Friday, May 17, 2013

Best and Worst Movie Remakes Blogfest

When I saw this, my first thought was...."Ugh, a blog hop so soon after A to Z?". Then, I read about it and found it was right up my alley, so I just had to participate :)

Thanks to Alex, Stephen, Livia, and Father Dragon (Al Diaz) for hosting!

If there's one thing I'm saying about Hollywood, on a constant basis, is that there are never enough original ideas coming from them.

In comes the (sometimes) dreaded "remake".

When it comes to the movie "remake", the term always makes me cringe because it's such a double-edged sword....especially if the original was a movie you really liked. A lot of times you're rolling the dice when you plunk down your money for one of these.

Now, when I think "best" and "worst" in terms of movie remakes, here are the first ones that spring to mind...

The Worst:

Superman Returns: I know this wasn't touted as an actual "remake", but anyone who saw both this and the original could attest to it being one. Even Kevin Spacey's great Lex Luthor couldn't counteract just the sheer "fail"-ness of this flick. They make Superman out to be, basically, a stalker.....following Lois Lane around like a lost puppy. Parker Posey's character was just annoying, but not near so much as the almost verbatim use of some of the lines from the original.

I think this one qualifies as a 'worst' because, even though it had so much potential, I was so disappointed in it.

In this case, I would have been happy if Superman hadn't returned.

The Wild, Wild, West:  While, technically, not a movie remake, it was a remake of one of my favorite television series of all times times and was so bad that it made me want to punch Wil Smith and Kevin Kline in their respective noses.

O.k, well, maybe it wasn't as bad as all that....but this one was pretty terrible.

First of all, the casting was waaaaay off and it doesn't even have anything to do with skin color. I didn't have a huge problem with James West being a 'buffalo soldier' as much as I did seeing the Fresh Prince of Bel Air pretending to be a Secret Service Agent. I mean, honestly, Wil Smith's acting chops are pretty extensive, but he just phoned this one in. Honestly, I think he was just in it for the paycheck and, unfortunately, it showed.

Kevin Kline, who I think is a great actor, honestly was no better. Even worse than Smith because he wasn't even credible as a 'whacky inventor' much less a Secret Service Agent. I'm sure Ross Martin was spinning in his grave over this one and I know Robert Conrad wasn't any happier. Kevin Branagh was, also, sorely miscast as a parody of the original Miguelito Loveless character portrayed by the great Michael Dunne. He must've been hard up for a paycheck, too.

This film should have stayed out West....far, out West.

(Dis)Honorable mentions for 'worst' also go out to:

The Day the Earth Stood Still
The Nutty Professor

Now, on a brighter note, here are....

The Best:

The Manchurian Candidate:  While I've never been a huge Denzel Washington fan, I thought he was great in this remake of the old Sinatra classic. The story flowed nicely and, even though a few things were updated to reflect today's society, it still made sense and was a compelling story.

I've also never been a big Meryl Streep fan, either, but have to admit she nailed the part of Shaw's evil mother, originally portrayed by Angela Lansbury.

I had seen the original film in bits and pieces, but gave it a full watch before going to see this one. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised.

This remake has my vote.

Ocean's 11: This "Rat Pack" remake hit all the marks for me. Nice pacing, some cool twists, colorful characters and great leads. Clooney and Pitt worked well together. Now, granted, I could have done without Julia Roberts, but even her presence didn't take away from the slickness and tight story of this one.

While the cast didn't have the same savoir fare of the original, they still came off as pretty darn cool.

This remake hit the jackpot.

Honorable mentions for "best" also go to:

The Mechanic
True Grit
Planet of the Apes

So, how about you? What are your favorite...or least remakes?


Rhonda Albom said...

I missed all versions of Superman, and I agree with most of your others that I have seen. The one exception, and I would be tempted to go back and add it if mine wasn't already out is Planet of the Apes. I loved the original, but the remake just wasn't my cup of tea.

Rhonda from Laugh Quotes

John Wiswell said...

I thought Superman Returns was rather explicitly a sequel to the Donner films. Even the child angle picks up on the weird sex scene, while Luthor has been prying into his tech while he's off planet. I actually enjoyed it the one time I saw it, but haven't gone back since.

Tonja Drecker said...

Superman just wasn't...*shakes head* It was awful. I didn't know that Wild West was based on a series. Huh.

Anonymous said...

One of mine worst was the remake of The Nutty Professor, I never seen many of the others you mentioned.
Great post.


