Saturday, May 23, 2015

What's the Most Underrated Remake Ever?

It sure isn't Poltergeist.

This weekend marks the release of another dull, bad remake. They have become so commonplace in the last few decades that the good ones are the exception, not the rule. But then there are those ones that have been labeled "bad" by the moviegoing public and for which you harbor secret (or not-so-secret) affection. What are they?

This is a safe place.

53 comments:

  1. This is a great topic that made me have to think pretty hard for a minute. Here's what I came up with.

    Assault On Precinct 13

    I really like this movie as just a solid B action movie. It's not great, but I think when it came out it got forgotten about and nobody really talked about it. I liked Ethan Hawke in the main role and Laurence Fishbourne is pretty good as the bad guy. I love the premise and I thought they did a pretty good job remaking it.

    The Longest Yard

    Adam Sandler is pretty much hated by every movie goer including myself these days. He puts out trash and knows people will go see it. I think the Longest Yard was his last good movie but it got lumped in with all of his crap. It does go for juvenile jokes but I think it's got some funny scenes and it looks like sandlers actually trying in this one. Good supporting cast from James Cromwell to William Fichner to some NFL players and wrestlers. I just think it's a really good football movie.

    Gone In 60 Seconds

    I can't really defend this one much, it's more of a it's so dumb it's fun kind of movie for me. I put this movie in the same category as Con Air, ridiculous but entertaining.

    Total Recall

    I know, I know it's a terrible remake of a classic. But divorcing yourself from the original I thought there were a few things to like in it. I'm not saying it's a good movie I'm just saying it probably shouldn't have gotten shit on as much as it did. I haven't seen it in awhile though, so I could be wrong.

    House On Haunted Hill

    This is a nostalgic pick, as the remake of House on Haunted Hill was the first horror movie I ever saw in a theater and it scared the living shit out of the me. I couldn't handle it but it made me keep watching horror movies so I give it credit for that. I haven't seen it in so long so I couldn't tell you if it's good now but back then that glitchy technology terrified me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I liked total recall but being as though I've never watched the original I've always judged it on its on. To me its an ok action movie that does some stunt casting with Bryan Cranston.

      Delete
    2. Oh man drop what you're doing and go watch the original right now. Do it.

      Delete
    3. I know I know its long over due.

      Delete
    4. Totally agree with you on Assault on Precinct 13

      Delete
    5. Third-ed on Assault on Precinct 13, that's a solid movie that would probably be more well-liked if there hadn't been an original version to compare it to. What it lacks in "vanilla twist" shocks it makes up for with a few surprising moments of its own.

      Delete
  2. Im not sure if Miami Vice counts since its based off a tv show but I do find it to be very underrated. Its not a perfect movie but I think Mann does a good job of bringing the material to present day. I think Colin Farrell's take on Sunny was pretty good. I really enjoy the cool moody somewhat noir vibe that the movie gives off.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Even though it won best picture, I feel like everyone nowadays considers The Departed lesser Scorsese, but I still love it and think it's a great retelling of Infernal Affairs.

    Also a pretty big fan of Jackson's King Kong. It's overlong and a bit too lofty in ambition, but I dig the experience every time I pop it in.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I really like Switching Channels, a very 80s update of His Girl Friday (itself a remake of The Front Page). It's silly and fun, and has a frantic pace that I enjoy. Burt Reynolds redlines the smarm-o-meter but while he lacks Cary Grant's sophistication I still really like him here.

    I also want to give a shoutout to My Bloody Valentine 3D and The Crazies which are all kinds of fun and I actually prefer them to the originals.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also really like the my bloody valentine remake

      Delete
  5. Cape Fear (1991). Scorsese has the main characters living within shades of gray, whereas the original was more black and white.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sorry, I forgot you asked for most underrated. I answered a different question.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Can I say Dawn of the Dead? Cause I still love the original but I think they did a great job on the remake, or does the re-make have to surpass the original to make it underrated? An if anyone mentions the Halloween Remake I will track an hunt you down and give you a intense long stern talking too :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Let Me In. Improves on almost all of the deficiencies of the original, and adds it's own flair to stand out. Too similar to the original the call it a better film, but I actually perfer it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. City of Angels. This film gets crapped upon a lot for being an unfaithful retelling of Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire, but when you look at the movie on its own, it's not that awful. Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan are a good pairing together, where their love scene brings us one of the most corniest lines of all time in "We were made to fit together". And let's not forget the soundtrack, where Goo Goo Dolls, Alanis Morissette and Sarah McLachlan each brought out huge singles off the album so with that, this flick will give you good vibes if you don't realize that it was a remake.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry Leo, I can't stand this film.

      Delete
    2. Leo, I'll get on that bench with you. It's a quite enjoyable movie and I like Dennis Franz in it a lot.

