Thursday, August 25, 2011

David Cronenberg Blogathon, The Hangover/Simpsons remake, & 25 Pre-Fame Stars

As many of you may or may not know (or care), this blog is a member of the Large Association of Movie Blogs (yes, "LAMB"). They have a monthly Director's Chair feature, wherein LAMB sites submit their reviews and articles on particular directors. Much to my delight, they chose the fantastic artist David Cronenberg for this month's session. The feature goes up later today, so please read and enjoy.

I submitted my own reviews of Eastern Promises and Spider, as well as my link to a BBC documentary on "The Cinema of the Extreme," which is a perfect fit for this amazing Canadian man. I won't link to them here, because I already have a Cronenberg tag, and you can use that to see what I have to say about him.

Moving right along, the Film Drunk has posted to point out: a major Hollywood blockbuster follows not only a lot of the plot of one episode of The Simpsons, they use a lot of the same visuals too. What do I mean?

Vegas is a popular film destination, and it will naturally have a lot of the same imagery - chapels, desert, neon casino exteriors or brightly-lit interiors. Naturally, various stock people/performers will also appear; waitresses, blackjack dealers, and lounge singers are pretty much a given. It's ridiculous to compare, right?

Well, consider that in "Viva Ned Flanders," Ned and Homer Simpson run into famed boxer "Drederick Tatum" (what a great name) while they're in Vegas. In "The Hangover," the cast meets Tatum's obvious real-life inspiration, Mike Tyson. And that's only one thing they have in common.

The Film Drunk is on the money here. That image above is only one of a whole line of side-by-side comparison shots. And that was actually one of the last episodes I saw, so I should've noticed it - except that I haven't seen The Hangover yet.

I think given what you can see on the site, you can't say that The Hangover ripped off Viva Ned Flanders, just that The Hangover's creators were probably Simpsons fans, in which case they were, at best, unconsciously very very inspired by it. Like, they probably saw it in syndication the week before they started writing their movie...

But that's only "sort of" a remake, right? The news that actually qualifies as terminal remake-itis is that one company picked up the remake rights to 69 Akira Kurosawa films (pause for the token "69! woohoo!"). Unless you have no interest in film, you should already know that Kurosawa is one of the most respected and revered directors of all time. He made many films, and he made them very well.

And anyone should know, like Madonna when she covered Don McLean's "American Pie," that when you try to remake a classic, you better step very smartly. Anything less will result in extreme criticism and a harsh response from your audience. It is entirely possible that there are people out there who could remake Roshoman or Throne of Blood or Ran and do it justice - Jim Jarmusch, Steven Soderbergh, PT Anderson, David Cronenberg, David Fincher, and Darren Aronofsky spring to mind.

But what are the odds that these clever, skilled, gifted and inventive artists will be assigned to these projects. What are the odds that most of these 69 (again, sigh, a pause) won't be produced at all? Wouldn't that just make this a "money-for-nothing" deal? And what are the odds that if one of these potential remakes is a flop, that other remakes will not receive a green light?

Well, I posted three days ago that a Disney exec announced to the world that he thinks that story doesn't matter, so long as you make a big-budget summer blockbuster. Please take my cynicism in stride, and please try to consider: if an artist boldly announced that he was "the next Picasso" or the next Michael Jackson (curse you, 'Hove), how skeptical would you be? A lot I hope. It's easy to run your mouth, it's another to back it up, and Akira Kurosawa never had a problem backing up his aesthetic choices...

But now I'm getting too serious. Finally, here's a video containing some of the earliest work from 25 genuine modern stars. Enjoy the embarrassment, please. Even though actors gotta work, I sure enjoyed it...

Who do you think comes out worst? Everybody's gotta work, right?


  1. I've watched it twice now and here's what I've decided:

    Worst hair - tie, Daniel Craig & Sarah Jessica Parker
    Worst movie - The Sandra Bullock one
    Worst performance - They all show a flash of why they were eventually successful, so I'm not going to pick one

  2. =) A perfectly fair, concise analysis!


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