Sara McManamy-Johnson's Column: Hey, studios! Leave our movies alone.

When I heard Thursday that a director signed on to remake the ‘90s classic, “Point Break, I was aghast. Part of me understands studios’ un-ending need to remake great – and not-so-great – movies, but that doesn’t mean I like it. Many of these movi...
Apr 11, 2013

When I heard Thursday that a director signed on to remake the ‘90s classic, “Point Break, I was aghast.

Part of me understands studios’ un-ending need to remake great – and not-so-great – movies, but that doesn’t mean I like it.

Many of these movies defined my childhood and teen years. They defined a whole generation in many respects. The lines, the music and the actors’ facial expressions are frozen in my memory banks, and each remake sends me further down the rabbit-hole of “This Is Not Right.”

As adorable as he is, Jaden Smith is not “The Karate Kid.” Ralph Macchio is. And no one else seems to mind “The Karate Kid” is learning kung fu in this version.

Jason Momoa is not “Conan the Barbarian.” Arnold Schwarzeneggar is.

And the list goes on: “Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Child’s Play,” “Footloose,” “Total Recall,” “Fright Night,” ad infinitum.

“Robocop,” really?

And while Hollywood seems to be predominantly plundering the ‘80s and ‘90s for their latest fare, they have dug deeper in the film vaults at times. No film is safe, not even “Wizard of Oz.”

Even such classics as “The Manchurian Candidate,” “Rear Window,” “The Out-of-Towners” and “The Goodbye Girl” have fallen prey.

I hear people say all the time, “Nobody comes up with any original ideas anymore.”

I call bullhockey.

I would wager there are thousands of scripts sitting on some studio exec’s desk, but they’re not “sure things.” Studios would rather invest in films that have proven track records of success, so they can ideally pull in that original audience while introducing a new generation to the glory that is cheesy-B-movie-cult-classic.

Or standards of cinema, as the case may be.

If you want to introduce new generations to great films, do it. I grew up on Turner Classic Movies watching some of the finest actors ever – Gregory Peck, Jimmy Stewart, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Judy Garland, Natalie Wood and so many more.

Sure, you can rehash a script, but these screen legends are part of what makes some of these movies such classics.

Can you imagine anyone but Patrick Swayze uttering “No one puts Baby in a corner?” Yes, there is a “Dirty Dancing” remake in the works.

The greatest movies were the biggest risks of their times. “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” released originally in 1968, was a huge risk at the time, with its positive depiction of interracial marriage while the nation was in the midst of race riots.

By the time “Guess Who,” the Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher version of the film, was released in 2005 – not so much.

Until studios start taking risks again, we’ll continue to be stuck with mediocre, if not downright bad, rehashes of movies better left alone for posterity’s sake.

And we’ll continue reading irate opinion pieces from people whose movie nostalgia was hijacked.

In the meantime, I’ll just cross my fingers in the hopes they leave “Top Gun” alone.

 

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