      Delete
    3. I'm with Leo too. And you are right about that soundtrack. I have played it so many times!

      Delete
    4. I'm cool with that, as long as you have seen Wings of Desire in which Wenders' won the best director award at Cannes. For those that love that film, City of Angels was a debacle.

      Delete
    5. I love Wings of Desire. It is incredible and far surpasses the remake. I managed to put it out of my mind when I saw City of angels which I try to do more but often fail. Random question, do you like the movie The Girl on the bridge? I think you would like it if you haven't seen it.

      Delete
    6. Absolutely love The Girl On The Bridge abd The Company of Wolves. Two fantastic movies!

      Delete
  10. The remake of Halloween Part II is fucking insane. I don't think it's good, but goddammit it needs more attention. It's probably my thitd favorite film in the whole franchise, behind the original part 1 and Season of the Witch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know that Halloween II counts as a remake, though. Zombie really went his own way on making a sequel to his Halloween rather than remaking the existing sequel. I'm inclined to agree that even though it's still not exactly good it's at least interesting to watch and waaaaaaaaaay better than the first Zombieween.

      Delete
    2. Laurie's character is so annoying and shrill in Halloween 2 that it took me right out of the movie because I'm following a main character that I can't stand. Everyone says Danielle Harris is great in it but her character is awful too. I thought there were a few interesting things in it but not nearly enough for me to says it's any good. There are a lot of people who champion it though. I just got the bluray box set and I will try watching it again.

      Delete
    3. I'm the person that really likes Rob Zombie's Halloween II.

      Delete
    4. I hated Halloween II the first time I saw it and then came around on it during SMM 2013 - I think Patrick wrote about Brad Dourif's performance in particular which was amazing (in the Director's Cut I think?).

      Delete
  11. Most underrated - has to be John Carpenter's "The Thing" by proxy because people don't even know it's a remake. Runner up is "Last Man Standing" with Bruce. "Yojimbo" remake. Walter Hill killin' it!

    Worst - Tie - "Psycho" (pointless) "Funny Games" (even more pointless) or "City of Angels" (How dare them remake the brilliant "Wings of Desire".)

    Most fun - "A-Team" - does it count? Dunno.

    Horror - aside from "The Thing" - "Evil Dead 2", "The Others" which was tastefully done although Kidman is no Kerr.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I actually preferred the Funny Games remake. I thought the performances were all around better and made the film that much darker.

      Delete
    2. Fair enough, I don't agree but there's no argument. I felt the film was exactly the same as it was intended, though brought down from Michael Pitt's performance.

      Delete
  12. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978). I think it's fairly acclaimed and recognized at this point but it's not enough. This is one of the greatest horror movies of all time!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Struggling here and it's been awhile since I saw it but I remember liking the The Amityville Horror remake - maybe it's because I had poor taste or maybe it's because as a handsome (according to my mother AND grandmother thank you), bearded Canadian I'm biased towards Ryan Reynolds. I watched the original for the first time last SMM and though I did like it, I didn't think it was really any better than the remake. But like I said it's been awhile so feel free to tell me why I'm wrong!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll back you up. They both have things to like, and the remake has at least 1 groan inducing moment for me (finger + forehead), but at least it moves. The original is so deliberately paced that I find it a chore to watch. It feels like a movie playing in slow mo. I prefer the remake for it's brighter color palette and its pace.

      Delete
  14. The remade Assault on Precinct 13 is a terrific pic; I totally dug that movie. And, while I haven't seen the originals of either, I am utterly unable to imagine McQueen's Thomas Crown Affair being superior to Brosnan's. No way, Jose. :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thomas Crowne Affair is a great pick. Brosnan and Russo have great chemistry. Supporting cast is stellar (even Dennis Leary). And the final heist synced up to Nina Simone's Sinnerman is perfect.

      Delete
  15. The 1981 Sean Connery Movie Outland, is kind of a sci-fi remake of High Noon. It's also pretty underrated in my view. I really like it though, because it fits a place in my viewing history. This was the first time I'd ever seen a Sci-Fi movie that wasn't a thrill ride. It was a serious movie about serious things, and for some reason I really dug that as a kid. I keep thinking it should be up there with Blade Runner.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a remake? I had no idea! I love it. It's got a great cast, great pacing; a slow build-up of tension (slow by today's standards), great sets.

      Delete
  16. I really like the House on Haunted Hill and 13 Ghosts remakes. I think HoHH is a very entertaining and scary horror flick, with an unfortunately terrible ending. Great acting, inventive scares (this was the first Jittery ghost I had ever seen!), and a good to great cast. Rush kills it in that freaking movie.
    13 Ghosts I like because it was BIG, and it tried so damn hard to be something new and scary. I don't think it all works, and some of the lines are so terrible they make you winch, but for every misstep they did 5 things right. The design of the house and the ghosts alone should have garnered more praise. Can you imagine what it was like filming inside that place? My guess, a fucking nightmare of reflected crew, cameras, booms, and equipment. It was different from the original, while still keeping some of the playfulness.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I am not sure if it fully counts as a remake but King Kong (2005) is pretty underrated to me. I thought Peter Jackson did a really good job exploring the world Kong came from. Sure theres no great acting performances but I will still watch the movie if it's ever on TV.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I kind of enjoyed King Kong (2005) too.

