Thursday, February 26, 2009

WHY?!?! Unnecessary Remake Hell

Is there nothing new out there? I think this is a common question when it comes to the film industry. A very common question. With only maybe 80 some sales a year being spec sales, the majority of Hollywood’s slate is adaptations and remakes. I’m on board with adaptations – though, sometimes I wonder how “this” movie got made, while “that book” is so much better and kept off the screen. Remakes, though, are another question. Some things should just be left alone.

Today, during my daily scroll of DoneDealPro this morning, I noticed that three out of the first five sales listed were remakes. Three out of five. That’s 60% for all you non-math whizzes out there.

Remake number 1: ARTHUR, about a booze-hound playboy who stands to earn a lot of money if he marries a certain girl in a certain family, but falls for someone much “beneath” him. Dudley Moore and Liza Minnelli starred in the 1981 Oscar Award winning original (Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Song), nominated for best screenplay. Russell Brand
, yep, the FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL guy, is attached to star in the remake. Can you spell Oscar Nomination? Neither can I in this instance.

Remake number 2: TOTAL RECALL. Aaaaahhhnnnold! A man buys a virtual vacation to Mars and winds up fighting as a special agent to overthrow a Martian depot in reality – or does he? OK, remaking Arnold? Hasn’t he enacted some legislation in California against that by now? Also, really? REALLY?

Remake number 3 (and the most upsetting): THE NEVERENDING STORY. Who grew up in the 80s or 90s and didn’t watch this a dozen times? I still wish I had a giant flying dog to take me everywhere and be my best friend. This is a classic; it’d be like remaking THE PRINCESS BRIDE (Onyx would come after that producer so fast, he wouldn't know what hit him). This is a great movie, and I can guarantee now, 100%, that whatever hits theaters a few years from now will be beyond disappointing in comparison.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Can’t well-enough just be left alone?

What, When, Where this Weekend - Birdsong, Crossing Over, Marco Ferreri, Cronenberg retrospective

What, When, Where is a weekly guide to select screenings, discussions and events in the NYC-area of interest to screenwriters. Have an event you'd like to see listed here? Give us a heads-up at

- The IFC Center is running a screening series of "Cronenberg Classics" starting this weekend and running over the next couple months. I'm very eager to see Videodrome and The Fly on the big screen. The full lineup is available here.

- BAM is reviving the criminally overlooked Marco Ferreri film Dillinger is Dead for a limited time. Opens Friday.

Opening this week...

BIRDSONG, written and directed by Albert Serra

The film follows the three wise men as they journey to pay their respects and bring gifts to Jesus Christ.

Playing at: Anthology

Looks pretty thin on plot, but oh so, so pretty. (Check out a clip here.) Really want to see this in theaters - I'm afraid it'll be completely lost on a TV screen.

CROSSING OVER, written and directed by Wayne Kramer

A multi-character drama centered around the issue of illegal immigration in the United States.

Playing at: All over.

Harrison Ford and Sean Penn - this is one of those rare films that will bring me in on star power alone. I have to say I'm getting bored with the "multi-character drama centered around the issue of (insert social crisis of choice)" genre already, though. I'll be waiting patiently for Don Cheadle to show up in a cameo somewhere.

What are you doing/seeing this weekend?