Friday, March 20, 2009

Hollywood ≠ Originality

Unfortunately, it's a seemingly well-known penchant of (American) studio execs or unimaginative screenwriters to just re-cycle ideas or movies. Who cares that original content exists out there among a plethora artists/authors and their stories, screenplays, or novels (if they would bother to look or nurture). It must be cheaper (meaning profitable) and less risky for the lot of them to develop dreck and sell the movie/DVD rights. It has to be--why else do they just keep doing it? What other reason would there be for the Harlan Coben bestseller, Tell No One, being made into the French? More than two years ago! All the while we get primed and suckered into more remakes like this one coming our way:

Think this is original? Well, you might if you're in the young male (16-30 years) age range (the likely target audience of the studio's marketers). I'm sure they count on the fact that few in that group were old enough to have seen or heard of this 1975 gem by Walter Hill:

Sure, they updated and produced it with higher production values. But, the essential fact is that it's been done (and likely done better), years ago. Although to be fair, I think Terrence Howard (who is one terrific actor) in the James Coburn original role might work well. However, who among you think Channing Tatum compares well or is anywhere close to Hard Times' Charles Bronson? Not me. I sure hope Hill got handsome compensation for them re-making his early film--and not mentioning it to the moviegoers. Sheesh!


  1. It was easy to buy into Bronson as a hard-scrabble fighter, he looked it and he sounded it, and he by-God made you believe it. But Channing Tatum's face is so smooth and blank, looks like he's never been in a fight or a had a worry (or even a thought) in his life.

    Hollywood has not only given up on originality, they continue to prize looks over talent. In today's Hollywood I doubt if Bogart could even get an audition.

  2. I haven't seen either movie but agree with you that Channing Tatum is no Charles Bronson. And I mean, HELL, no!

    And the constant recycling does suck. I work and live in Hollywood and have read good scripts over the years that are still languishing in development hell or in turnaround for no good reason.

  3. I work and live in Hollywood and have read good scripts over the years that are still languishing in development hell or in turnaround for no good reason.
    Unfortunately, you've confirm what I've feared for the longest of times. The studios do see/get good content, but ignore it :-\. Thanks for you comment, PCN.

  4. Generally, I don't let myself get too worked up over remakes, I just don't go to see them. However, this one is a bit of a sickener. Trying to recast a role made famous by someone as iconic as Bronson is near enough impossible, but this particular effort is laughable.

    I'm not sure which is worse, Hollywood's overreliance on remakes and the consequent stifling of originality, or the current obsession with pretty boys to hook the teen market. Hard Times indeed!

    BTW, I've added your excellent site to my blogroll.


  5. Colin: for me, this was a particularly galling remake. We're in agreement. Taking on a iconic role with someone way too wrong for it (except for the teen crowd) is a symptom of decline.

    Thank you for stopping by and adding your comment. I'm glad to have found your wonderful blog. I'll continue to follow it and explore your archive of posts. Cheers.