Sheena-kay Graham said...

My issue with Superman Returns was the budget of over 200 million and making less than 400 mill at the box office. Unless you're sure that you're making 500 mill at the box office with a major picture you shouldn't be spending over 200 mill on it. The latest Superman movie coming out had a budget of less than 200 mill and I'm pretty sure it has an excellent chance of hitting the half mill mark before 2014.

Now that my financial rant is over I still enjoyed Superman Returns but understand that it could be seen as underwhelming and that it could have been better. Wild Wild West...moving on. You picked some good movies for your best and Ocean's 11 had to be great to get such positive responses and sequels.

Elise Fallson said...

I agree with you about Ocean's 11, but I actually liked Wild Wild West. Maybe because I had never seen the original series.

Billy Blue Eyes said...

I hate film critics with a vengance do they really know what they are talking about. The people who see the films are the real critics. You blog makes a plesent change though I can't agree on Superman or Oceans 11. I liked superman where as Oceans I thought they were just milking it . Hav eto agree with wild wild west though.
Passing through on my roadtrip.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Yep, Wild Wild West was pretty bad.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Since it was a television show, I didn't select Wild Wild West, but it was AWFUL. Destroyed my childhood show forever.
Ocean's 11 almost made the top spot for me. Such a sleek film.
Thanks for participating in our blogfest!

S.P. Bowers said...

I loved the TV series Wild Wild West, never bothered to see the movie.

Though I have to say I'm surprised you put Planet of the apes on the Best list.

Unknown said...

Superman isn't my favourite superhero and I really don't know why I took the time to see that movie. I agree it is a terrible remake. I am looking forward to seeing how they remake the remake :P

Dani said...

I think I stopped watching Superman movies cause some of them were soooooo bad I just gave up.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I loved the original Arthur and refuse to watch the remake. Dudley Moore was just adorable.

Laura Eno said...

I forgot all about The Day the Earth Stood Still! The remake sucked.

I've never been a Rat Pack fan and so never saw either the original or remake of Ocean's Eleven but everyone seems to agree the remake rocks. :) I'll have to rent it.

jaybird said...

I could always do without Julia Roberts, that for sure. But I'm glad she didn't take away from the movie, for you.

Unknown said...

I didn't care for the redo of Wild Wild West either. As much as I like Will Smith, the original TV show just had its own style hard to imitate. I did not like, at all, Eddie Murphy's Nutty Professor remake, however.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Dead on with the Superman film. If I remember correctly, like even a bit of kryptonite would nearly wipe him out, yet he could fly the giant chunk out of the ocean. Am I on the right horrible movie or did it turn my brain to gel and I'm confused?

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I've seen a couple of votes for Oceans and True Grit. I still haven't seen the new True Grit.

Arlee Bird said...

I liked Superman Returns because it was such a twist. Not so much a remake as it was a different take on an old story.

I get a bit weary of Will Smith. Never bother with WW West. I used to love that show.

You're spot on with some of those other choices.

A Faraway View
An A to Z Co-host blog

Tyrean Martinson said...

Great picks, although I'm on the fence about Planet of the Apes - I thought the original was freaky and haunting, while the remake just didn't hit me in the gut the same way. It may be that I was an impressionable kid then and a jaded adult now - not sure.
Wild West and Superman Returns - bluck! Agreed with you there.
Ocean's 11 Rocked! And I really need to watch the Manchurian Candidate.

Lisa said...

The Dirty Dancing remake was terrible compared to the original, IMO.
Against All Odds remake was amazing.
I'm finally catching up with my favorite bloggers!

LD Masterson said...

Interesting. I didn't see the Superman remake but I agree with your other three choices.

But you include Planet of the Apes in your honorable mention for Best remake and it just missed being my selection for Worst.

Gina Gao said...

I, too, thought the Superman remake was horrible. Didn't like it at all.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I don't watch that many movies in the first place, but if I like an original, I'll rarely watch its remake. (I mean, why encourage them? Next thing ya know, they'll be trying to update "Gone With the Wind"...)

One remake I was pleasantly surprised by, though, is "Cheaper By the Dozen". I loved the original Clifton Webb flick, and enjoyed Chevy Chase's remake. A little cornier than the original, but hey! I like corny.

Samantha May said...

Superman was not my cup of tea, but I have high hopes for the new one coming out!

I never did see Wild Wild West, but I guess that's a good thing :)

Have a great weekend!

nutschell said...

