When people hear the word “remake,” half of the time they immediately cringe. Why? Because we as a culture have been force-fed remakes for the past few years even more so than before. Yes, remakes have always existed in Hollywood, but never to this heavy of a degree. It’s easy to say that we’re in the peak years of the remake boom with no clear end in sight.
We’re on the eve of the release for the Total Recall remake. Many fans are curious to see whether or not this exceeds the Arnold Schwarzenegger cult classic, while others hesitate to give it a shot. While you’re sitting there, mulling about whether or not you’re going to spend your money on a movie ticket for the picture this weekend, let’s run down what we believe is the best remakes to ever have come out. Some of these pictures may surprise you, because you might have never known they were remakes in the first place.
And if you even think that the “Fright Night” remake is on the list then you should just turn around and walk the other way. You’re not welcome here. Honorable mentions, for those that were close to making it on the list but didn’t, include Always, Ocean’s Eleven and Dawn of the Dead.
10. Angels in the Outfield/True Lies
It was too hard trying to exclude one of these movies, so we lumped the two together. Most of you must be wondering, “wait, these two were remakes?” Yes. Angels in the Outfield is based off a movie in the fifties that centered on the Pittsburgh Pirates instead of the California Angels. We know they’re called the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim now but we like the California Angels title from the nineties better. The 1994 remake still contains the same amount of heart as the 1951 original, but it has that extra sprinkle of Disney magic in it along with a goofy but great performance by Christopher Lloyd as the head angel. And we can’t forget seeing a very young Joseph Gordon-Levitt. We’re still secretly hoping that one day he’ll do the famous wing flap on camera once again. Please do it for us sir!
Then there’s True Lies which is easily one of James Cameron‘s best films out there. We know he made Avatar, Titanic and Aliens but do any of those contain Arnold Schwarzenegger spouting off amazing one liners? Or does it have Jamie Lee Curtis pole dancing on a bedpost? No, we didn’t think so. James Cameron and company formed an entertaining action-fest. It’s not as over-the-top comical as it’s original, the 1991 French film La Totale!, but it still dishes out the laughs.
9. An Affair to Remember
Who would have thought that a romantic film starring the great Cary Grant was actually a remake? Well one of his better known films, An Affair to Remember, is that particular picture. It’s just the kind of starry eyed romantic movie that you don’t see being made nowadays, so please don’t even try to remake this (even though Warren Beaty did in the 90′s). The charming film encompasses the kind of overwhelming feeling and longing for that one true love that each person has felt in their lives. If you haven’t yet, go watch this movie.
Shortly after Ron Howard had his brush with Academy fame, he dove into the remake pool and pulled out Ransom. At this point actors Mel Gibson and Gary Sinise had received international fame for their roles in other popular movies such as Forest Gump and Braveheart, so at the time it was exciting to see the two end up as onscreen adversaries in this movie. Although the original was already a hardcore drama, starring the likes of Glenn Ford and Leslie Nielsen, Ron Howard’s interpretation of the hard hitting drama left an impression on us.
7. The Birdcage
Whoever doesn’t absolutely love the hilarious 1996 comedy The Birdcage makes us so sad. This is easily one of the better comedies to pop out in theaters within the past twenty years, but it’s not an original. It’s actually based off of La Cage Aux Folles, a film from 1978 that actually began as a play. What is it with the French and comedies? They certainly know how to pull them off, and everyone involved with The Birdcage, especially actor Nathan Lane, did a superb job throwing out the laughs. Now we want to watch this again.
6. Heaven Can Wait
It appears as if most people associate Warren Beatty with either Bugsy or, dare we say it, his very brief cameo in that Madonna documentary Madonna: Truth or Dare released back in the early nineties. He’s done a number of fine pictures, one of those being Heaven Can Wait. A remake of the 1941 movie Here Comes Mr. Jordan, it tells the story of a man whose spirit was pulled out of his body too soon and has to reside in the body of a millionaire for the time being. But with this interpretation of the tale, our hero begins as a quarterback for a team trudging their way along towards the Superbowl. It has the cute tropes of comedy sprinkled in along the way with a rather nice love story in the middle of it all.
5. A Fistful of Dollars
Filmmaker Sergio Leone is one of the masters of westerns made in the last fifty or so years. His movies are absolutely legendary, and the one we’re touching upon is A Fistful of Dollars. A few years before this badass movie was made, Akira Kurosawa made yet one of his many classic movies known as Yojimbo. Leone and company saw it, spun it around and did their own take on the lone traveler trying to unite a town torn apart by the gang activity taking place within it. In Leone’s version Clint Eastwood stars as our lone wolf, and what an amazingly cool wolf he is. We know that there’s a number of Akira Kurosawa movies that have been remade ergo Americanized during the years, but this one is our favorite.
4. The Omega Man
Yes, we know that I Am Legend is also a remake of Vincent Price’s The Last Man on Earth, but we’ll tell you why we prefer The Omega Man over the more recent film. Instead of being a poor CGI-fest, Boris Sagal’s The Omega Man contains action, the forever slick Charlton Heston and all the bellbottoms in the world being worn by some fashionable zombie apocalypse survivors. Not everyone may be keen on this version, just because of it’s slower pace that our short attention span generation isn’t used to, but it has sweet action, scary make-up and a rocking seventies score. Plus that and it has a scene which pretty much sums up how incredibly awesome Charlton Heston is in the seventies. There’s a scene where he’s chilling in a sweet apartment, sipping down some scotch and shooting the undead from his posh digs. Yeah, that rocks.
Brian De Palma’s version of Scarface at this point is the only one that most average movie-goers will recognize. In some of their minds it’s the one and only Scarface that’s in existence. Wrong. Back in 1932, in the thick of the Great Depression, Howard Hawks made the gripping gangster drama of a man’s rise and fall in the criminal world. Brian De Palma took advantage of the horrible drug cartel rings surrounding Florida in the 1980s and sculpted it into his own interpretation of the gangster tale. What we have now is what people consider to be De Palma’s most popular and iconic film to date.
2. The Fly
David Cronenberg you son of a gun, you sure can freak audiences out yet mesmerize them at the same time. We’re referring to his remake of the 1958 horror drama The Fly. This version not only shows the mental decay and true terror that our main character Seth (Jeff Goldblum) is going through, but the physical deterioration as he slowly transforms into a horrific creature that his lover (Geena Davis) can’t even bear to stand after awhile. It’s tragic, gruesome and just an overall horror classic.
1. John Carptenter’s The Thing
Now for our number one pick. Even though many have considered this to be the original film compared to last year’s remake of the same title, John Carpenter’s The Thing is simply one of the best horror thriller remakes to date. The original The Thing from Another World, is directed by Christian Nyby and Howard Hawks. What do you know, another Howard Hawks film successfully remodeled for a new generation of hungry movie-goers. Between the excellent cast, soft but strong score and brilliant direction from John Carpenter, one of the masters of horror, this amazing movie was born. It’s one of those movies that you see on television and no matter what part in the story it’s at you can’t but help to sit there and watch it all the way to the end. And we wish we can grow a monstrously awesome beard like Kurt Russell does in that film.
What’s your favorite remake?