Weekly Ketchup

Yearly Ketchup: The Most Rotten Ideas of 2011

We take a look back at the worst ideas to come through the Hollywood pipeline.

by | December 30, 2011 | Comments

Last week, we brought you the Freshest Developments in the film industry for each month of 2011. This week, we’re going to bring you the most Rotten Ideas, one for each month. The big trend this year continued to be unnecessary remakes, and in 2011, some of the announced remakes and reboots were… Well, let’s just say there were some real doozies!


The Most Rotten Ideas of 2011

JANUARY: HOLLYWOOD, YOU’RE ALSO GETTING TOO OLD FOR THIS $#*&… THE LETHAL WEAPON REBOOT

Hollywood’s love affair with remaking and rebooting the industry’s past hits was far from a secret as 2011 began, but from the start, it became obvious that it would become even more of an obsession in 2011. January got the year started with the news that Warner Bros was developing a reboot of Lethal Weapon, starting over with a new pair of leads, now that Mel Gibson and Danny Glover truly are “too old for this s***.”

FEBRUARY: AND IIIII-AYY-IIIII WILL ALWAYS HATE REBOOOOOTS: THE BODYGUARD

Going through 2011, and seeing the sheer number of reboots and remakes that were bandied about each month, picking just one story to single out was sometimes tricky. In February, the options included the reboots of Highlander and Soapdish (of all things). The Highlander reboot has actually been around since before 2011, so Warner Bros’ plans to revisit the 1992 Kevin Costner/Whitney Houston romance The Bodyguard gets some extra attention instead. Like another reboot that made the news a few months later (see below), the #1 reason that The Bodyguard is a bad choice to remake or reboot is that the first film’s success sets the bar way too high for any remake. What’s the chances of lightning striking twice?

MARCH: NEVER SAY NEVER TO THE G.I. JOE SEQUEL

Paramount Pictures recently released the first teaser trailer for G.I. Joe: Retaliation, the sequel to 2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. The reactions from many movie fans was quite positive, possibly because of the involvement of both Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Bruce Willis (as the “original” Joe). When one thinks back, however, to the G.I. Joe sequel news of March, one has to wonder if most fans aren’t aware exactly who would be directing that sequel. The answer, of course, is one Jon Chu, whose previous films include Step Up 2: The Streets, Step Up 3D and, most recently, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never. So, the possible answer here might be that long running connection between “music video directors” and “action movie directors” (see also: Michael Bay, etc). Chu’s previous movies are arguably just really long music videos, after all. The answer as to whether or not the guy behind the Justin Bieber movie can deliver a great G.I. Joe movie will be answered when the movie’s released on June 29, 2012.

APRIL: THE TIME BANDITS REMAKE IS ACTUALLY A PRETTY GOOD ANALOGY FOR THE FUTILITY OF TRYING TO RELIVE THE PAST

Whereas the Fresh Developments last week were chosen more than partly for the “size” of each news item, for the Rotten Ideas, it’s more about which ideas sounded the most horrible. April (just around April Fool’s Day, too) delivered the story of the producers of the CGI animated movie Planet 51 wanting to develop a remake of the Terry Gilliam fantasy Time Bandits. The original film blended time travel, adventuring little people and a Spielbergian sense of youthful awe into a magical action adventure that still holds up nearly 30 years later. If anything, perhaps Time Bandits should be considered as a candidate for a rerelease in 3D… but it definitely does not need to be remade, rebooted, or re-whatevered.

MAY: EVERYTHING’S GETTING REMADE, SO YEAH, WHY NOT ANOTHER SEVEN SAMURAI REMAKE? (SIGH)

Obviously, there were remakes well before this modern resurgence of them. In particular, foreign films used to be quite commonly remade in English because, in the years before home video (and the Internet), many people could never see the original films, and remakes were a way of expanding the audience. Today, none of that can be used as an excuse, but Hollywood keeps making English remakes, even for hit movies that were just in American theaters a year ago (David Fincher, we’re looking at you!). Anyway, the most Rotten Idea of May was arguably the Weinstein Company’s decision to remake Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, but this time in modern Thailand, with the samurai being adapted as being “paramilitary contractors.”

JUNE: SHALL WE PLAY A GAME… OR SEE A REMAKE OF WAR GAMES?

Although the current remake surge does cover films from other decades, without a doubt, the 1980s remain the favorite source to draw upon (until the pool runs dry and the 1990s become the next target, that is). Few movies are as quintessentially “1980s” as WarGames, the 1983 military thriller starring Matthew Broderick as a teen hacker who unlocks computer secrets that could start World War III. And one of the studios most involved in greenlighting remakes these days is MGM; even when MGM was having money problems, the studio still had the funds to develop remakes of 1980s movies like Red Dawn and RoboCop. And so, MGM has hired director Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses, Four Christmases) to develop a remake of WarGames for the 21st century. One has to guess that this time around, the teenager will find the military computer on… what? Facebook?

