TFE loves the 80s all up in our modern bizness, here's Jose to do the remake vs original battle
As you well know by now, the holiday weekend at the box office saw the arrival of four new major film releases. Three of those were remakes of 1980s films. Over the weekend I (mis)treated myself to screenings of the originals followed by their remakes. I'm devoted.
Here I present you with my findings. Read the very scientific results after the jump starting with the horny melodrama Endless Love...
What Happens In It: Two teens fall in love and spend their summer having sex, much to the chagrin of the girl’s father (the mother is absolutely pleased with the relationship in both versions) who tries to break them up by various means. The 1981 version was directed by Franco Zeffirelli (he who in 1968 directed the ultimate “horny teenagers in love” film) and features lead stars Brooke Shields and Martin Hewitt in endless stages of nakedness. The remake stars Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde and spends its harrowing 104 minutes denying us the pleasure of watching these two frolic like it was 1981. The remake was directed by Shana Feste who last had promised us an All About Eve meets Nashville campfest only to deliver the total trainwreck that was Country Strong (was I the only one who had high hopes to see both Blair and Serena receive Oscar nods that year?)
<--- So 1980’s: A very young Tom Cruise makes a cameo sporting nothing but high waisted denim shorts and yes, you’re still allowed to crush on 80's Cruise. I mean, just look at his body...
So 2010’s: As with all the other 2014 remakes, this one turned out to be so terrified of sex! Who would’ve thought Reagan-era America gave us more butts and nipples than the age of Obama? What’s peculiar is how different these movies looked at the freshly taboo topic. The original had a premise which not only discussed sex openly (the father opposes the relationship because he doesn’t want his daughter having *that* much sex) while the new one looks at its lead characters as Barbie and Ken worthy of admiration and desire, as long as we don’t think of them as having genitalia.
Which One Should We Keep?: The original features Brooke Shields trying to steal a sleeping pill, because she’s having so much sex her body refuses to rest, while Diana Ross and Lionel Richie serenade her in the background. The remake’s idea of badassery is having the heroes break into a zoo and ride a carousel without permission...
What Happens In It: Do gooder officer Alex Murphy is rescued from death by scientists who turn him into a crime fighting robot. The original is a biting satire about 1980s excess in which body parts and heads were blown up with unbridled gusto. The new version is as sanitized as they come, with the violence being toned down in favor of snarky jokes about current journalism and a moral message delivered by Samuel L. Jackson.
So 1980’s: Originally rated X for its violent content, director Paul Verhoeven was forced to tone it downto get a box office friendlier R. The new one conversely is so sterile in every aspect that it denies us the chance to even see leading man Joel Kinnaman shirtless. His car explodes on him just before he’s supposed to have sex with his wife...talk about coitus interruptus.
<--- So 2010’s: Jennifer Ehle joins the ranks of Melissa Leo, Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster and others in the long list of “great actresses playing strict bureaucrats with no character arcs in mindless sci-fi flicks”. Come on, can’t we dream up better roles for these women? And don’t even get me started about Abbie Cornish...
Which One Should We Keep?: The 1987 version has more Christ allegories than you can shake a stick at and surprisingly its visual effects seem less dated than the new one.
ABOUT LAST NIGHT
What Happens In It: We follow two couples, one boring, one feisty, during the course of a year as they meet, fight, break up and make up. The 1986 version is an unofficial Brat Pack movie featuring ridiculously good looking Rob Lowe and Demi Moore as the dull lovers, while Jim Belushi and Elizabeth Perkins play their best friends. The modern version has the ridiculously good looking Michael Ealy and Joy Bryant as the boring couple, while Regina Hall and Kevin Hart play their best friends, who are also lovers themselves. Both films were adapted from David Mamet’s play Sexual Perversity in Chicago but he had nothing to do with either adaptation.
So 1980’s: Apparently movie stars back then had no qualms about being naked. Demi and Rob spend as much time naked as Brooke and Martin did in Endless Love.
So 2010’s: Is Kevin Hart in every movie this decade?
Which One Should We Keep?: The 1986 version hasn’t aged well. The romance feels stale and rather aimless, while Belushi and Perkins who unarguably steal the movie, come off as more jaded than funny in our times. The 2014 version was produced by the genius of comedy that is Will Gluck (who must be one of the filmmakers treating sex in the cleverest ways in mainstream movies) and features a screenplay by Leslye Headland who fills it with equal parts quotable obscenities and utter sincerity. Plus whatever Hall is doing in this movie should be the stuff awards shows pay more attention to...I won’t be surprised if watching this one every V-Day becomes a ritual.
How about you dear readers? Did you embrace the remakes or are you loyal to the originals? Share your 80’s movie experiences with us!