Monday, May 15, 2006

Remake me

I am 34 in a week. And I am starting to notice signs of immiment middle-age. The lines around the eyes. The popping sound that my knees make when I bend down. The fact that on the few occasions I step out on the gay scene I am invisible to everyone aged under 25. And the single grey hair at the front of my head which pops up and says "howdy - this is what we're all going to look like in 10 years time! Get used to it bitch!"

But the one thing that makes me feel old, old, old is Hollywood's current obsession with remakes. The Omen (first filmed in 1976 (when I was 4) is out again this year (something about 6.6.6 apparently). The Poseidon Adventure (1972) is remade as "Poseidon" this month (though no Shelley Winters). Even Hairspray, that fabulous John Waters film (1988) is being re-made with John Travolta as Edna Turnblad. He ain't no Divine. How dare they?

Remakes are Hollywood's way of playing it safe, showing that it's all about $$$ and not much else. Why risk all your money on a new idea when audiences might not like it. Far better to simply redo an old one - as long as 20 years have past, most of your audience (the 15-24 demographic) won't have seen the old version - because they're only interested in the "now", not the past. It's the same with sequels - audiences like familiarity and repetition - they don't have to do as much work learning the names of new characters if they can just go and see a sequel - which are often just remakes of the original film - a variation on a theme.

The other death-knell to creativity in film is in the fact that so many films can now only contain characters from the 18-25 age group - because people of this age group are unable to identify with anyone else and uninterested in doing so (apparently). A phenomenon of this is the current spate of "high-school" films, whereby any form of story is now transposed onto the American high school format: Clueless, 10 things I hate about you, Cruel Intentions, O, She's All That. Ironically, many of these films contain "make-overs" whereby an ugly duckling is giving a new outfit, cakes on the slap and pulls her glasses off to reveal a stunner! In the same way, the films themeselves are like high-school make-overs - take an old film with ageing, sagging actors, add a bit of glitter, a hip soundtrack and some perky teens and hurrah! Success and you shall go to the ball prom after all! The last film I saw, Brick, was a high-school film noir, with so-called school kids spitting out hard-boiled dialogue meant for 48 year olds. It just felt wrong. Not even Raymond Chandler can escape form the high-school make-over. This is a shame - older actors are gradually being edged out of the centre of the profession - instead having to make do with minor character roles, as our society becomes ever more youth obsessed.

Here are some films I would hate for Hollywood to remake (but who knows they may be doing it already).

Barbarella - there's been discussion that Lindsey Lohan or Drew Barrymore are supposed to be involved in a remake of this. I hope it's not true. They're both too old now anyway! They'll probably cast Dakota Fanning (aged 12) as the new Barbarella?

Showgirls - (1995) - it's only a matter of time before it's remade. Couple of years maybe? The only way I could countenance this is if it was done with drag queens playing all the parts.

The Valley of the Dolls (1967). I'm ignoring the awful tv remake of 1981. But please directors - leave this film alone to fester in peace. Can you imagine how depressing it would be if they got Eminen to rap the lyrics? And I predict Dakota Fanning again - although when she cries "I gotta have my dolls!", she's referring to Barbie and Raggedy Anne, not secanols.

Gone with the Wind (1939) - except huge CGI depictions of battle scenes. Or they'll set it in a high school and cut it down to 85 minutes. Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler will be 15 year olds and Tara will be the name of the rock band performing at the high school prom.

Carrie (1976) - no actress has ever come closer to the alien-like quality that is Sissy Spacek (although Juliette Lewis is of a similar ilk). Granted, this is already a high-school film. But can you imagine how turgid it would be to see a bucket of pig's blood poured over Keira Knightley (anyway, she's 21 now - I get the impression Dakota's going to be very busy for the next decade).


Trashbinder said...

My friend David and I were drinking in a bar in Birmingham, during the week I turned 30.

I can still recall my horror at surveying the punters in said bar, only to find that the majority of drinkers were exactly half my age. That was when I officially started to feel old.

matty said...

...I was 26. He told me he was 23. He was really 3 months shy of 18. We were at a club called Campus in Cambridge, MA. His best friend -- a mere sprite of a girl -- grabbed me and pulled me on to the dance floor. Army of Lovers. Then the music stopped and "Heart of Glass" came on. The girl leaned in and said, "Oh, I love oldies! My mom used to play this when she was driving me to kindergarten."

...I knew then that I had turned a corner and there could be no looking back.

I will be 40 in November.


I was watching Sandy Dennis in The Fox and thinking how wonderful she existed. Juilette Lewis is the Sandy Dennis of her generation. She deserves a good role, but an original one.

Hollywood really sucks right now. ...or, maybe I'm just old.

Dessie said...

Hug for Matt.

Anyway, my knees have been popping since I was about 10, so it's not all bad.

Lost Boy said...

Happy Birthday for next week, Lubin.

matty said...

Happy Birthday from California to Glam Lubin!!!!!

Reluctant Nomad said...

Happy Birthday!

Your life can but get more skewed from now on. :-)

kleverkloggs said...

There's something that becomes more important as a gentleman gets older if he wants to be considered attractive generally. No it's not trimming his nasal hair. Now what was it again. Memory not what it was. Oh yes, money!