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The Problem with Remakes
by Tim Josephs

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It probably comes as no surprise that I dislike remakes. Good, quality movies don't need to be remade. If you want to remake a crappy or obscure film, fine, have at it. And this is such a bizarre thing if you think about it. What if an author suddenly declared that he was going to rewrite, let's say, Tom Sawyer? It needs a new, fresh retelling, he says. Do you think people would be cool with that? Do you think there would be lines outside of bookstores to get the "new" Tom Sawyer? I don't think so either.

But, I digress. I rarely see remakes, but the other day while looking through one of those Red Boxes, my wife spotted the new FOOTLOOSE, and wanted to see it. (Fortunately we countered it with THE ARTIST). I actually didn't intend to watch it, but since my computer was being repaired,
I had nothing else to do. The movie was pretty much what I expected it to be. It wasn't horrible, it was just utterly pointless and unnecessary. Yet another one of those films that didn't need to be made.

Here are the things that were wrong with the FOOTLOOSE remake and can probably be applied to most other remakes as well.

1. The Spirit

A movie like FOOTLOOSE has a certain spirit to it. Even if it's not the greatest movie, it certainly has it's own unique quality. Trying to capture that essence in a new movie is just a futile effort.

2. Pandering

Obviously whatever is popular at the time will be used and exploited in a new movie. Everything "country" seems to be in now, so this FOOTLOOSE was affected by that. This version takes place in Georgia and there's a big country and country
music theme. Even the female lead is played by country singer Julianne Hough.

3. Having it both ways

They basically had three ways they could've remade this movie:

A) Doing a straight remake and setting the film years ago while using a mix of current and older music, ala DIRTY DANCING.

B) Doing a completely modern version.

C) Setting the movie in present day and throwing in old cars or using modern technology like ipods to play older music.

Which one do you think they chose?

Everything in this film felt forced and unnatural. I didn't believe for a second that teenagers several years into this new millennium would be dancing to the song "Footloose" at a party, and then get into a car and continue to sing and dance to the song. Nor did I believe that two little girls would be
singing "Let's Hear It For the Boy," a song over 25 years old. It all rang completely false.

5. The Differences

It's impossible to watch a remake and not notice every little change. My wife knows FOOTLOOSE better than I do and she spent half the movie pointing out the things that were either added or omitted.

4. Music

This probably mostly pertains to this movie, but the music was just awful. The aforementioned "Let's Hear It For the Boy" sung by the little girls was kind of cute, but hearing a new and slow version of the wonderfully cheesy "Holding Out for a Hero" and than a horrible country rendition of "Footloose" must have made Kevin Bacon roll over in his lounge chair.

There is a lot more wrong with this film than that, but I'll leave it there. I have to go work on my Shakespeare rewrites.

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Movie Musings
Every other Tuesday

Thoughts, observations, conjectures, complaints about movies and mostly how they relate to me personally. If you're looking for something a little broader, try Ebert.

Other Columns
Other columns by Tim Josephs:

So Long 2013, and MatchFlickers!

The Season for Peace, Presents, & Puncture Wounds

Women are Once Again Kicking Ass

Chewing the Scenery

The Greatest President We Never Had

All Columns

Tim Josephs
Born to write (literally much to the displeasure of his mother, he emerged with a pencil clutched in one tiny fist), Tim spends most of his days crafting epic monosyllabic poems, new comical titles to his favorite Beatles' songs (Hey, Dude), and angry letters to local businesses that have wronged him in some way. He's really an okay guy once you get to know him.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Tim Josephs by clicking here.

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