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« Interview: Michael O'Connor on "Fussy" Costumes & Principal Actresses | Main | 12 Days Til Oscar: Best Picture Nominations by the Dozen »
Tuesday
Feb182014

About Last Weekend...

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...

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...

ROBOCOP

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!

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Reader Comments (15)

Of these three the only one I was slightly intersted in was "Robcop". I really don't understand why anyone would want to remake "Endless Love" with out sex?!

February 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

Any movie where Regina Hall uses her formidable comedic skills in a movie that isn't parodying other movies gets an immediate boost in my book, so I will be seeing About Last Night soon.

Alex Pettyfer continues to be the blandest oatmeal and cottage cheese combination served on cardboard ever. I really don't know why he gets roles because he's not even that pretty.

February 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFlickah

Jaragon -- RIGHT? but Jose is absolutely right that today's movies are so neutered. That's why i always find it funny when conservative types talk about how loose of morals hollywood is or how smutty. Nope, hollywood was WAY smuttier when i was growing up than it is now. The only thing more smutty is the art films which have now progressed to showing actual sex.

Flickah -- but he was such the right choice for Magic Mike at least

Jose - this is really fun! I have seen all of those originals but i don't remember About Last Night, like at all. except for one scene with Rob Lowe and Demi Moore in the middle of the night with the fridgerator or something.

February 18, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I'm sorry, but Alex Pettyfer is no Martin Hewitt.

February 18, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

I just watched the 80-s version of "About Last Night" last week after I bought the ABl/St. Elmo's fire blu ray double feature...lol. I actually forgot that Ed Zwick directed that and there is so much nudity in it. I haven't seen the remake but I thought the basic premise is actually pretty good though it's quite dated And Demi & Rob Lowe are at their prettiest in that movie.

I haven't seen the original "Endless Love" for a long time but isn't it about Martin Hewitt character being obsessed with Brooke Shields character? Based on the remake trailer, it seems they change the story to just the father doesn't let the girl being with the guy. Did they change the story that much? Can anybody confirm this?

And agree with everyone who think Alex Pettyfer is terrible. He is ok in Magic Mike and bad in everything else.

February 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDrew

@Nathaniel - you're right in that he was the right kind of actor to cast there, but even then, he's not irreplaceable in that movie I think. It would have been just as interesting to see Garrett Hedlund or Aaron Taylor-Johnson in that role, and I'm not even stretching that far back into my actor memory.

February 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFlickah

This was a fun read! Oh, the 80s! I still got a Polaroid standing next to a poor guy dressed as Robocop in front of the movie theatre. I don't know why I asked for it because I had no interest in watching the movie and I never did until I experienced my Verhoeven phase.

I remember loving Endless Love, maybe not as much as The Blue Lagoon. I was very into Brooke Shields.

Casting Pettyfer and Kinnaman and not getting them undressed is mean and wrong and I hate the person responsible for that.

February 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

I can't get over the fact that Joy Bryant and Regina Hall are both in their 40s.

February 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

When I saw that the new About Last Night had Michael Ealy in it, I thought, oh that's why people are going to see that movie. It made me want to see another episode of Almost Human right away, where Ealy stars with Karl Urban and plays a kind of ... Robocop.

February 18, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteradri

Nat: I remember the first time I saw that movie because they showed it late at night right before a Skinemax flick. The ten year old in me had never seen so many boobies.That scene in the middle of the night is pretty hot too, oh and Megan Mullally makes a cameo at the very beginning!

Drew: Yes, the story has been very changed. Now we even get a happy ending and everything is justified with "daddy issues" and saying "sorry" a lot. The original is quite dark! I was surprised to see how it dealt with obsession and dared to be about more than just teenagers in love. I couldn't believe Shirley Knight's character and how she went around sighing when she thought of her daughter having sex with her boyfriend! It was like Mrs. Robinson on acid!

Peggy Sue: Blue Lagoon FTW!

February 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJose

Whatever did happen to Martin Hewitt? He was way cuter than Alex Pettyfer. Like totally!

February 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterforever1267

Puhleeze...Pettyfer is sexay and gorgeous...quick reminder, beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

February 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMB76

Thanks for the shout-out to my girl Regina Hall! She steals scenes left and right in movie after movie, and while she does the kind of work that the Oscars will never think about honoring, they really should consider it. Instead she'll end up playing some boring "long-suffering" wife of Denzel's or Jamie Foxx's in a stuffy drama and get in that way. Meh. But yeah, the "About Last Night" remake was very entertaining and funny. The audience I was with ate it right up. Never seen the remake and couldn't be bothered to do so at this point.

February 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDorian

***"Never seen the original . . ."

Oops!

February 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDorian

I can't remember where I read quite ago an article analyzing how conservative times bring cheeky movies and viceversa. I think it's an interesting topic.

February 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

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