There 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 of…

SACRED COWS
The 25 Movies They’d Better Never Remake.

DAY TWENTY-THREE
ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST (1975)



DIRECTED BY: Milos Forman
WRITTEN BY: Laurence Hauben. Bo Goldman. Ken Kesey (book). Dale Wasserman (play).
STARRING:  Jack Nicholson. Louise Fletcher. Christopher Lloyd. Brad Dourif. Danny DeVito. Vincent Schiavelli. Will Sampson.

THE SACRED RUNDOWN

First an amazing book. Then a beloved play. Finally, over a decade later, one of the best films ever made. A claim that is only more truthful today than it was then as it swept the Academy Awards in an era where that meant a whole lot more.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a very unique movie. Heartbreaking and life-affirming. Hilarious and horrific. Weird and familiar. It’s a celebration of life in the oddest of circumstances and as sublime an argument for Euthanasia as there is. Milos Forman’s masterpiece went through Hollywood’s A-List on the male and female side, and though many were interested (can you imagine this movie with Kirk Douglas and Lily Tomlin?), the leading roles fell into the hands of some unexpected performers. Jack Nicholson had done Chinatown and Easy Rider, but he wasn’t even close to the biggest star circling the film. Louise Fletcher was unknown. Brad Dourif was a nobody. Christopher Lloyd, nope. The lead producer on the film? A freaking ACTOR. A guy born into celebrity status. Some dude named Michael Douglas. The director was some Czech guy who hadn’t done much stateside.

It was an odd bird and divorced of the LSD elements of the book, it was its own animal entering the world of film. 



R.P. McMurphy isn’t mentally ill. He’s a repeat offender who is working the system to his benefit because that’s what he does. He manipulates. To avoid harder time, he is placed in a mental institution where he is thrust into a world within the world few see that on the surface is a sterile place filled with lost people and lost causes. He’s The Outsider and in this environment his life changes in a profound way as much for him as for those around him and not everyone gets out alive.



THE REASON IT’S SACRED

Performance. Craft. Subject matter. Lucidity. Everything about this movie is a marriage of the right elements. Jack Nicholson’s Jack Torrance is sexier and more easy to identify, but this role is what truly opened the doors for the rebel persona he’s known for. This movie is impossible to reproduce and though the play continues to entertain and teach people to this day, a filmed version could never escape today’s need for pablum or melodrama.

Further yet, no one could star in this and not totally rip Nicholson and Fletcher’s work.



This scene changed my life (don’t watch if you haven’t seen the movie, it’ll cheapen the experience):



ICONIC MOMENTS

  • This movie knew how important the World Series is.
  • The pillow. The sink. The window.
  • Billy Bibbit’s one night stand and the repercussions.
  • The group discussions.
  • Nicholson working the system at every interval.
  • The shock treatment.
  • Seeing R.P. McMurphy after his ‘prodedure’ for the first time. That empty shell of a firebrand.
  • Seeing oddball folks like Michael Berryman and Vincent Schiavelli having careers thanks in part to this film.
WHY A REMAKE WOULD MAKE ME RUN OFF SCREAMING

Worst case, Patch Adams. Best case, Awakenings.

It doesn’t much inspire confidence does it?





WHAT WOULD PLATINUM DUNES DO (WWPDD)?

Michael 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?
  • Peyton Reed is brought in for a ludicrous amount of money, given copies of the original, Girl, Interrupted, The Dream Team, and High School Musical and instruction to “do his magic”.
  • Modern Day Jack Nicholson – Martin Henderson. I think we’ll all agree.
  • Louise Fletcher is replaced by a Mo-Cap Meryl Streep, her performance mostly pieced together from The Devil Wears Prada outtakes.
  • Billy Bibbit done justice by Zac Efron and his ‘I Stutter when I Butter’ musical number, which becomes a worldwide sensation.
  • Mental patients all played by people culled from a ten-minute Wal-Mart visit in Florence, Alabama.

REBUTTAL: No way.



Week One:
The Man Who Would Be KingRaiders of the Lost Ark

The Third ManSerpicoBlazing Saddles


Week Two:
The ConversationAuditionGone with the Wind
JawsBlade Runner

Week Three:
RockyNorth by NorthwestThe Outlaw Josey Wales
GreaseApocalypse Now

Week Four:
PhantasmChinatownThe Princess Bride
2001: A Space odysseyIt’s A Wonderful Life

Week Five:
It Happened One NightThe African Queen
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest