Happy October! We're almost there, folks.
That was a pretty quick September, wasn't it? We had some Denzel, that wasn't so bad. Tom Hanks captained something, that's always fun. Bridget Jones even had a baby, how nice. But now we're here, now we're into the good stuff. October, November, and December have been very good to us over the years (remember, The Martian came out on October 2, 2015). Let's all settle in and let the adults entertain us for a while, aside from our podcast of course.
Five Disney Movies Worth Remaking
“The war on remakes is over. We lost. Now we just have to hope the studios pick the right movies to remake with the right people.” This has become my mantra over the last few years and I’ve repeated it ad nauseam to any friend or listener who complains about the remake phenomenon in general. In an ideal world, sure, we’d be treated to far more original concept big budget movies than perpetual reboots but we’re seriously talking about Donald Trump becoming our president so obviously this is far from an ideal world. When considering what qualifies for a good remake pick, I look for one of three characteristics:
- An original film that is not good but has an interesting concept;
- An original film that is good but has limited cultural cache;
- An original film that operates in a universe which lends itself to a bigger story and/or a new interpretation.
One of the bigger proponents of the remake/reboot industry is, of course, Disney. This makes sense because The Mouse has a ton of money to throw into these movies and a huge list of films to draw upon. 2016 has brought with it two very successful Disney live-action remakes (The Jungle Book
and Pete’s Dragon
) and a very unsuccessful sequel to a remake (Alice Through the Looking Glass
) and it seems like not a week goes by without new or rumor of yet another live-action remake headed our way. With that in mind and following the “just pick the right movies” mantra and the above characteristics, here are five classic Disney features that are prime for the live-action remake treatment.
NOTE: I’m tossing out of consideration any movie that has already been remade or is actively being remade in some form or another. Examples: Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, Peter Pan,
Swiss Family Robinson (1960)
I loved this movie as a kid and it holds up quite well, all things considered. Being stranded on a deserted island is of great interest to me because I am terrified of being involved in a shipwreck (honestly I’m terrified of basically anything that happens at sea or a lake or a river) but also I would make a very good hermit and thus, being stranded doesn’t sound all that bad. Add in some wild animals and a super dope tree house and I’m not sure what more you could want in a movie. But I like Swiss Family Robinson
as a remake for two reasons: A.) It has virtually no current cultural relevance with younger generations and B.) There are a couple of different interpretations Disney could take with this just by choosing whether to set it in the early 1800’s, the modern day (You could even work in an angle where the kids are stranded from their phones and tablets, forcing them to think creatively in the real world. Then, obviously, sell tons of tablet and phone games to the audience highlighting this.), or anywhere in between. SFR
has been rumored for remake numerous times so it seems like a natural fit for this list.
The Black Cauldron (1985)
There have been a couple of dark periods for Disney animation and The Black Cauldron
represents one of the darkest. A massive failure on virtually every level, Disney has spent most of the last 30 years pretending this movie never happened. I get it, I like to hide my failures, too (read “my music preferences from age 16 to 22”). But the thing about The Black Cauldron
is it’s actually very good. Or, perhaps more accurately, it’s very interesting. It was ahead of its time before audiences were ready for something this dark in a cartoon. Truth be told, it’s still too dark as a cartoon as I wouldn’t let my kiddo watch it for fear of the nightmares he’d have afterward. But as a live-action feature in 2016, The Black Cauldron
makes a lot of sense if Disney would show a willingness to revisit what has long been considered a dead asset.
Flight of the Navigator (1986)
Show me a human from my generation who didn’t love Flight of the Navigator
as a child and I’ll show you a liar. Flight of the Navigator
perfectly encapsulates the spirit of youth-oriented movies of the 80’s but it could also very easily translate to the current generation. An updated version integrating new technology and better special effects would, I think, find a strong audience while also sending a bit of cultural relevance to the original.
I’m not actually advocating for this one so much as I am pointing out that it is ripe for the plucking. Bambi
was never a particular favorite of mine, even as a kid; I found it boring while simultaneously horrifying given (SPOILER ALERT ON A 70 YEAR OLD MOVIE) the titular character’s mother dies on screen like three minutes into the movie. With that said, in light of the huge success of The Jungle Book
and the assumed success of The Lion King
in the near future, Bambi
absolutely lends itself to the live-action treatment and, in fact, I’m a little surprised it hasn’t already been greenlit.
Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)
I saved the best option for last. Something Wicked This Way Comes
is TERRIFYING. In case you’ve never seen it, the plot goes something like this: “A traveling circus run by an actual demon passes through a small town and it only gets worse from there.” AND THEY SHOWED THIS STUFF IN SCHOOLS!!! I watched this movie in the library of my elementary school and everyone thought that was fine! I’m still scarred by this experience. Even still, has anyone under the age of 25 seen this movie (in a school library or otherwise)? Not many, is my guess. Scary movies are certainly not my jam but I think an updated PG-13 version of Something Wicked
plays like gangbusters to a new crowd and if nothing else, I’m always on board for the proliferation of Ray Bradbury adaptations.
Inside MAM Jokes: Explained
The best thing about our show, in my opinion, is that it's 'conversational' (read: unplanned). I think what sets us apart from some other movie podcasts is that we try to keep things pretty informal and loose (read: lazy). But, because of this--as is the nature of human conversation--we often allow many inside jokes and patterns to recur without properly explaining them. So, fair newsletter subscriber, let me let you in on the secrets of many of our in-jokes and comments. You'll be the better for it and maybe--just maybe--stop asking me about it!
- This is definitely the joke we're asked the most about and, though I've thought about trying to keep it an easter egg, I suppose I'll you guys in on the gag. A few years ago we did a review on a movie called The Spectacular Now.
It was at best...less than spectacular and, at worst, super heavy-handed and dull. Throughout the movie we're informed that our lead character, played by the ALWAYS delightful Miles Teller, has a bit of a drinking problem. How are we informed of this? Well, he carries a styrofoam cup with him through every scene (this kind of trope is only appropriate if it's MacGruber carrying his car stereo). When reviewing the episode I made some joke about The Cup giving a better performance than Miles Teller as kind of a toss away gag that I throw about to (hopefully) hide the fact that I don't know anything about anything. A few minutes later we were talking about casting rumors for an upcoming film (considering this conversation was with Brian and Kent, there is a more than 90% chance this was regarding Star Wars). I suggested that due to his performance in The Spectacular Now, that maybe The Cup could get a look. Since then it's been our absurdist delight in shoehorning The Cup into any casting/acting debate. There you go, The Cup is explained. It's somehow less funny now, isn't it?
OH YEAHHHHH -
A movie (and cultural moment) that doesn't get crapped on enough is Entourage. We've only made this joke (an allusion to Entourage's terrible theme song) a few times, but that's really not enough. From this moment on I pledge to make more jokes at Entourage's Expense. Starting here:
I'm clearly Drama, because that shirt is like a Douch-igan (more on this in a minute), Brian is Turtle because we make him drive us everywhere and he loves Lids, Kent is E, because he's our fearless leader. This podcast just got 10x sicker, bro.
Now You See Me
- The only joke here is that this film was made..and then made again.
- I, Richard Bardon IV, enjoy a cardigan. I'm not ashamed to admit it. I realize this is currently in style, but even when it's not. It's my thing. Deal with it.
Brian's "Wife" and "Child"
- We're not entirely sure if Brian knows this is a joke or not, but Brian lives alone with 14 cats. He's never been on a date and children are terrified of him. Either way, it's funny, I guess.
New to Home Viewing in October
Each month in this space, we take a look at what movies and TV shows you’ll be able to (legally) watch in the comfort of your own home in the coming weeks. I recommend a couple of properties I enjoy, highlight one I haven’t seen but I’m looking forward to checking out, and something I desperately want you to avoid. I’m just doing my part to help you make smart decisions with your precious free time. Am I a hero? I’ll let you be the judge of that.
WHAT I’VE SEEN AND YOU SHOULD, TOO: Lethal Weapon 1-4 – Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci, Chris Rock (Available on Amazon Prime)
Once considered the gold standard for action movies and action movie franchises, the Lethal Weapon movies have fallen out of the cultural zeitgeist in the last two decades to the point of irrelevance. I will not stand for this. It’s been a long while since I’ve seen this series and I’m not sure how well they hold up in 2016 (I sincerely doubt LW4 works now since it barely worked in 1998) but if for no other reason than nostalgia, I cannot recommend the Lethal Weapon movies highly enough.