Mike Medavoy

JULY: THE CAPTAIN PLANET MOVIE: YOU WILL BELIEVE A MAN CAN HAVE BLUE SKIN AND A GREEN MULLET

If the Yearly Ketchup was just a straight list of the 12 most Rotten Ideas of 2011, it’s possible that all 12 stories might have been remakes. But it’s not, and so when we get to July, Hollywood seemed to be taking a short break from remake fever. Unless, of course, you count movie versions of animated TV shows from the 1990s, in which case, it was business as usual. Transformers producer Don Murphy and Cartoon Network are now teaming up to develop a movie based upon the animated series Captain Planet. Captain Planet was, of course, a rather hamfisted “green friendly” cartoon about a group of kids called the Planeteers who could summon Captain Planet in their battle against polluters and such. Just two months later, Don Cheadle starred in a Funny or Die spoof trailer about that very concept, by the way.

AUGUST: DIRTY DANCING TO GET REMADE TOO; AT LEAST IT WAS, BEFORE FOOTLOOSE CAME ALONG

And now, back to more remakes. Musicals have always been a bit more prone to remakes than some other genres (except horror, that is). One reason is that changing tastes in music can allow for an old idea to be dusted off in a new genre, as in the various remakes of A Star is Born (which is also being remade by Clint Eastwood, with Beyonce starring, when she’s done with her current pregnancy). But in the case of the new plans to remake Dirty Dancing, that’s not even the case, as the plan is to go right back to the original early 1960s setting, and use a lot of the same music too. The biggest problem here appears to be pretty simple: who exactly can replace Patrick Swayze? Well, that’s Kenny Ortega’s conundrum to solve, and the fact that he is the guy behind High School Musical probably gives us a clue: Ortega’s choice for the new Johnny Castle more than likely rhymes with Back Saffron.

SEPTEMBER: JUST ANOTHER SCARFACE IN THE CROWD

September may have been a slow month for Fresh Developments, but there were plenty of Rotten Ideas, such as the planned remake of Point Break and the idea of a sequel to Beetlejuice. The most Rotten Idea of the month, however, is arguably indisputable: Universal Pictures is developing a new Scarface. Admittedly, Brian de Palma’s 1983 film was itself a remake of the 1932 film starring Paul Muni, but it also has the distinction of becoming a cultural landmark more memorable than the original. The plan this time around is for the new Scarface to represent a different culture than the first two films (Italians and Cubans), although exactly what that might be is not yet known (Russians? Mexicans? Who knows?).

OCTOBER: HOLLYWOOD’S LOVE AFFAIR WITH HORSEY MOVIES EXTENDS TO MISTER ED TOO

If there’s a trend in Hollywood more annoying to many adults than the constant barrage of remakes from their collective youth, it might very well be talking animal movies, especially when they’re also adaptations of TV shows well past their prime. Usually, they manifest as things like the Alvin and the Chipmunks movies. In October, we found out that Fox 2000 and the producer of the Doctor Dolittle and Big Momma’s House franchises has his eye on adapting the 1960s TV show Mister Ed. Mister Ed was, of course, an old black and white TV show about a man with a pet horse who could talk, but only talked to him, leaving everyone else to think that Wilbur (the human) was most likely wildly schizophrenic. Or maybe he was?

NOVEMBER: A THIRD TITANS MOVIE BEFORE THEIR WRATH HAS EVEN BEEN RELEASED

The reason the word “reboot” is being used so often these days instead of “remake” is that the implication of a “reboot” is that it can then lead to new sequels and a new franchise. Warner Bros’ remake of Clash of the Titans is an excellent example of that, since the sequel Wrath of the Titans is already on its way on March 30, 2012. Last month, however, Warner Bros revealed their hurried interest in a Titans franchise a bit too overzealously, perhaps, by hiring screenwriters to already start work on a third Clash of the Titans movie. Throw in the fact that the first remake didn’t score that well with critics, and the logic behind a third movie before the second one even comes out seems especially shaky.

DECEMBER: REMEMBER, REMEMBER THE NINTH OF DECEMBER

Okay, so that title probably would have made more sense if V for Vendetta was getting a remake or a sequel, but still, it’s a very catchy rhyme, right? Anyway, that week of December 9th saw three different stories being published which all can claim a three way tie for being the most Rotten Idea of the month (especially since it was a short month because of the holidays). Whether you choose the American Psycho remake, Adam Sandler developing a sequel to Grown Ups or Michael Bay returning for the fourth Transformers movie, there’s something truly Rotten there for everyone.

And that, folks, was the year that was. Let’s all hope 2012 is not as crammed full with Rotten Ideas as 2011 was… because then, maybe we can all have a Happy New Year, and many more to come!


For more Weekly Ketchup columns by Greg Dean Schmitz, check out the WK archive, and you can contact GDS via Facebook or a RT forum message.

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