October 25, 2013 by T. Gregory Argall
You know what I don’t understand?
Yes, I know, there’s a rather long list of answers to that question, but right now I’m talking about one thing in particular.
I don’t understand decisions like, “Let’s take a well-made and/or popular film and then remake it knowing that we’ll never live up to the pre-conceived expectations of the people who enjoyed the original because we lack the creative vision of the original filmmakers.”
That makes no sense to me.
Trying to do a successful remake of a great film is simply setting yourself up for failure.
I know what you’re saying, Hollywood. “But… we have to do remakes. We have no original ideas. Sequels and remakes, that’s all we’ve got.”
And, yes, you’ve got a valid point, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t lower the bar just a bit. Come on, Hollywood, admit it. You know aaaall about lowering audience expectations. But here’s an idea… Try lowering the expectations before the movie comes out.
Remaking movies that people loved is a sucker’s bet. They loved the original. You can’t compete with that. Try remaking movies that didn’t do so well or have been forgotten.
For instance, remember “Mother, Jugs & Speed”? Of course not. No one does. But in 1976 it was a fun quirky comedy addressing the challenges faced by ambulance drivers in urban Los Angeles. Starring Bill Cosby, Raquel Welch, Harvey Keitel, Larry Hagman and Toni Basil, it was quickly forgotten and never spoken of again.
Written by Tom Mankiewicz, who at the time was fresh off the success of writing three James Bond films, this movie is just begging for a remake.
So why not remake it? Do a remake of “Mother, Jugs & Speed,” Hollywood. You know you want to.
You’d probably have to set it in the mid-seventies in order to make it work. That way the comedy would seem quaint and old-timey, whereas the original is more “Holy crap, they weren’t kidding.”
Here’s a quote from the original film… “All we gotta do is hire a woman driver, put her behind the wheel, and most people would rather bleed to death right there in the street.”
That line wasn’t just in the movie, it was in the trailer. It was used as part of the promotional campaign to show just how ridiculous it was for a female character to want to drive an ambulance. With Raquel Welch in the role of the titular Jugs (stop giggling; it’s a valid word) the trailer voiceover describes the character as “a girl with tremendous… ambitions.”
Okay, admittedly, remaking “Mother, Jugs & Speed” wouldn’t be without its challenges, but social backlash is what promoting a movie is all about, isn’t it?
So, let’s go, Hollywood. It’s time for you to find new and more interesting ways to disappoint your audiences. Remake bad films and make them better.
I dare ya!