are certain films that hold a unique place in history… and Hollywood
had better keep their grubby, remaking mitts off of them! While the
trend to “re-imagine” or “re-envision” everything around them has been
going on for some time, these films have so far managed to escape the
fate of some of their less fortunate compatriots. I speak of course
The 25 Movies They’d Better Never Remake.
films are not just near and dear to our hearts, they should be
considered OFF-LIMITS to those jerks at the studios. The films on this
list were special when they premiered and continue to be so today, and
we’re going to explain why they shouldn’t be remade – as well as why
they can’t be. So enough jabbering, on with the list!
DIRECTED BY: Randal Kleiser
WRITTEN BY: Jim Jacobs (musical), Warren Casey (musical), Bronté Woodard (screenplay), Allan Carr (adaptation)
STARRING: John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing, Jeff Conaway, Didi Conn, Sid Caesar, Frankie Avalon
It was a barren wasteland, the theatrical musical genre in the 1970’s. Though The Rocky Horror Picture Show would eventually find success and films like Tommy, All that Jazz, and Funny Lady all attained riches there was only one film that came out of the mire to become an instant sensation that has retained value through three decades. Grease. Based on a hit stage show, the movie was a perfect storm of casting, music, theme, and angst-free fun that defied the odd trends of that era and made the musical viable again as a motion picture genre…
…which was quickly sent back into the dark ages by a variety of horrible films including Grease 2, but that’s neither here not there.
There’s this weird thing about Grease. It’s not a great movie. Not by a stretch. It completely exists in a vacuum populated by stereotypes and heightened stages of pop culture recognition, which is suicide for any kinds of movies aside from spoofs, satires, and musicals. In that free range, this film does everything in its power to take its viewer on a ride of great catchy songs and delightful nostalgia. More than any other film, this is a time machine. There’s an innocence here that is so engaging. The world of Grease is one where the biggest problems of the protagonists are so minute compared to reality that it’s difficult not to let the escapism seep in like some sugary confection you should know better than to consume but still do.
Even more odd, the climax is the worst thing about it. The big showstopping song, though bombastic and very famous, is probably the weakest one in the film. Both leading characters betray their true nature to win the other back, which is exactly the wrong message to send. Olivia Newton-John is utterly beautiful throughout the film and her big sexy makeover is literally fifty steps back on the beautiful scale.
And it’s fine because Grease exists in this special magical world where it simply doesn’t matter. It’s all just a delicious collection of overcooked ideas that work. They just work.
My entire creative life was triggered by three late 70’s events: Jaws, Star Wars, and Grease. No one more than the other.
This is truly sacred.
- John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John. At the time, there may have been no more beautifully weird pairing of talents.
- Just about every single musical number.
- The opening credits are golden.
- Greased Lightning. The song. The car. The dream. Still awesome.
- Didi Conn’s cotton candy beauty school dropout, Frenchie.
- A pre-Snake Eater Lorenzo Lamas.
Because Grease is such obvious turf for a remake. I can’t believe they haven’t remade it with Zac Efron (though the goddamn High School Musical movies seem to be attempting to fill that void). It’s too easy to remake Grease. In fact, they could remake Grease every fifteen years until we become some sort of disembodied cyber-alienborgs riding on waterclouds and it’d still work. That’s exactly why you don’t remake Grease. It’s a time capsule movie. It wasn’t meant to be a huge success. It was junk food. It was riding the coattails of a stage production. It happened and it is intrinsically tied to that exact moment with those exact people. To remake Grease is just too easy, too cheap, and its own sentimental faux retro nature combined with our current wave of faux retro capitalism just might cause the universe to invert.
Bay’s been producing remakes all over town, using his Platinum Dunes
company as a front. So naturally he’d be the logical choice to spearhead
any attempt at remaking this classic. How would it pan out, you ask?
- Bill Condon, Rob Marshall, and Baz Luhrman lobby for the gig that eventually goes to Marcus Nispel.
- Alexa Vega is Sandy. Shia LaBeouf is Danny. Stockard Channing is still Rizzo.
- The Pink Ladies wear lycra tight enough to showcase their lady pinks.
- Act three is drastically changed as Frenchie goes to Terrorist School instead of Beauty School and the big dance-off is interrupted when she suicide bombs the beverage table.
- Greased Lightning, pshaw. The T-Birds build Wheeljack.
- Danny meets Sandy not at the beach but at the Mutter Museum’s new Jeff Conaway exhibit.
Travolta blew the sacred leg off a cow in the masterpiece Battlefield: Earth.
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The Man Who Would Be King – Raiders of the Lost Ark
The Third Man – Serpico – Blazing Saddles
Jaws – Blade Runner
Rocky – North by Northwest – The Outlaw Josey Wales