As Dinner for Schmucks screened last week, the public and critics were looking forward to another classic from the hilarious Steve Carrell. However what we got instead was an unfunny re-hash of a perfectly good French film Le Dîner de Cons (literally translated as The dinner of B*stards). This got us thinking, why does Hollywood insist on making these painful remakes? We take a look at, in our opinion, the top ten worst remakes. Get ready to cringe…
The Original: The A- Team, a television series in the 80’s that was hugely popular.
The Remake: The A-Team, a feature film starring Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Quinton Jackson, and Sharlto Copley.
Flop Factor: Die-hard fans hated it, first-time viewers hated it, even the original cast hated it. People declared it ruined their childhood memories of the original, the script was terrible and there was a serious overdose of testosterone.
The Original: Psycho, 1960, directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
The Remake: Psycho, 1988, directed by Gus Van Zant
Flop Factor: Well, for starters, who on earth cast Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates? It got two Golden Raspberry Awards, one for Worst Remake or Sequel and the other for Worst Director. That says it all really doesn’t it?
The Original: The Italian Job, 1969, starring Michael Caine.
The Remake: The Italian Job, 2003, starring Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron and Donald Sutherland.
Flop Factor: The original is considered something of a British institution and one of the best films of all time, so why they felt a remake was necessary is beyond us. The film itself is generally not thought of as that terrible, but it is certainly not a patch on the original.
The Original: Abre los Ojos (Open Your Eyes), 1997, with Penélope Cruz
The Remake: Vanilla Sky, 2001, with Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Penélope Cruz (in the same role)
Flop Factor: Although the plot is very complex (or even confusing), the original received very positive reviews and was hailed as remarkable and beautiful. The remake however, got negative reviews on the whole and it was thought that Cruise, who both produced and starred in the film was using it to fulfil his narcissistic desires.
The Original: Planet of the Apes, 1968, starring Charlton Heston and directed by Franklin J. Schaffner.
The Remake: Planet of the Apes, 2001, starring Mark Wahlberg, Helen Bonham Carter and directed by Tim Burton
Flop Factor: The original was considered to be one of the best of the year and it is still one of the greatest movies for a lot of people. Despite having Tim Burton, the remake didn’t quite work. Viewers thought the actors were too covered in prosthetics and make-up to actually see any acting and the ambiguous ending really threw everyone off course.
The Original: Alfie, 1966, with Michael Caine and directed by Lewis Gilbert.
The Remake: Alfie, 2004, with Jude Law and Sienna Miller.
Flop Factor: The 1966 version won the Special Jury Prize at Cannes Film Festival and was also nominated for several Academy Awards. Jude Law’s version of course couldn’t live up to that, he’s no Michael Caine, is he? And all anyone remembers about it is that it’s when he got together with Sienna Miller for the first time.
The Original: The Vanishing , 1988, directed by George Sluizer.
The Remake: The Vanishing, 1993 from the same director but for an English audience rather than Dutch or French, starring Kiefer Sutherland and Sandra Bullock.
Flop Factor: Described by Time Out’s Nigel Floyd as “a misjudged, lobotomized Hollywood remake,” it clearly did not live up to the critically acclaimed original, which was terrifying without any hint of clichés.
The Original: The Innocents, 1961, starring Deborah Kerr, Michael Redgrave and Megs Jenkins, directed by Jack Clayton and screenplay by William Archibald and Truman Capote.
The Remake: The Others, 2001, directed by Alejandro Amenábar, starring Nicole Kidman.
Flop Factor: Both films are based on the novella The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, a ghost story published in 1868. The Innocents is regularly described by critics as one of the best psychological thrillers ever made and the legendary Martin Scorsese placed the film on his list of the 11 scariest horror films of all time. The Others on the other hand, although it won some awards in Spain and Nicole Kidman was awarded a BAFTA, it just wasn’t as frightening as the original that genuinely left the viewer shook up.
The Original: L’ultimo bacio, 2001, directed by Gabriele Muccino.
The Remake: The Last Kiss, 2006, starring Zach Braff and Rachel Bilson.
Flop Factor: There is nothing technically wrong with the remake, the acting is pretty good, the screenplay isn’t too bad, it’s just the ending that caves into Hollywood conventions and lets it down. The Italian version is entertaining and moving but above all realistic, whereas the American has just a little too much of that Hollywood sugar coating.
The Original: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, 1974, directed by Tobe Hooper and written collaboratively by Hooper and Kim Henkel
The Remake: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, 2003, co-produced by Kim Henkel and Tobe Hooper, who were part of the original.
Flop Factor: The original is one of the most successful independent films of all time. It caused a lot of controversy at the time because of the violence and gory special effects, but that didn’t stop people recognising it as a film that absorbed the viewer while terrifying them at the same time. The remake just tried too hard to scare us, so we weren’t scared at all. Not surprisingly it was nominated for a 2004 Golden Raspberry Award for ‘Worst Remake/Sequel’
Well, what have we learnt? I think it’s fair to take away from this that it’s just not worth making a remake, especially if the original received lots of awards and was critically acclaimed. It also appears that the 60s was a great decade for films, as most of the classics on our list are from then. So, Hollywood, listen up – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it and save yourselves some cash in the process!