MAY I ALSO RECOMMEND: All of the Richard Linklater films
It’s a big month for Certified Mad About Movies Favorite Richard Linklater. Boyhood receives the Criterion Collection treatment (October 11th), Before Sunrise and Before Sunset are headed to Amazon Prime, and Dazed and Confused finally hits Netflix. All of these films are great in one way or another. I might have Boyhood as the best movie of the decade thus far (with apologies to Now You See Me) and Dazed and Confused is an all-time favorite. Really, you can’t go wrong with any of these gems and if you’ve been looking for a way to catch up on the Linklater filmography, now is your time.
Listen to our Boyhood episode here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/boyhood/id600020121?i=1000368458186&mt=2
WHAT I HAVEN’T SEEN BUT INTEND TO: Hunt for the Wilderpeople – Sam Neill, Julian Dennison, Rima Te Wiata (Available on Blu-Ray/DVD October 25)
In between last year’s hilarious mockumentary What We Do in Shadows and next year’s big budget turn Thor: Ragnarok, Taika Waititi slid in this well-received indie film that has been recommended to me a number of times. Wilderpeople has broken records for iTunes purchases in recent weeks and the buzz has only grown.
WHAT I’VE SEEN SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO: Independence Day Resurgence – Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Jesse T. Usher (Available on Blu-Ray/DVD October 18th)
In a year overrun with unnecessary prequels, sequels, and reboots, Independence Day Resurgence stands out as the MOST unnecessary. (And yes, I know this statement is a SERIOUS accusation.) Resurgence possesses literally none of the elements that made ID4 such a smash hit and kept it relevant for 20 years. There have been worse movies this year but I don’t think there are any that I actually HATE more than this one.
Listen to our Independence Day Resurgence episode here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/independence-day-resurgence/id600020121?i=1000371468895&mt=2
October 4th – X-Men Apocalypse, Preacher Season 1, It, Miami Vice Complete Series, The Purge Election Year, Swiss Army Man, Middle Earth Ultimate Edition, American Horror Story Hotel
October 11th – Ghostbusters: Answer the Call, Tarzan, Ice Age Collision Course, The Bloodfather, The Thing (Collector’s Edition), Carrie (Collector’s Edition), The Infiltrator
October 18th – Alice Through the Looking Glass, Pan’s Labyrinth (Criterion Collection), Café Society, Our Kind of Traitor, Bates Motel Season 4
October 25th – Lights Out, Nerve, Captain Fantastic
NETFLIX – 13th, American Horror Story: Hotel, Arrow Season 4, Barbershop 2: Back in Business, Big Eyes, Black Mirror Season 3, Blue Streak, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Fall Season 3, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Flash Season 2, Ghost Town, The Grinder, Grizzly Man, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, iZombie Season 2, Jesus Camp, Justin Timberlake and the Tennessee Kids, Kung Fu Panda 3, Legends of Tomorrow Season 1, Mascots, Once Upon a Time in the West, The Originals Season 3, Patton, The Queen of the Damned, Quiz Show, Snake Eyes, Snow Day, Sphere, Supernatural Season 11, Three Kings, Titanic, Unforgiven, The Vampire Diaries Season 7, Without a Paddle
AMAZON – American Horror Story: Hotel, Bowling for Columbine, Chinatown, Congo, Deep Impact, The Devil’s Advocate, Dreamcatcher, Final Destination, Eye in the Sky, The Gift, Goliath, Happy Gilmore, The Host, Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2, Joyride, The Last Waltz, Let the Right One In, Lethal Weapon 1-4, Misery, Monsters, Nick of Time, North Dallas Forty, The Patriot, The Pink Panther Movies, Pride and Prejudice, Quigley Down Under, Secretary, Slap Shot, Spectre, Shine a Light, Stigmata, Throw Momma From the Train, Timecrimes, Training Day, Troll 1-2, Trollhunter, Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil, True Colors, The Warriors, The Witches