I wish Hollywood would change. Seriously, these past few years seem like repeats of the last, pushing the same mindless, recycled clichés on us. Every now and then, a great film will slip through the Hollywood cracks, big budget and all, but the good ones, the really good ones are mostly independent. And that’s fine. Big budget or no budget makes no difference to me, as long as the story is there. However, a part of me misses the Hollywood of yore; a Hollywood that was there probably before I was born. The kind of Hollywood you read about. Maybe the 1940’s-1970’s Hollywood was the real deal, or maybe it only looks that way from my perspective. Maybe those brainless, factory-line films were there, but over the years have become classics by new audiences. Will 2012 be considered a classic 50 years from now? I’m talking about movies like Superman (1978); movies that have stood the test of time. Thinking about big-budget Hollywood machines now, titles like X-Men: The Last Stand, Terminator: Salvation, the Transformers films, etc come to mind. Avatar as well, but that is one I’m actually wanting to see, based on the creator (mostly his past work). So, basically all I’m saying is, “come the fuck on, Hollywood!” There’s a lot of money to be spent, and we all know it could go to something better. This isn’t just about “record breaking” budgets either. It’s about those studio films spoon-fed to eager audiences eating their overpriced popcorn, not concerned with things like plot or character, but rather action or laughs. And I’m all for the action and laughs. There just needs to be some substance with it. I like to eat popcorn, too. All I’m asking for are more big-budget flicks (action/fantasy/sci-fi) that are relevent; that are great. More The Dark Knight or Inglourious Basterds and less G.I. Joe or X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Stop With the Spoofs
Everyone loves a good spoof, right? Wrong. Well, not anymore. Yesterday’s excellent spoof films like Airplane, The Naked Gun, or Young Frankenstein are today’s Date Movie, Dance Movie, Epic Movie, etc. It appears as if we have gone lazy. No use trying to come up with a decent, catchy title; we’ll just use whatever genre or subgenre we decide to spoof and put the word movie behind it. It’s that ridiculous! What’s the last good spoof to have come out? What was Mel Brooks’ last film? Dracula: Dead and Loving It? I wouldn’t go so far as to call it good, but better than the drivel we’ve got now. Maybe Mel should do a spoof that spoofs all these modern spoofs. Call it Spoof Movie? No. How about we just kill the genre altogether? There’s little entertainment value to be found in the modern spoof, but somehow they keep coming, which indicates they’re making money. That also tells me audiences will see anything, so Hollywood, how about you stop putting money into these so-called satires and into something with more significance. If you show some action, or a comedic scene, or a hot chick in the trailer, they will come. It seems every movie has at least one of those in it. So, show that and wait for the money to come rolling in. Simple solution.
The Action Movie Called…It Wants Its Dignity Back
Way back when, it seemed there were quite a few solid action films that were not all explosions and gore, but had a good story, or convincing characters. The Terminator, Aliens, Escape From New York, First Blood, and Conan the Barbarian come to mind. Today, we’ve got G.I. Joe, Terminator: Salvation, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen, and that’s just this year. There are plenty more where that came from. What are some good action films of this past decade to have not only explosive action sequences, but also a theme, or interesting characters? I’ve already mentioned two above in The Dark Knight and Inglourious Basterds. What else? Casino Royale was engaging in that it featured a new kind of Bond. Quantum of Solace was decent enough, but it didn’t really do anything new with the groundwork Casino Royale had laid out for it. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is an obvious choice, and they are brilliant, but for every masterpiece trilogy, there’s a clone trying to cash in on the success. I’m thinking of the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, or The Chronicles of Narnia, which actually maybe worth watching, but still seems like a cash-in. I want some originality. So, I’m not saying remake The Wild Bunch. I’m saying make a new The Wild Bunch; a movie that can be compared to The Wild Bunch, or is worthy to sit next to the The Wild Bunch in a hypothetical movie hall-of-fame.
Another question pertaining to modern action is, what the hell happened to the action hero? What happened to guys like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis, or to a lesser extent, Steven Seagal or Jean-Claude Van Damme? Well, aside from being in The Expendables. Who do we have on the marquee today? Jason Statham, the WWE’s meathead John Cena, Channing Tatum and why am I still going? What have these “actors” given us, exactly? We can all live without The Transporter, or The Marine or G.I. Joe. Could I live without the original Terminator? Technically, yes. Cinematically, no. So, who else? Don’t say Christian Bale because it’s just not true. He’s a fine actor, but not necessarily in an action movie. See the new Terminator to know what I mean. But, who else? Is Shia Lebouf the new action hero? Is this where we’ve come? Is he the next Indiana Jones? The next James Bond or the next Rambo?
I’m not asking for Oscar-worthy (or what one would refer to as “Oscar-worthy) performances here, but at least have some meat (the written kind) on the characters. Arnold’s Terminator (from T2), a robot, or “cyborg” to be exact, develops emotion after spending time with John Connor. Even John Rambo had his complexities. They need to be more than muscles with one-liners. SO, bring back the action hero, the kind of hero you want to watch or root for, and bring back the story, simple or complex, just make it interesting!
