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We Recycle in This Town: Hollywood’s Remake Craze

Friday, August 28, 2009 at 01:42 AM EDT

We’ve all heard it said, so many times now that it’s practically a cliche in its own right: Hollywood is out of ideas.

It seems like nothing being made these days is original; it’s just a steady stream of adaptations, homages, sequels (I’m looking at you, Tron) and remakes. And it’s that last category that seems to be growing increasingly out of hand. The Powers That Get Things Made are interested in what sells, so in a painfully transparent attempt to capitalize on what’s already proven successful, they no longer simply turn back to the classics to devise a formula: they just remake them. It worked the first time, so why not the second time?

Well, because a movie’s more than a storyline that sells tickets and the fact that an audience liked it the first time isn’t a guarantee they’ll enjoy it on the second take. If anything, people seem less inclined to see these remakes than other movies. They already saw it done right once — why see it butchered by a new set of actors and updates? Take a look at a few of projects currently made or in the works:

  • 10 Things I Hate About You. Already on the air, this isn’t simply a remake of a classic movie made within the last two decades, it’s a television show. Granted, it’s got the involvement of one of the original writers, but really, given that her last project was The Ugly Truth, I’m one of those of little faith. The movie was brilliant in its own right. Leave it alone, guys.
  • Battlestar Galactica. Based on the original series and in no way affiliated with the Sci-Fi show that just went off the air this year. That’s enough, Bryan Singer. How is it already time to remake something that was only just redone?
  • Death at a Funeral. This Neil Simon play was made into a movie just a few short years ago — a hysterically funny film, I might add, staring Matthew MacFadyen and Alan Tudyk. Who decided an American remake was needed already? It’s so evident that it’s too soon for this that the only person they could get to take Peter Dinklage’s role was Peter Dinklage.
  • Footloose. Does anyone even know if Chace Crawford, bless his heart and pretty face, can sing, let alone dance?
  • Heathers. Look, it was made in 1988. Besides which, there’s no way you can convince me something like this is ripe to be converted into a network TV show. Fox, you cannot handle this, why are you trying?
  • V. At least this television series, based on the mini-series of the same name, scrapped all the characters and started from merely the same basic idea. It’s less a remake than a variation on a theme.

This is just getting ludicrous. I’ve heard rumors about everything from the above to a remake of The Birds. Is nothing sacred? Back off of Hitchcock, Hollywood. He did it right the first time. But at least that movie is more than twenty years old. Nothing on the list above can say it hasn’t been done in the past couple decades, and I’m pretty sure that if I can say the original was made in my lifetime, it’s way too soon to see it remade.

- Stefanie

What are your thoughts, readers? Is it too soon to see the Heathers on TV? Would there ever be a good time for that? Tell us how long the appropriate waiting period between original and remake is for you.