Welcome To The Eighties Multiplex 0

unnamedFull disclosure: in what is swiftly becoming my distant past I was employed as a screenwriter and during that brief period, I was heard to utter the sentences, “You know what would be cool: a remake of Night Of The Comet!” and “We should redo The Money Pit!” Which is to say, I don’t wring my hands and shake my fist at the movie industry’s propensity to continually recycle old ideas. I don’t believe anything is untouchable, except The Untouchables. But if you’re going to drag a withered old relic out of it’s coffin, you better have a good idea how to breathe new life into it. Otherwise you get the remake of Footloose. Or Fame. Or Red Dawn. Or Total Recall. Or Nightmare On Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw, The Fog or Carrie. Are any of these anyone’s favorite movies? Will anyone ever be inspired enough to want to remake them? If you’re going to take on an established property you have to either believe you’re arrogant enough to make a better movie than the the original or you have to be gung-ho to completely fuck with the blueprint ( see Scorsese, Cape Fear).Remakes of three eighties titles lurk right around the corner. I have mixed feelings about them.

I don’t regard remaking Robocop as sacrilege but Paul Verhoeven left some big blood-and-brain spattered boots to fill. He loved how much he hated America. He reveled in the excesses of the eighties. This new one’s crammed with scene-chewers– Michael Keaton, Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael K, Williams, Jay Baruchel, Zach Grenier– but it needs a frothing, seething maniac at the helm and frothing seething maniacs don’t get directing jobs as often as they once did.

Having said that, the director of the new Endless Love, one Shana Feiste, might, on the evidence of her previous feature, might be a frothing seething maniac. Feiste was the brains behind Country Strong. If you haven’t seen it, you may remember it was the movie where Gwyneth Paltrow played a country singer. If you have seen it…Good God! Tim McGraw and the wooden box of dead quails. Leighton Meester’s character’s monologue about her mother being pregnant with her while she was in jail and, of course, Leighton Meester’s actual mother gave birth to her while she was in jail. Paltrow’s character humping a bloated country promoter and serenading a cancer kid. If the new Endless Love has an iota of that lunacy, I’m, figuratively, on board. One problem, this isn’t 1981. Gabriella Wilde may be legit British aristocracy but she’s not an iconic figure. Pretty young undraped people are all over every size of screen. And even though studios keep trying to shove Alex Pettyfer down teen audiences’ throats, I believe they detect his douche qualities. That’s actually three problems. And there’s an even huger one. Endless Love comes out on Valentine’s Day, the same day as…

About Last Night., The remake of About Last Night with Kevin Hart who is having his championship season right now. Even if he wasn’t currently unassailable, I’d still put metaphorical money on About Last Night being the eighties remake to beat. No one really cares about it. No one has many memories, fond or otherwise, about it. You could make a worse version than the Rob Lowe/ Demi Moore/ Jim Belushi one but the chances are far far far greater that you’ll make a better one even without trying particularly hard. Certainly, the remake has a very strong writer in Leslye Headland, but that doesn’t matter because Hart will improv all his lines. I bet he even manages to get a remake of The Money Pit off the ground…

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