RE: Remakes, Reboots, Reimgainings, Retellings are Retarded
Sorry for the uncool use of that “R-word” up there, but let’s just say it’s a quote from a 12-year-old boy. OK, that 12-year-old boy is me. OK, OK, I’m 24, but there’s still a 12-year-old boy inside me (YOU have a gutter mind) screaming Rage Against the Machine-style-rants filled with immature expletives. The psychiatrist says, “I’m speaking to the person inside the 24-year-old Daniel now. If you are there, you too are hypnotized and must answer all my questions. Come forward and answer me now. Are you the 12-year-old inside of Daniel? Who are you? AHHHHHHHHHH!”
Fuck remakes. Fuck ’em in the motherfucking ass. They suck! Why? Well, because some movies are so good, they leave behind legacy, and remakes have a tendency to FUCK UP THAT LEGACY! Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is a cinematic slice of heaven, whereas the remake, titled Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, is a one-way ticket to Hell. The kind of Hell where your mother sucks cock. You faithless slime…
In addition to remakes sucking, they also fucking blow. They make filmmakers look like lazy sacks of shit who ride on the coattails of the better source material they use. Sometimes, they have no goddamn respect for the source material! Did you see Rob Zombie’s Halloween? It was like Zombie took a dump on John Carpenter’s face and legacy of the film he created, and then smeared it onto film and called it a movie. Fuck you; Rob Zombie!
“THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU!”
Huh? What the fuck?
“THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU!”
Hey, fuck you with a razor sharp crucifix!
“THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU!”
OK, the 12-year-old me has left my body. He’s now occupying the meat-suit of a priest. Currently, he’s playing Mortal Kombat on Super Nintendo and shouting obscenities. At least he’s not at the computer…
What were we talking about? Oh yeah, remakes! Yes, remakes. Let’s look an easy-to-read list:
The Good: The Thing (1982), Cape Fear (1991), The Departed (2006), Batman Begins (2005), Star Trek (2009), The Fly (1986), Scarface (1983), Twelve Monkeys (1995)
I consider these examples of remakes or reboots “the good” because they either expand on the central theme or certain elements of their counterparts or because they bring fresh life to a dying franchise.
The Bad: Halloween (2007), Assault on Precinct 13 (2005), The Last House on the Left (2009), Night of the Living Dead 3D (2006), Day of the Dead (2008), Friday the 13th (2009), Prom Night (2008), When a Stranger Calls (2006), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), Planet of the Apes (2001), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
All of these films either showed a disrespect (intended or not) or lack of knowledge to their respective originals or just plain lost sight of what made the originals so good in the first place. Hell, some of the originals on the list weren’t great films, but the remakes still managed to fail where those films so modestly succeeded. In other words, these films weren’t needed. Did we really need another The Last House on the Left? Wes Craven’s original was a twisted exploitation film, but also had some comedic relief , and could be considered entertaining in a shocking sort of way. So, why a remake? Was it necessary? Really? Maybe a remake of I Spit On Your Grave is next. Audiences are just dying to sit through some even more brutal rape scenes.
*Also, just realized Craven’s The Last House on the Left is a remake/retelling of Ingmar Bergman’s The Virgin Spring (1960).
The Mediocre: Dawn of the Dead (2004), 3:10 to Yuma (2007), um…I knew I had another one in mind, but I lost it.
These movies were…well…just average. Nothing special here. The original Dawn of the Dead is just a romp of a film that is fun, as well as equally intense, and the remake has that same feel; it’s just not executed as well. Ashamed to admit, I have not seen the original version of 3:10 to Yuma, and all I can say about the remake is that it was “fine”. It was good enough, but nothing I’d feel the need to watch again.
In summary, STOP THE REMAKES! STOP THE FUCKING REMAKES! They’re cash-ins! It’s obvious. Why do people flock to these movies? People say, “I’m going to go see the A Nightmare on Elm Street remake in theaters.” I say, “I’ll just watch it right fucking now because I fucking own it! The movie already exists! And I have a copy! Fuck you! I win!” If you’re going to do a remake, make sure someone reliable is behind it like Martin Scorsese or Christopher Nolan, not Jerry Bruckheimer! Or Michael Bay! Stop the fucking remakes! That is not my 12-year-old self yelling, but I, the 24-year-old. Am I a fanboy? No. I’d like to think not. I’d like to think I give every movie (hey, I watched Twilight, damn it!) a fair chance, excited or not. I know that just because Avatar is James Cameron’s latest movie doesn’t automatically tell me it’s going to be as satisfying as his previous efforts. I will give it a fair trial. Someone lent me Orphan recently. I have little desire to see it, yet I will give it a shot. I’d like to think these factors prove I’m no fanboy. But, am I passionate about movies? You could say that. I’m passionate about the things that make me happy, and some movies can do that. Some say, “well, just don’t watch it.” True. I won’t. I still wish we lived in a society where the masses would dismiss remakes as plagiarism and all those guilty of creating atrocious remakes would be burned at the stake!
Give These People More to Do
Here’s a simple list of names (you’ll notice many nest or nested in the Whedon world) that Hollywood should use more often: Felicia Day, Nathan Fillion, Enver Gjokaj, Amy Acker, Fran Kranz (OK – the whole cast of Dollhouse since soon it will cease to exsist), Zach Galifianakis (who seems to be on his way to larger success), Mélanie Laurent, and Morena Baccarin. On a sidenote, I’d like to see better female characters in movies. Do they always have to be the wife/girlfriend or the center of a romcom? They don’t necessarily have to kick ass either (ala Buffy or Sarah Connor) to be a solid female character. There are some, of course, but still…there could be more. Just saying…