There’s been much discussion about the sorry state of Hollywood of late. In particular, the apparent need to REMAKE ALL THE THINGS!! Or even better, prolong a franchise well beyond the realms of good taste. (Seriously, how many SAW movies were there? About five too many, prolly. I don’t know, as I’ve never seen a one.) Dig this stat: in 1981, seven of the top-ten grossing films were originals. Those titles included Raiders of the Lost Ark and Stripes proving that diversity was not only celebrated, but downright necessary. Two of the top-10 films were technically sequels, although For Your Eyes Only doesn’t really fit my criteria. I’d say that’s more of a “franchise.” By 2011, not ONE SINGLE ORIGINAL SCRIPT found its way to the top-10. Not one. Eight (EIGHT!) were sequels, including Fast Five and Cars 2. The other two titles were comic book adaptations, Thor and Captain America. Wow. Bridesmaids finished in the fourteen slot, and Super 8 was a measly 21st. Last year was no better. The wonderfully unique time-travel flick Looper was ranked #45 in the 2012 box-office tally. Pathetic. However, there were two bright spots: The charming Disney anti-princess film Brave made it to the eighth spot (although one wonders how it would’ve fared without that big Disney machine behind it) and the love-it-or-hate-it Ted edged in at #9.
But let’s be honest: sometimes remakes/reboots work. They do. Star Trek needed a fresh coat of paint, lest it fall into obscurity. 21 Jump Street was an unexpectedly enjoyable re-imagining of the old Fox TV series. So maybe the problem isn’t that Hollywood insists on doing remakes and reboots, but that they’re picking the wrong properties. That’s where I come in. In addition to being a certified genius, I also have a keen sense of the “good shit,” a talent that has been honed over these almost 43 years on Earth. Here, then, are my humble suggestions for remakes (we’ll handle the sequels next time.) Your move, Hollywood…
Smokey and the Bandit (LIKELIHOOD OF AWFULNESS: Low)
I seriously cannot begin to understand how this hasn’t already happened. The popularity of the Fast and Furious series alone should’ve gotten some coke-fueled producer on the horn with Judd Apatow to get the ball rolling. Imagine Matthew McConaughey’s “Bandit” running interference for Kid Rock as The Snowman, while Sheriff John Goodman chases after them with every police car and helicopter ever. Amy Adams or Rachel McAdams or some Adams-sounding hot, cute, quirky girl as the love interest/runaway bride. Sure, the plot would have to be tweaked. Maybe Bandit has a GPS-jammer in his new-school Trans-AM (PRODUCT PLACEMENT, PEOPLE!) and if he gets too far ahead of the semi, WHUH-OH!! Also, the whole “bootlegging beer” plot is kinda stale. But I recently learned that it is impossible to order online and then have delivered a new Tesla electric car to North Carolina. Hmmm…the Tesla manufacturing plant is in Fremont, California. Smuggling one of those bad-boys all the way across the country would be risky, yes? Plus, IMPORTANT ENVIRONMENTAL ANTI-OIL MESSAGE!! Dude, this thing is writing itself. And I want a screen credit, dammit.
Tank Girl (LIKELIHOOD OF AWFULNESS: Very High)
This will never happen, so I shouldn’t get my hopes up. The thing is, I had my hopes up waaaayyyy too high for the first one. You could tell that nobody involved with the making of the film had any clue. They just didn’t “get it.” The soundtrack was killer (soooo many 90’s movies sucked, but managed to have AMAZING soundtracks. Looking at YOU, Crow: City of Angels.) My only hope here is that after butchering Judge Dredd, someone went back and tried to do it right, with much better success.
Tank (LIKELIHOOD OF AWFULNESS: Average)
I really enjoyed the James Garner version, even if C. Thomas Howell had some truly awful delivery. That Partridge Family chick as the mom was sort of wasted, too. But you do it today with a new, slightly darker edge (which Hollywood loves right now) and have the main character be an Iraq War veteran, and make it some sort of protest about disabled veterans or human-rights abuse cover-ups or Gitmo or something. Hell, maybe you throw in some drone policy commentary, and you’ve got a fun romp where stuff gets crushed by an M-1 Abrams and we all learn something. Maybe the lead guy/dad/James Garner is actually doing it for his Iraq Veteran kid. I can honestly see Mel Gibson in a decent comeback role. Maybe Harrison Ford.
Megaforce (LIKELIHOOD OF AWFULNESS: High)
Many people have forgotten about (or never heard of) this piece of amazing Hollywood kitsch. BARRY FUCKING BOSTWICK played the lead. No, seriously. Look it up. (Sidebar: Barry Fucking Bostwick was the never-completed sequel to Witches of Eastwick.) The bald chick from Star Trek: The Motion Picture was in this movie. Some people thought Chuck Norris was in it, but he was in Delta Force, which was pretty much the same film, but with a better color palette. I don’t remember the plot too well, but it had a MOTORCYCLE THAT FIRED ROCKETS!!!! And goddammit, when you are a twelve-year-old boy (and you will be one day) that’s all you need. A reboot of this flick would be a CGI-Michael Bay thrill ride, and would make the G.I. Joe flicks look sad and out-of-date. This would be a live-action Team America: World Police. You could even keep the iconic final credits theme, without seeming ironic. Seriously, there was a scene in the finale of the original where all the vehicles are streaking across the desert trailing colorful red, white, and blue smoke. I can’t make this shit up. Someone MUST remake this movie, if for no other reason than my friend, morning show co-host, and former U.S. Marine Tommy Collins wants it to happen.