      Delete
  18. I thought Ray and Walk The Line were pretty good remakes of The Buddy Holly Story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Like. Also, Walk Hard. :-)

      Delete
  19. A few I dig are The Taking of Pelahm 123, Poseidon, Alfie and The Karate Kid

    ReplyDelete
  20. Never Say Never Again, one of the very rare modern instances of a remake being superior to the original (Thunderball). If you put the two side by side, Never Say Never Again wins in almost every respect; a better lead villain, a shorter underwater fight (Thunderball is a great example of "we have this cool new filming tech, so we're REALLY going to over use it"), a better Bond Girl in Kim Basinger over Claudine Auger and it really, really doesn't have that horrible fast-motion boat chase from the end of Thunderball. A better Felix in NSNA, too.

    The only place, really, where Thunderball wins this fight is having Luciana Paluzzi as Fiona Volpe, one of the best Bond movie henchmen; she deserved a far better movie than the one she was stuck with. (I'll also accept an argument for how they steal the nuke, which is a pretty good bit.)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Off the top of my head these ones came to mind:

    A Star is Born (76): This is one is my favourite version of the three adaptations. The live music performances are incredible. The energy is so alive to me. I am hoping now I'm seeing the DVD about more people will see it. At one point I had to hunt down a video copy.

    Something's Gotta Give: I'm not sure if this really counts but to me this a fantastic romcom that is much more than you would expect. I remember Patrick recommended it on a podcast once and it made me happy that more people might give it a chance and that I wasn't just a select few in my admiration of it.

    Bedazzled: I think I prefer this to the original in terms of sketches and wackiness. Apart from the Nun section in the original, which is one of the best things.

    Cat people: This is a tricky one because it is a mess and not a great movie but it is worth a watch. Now you have to put the practically perfect original and take this on its own. I have to admire the gumshen for lack of subtext when it comes to explorinf the theme of sexuality.

    The Parent Trap: I really have a soft spot for this and find the relationship between the two leads genuine and very sweet. A very enjoyable film.

    You've got mail: This is a no brainer. I love this movie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Cat People" is a great choice! I didn't even think of that! "You've got Mail" is one of two movies I've walked out on in the theater. In my top 5 worst of all time.

      Delete
    2. I don't think that is fair to put it in your top 5 worst... especially when In the good old summertime is the forgotten remake of Shop around the corner. That movie is painful. I think I defend You've got mail better here: www.outsidetheframe.co.uk/?p=126

      Delete
    3. If you like Cat people I did an essay with that, the original and The Company of Wolves. Have you seen The company if wolves? It is definitely worth a spin

      Delete
  22. Since both True Grits are appropriately rated and I never saw the original Maltese Falcon, War of the Worlds or Thing I'm going with one of my personal favorites, Kiss of Death. The original is a noir classic but the remake is wrongly hated. Maybe the movie got it's bad reputation because David Caruso has an unlikeable personality but he's giving a maximum effort, and you also have Sam Jackson giving the typical great Samuel L. performance before he got over-exposed. Nick Cage is cast against type as a roided out thug who is legitimately frightening and he's riveting in every scene he's in. Helen Hunt is mediocre as usual, but check out this murderer's row of oddball character actors and tough guys:
    Stanley Tucci , Michael Rapaport, Ving Rhames and Philip Baker Hall and a taut script by a master of neo-noir thrillers, Richard Price: (Clockers, Ransom, Night and the City and Sea of Love.) Kiss of Death is great noir and an under-rated gem.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I love the remake for Sabrina. I think it's vastly superior to the dull original (even though I love Bogie but he didn't care enough about that movie to try), and it takes me to a happy place. I completely disagree that the two leads don't have chemistry. And how did that leading lady not become a star?

    ReplyDelete
  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  25. lots of good horror remakes:
    The Hills Have Eyes (nasty and legit disturbing)
    Maniac (arty horror, so good!)
    etc.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I don't think it's underrated but it's worth mentioning that Oceans Eleven is a remake. It's such a solid remake that most people don't know that it's not original. other than that, I really despise remakes. I think that the probability of a remake being really bad is too high to warrant any interest. I'm fine with sequels that come after movies because there have been some pleasant surprises. My opinion is that if a sequel is bad you just movie on, whereas a shoddy remake can tarnish the original.

    ReplyDelete