Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Danger of Remakes and 'Reboots'

A lot of people over the age of, I don't know, 12, gripe about the lack of original stories coming from Hollywood.  The last time I checked, over 90 percent of the movies produced and distributed by American filmmakers were either remakes, 'reboots,' or movies based on old television shows or video games.  It seems obvious why this would bother anyone who still has the audacity to use his or her thinking cap.

I'd like to offer my take on why this trend scares the living shit out of me.  You remember those big lizards that used to roam the Earth?  We call them dinosaurs.  I'm sure if someone had asked them, they would have called themselves something else.  Regardless, the dinosaurs spent a great deal of their final days sloshing around in tar pits.  I bet the dinosaurs thought they were moving forward any time they moved a foot one way or the other while they were drowning in those tar pits.  Now, before the tar pits came along, dinosaurs were a mobile bunch who moved around the land, always moving in a forward direction.

That's what humans who made art used to do.  Even in Hollywood, filmmakers used to try to show something new with each film they made.  It's called progress.  It's called evolution.  The moment you circle back and repeat yourself, you have stopped evolving.  My theory is this:  If you cease to evolve, you begin to die.

So, we come back to this issue of remakes and 'reboots.'  Is Hollywood showing us how we're a species sloshing around in a tar pit?  Is this really it?  Do writers and actors and directors have no new ideas?  We didn't last a fraction of the time the dinosaurs did.  That makes us cosmic idiots, doesn't it?


  1. It's what happens when a creative endeavor is dominated by non-creative types with an MBA mentality. You combine that with the economy being in the shitter and you have the spat of remakes.

    No one can afford to go see movies. (The last one we went to see cost us almost 40 bucks for two tickets, a bottle of water and a pack of Skittles). You'd think that would lead Hollywood to make better movies, it hasn't. It's lead to let's-revive-franchises, let's-remake-something-that-has-previously-done well. This means cheaper script and the possibility of triple dipping DVD sales.

    It's like all the crap 3-D releases. It's marketing manipulation. Instead of let's make better movies and lower the cost, it's how can we justify milking more cash from a smaller audience for the same shit.

  2. +1 for Chad's comment. Since approximatively 1995, Hollywood is going through a freefall. That might just have peaked with Ridley Scott's ROBIN HOOD. What nobody knows is that the original script for that movie was awesome. Is was called NOTTINGHAM and the main protagonist was the sheriff of Nottingham, investigating grisly murders of rich people. That's fucking original

    But...Ridley Scott and a team of MBA graduates(like Chad described so well) put their fingers into this, threw the original script away and decided to reboot and reintroduce Robin Hood to a younger generation. That was the recipe behind that awful flop. SO, not everything ages well. If a generation of people bought something, it doesn't mean their children will. Unfortunately, so far, we prove to be dumber, poorer and lazier than our parents so we do.

    I have very little faith left in humanity, but great post, man.

  3. Yes, I've seen those MBA types. I met one for coffee who was supposed to get me an agent at CAA. This kid looked like he was made out of plastic. He had a horrific fake tan (in L.A., mind you, where you can get a real tan any day of the year just by taking a walk), hair spiked so solid with gel his head looked like a porcupine, and a zombie-like demeanor I've only encountered when meeting politicians. From my point of view, he asked me all the wrong questions about my scripts ("Shadows in the Rain? Sounds interesting. Any idea how that could be packaged for a maximum audience?") and I'm sure I gave him all the wrong answers ("What the fuck are you talking about?") Needless to say, I never got an agent at CAA.

    It's interesting that Ben takes it back to 1995. Indeed, that was the year of the face-off at the Oscars between Pulp Fiction and Forrest Chump. The contest was clear: Will the future of American cinema be filled with clever films that ask the audience to throw in their own effort with regards to their thinking caps, or will the future be manipulative, flashy movies that beg the audience to have no opinion and simply submit to the spectacle. I would say the 3D craze is a logical step in the evolution of 300 million dollar crap.