I’m angry. Today I’d like to talk about three things: my anger, polar bears and Kurt Russell.
I read today that plans are underway to film a remake of Russell’s cult classic, the John Carpenter-directed Escape From New York…hence my anger. Damnit, why can’t Hollywood stop raping and pillaging its own village? Can’t the industry limit its obsession with non-original material to novels, comic books, television shows, toys, and Thomas Kinkade paintings? I heard just the other day that Halloween is about to be remade. Come to think of it, that was a John Carpenter movie too! And it’s not like these are old movies. They were made less than 30 years ago. You know what else? John Carpenter and Kurt Russell aren’t dead. They’re alive and well. Shouldn’t there be some law about remaking a movie if the lead actor is still around, starring in new offerings? (Go see Kurt Russell in Grindhouse, opening April 6 at theaters everywhere.)
The brain-dead ass-wipe behind this Escape From New York redux is Neal Moritz, a producer who has left a legacy of craptastic films in a very short period, for which I suppose he deserves some admiration. Let’s take a look at the highlights of his filmography:
I Know What You Did Last Summer
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer
Urban Legends: Final Cut
Cruel Intentions 2 (direct-to-video)
The Fast and The Furious
Not Another Teen Movie
The Skulls II (direct-to-video)
The Skulls III (direct-to-video)
2 Fast 2 Furious
Cruel Intentions 3 (direct-to-video)
xXx: State of the Union
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer
As I said, those are the highlights.
Forthcoming projects, on which the jury is still out, include Evan Almighty, Not Another High School Show, Prom Night (another 80’s horror remake) and Hot Wheels. Yes, you read that last one correctly. Hot Wheels. A film based on a line of toy cars. At least the Transformers were robots that had voices and personalities. There’s something to work with there. But Hot Wheels?!? They don’t even have snow tires. Unconfirmed rumors report that Moritz is also developing The Skulls IV, Cruel Intentions 4, and A Little Less Fast But Still Pretty Furious, all of which will be released direct-to-diarrhea-spattered-toilet-bowl. Moritz is nothing if not an innovator.
It disgusts me that this cock-knocker continues to have a thriving, profitable career. I’m disgusted by the lack of anything resembling originality on his resume. Even Click is a riff on Stay Tuned and Pleasantville. And I’m disgusted that he’s turned his radar of dogshit onto a contemporary cult classic like Escape From New York. Hearing about this remake, as well as Halloween, brought home another disturbing notion that I can’t, unfortunately, pin on Neal Moritz alone. What I realized is that time has caught up with these hacks, and the next wave of remakes will come from the movies of my childhood. With a sense of dread, I began to realize the many films that will become victim to this trend.
Which brings me to polar bears.
I’ve been reading in the last couple of weeks about efforts to place the polar bear on the endangered species list in order to combat the dangerous effects that melting ice caps are having on the population. And after signing yet another National Resources Defense Council petition to see the polar bear earn the necessary protection, it occurred to me that the movies of my childhood are also in danger, and they too need protecting. (I’m too late to save the original Star Wars trilogy, though I continue to have faith that George Lucas will reverse the damage by releasing spiffed up discs of the un-special-editionized trilogy.) Anyway, unlike the polar bear, the films of my youth need protection from an enemy far more devastating than global warming, and a hundred times more unrelenting than Mother Nature. They need protection from the likes of Neal Mortiz. And so I’ve started this list of movies from the 70’s and 80’s, which I fear are most vulnerable to the cannibalistic tendencies of today’s Hollywood jerkoffs. Please join me in protecting and preserving the integrity of these valuable, irreplaceable, irremakeable classics of our lives. In this first round, I propose protection for:
9 to 5
An American Werewolf in London
Beverly Hills Cop
The Breakfast Club
The Cannonball Run
The Karate Kid
Smokey and the Bandit
Spies Like Us
They might not all be gems, but they help form the fabric of my youth and I don’t want to see Neal Moritz’s shit-covered fingerprints smearing them.
In the months to come, I will propose more films that are in need of protection and I hope to have your support in telling Moritz and his ilk that we will not stand by as stars of The Hills and Gossip Girl are recruited for a low-budget “re-imagining” of St. Elmo’s Fire.
I can see a new horizon. Underneath a blazing sky. And you know what? There are no shitty remakes there.