Friday, January 30, 2015

Great movies + TV shows shouldn't be remade

By now most of you have probably heard that CBS gave the go-ahead to Matthew Perry (of Friends fame) to do a re-boot of The Odd Couple. (It debuts in mid-February.)

Granted, The Odd Couple has been remade several times since premiering on Broadway in 1965 (starring Walter Matthau as Oscar Madison and Art Carney as Felix Ungar, and directed by Mike Nichols). The two most successful remakes, or versions, being the 1968 film starring Walter Matthau (again as Oscar) and Jack Lemmon as Felix (now Unger, with an "e"), and the beloved 1970s television series of the same name starring Jack Klugman as Oscar and Tony Randall as Felix.

Since then every attempt at remaking the TV show (or movie) has flopped. And this one will, too. Why? I'll give you three reasons:

1) How can you possibly improve upon the Jack Klugman and Tony Randall television classic? (That's a rhetorical question. You can't.)

2) Matthew Perry? Really? The guy who hasn't had a hit since Friends, whose presence almost guarantees the movie or TV show will flop? (Is it just me, or is every character Perry plays just some version of Chandler? And admit it, you never really liked Chandler, did you?) Which CBS executive thought it a great idea to give this guy the green light to develop, produce, and star in the re-boot of a beloved series (as Oscar Madison)?

3) Re-boots, re-makes, or sequels, especially of classic or great TV shows or movies are never as good as the original (with possibly one or two exceptions, none of them recent).

With all of the writers out there looking for work, some of them even good, talented writers, you would think that movie studios and television networks could come up with something original. But no.

They have to go ahead and remake The Odd Couple. And Jurassic Park. And Ghostbusters.

None of them, I guarantee you, will be nearly as good, or as clever, or as  funny, or as witty, as the original. Though I have no doubt that Jurassic World, starring Chris Pratt, will take in millions of dollars, at least the first couple of weeks, as will the all-female version of Ghostbusters, starring Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig, which will basically be Bridesmaids II: Ghouls Gone Wild, with lots of crude and lewd humor.


Why, Hollywood? Why?


Another David S. said...

Why? The short answer is: $.

The long answer: Because of the importance of the international market due to the bottoming out of DVD profits--which were themselves knocked out by streaming and VOD (video on demand). Also: big-screen HDTVs that, along with the aforementioned streaming, further keep audiences from seeking out movies that aren't rehashed spectacles. And: the high cost of marketing movies worldwide, which makes low- and mid-budget movies (i.e., original films for grownups) nearly impossible to make a profit on. Also: the high quality of cable TV, which now tackles most of the original, adult, and cutting-edge material, leaving the movie studios to shrug their shoulders and say, "Screw it, from now on we're only doing remakes, sequels, and superheroes!" And let's not forget the Internet, which has helped de-employ so many movie critics whose opinions once helped indie and foreign films find an audience.

None of this makes the situation suck any less, of course. Thanks for continuing to fight windmills, J. I'm just glad there is so much great television to help distract from all the remakes of rebooted sequels.

lindaroo said...

You're absolutely right, of course.

I was so intrigued by the idea of an all-female Ghostbusters. But now, Bridesmaids 2 in jumpsuits, ugh.

Now I want to look for The Odd Couple on Netflix.