When they just keep making the same old movies | NevadaAppeal.com

When they just keep making the same old movies

Barry Smith

Everything old is new again. I didn’t make up that line, by the way. I’m just recycling it – like the way Hollywood is recycling television shows and movies with a vigor I can’t compare to any other time.

Why come up with a fresh idea when you can simply recast “The Longest Yard” with younger actors (not counting Burt Reynolds)?

They say that when you boil them down, there are only seven basic plot lines. That may be true, but they don’t have to keep making the same movie over and over.

“Star Wars,” which opened Thursday, is technically a new movie, I guess, but since we already have seen the sequel and know exactly what the plot is going to be, it hardly counts as a new idea.

For crying out loud, it’s been 28 years since the original “Star Wars” movie. You’d think somebody would have warned the Republic by now.

Here are some movies coming out this summer you won’t need to see because you’ve already seen them. Or, in some cases, didn’t bother to see the first time because they weren’t that good.

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n “Bad News Bears.” I’ve never actually watched the whole original 1976 movie, because it was possible to glean the entire plot from the trailers. I’m sure I missed a considerable amount of cute cleverness, but I’ve managed to live these past 29 years without it being part of my cultural consciousness.

n “King Kong.” This will be at least the third try for the giant ape, after Fay Wray in 1933 and Jessica Lange in 1976. Apparently it’s the year to revive 1976 movies, as the “Pink Panther” is also getting another shot.

In case you’re wondering, here are some movies from 1976 that aren’t being remade (at least, as far as I know): “Futureworld,” “Gator,” “Car Wash” and “That’s Entertainment Part 2.” One from 1976 that they could remake, but shouldn’t: “The Shootist.”

n “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” Johnny Depp is in the Gene Wilder role as Willy. You would be better off spending your money on every book Roald Dahl wrote. By the way, did you know Dahl coined the term “gremlin”?

n “House of Wax.” Oh, my. They remade a 1953 Vincent Price classic with Paris Hilton? The end of the world lurches a little bit nearer. (I didn’t make up that line, either.)

n “War of the Worlds.” Scarier as an Orson Welles radio broadcast.

n “My Friend Flicka.” Read the book by Mary O’Hara. Or just rent the 1943 film with Roddy McDowell as the boy who tames a hard-headed colt.

n “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” James Thurber’s classic short story, already a pretty good 1947 movie with Danny Kaye, will get Jim Carrey’s treatment in the title role. Better than Paris Hilton, I suppose.

n “The Birds.” Why people think they can do a better job of directing an Alfred Hitchcock thriller than Alfred Hitchcock is beyond me.

n “Amityville Horror.” I suppose they can keep trying until they get it right.

n “The Poseidon Adventure.” Ernest Borgnine, Shelley Winters and Gene Hackman helped make one of the earliest disaster movies that wasn’t a total disaster. If you watch it again, look for the religious symbolism as the minister (Hackman in the movie) leads his disciples.

A sure sign that Hollywood has run out of ideas, though, is summer movies based on TV shows, which weren’t good enough to be movies in the first place:

n “Bewitched.” Yeah, it made for pretty entertaining television – if you were a kid in the 1960s and had an easily suspendible sense of disbelief. The question here will be, which Darrin makes the movie?

n “The Honeymooners.” A great television show, to be sure, but for two very specific reasons – Art Carney and Jackie Gleason. Got two guys of that caliber around today? If so, Hollywood doesn’t know about ’em. It cast Cedric The Entertainer and Mike Epps.

n “Dukes of Hazzard.” The only thing I really miss, other than Daisy Duke, is the sound of the tires squealing as The General barreled through a high-speed turn on a dirt road. Nobody has been able to explain yet how rubber squeals on dirt.

The list is actually quite a bit longer than I’ve included here. But at least there’s one original summer movie out there, “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.”

My wife and I agree they got the casting right – Angelina Jolie playing the part of my wife, Jenny, and Brad Pitt as me.

It’s obvious from the trailer that, although they changed the first names to John and Jane, this is a film based on our lives. Plenty of leaping from buildings, firing automatic weapons with both hands, screeching along city freeways in high-speed chases.

Finally, a movie I can relate to.

n Barry Smith is editor of the Nevada Appeal. Contact him at editor@nevada appeal.com or 881-1221.

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