: Boy meets Girl, Family doesn’t approve, Boy and Girl carry on secret romance, Tragedy ensues….It was filmed in 1936 and again in 1968, and once more in 1996 as some modernized MTV-fueled acid trip. The 1994 film The Punk uses both the rough plot outline of Romeo and Juliet and names many of the characters in ways that reflect the original. In 2006, Disney's nauseating High School Musical made use of Romeo and Juliet's plot, placing the two youngsters in rival high school cliques instead of feuding families. The immortal 1961 musical, West Side Story, is merely a re-telling of the classic, and in 1998’s Shakespeare in Love, The Bard writes the play against the backdrop of his own doomed love affair.

Hollywood has pretty much bashed the Star Trek franchise to death, after at least three spinoff series, a prequel film, and countless other series sequel films, like 9 or something. They bled the Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street,  and Friday the 13th franchises dry and then simply started to make them all over again. Soon they’ll probably do the same thing to the Saw films.

When in doubt, just make a crappy sequel if the original was a success. Explains all the Rambo films. And the Rocky films. Within a decade, I fully expect Hollywood to reboot both of them. For Rambo, or more rather, First Blood, it won’t be all that hard to translate a loner Vietnam veteran drifter with PTSD who gets dicked over by an a-hole cop into a loner, Iraq/Afghanistan vet with PTSD getting dicked over by The Man. For Rocky, well, everyone loves to see some steroid-infused brawler get his ass kicked and then fight his way back to glory, so the next one will be MMA/UFC instead of boxing….gotta keep it current y’know. 

I seem to recall going to the theater to see the first two Batman films…no, wait…the first one came out in 89 so I was in Germany & missed it…I vaguely remember seeing it on video, but in ‘92 I did go see Batman Returns. It’s possible that my ex-wife dragged me to see Batman Forever in ‘95 because of her crush on Val Kilmer, but after that, I gave up. No Batman & Robin, no Batman Begins, no Batman: Dark Knight, and I sure as hell won’t bother with The Dark Knight Rises. I simply no longer care.

Maybe I’m just getting old. Maybe my inner child is dead. But at 43, I simply no longer give a rat’s ass about chasing down all the super-hero remakes & reboots. I hear tell they already want to reboot the Fantastic Four films. Iron Man 3 is on the way. There has to be yet another X-Men flick coming. Sources tell me they are remaking Superman. After 3 Spider Man films, of which I think I saw the first one, there is now a huge spectacle of a reboot, The Amazing Spider Man, with a sequel already in the works. Throw several superheroes together in a special effects cavalcade and you get The Avengers. And the upcoming sequel,  Avengers 2.  It can compete with the Justice League film and the Wonder Woman film.

What else is Hollywood remaking?

Where to even begin?

Back in 1990, Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in the sci-fi film Total Recall. Now he’s been replaced by Colin Farrell in the same role. Back in 1987 we got RoboCop and a couple bad sequels. Next year we get the remake. Back in 1979 no one really knew who Mel Gibson was was he starred in Mad Max. Next year we get the series rebooted, with the role now being played by the guy playing the villain in the latest Batman film.

I’ve heard rumors of remakes coming that just make me shake my head. Kinda like the recent reboot of 21 Jump Street. Was that really necessary? Was that remake of The Dukes of Hazzard really thought out all the way through?

Sadly, I was informed that Arnold is doing his own sequel, this time to the abysmally bad movie he did in 1988 with Danny Devito….yes, Twins is getting a third member in Eddie Murphy in the upcoming Triplets. Why? At least there’s no sequel planned for Junior yet. Yet

There’s a rumor of a remake of Scarface. Why? If violence-addicted kids needed a fix all they had to do was rent themselves a copy of The Devil’s Double, the story of Uday Hussein’s body double, a film called by many Scarface of Arabia.

There’s a remake of An American Werewolf in London in development, as is a redo of The Crow. It was hard enough watching the original with Brandon Lee dead during filming and them having to work around that to wrap the film up, and the sequels were unwatchable. Sometime in 2014 we get yet another version of Godzilla, hopefully this time without the beast being chased by Ferris Bueller and without Pee Diddy butchering a Led Zeppelin song in the background.

There’s yet another Die Hard film coming, set in Russia. Why? A new version of Carrie…because we really needed that. A sixth Fast & Furious…and of course, in time for Memorial Day will be Hangover 3. Aftre that, they will have pretty much beaten that horse to death.

As a teen I loved Red Dawn, where a group of high school kids fight off the invading Russian and Cuban communist hordes. This Thanksgiving, the iPhone generation will defend us all against, get this, the frikkin’ North Koreans. I have a hard time believing the North Koreans, who apart from a lucky few, barely have electricity or more than a rice ball & fish heads to eat, invaded the US of A.

A cult classic is getting dumbed-down for the masses, it seems. Back in 1984 a spoof of horror flicks done very tongue in chek and very much R-rated became an underground sensation and started an entire genre of satirical films set in mythical Tromaville. Yes, kids…Toxic Avenger is getting remade into a PG-13, by the director that brought you Hot Tub Time Machine. I’m sorry.

And lastly, because no one has the balls to tell him no, Ashton Kutcher is going ahead with his dream to remake Smokey and the Bandit (As if Adam Sandler’s remake of The Longest Yard wasn’t enough). I’m really confused with this one. Back in 1977 you could only get Coors beer in certain western states, hence the run to Texas & back to Georgia with the load of illegal beer. What the hell are they going to haul this time? Illegal Mexicans? No more jabbering on the CB radio to rustle up a convoy of truckers to run blockade for you, since everyone uses cell phones and truckers no longer roll in giant convoys.

At least Ashton already has a ready supply of trucker hats.

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