Remake it or break it (I wish it was all in Hamlet’s head!)

It seems as though Hollywood’s “remake fever” has reached critical mass. When, pray tell, will this odious trend finally explode, set fire to the fallow field of the industry, and let us start anew?

I’m not saying that remakes are inherently bad. I think The A-Team was loads of fun and re-imagined the series while also paying homage to it. True Grit is already in my Netflix queue. I love the new Hawaii Five-0 on CBS. But I pretty much hit my wall when Dukes of Hazzard, my favorite TV series as a kid, was turned into a film in 2005. I am still not over Johnny Knoxville and Seann William Scott turning my beloved Luke and Bo into bumbling idiots. But six years later, Hollywood’s obsession with remakes has only gotten worse. Another favorite of mine, 21 Jump Street, is scheduled to hit theaters in 2012 and stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. I have no doubt that it, too, will be a crass comedy that bears no resemblance to the original series.

And then there’s 1991’s Soapdish. EW.Com reported yesterday that a remake is moving forward, and, I swear, I want to have a Celeste Talbert-level freak out here. As someone who works in the soap opera industry, this is one of my favorite films of all time. I categorically cannot comprehend this film being remade. Soapdish is representative of an era where soaps were beloved, where they thrived, where that ’80s Big Hair sensibility was still in full-force and everybody was in on the joke. Would it have the same impact and relevance now, when we’re down to six soaps and struggling to keep them alive? I shudder to think what the screen writers will do, and what flavor the jokes will take on. Derisive, no doubt. Why not, instead, take that financial backing and donate it to creating more actual soaps? (Outlandish ideas like that are why I will never be a Hollywood bigwig.) And that cast…how do you top Sally Field, Kevin Kline, Whoopi Goldberg, Robert Downey, Jr. and Cathy Moriarty?

And why would you want to top something that’s already sublime? I just don’t get it. Constant remakes display a staggering lack of imagination and originality. The idea that we’re now cribbing from movies that premiered in the late ’80s and 1990s is mind-boggling. Is it really such a wasteland of talent in Hollywood that The Bodyguard needs a reboot with Beyoncé in Whitney Houston‘s role? Come on. I know there are brilliant screen writers out there who can come up with genius projects from scratch, or adapt existing texts in new and inventive ways. So is it just the studio heads who are unwilling to take risks? Executives who would rather churn out endless, derivative crap then invest in something fresh?

What I really want to know is…where does it stop? What’s next? Casablanca? The Wizard of Oz? When Harry Met Sally? The Princess Bride? Is there anything sacred or iconic enough that it won’t be redone in pursuit of a quick buck?

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One thought on “Remake it or break it (I wish it was all in Hamlet’s head!)

  1. “What I really want to know is…where does it stop? What’s next? Casablanca? The Wizard of Oz? When Harry Met Sally? The Princess Bride? Is there anything sacred or iconic enough that it won’t be redone in pursuit of a quick buck?”
    —-
    Don’t give them any more ideas, Mala!

    Seriously, though, I too was speechless when I saw the news about Soapdish. This is not a movie that could or should be remade, for exactly the reasons you listed. Pop culture is too different now, and I don’t think the movie will translate well at all. And now I hear they’re remaking Ghostbusters as well? Oh, the humanity!

    Like

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