28 March 2006

meme: four movies I'd love to re-write

Tom, a relative newcomer to the great blubberring Scribosphere of screenwriters and wannabee screenwriters, posed a cool meme-list over at his site, The One Year Push: Four Films I'd Like To Rewrite For Whatever Reason. I posted my list there, but felt a need to go into typically longwinded detail about the whys and wherefores of the titles listed, so here we go:


Likely as close as I've ever come to demanding my money back for a movie. yeah, yeah-- some folks claim to like this turdfest, but I rate it as one of the dumbest bonehead gaffes in memory. For chrissakes, they are given one of the most enduring and romantic legends in all of storytelling, assemble a cast of folks who have all proven elsewhere that they can be great onscreen, and then... they turn it into some ugly whacked out action fest where rape is played for laugh, where racism is introduced as a sub-plot (huh?), and where Costner seems trapped in no man's land between Errol Flynn and Jeff Spicoli. Wretched.

This one stings me to mention, 'cuz i *like* credited writer John Lee Hancock. He's done some great movies and has always always always come across as a truly stand-up decent guy in every story I've ever heard from anyone who's had any dealings with him. The casting in the flick was perfect (Spacey? Cusack? Eastwood at the helm? Rock on.) But for my money this adaptation of John Berendt's bestseller just stinks, IMO. I loved Berendt's book and was among the first in line when the movie came out, yet mere minutes into the movie I already had that queasy "oh shit-- they totally missed it" feeling. Where Berendt described the quaint kooky otherworldliness of Savannah GA with a gentle loving familiarity, the movie reduced it to freak show goofiness. I still sigh in regret every time I glance up at my bookshelf and notice the spine of the book.

[3] WILD WILD WEST (1999)
Again, one that broke my heart on several levels. As a kid, WWW was my favorite show. Period. I watched it EVERY day in syndicated re-runs. I doodled ways to re-create all the cool gadgets Jim and Artie used. I daydreamed about traveling around in a tricked out Pullman car. I wore my Dingo boots (with cut-offs, natch') as a 6 year old pedaling around in my red plastic Krazy Kar. For years I wondered "when will THAT be a movie?" and then, I see that it's under production. Then I read that Maddock & Wilson-- the TREMORS guys!-- are the screenwriters, and I smile hugely, 'cuz I KNOW this is going to be great. Kevin Kline as Artemus Gordon? GREAT! Will "Fresh Prince" Smith as Jim West? GREA-- wait a minute. Will SMITH? Now, I'm not arguing the race thing-- I love Will Smith and think he can do ANYTHING he wants-- but as soon as I saw that bit of stunt casting, I knew in my heart that the race thing was going to be played for laughs, and that just totally screwed the project in my mind. West was never a buffoon or a clown. West was a cross between James Bond and The Man With No Name. Yet with Will Smith I knew we were going to see basically "MEN IN BLACK on horses." And that's what we got. This was a huge huge flop-- the sort of thing that ordinarily sinks careers-- yet Smith emerged relatively unscathed. He's that cool and likable. It's a damned shame that the script didn't give him a chance to DO something besides play the smiling goofing Will Smith Character once again. They didn't need to ruin the WILD WILD WEST franchise just for THAT.

I adore the original CFTBL. For twenty years now, the poster from teh flick has hung over my desk so that it leers down at me as I write. For my money, it ranks as the ultimate cheesy monster movie. It's got some great location shooting, some tremendously under-appreciated cinematography (watch CREATURE and then watch JAWS and see if you don't chuckle at some shots Spielberg clearly (ahem) "borrowed"), and one of the truly iconic movie monsters. Arch 1950's dialog, busty babes in distress, dorky-tough middle-aged white guy hero with chinos hitched up round his navel... it's got it all. I've always been a bit leery that it's only a matter of time until someone summons the stones to try and improve on this Mona Lisa of monster-dom, and now I see that Gary Ross (w/ direct Breck Eisner...) are developing a remake. Now, Ross has done some movies I like, and I have NO idea if they'll do a great or a god-awful job on this project, but damn I wish I could be a part of the team, if only to protect and preserve all the goofy glory that I cherish from the 1954 Jack Arnold original. Peter Jackson had KONG-- I have THE CREATURE. If they trash this baby... I shall be very put out.


Tom has a cool site and deserves some love, if you haven't visited already. Pop on over and see what I mean.

1 comment:

Dee R Cee said...

Just wanted to say Good Luck in the logline contest. I liked yours best and voted so.