Everybody seems to love Ocean's 11! I enjoyed SUperman Returns-just bec. well, it's superman :)

Al Diaz said...

Mark, you and I think so much alike it's scary, hahaha. I agree with you, mostly about Wild Wild West. Thanks for participating on the blogfest! Always a joy to read you. :)

Christine Rains said...

Those are two really horrible films. Though, I didn't want to dislike Will and a giant mechanical spider. I've seen Ocean's 11 a lot today. Great film! Have a wonderful weekend.

Carol Kilgore said...

Totally agree about Arthur being bad. I like Denzel Washington a lot, but I didn't see this remake. Or the first. Maybe I'll add this one to my list. I loved the True Grit remake. I think I liked it better than the original, although there's not much comparison because the whole tone of the story was different.

Happy Weekend!

Unknown said...

I did not like Wild, Wild West, either nor Superman Returns. We are in total agreement there.

Unknown said...

Good choices, Mark! I also liked the remake of Planet of the Apes, although it didn't get great reviews.

M.L. Swift, Writer

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see the latest SUPERMAN remake/boot; with Christopher Nolan involved at all, it's got to be better than the last one Right?

Mark Means said...

@Rhonda: I know what you mean about Planet of the Apes and I included it with my 'bests' because I was, actually, surprised at how much I liked it. Especially for a Tim Burton movie :)

@John: It's funny because, when I first saw it, I liked it. Then, the more I saw it (twice after) the more I began to realize it was nothing but sub par remake. Especially the line about airplane safety after he brings the plane down in the middle of the ballgame. I don't know...I guess I expected more from Brian Singer.

@T: Yep, The Wild, Wild, West was a pretty cool show...sort of a steampunk "James Bond" before there was 'Steampunk' :) The movie was nothing but a money making scheme, in my opinion.

@Yvonne: Thank you and, yes, totally agree on Nutty Professor. Try as he might, Eddie Murphy can't top Jerry Lewis in his prime :)

@Sheena: I agree on the new Superman and am really looking forward to seeing it :) LOL...'nuff said on Wild, Wild, West, huh? :D

@Elise: If you've never seen the original show, and didn't have a frame of reference, I can see how you could like WWW, so I can't fault you there :) I went in with pretty high expectations and they were all

@Bill: Thank you and I totally agree...I'd much rather listen to a regular moviegoer than a "critic". Thanks for the comment :)

@Lynda: That's putting it mildly, yes :)

@Alex: Totally agree on both your points and thank you for's been fun :)

@S.P: If you liked the series, do yourself a favor and NEVER see the

@Cheree: I agree...the remake of the remake should be good :)

@Dani: After the second one, yes, I agree :)

@Diane: Agree....Moore was great in the role. There IS no other Arthur :)

@Laura: I was hesitant in seeing the remake of Ocean's 11, but it's just so slick that I couldn't help but like it.

@jaybird: Once again, my blogging sister, we're on the same page :)

@Julie: Oh definitely....Eddie Murphy was funny, but totally out of his depth in trying to recreate a Jerry Lewis character.

@Elizabeth: Nope, you're right on the money. It's one of those scenes that just had me shaking my head...

Mark Means said...

@Susan: I think the new True Grit is on Netflix Streaming, if you subscribe. It's worth the watch.

@Lee: Yeah, I wish I had never even given WWW a shot but, again, I had high hopes.

@Tyrean: Oh yeah, you should see both version of The Manchurian Candidate...well worth the time.

@Lisa: Thanks Lisa, very nice of you to say :D I don't think I've ever seen the original Dirty Dancing (though my wife loves it!), much less the remake. I'll take your word for it, though :)

@LD: Tim Burton is, usually, a 'miss' for me....on this rare occasion, he was a 'hit'...just barely, though. :)

@Gina: Yeah, pretty horrendous :)

@Susan: LOL...very good point. Though they have no shame, they'd do them anyway :) I also liked the original Cheaper By the Dozen.

@Samantha: Yes, that -is- a good thing. I'd recommend just watching the old Wild, Wild, West t.v. show :)

@Nutschell: That's true...I've seen "Ocean's 11" on a lot of the 'best' lists.

@Al: Thank you very much and it's not just means we both have good taste :D Thanks for hosting!

