Do We Really Need More Remakes?
Absolutely not! BUT, if they are going to be made anyway then how about these?
With "The A-Team" and "The Karate Kid" getting rebooted on the big screen this week, and sequels to "Wall Street" and "Tron" lurking further down the schedule, it seems like the perfect time to revisit the decade of shoulder pads and mousse overload and wonder what other classic '80s properties might be due for retooling.
What follows is nothing more than humble free-association on our part, for entertainment purposes only; please, Hollywood, don't take any of this seriously. And leave "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" alone, no matter how cool it would be to see Christian Bale as Mr. Rooney.
Amy Heckerling cast her seminal high-school comedy almost entirely with unknowns, and ended up creating a new generation of stars. A modern-day remake should do that, too - and cast the original film's teen actors as the faculty. Just imagine Sean Penn playing cranky, domineering Mr. Hand this time around, or seeing the likes of Phoebe Cates, Judge Reinhold and Jennifer Jason Leigh sitting sourly behind desks. Nicolas Cage had a bit part in the original; wouldn't he make a great gym teacher? We can't be the only ones thinking this.
Paul Brickman's 1983 coming-of-age drama is best remembered now as the movie that launched Tom Cruise on the path to superstardom, but there's a lot more to Brickman's script than that history-making moment of the baby-faced star sliding across the floor in his tighty-whities. "Risky Business" is a complex, moody study of misplaced trust and corrupted innocence, and its ambiguous morality could still resonate with a generation of kids trying to figure out their places in our busted economy. Cast Emile Hirsch or Anton Yelchin as the not entirely likeable Joel Goodsen, and maybe Michelle Monaghan or Amy Adams as the guarded hooker for whom he falls, and see where the chemistry takes you. Oh, and let Bronson Pinchot play Guido, the Killer Pimp. That'd be a nice reversal.
Eddie Murphy keeps threatening to add a fourth chapter to the series that made him an international superstar, but at this point the franchise would probably be better off starting from scratch, with an all-new Axel Foley. We can think of two candidates for the part: Percy Daggs III, who showed sly comic timing and understated gravity as Kristen Bell's best pal Wallace over three seasons of "Veronica Mars," and Donald Glover, whose dopey bluster has made him one of the breakout stars of NBC's "Community." Glover's currently campaigning for the title role in the "Spider-Man" reboot, though, so going with Daggs might be the smart choice.
It's scary how easy it'd be to update John Hughes' 1985 detention drama for the present day. Just have that jerkward assistant principal - maybe Vincent D'Onofrio or Oliver Platt? - turn off the library's internet connection and confiscate everyone's cell phones at the beginning of the day, and presto: instant isolation, setting the stage for an hour and a half of soul-baring confessions and tearful bonding. If Hollywood acts quickly, they can cast Miley Cyrus in the Molly Ringwald role, and Dakota Fanning as Ally Sheedy, and let the Jonas brothers fight it out for who plays Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson and Anthony Michael Hall. Joe's the edgy one, right? Relatively speaking?
Zac Efron is on record as saying he'd love to remake the Michael J. Fox time-travel classic... and frankly, we'd like to see him try. There's simply no way to improve on Robert Zemeckis' 1985 original; it's a perfect movie, from its airtight time-travel plot to the chemistry between Fox and Christopher Lloyd. Our radical suggestion for the new Doc Brown: Matthew Perry, who was totally unconvincing as the adult version of Efron in "17 Again" but could be great channelling Doc's eye-bugging, frantic mania. Remember that season of "Friends" before Perry went into rehab? Like that, but with better blocking.
Sure, they'd need to come up with a contemporary military enemy to pit against our hotshot American trainees - North Korea's got fighter jets, right? - but that's a minor obstacle to remaking one of the definitive '80s pop hits. And it practically casts itself - "Percy Jackson's" Logan Lerman as "Maverick," Robert Pattinson sending up his "Twilight" self-seriousness as "Iceman" and some random kid from "Glee" as "Goose." Come on, you know you want to see it.
Okay, so technically "Save the Last Dance" and the "Step Up" movies have been rehashing the "Dirty Dancing" model for a decade. But a proper, licensed remake could reinvent the first film's cheesy greatness for a new generation - starring, say, Ellen Page as innocent-but-edgy Baby Houseman, and Taylor Lautner as her hunky, corner-averse lover Johnny Castle. (Hey, he's got to be good at something.) But who could possibly fill Jerry Orbach's shoes as Baby's flawed but understanding father? After his gruff-but-lovable turn in "Outside Providence," we'd love to see Alec Baldwin try.
Okay, so the '80s buddy comedy has already been thoroughly subverted with the "Harold & Kumar" series. That just means it's time for a retro revival - and here we suggest the daring tactic of remaking Ted Kotcheff's corpse-toting cult fave as a period piece, keeping the action in 1989 and shooting Robert Klane's original script word-for-word, scene-for-scene. The revolutionary part? Casting Shia LaBeouf and Christopher Mintz-Plasse in the roles originally played by Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman, and recruiting Matthew McConaughey to channel Terry Kinney's punching-bag physicality as the new Bernie. Seriously, who wouldn't want to see McConaughey stomping around with a giant cell phone? Just make sure you get everyone committed for the sequel; this thing's sure to be a smash hit, and no one wants to have to renegotiate that stuff on the fly.