Friday, 20 May 2011

Hollywood Babble On & On #728: MGM Needs Your Help!

Yep, another summer rerun, so to speak, but I did it like 2 years ago, so there's no harm, I guess, especially since it's newsworthy again.
If you haven't already heard the recently revivified Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie studio has announced that they've hired a writer to scribble down a remake of the 1976 horror classic Carrie. Now I accept that MGM is going to have to do some remakes as part of their reconstruction plan, but I think that they're doing the wrong remakes.

First came
Fame, which didn't live forever, or learn how to fly. Then it was Red Dawn, which is still unreleased because the filmmakers are busy digitally recasting the villains from a country that could believably invade the USA, to a country that can't feed itself, for fear of having bootlegs of the movie sold in corner stores in Beijing.

Now it's
Carrie, which was already remade as TV pilot in 2002 that flopped.

This has to stop.

MGM needs to look at their library and find the
right movies to remake.

Movies that unlike
Fame, Carrie, and Red Dawn, aren't loaded with a lot of baggage from the eras they were originally made in. Movies that could be made better than the originals with advances in storytelling techniques, FX technology, and acting.

Here's the list I came up with last time with a few modifications:

TELEFON: The original was a Charles Bronson vehicle where he played a KGB agent hunting Donald Pleasance who is using the phone to set off brainwashed people and turn them into killers.

THE REMAKE CONCEPT: Liam Neeson plays a KGB agent sent to America as a "sleeper" in the 1980s, who stayed when the Soviet Union collapsed and built a nice life for himself. Suddenly the country is hit by a wave of terrorist attacks being performed by seemingly normal, middle-age, middle-class, average Americans. Neeson's character knows that they're the leftovers from a KGB Cold War brainwashing project. The son of the KGB General who ran the project (Gary Oldman) has the codes to set them off and is now renting the brainwashed people out to terrorist groups. You got explosions, a race against time, action, gunfights, and an ambitious & sexy FBI agent (Christina Hendricks) who joins up with Neeson, and you're golden.

THE SATAN BUG: A thriller about a mad scientist threatening to "play god" with vials of stolen bio-weapons and the secret agent tasked to stop him.

THE REMAKE CONCEPT: Despite being directed by action movie legend John Sturges, and a script by top action/adventure writers Alistair McLean, James Clavell, and screenwriter Edward Anhalt, was surprisingly light on real thrills. They were trying to be more cerebral and procedural than the Bond films but was found wanting by critics and audiences. My advice, take the thrills and suspense that's inherent in the story, and run with it. But instead of the usual CGI, try to use practical effects and stunts wherever possible to make it stand out from the others.

THE BRIDE WORE BLACK: A French film by Francois Truffaut, about a woman out for revenge when her husband's killed at their wedding.

THE REMAKE CONCEPT: Beautiful woman, action, suspense, and revenge among beautiful European locales, the film makes itself.

FROM NOON TIL THREE: A rare Charles Bronson romantic comedy. The premise is kind of complicated, an old west outlaw is on the run and separated from his gang. He finds a massive mansion in the middle of nowhere inhabited by a young widow and her overactive imagination. They have a three hour long tryst, and he runs off, only to be arrested for another person's crimes in a case of mistaken identity. While he's in jail, she thinks he died, and writes a book about their brief affair. The book becomes a global sensation, and when the Bronson character gets out of prison, not even his friends know him, only the image of him in the book. That's when things get weird.

THE REMAKE CONCEPT: This only works if the lead actor is the absolutely last person you would imagine in a sort of romantic/comedic role. It can't be someone who has tainted their macho image trying to recapture the Kindergarten Cop magic by doing a silly family comedy. It needs someone like Jason Statham as the outlaw, and someone like Reese Witherspoon, as a romance-novel addled version of her Tracy Flick character as the widow. Another idea is updating the story to the Depression Era 1930s, and include a movie within the movie based on the widow's book featuring someone completely miscast playing the outlaw. Then you can have something that can be not only a raucous romantic/sexual comedy with action, but also a sharp satire of the modern image based media.

SECRET ADMIRER: An old fashioned romantic farce in the guise of an 80s teen sex comedy about a misdirected anonymous love letter that wreaks havoc wherever it goes.

THE REMAKE CONCEPT: This will only work if the script is really, really, funny. Really. Then you need a good comic director, and a great young cast without going to the now "old" standbys.

YOUR PAST IS SHOWING: A mostly forgotten Peter Sellers black comedy about a TV star with a taste for elaborate disguises plotting to kill a blackmailing tabloid editor.

THE REMAKE CONCEPT: Jim Carrey dons a variety of disguises as he plots to snuff out an obnoxious gossip blogger who is blackmailing half of Hollywood. Trust me, the hissy fits it'll cause among real gossip bloggers will be worth millions in advertising.

Now this is where you come in. I want you to look at MGM's library (click here), and find something you would actually
like to see remade, that is right for MGM to remake. Now thanks to corporate bankruptcies this means no MGM films from before 1986, but you can include most films from the libraries of:
  1. United Artists (mostly post 1952)
  2. Orion Pictures
  3. American International Pictures
  4. Filmways Productions
  5. Motion Picture Corporation of America (pre-1996)
  6. Polygram Filmed Entertainment
  7. Island Pictures/Atlantic Releasing
  8. Empire Pictures
  9. Scotti Bros. Pictures
  10. Hemdale Pictures (sans Terminator)
Leave your suggestions in the comments, including how you'd pitch the remake, and then I'll steal your ideas and sell it to MGM for millions of dollars.

I might have a shot at that now that they have financing.




  1. How about REMAKE the BADFILMS, you know the movies that failed but might have had some good ideas.

    How about ZARDOZ, let's update that.
    I think Zac Efron, would make a good Zed, maybe Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato could play May and Conselua, who would not want to see Selena give us a dry speech on erections?

    Tera Reid can play the topless stoner chick, a role she is pretty much a match for.

  2. Sadly Zardoz was a 20th Century Fox film. We have to stick with MGM owned movies in this game. (That mean's no classic MGM films from before 1986, most belong to Warner Bros now.)

  3. I think they want name recognition.