@Christine: Funny you bring up the giant spider...did you ever see "An Evening With Kevin Smith"? He brings up the giant spider in a hilarious story. It seems he was brought in to write a failed "Superman" remake (not the one I mentioned) starring Nick Cage. It was supposed to have all these, decidedly, non-Superman bits in it such as, he couldn't fly or wear a cape...weird stuff like that (at least for a Superman film). Another thing the director/producer HAD to have was, at the end, Superman had to fight a giant spider. Well, eventually, Smith was taken off the project and he said when he went to see The Wild, Wild, West (by this same director/producer), he said "And there it was...that f-ing giant spider!" It's funnier when Smith does it, of course :)

@Carol: Very true, on the tone of the two True Grit films...but both were still pretty good :)

@Melissa: Great minds, eh? :)

@Mike: Haha, nope it didn't...but still a fun film :)

@Milo: I totally agree...I'm looking forward to this remake, a lot :)

Helena said...

I really liked the Wild West TV show too! It was a fun show, but I've never been able to sit through the movie version even though I've only caught parts of it on TV.

I want to see the Denzel remake of the Manchurian Candidate. I first saw the original when I was a teenager and it was like getting hit in the gut. What a smart, thrilling film, and only as an adult could I appreciate how it tackled the McCarthyism that was still hanging around like a social poison during its filming.

Heather M. Gardner said...

Ocean's 11 is popular today!

Great list!


Michael Di Gesu said...

HI, Mark,

Some good choices here and your really took the time to spell out your reasons. Well done.

Have a great weekend!

Chancelet said...

Come on now, Rise of the PoA and True Grit should have been your favs! (Okay, I've just got to argue) The Manchurian Candidate... not the best. Wild Wild West - a very good contender for the best. But hey, you got one right - Superman Returns was a BIG horrible mess. Writer’s Mark

Kate Larkindale said...

I've never seen any of the Superman reboots. And I don't think I will....

Anonymous said...

I am totally with you on the best remakes. Manchurian Candidate was really good and so was Oceans.

Anonymous said...

I am totally with you on the best remakes. Manchurian Candidate was really good and so was Oceans.

Anonymous said...

I am totally with you on the best remakes. Manchurian Candidate was really good and so was Oceans.

Anonymous said...

I am totally with you on the best remakes. Manchurian Candidate was really good and so was Oceans.

Unknown said...

I wonder what the next Superman about to be released will be like?

Oceans 11 was a great pic!

Allison said...

Superman Returns was totally boring. I did really enjoy Ocean's 11!

Allison (Geek Banter)

Stephen Tremp said...

I agree with Superman and Wild Wild West. Two truly awful movies. I'm a big fan of Oceans Eleven. Great show!

Trisha said...

Weird - I thought I'd commented on this but apparently not! I actually love Denzel Washington, but I haven't seen this movie.

Actually, the only movie in this list I have seen is Oceans 11 - and then only the remake!

Unknown said...

Great choices, I couldn't agree with your more about Oceans Eleven; haven't seen Superman Returns yet, and that sounds like a good thing.

Sue McPeak said...

The Wild Wild West...nothing can replace the real deal series, and no one can beat Robert Conrad and Ross Martin. The only reason I watched the Will and Kevin version was because my GrandGal loved the movie...she was clueless about Robert and Ross...course she didn't know what a typewriter was either, but she sure can keyboard and text.

Sure wish there were still $5 a carload DriveIn Picture Shows. I might see more movies. Well done on the Reviews.

Sue CollectInTexasGal
SkyVue DriveIn...On The AtoZ RoadTrip

Ella said...

I grew up with The Wild, Wild West and was disappointed-it was too flip and not clever like I hoped it would be~ I loved the TV show :D

Ocean Eleven great pick! I didn't like Julia in this role, either~

Off to look and see if I can stream the old TV show...always made me smile ;D

Yes, I like Sue's idea, too. I have fond memories of the Drive-In!

Nicely done!

Morgan said...

Oh man... I don't have anything clever or witty to say--I've never seen any of these movies! So I'll just say what a clever blogfest this was---and your choices look awesome!


Jack said...

I meant to do this fest but ran out of time, but it has been fun to read other entries.

I agree with you COMPLETELY. Superman Returns was one of the worst ever! It was painful to watch.

Manzanita said...

I thought I commented on this but I must have been interrupted,happens a lot. I used to be a big movie buff but not so of late ...... so I really like to read comments of people (I trust) meaning those are the movies I'll see. Sorry to hear the Superman is a "no go." I used to be such a huge fan. Loved that mild-mannered reporter.

Anonymous said...

Just found your blog. Appreciate the movie reviews. Haven't seen the new Manchurian Candidate, but will make it a point to, now. Good blog.

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