I have this thing where when I watch a movie, I imagine what it would be like if it were remade. This can be fun, but it can also be depressing. Obviously, none of these movies are asking for a remake and most remakes shouldn’t exist, but it is fun to imagine.
1. Slap Shot: Wes Anderson
I happened to watch ‘Slap Shot’ last night and I was struck with how much unlike a sports movie it is. The characters are dealing with their off the rink relationships and the game on the rink has turned into a farce. I found that I can only imagine Wes Anderson remaking Slap Shot.
His relationship themes could be played out very poignantly while his costume and color themes would be a blast to see on a sports team. His sense of comedy would give the film a slightly different spin but it would emphasize the ridiculousness of the game.
Scene Example: The Hanson Brothers played by the Wilson Brothers skate out in slow motion beneath a title card in Futura Bold and join the star studded team featuring Vincent Cassel as the french speaking goalie.
2. A Fish Called Wanda: Judd Apatow
This film is widely considered a classic comedy and I’m not trying to mess with it, but I couldn’t help but imagine how the film would be different if it were remade as an Apatow comedy. Obviously Steve Carell would take the place of Palin, but I have a hard time imagining who would take the place of Cleese. I think it would still make sense if John Cleese returned to his role (age allowing) but I can also imagine this a a vehicle for more “serious” actors to try a hand at comedy. For some reason I had Michael Fassbender for the role of George and I can imagine Eric Bana coming back in a comedy for Apatow and of course Leslie Mann couldn’t not be involved. Perhaps this is a throwaway, but I would be interested in seeing this funny film with a few updated jokes and sketches.
Scene Example: Michael Fassbender in the almost straight faced role of George gets to play around and ad-lib scenes with Steve Carell as Ken and Eric Bana as Otto while Leslie Mann is out cavorting with a very old John Cleese. (Perhaps this one is the biggest stretch.)
3. The Wizard of Oz: Michel Gondry
Watching the ‘Wizard of Oz’ without audio (maybe replaced with Pink Floyd) gives the visuals a whole new perspective. I realized that I could not go a scene without noticing a “flaw” or “mistake” or something that wasn’t “perfect.” It is very apparent that it was shot on a soundstage with painted walls, studio lighting, and thick makeup. The wires for the Lion’s tale are visible and on many occasions I found the shadow of the Camera Crane distracting. Distracting, is the wrong word, I noticed it, but it added so much more for me. I realized that the reason Oz is so wonderful is because you know it can’t truly exist in real life. I have not seen ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ but I imagine it is spotless when it comes to all the digital effects and perfectly rendered sets. Just watching the trailers, I find myself in the uncanny valley more often than not.
Michel Gondry would be my choice for remaking this classic, because you know he would put an amazing effort into making everything a practical effect. Maybe even creating the black and white to color effect by painting everything black and white. I can imagine sitting through the film with amazement rather at how it was pulled off, which is exactly why the land of Oz is wonderful.
Scene Example: Dorothy exits the black and white house and enters Oz all in one take.
4. Falling Down: Joel Schumacher
I really just want to see this movie again but with it updated slightly for the times. I’m totally cool with the original telling of it, but I think it should be seen by a wider audience and some updates to the plot could make it work. Even just the poster of Douglas holding a shotgun would take on a more sinister and dramatic meaning.
Scene Example: The scene where Michael Douglas is in the Army Surplus store would be updated so that the Nazi owner (still a Nazi) has many more people to rail against and perhaps a more dramatic agenda.
5. Rear Window: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Okay, so Alien: Resurrection wasn’t the best, but all his other films are pretty near perfect. I always found that Rear Window, though fantastic, has very few set pieces and has the opportunity to be very plain and boring (not that it is). If this were ever remade, I can imagine Jeunet would spend a lot of time on the mood of the set and give it many interesting moments and keep the energy up without necessarily adding any dialogue.
Scene Example: Dominique Pinon is getting up there in age but I could still watch him interact with others for hours. He would be a fascinating character study and perfect for a film about a guy who’s stuck in one place for extended periods of time.
Obviously, these films do not need to be remade and they probably shouldn’t, but in this generation of filmmakers who are rebooting franchises and remaking classics, these would at least be some interesting choices.