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Friday, May 17, 2013

Remake blogfest

When Hollywood runs out of ideas, they remake older films. Sometimes this works, and sometimes it fails miserably. 

On May 17, list the best remake you’ve ever seen and the worst. 

Added bonus – list the worst and/or best song remake you’ve ever heard! 

Hosted by Alex J. CavanaughStephen Tremp, Livia Peterson, and Al Diaz.

For the list of participants go here.

My choices:

Best Movie Remake:    

 True Grit (2010) --The 1969 John Wayne version is a fine very entertaining film, but the remake captured what the story really should be.  It's a fantastic film

Worst Movie Remakes 

The Out of Towners (1999)--I expected so much better of Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn but maybe their over-the-top performances were part of the problem.  Jack Lemmon played the lead role with his wonderfully subtle style and Sandy Dennis was ideal as his wife eternally incredulous in the face of adversity.   The latter version lacked the hilarity of the original and I was not able to feel it the same way as I did the first one. 

  I Am Legend (2007) -- In the serious film category I would list this Will Smith version only because I expected so much more.  I'm a big fan of the 1964 version with Vincent Price.  I had figured with modern film technology a really cool remake could have been done, but to me there was something lacking about this one.  In all fairness, I probably need to see this one a second time.  There were some good effects and well-played scenes.   Yeah, I need to see it again, but for now I'm going to put it in the worst of science fiction remakes.

Best Song Remakes: 

(click on song titles if you want to hear the songs)

   "Hard Day's Night"  by Tee and Cara (1968)  --I've mentioned this song on my site before (did we do a remake blogfest once before?), but it's such a favorite that I'm touting it again.  How can you top the Beatles with their own song?  By playing it the way that it sounds like it should be played like Tee and Cara did.   Too bad they never got more recognition for their beautiful album.

"Lalena" by Deep Purple (1969)--It's difficult to improve on the beautiful original by Donovan, but hard rockin' Deep Purple did it with a sensitive jazziness.

 "Blinded By the Light"  (1977) Manfred Mann--I don't even remember ever hearing Bruce Springsteen's original until I listened to it while researching this blog post.  Sorry Bruce, you may have written the song, but Manfred's number one hit version beats yours by a million miles (and probably a few million record sales).  

Worst Song Remake   --I know they're out there, but I couldn't think of any.

          I know I went above and beyond what was called for, but the post is still short.  What do you think of my choices?   

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  1. I really liked the True Grit remake.
    Didn't even think of I Am Legend. Wasn't impressed with that one either.
    I didn't hear Bruce's version until years later, either.
    Thanks for participating in our blogfest!

  2. I haven't seen the new True Drit Someone else mentioned that it was really good. Must check it out

  3. I don't go to the cinema but depend on seeing films on TV, I enjoyed John Wayne's True Grit but alas haven't seen the remake.

    Great post and most informative.

  4. These are some great choices tho I really liked I Am Legend but I have never seen the original.

  5. Hmm? Can't say I ever heard Deep Purple's version. I'll have to Google and find it. Lalena is one of favorites.

  6. I have to say I liked both the remake and original version of I Am Legend. They played the newer version two Saturday nights ago on FX.

    Hugs and chocolate,

  7. I never saw the original True Grit but I sure loved the new one; Jeff Bridges was incredible. I enjoyed I am Legend, but I also didn't see the original which may well have been better...

  8. I didn't see the new True Grit. They just should remake John Wayne movies. After all, he was...John Wayne.

    I totally agree with The Out of Towners. What a disappointment.

    Can't comment on the songs because I'm not familiar with both versions of any of them.

  9. I didn't even realize there WAS an earlier "I Am Legend"--I like the Will Smith version, but I guess I can see room for improvement, and if the original was fabulous.

    Man... Blinded by the Light... I haven't thought of that song in YEARS--one of those that takes me right back to childhood with a huge THWAK! I really is a great song and SO EXACTLY of its era.

  10. I totally agree with True Grit...great film!

    It was an 'honorable mention' on my list, as well :)

  11. I like Manfred Mann's version.

    True Grit was really good. And I don't even like Westerns.

  12. I have yet to see the new version of True Grit and I really loved the old version.
    Blinded by the Light is definitely a great pick.

  13. Alex -- Thanks for co-hosting.

    Lynda --"True Dirt". Love it! Tell what you really think. :)

    Yvonne-- Thanks!

    Dani --If someone liked the remake of Legend I think they might not like the older lower budget original.

    Em- "Lalena" is such a beautiful song.

    Shelly -- There's a different feel to the two films. There was something about the ending of the remake that bugged me, but I can recall what it was.

    mshatch -- The original ...Legend is so early 60's in the mold of 50's sci-fi. Modern audiences might not like it as much.

    Faraway -- Hah! Kind of sort of.

    LD-- Most John Wayne movies wouldn't be worth remaking since they were his vehicles and the stories were sometimes kind of treacly.

    Hart -- Like I've already said, ...Legend with Vincent Price was very different that Smith's version. I don't know if you'd call the original "fabulous", but it did have Vincent Price in it and he did have a special acting flair about him.

    Mark -- True Grit will be mentioned often I'm sure.

    L.Diane --- I don't really care for the Springsteen version of the song he wrote.

    Susan GK -- I never tire of hearing Manfred's version of "Blinded..."


  14. Yep, I am legend was a huge load of crap.

    I heard Manfred Mann's version of 'Blinded By The Light' years before I heard Springsteen's original. They are entirely different (due to Mann's creative arrangement) but I actually like both versions a lot.

    Not sure which song rerecording would top my Worst list, but as I just said on FAE's blog, PJ Harvey's version of Dylan's 'HIGHWAY 61 REVISTED' would have a healthy shot of winning that dubious honor.

    You can't stand even the original version of 'KNOCKIN' ON HEAVEN'S DOOR'? I'm not sure we can still remain friends...

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  16. Patt -- Well, that assessment is pretty harsh, but I'll say I was very disappointed in the Smith take on ...Legend.

    StMc -- Maybe Bruce's version could grow on me. I've only listened to it once and not even all the way through because it annoyed me compared to the perfection of Mann's version. The original version of "...Heaven's Door" is tolerable, but it still kind of bores me. I guess it's because I heard Neil Young's "Helpless" first and really like that song a lot and the two songs are basically the same except with different lyrics. Later, Lynyrd Skynnard did the speeded up version with their new lyrics in "Sweet Home Alabama". All three are basically the same song though.


  17. Oh, I forgot about I Am Legend - it was bad.
    Love your song picks - and I agree "Blinded by the Light" is a great song.

  18. I have the new version of True Grit ready to watch, so now I will on your recommendation. One daughter worked with Jeff Bridges on a fantasy movie as a stand-in for the female lead and she says he is an approachable friendly guy.

    I liked I Am Legend, but I like any movie Will Smith is in.

  19. I actually enjoyed Will's I am Legend. You had some interesting picks Arlee.

  20. I'm so with you in regard to the horrors THE OUT OF TOWNER and I AM LEGEND remakes brought.

  21. Lee-

    I did not like the True Grit remake-I thought the acting (well, blame directing) was awful-they delivered lines with no emotion.

    Being that Philly was one of the early markets to embrace Springsteen, I'd heard the Bruce version of "Blinded" when it came out, but still liked MM's take on the song ok.

    I still prefer the Bruce version, but it had a few year head start with me.

  22. I didn't realize I Am Legend was a remake! Enjoyed it though.

  23. I have to admit Lee that before this blog challenge I'd never actually even known that True Grit was a remake, such a good film, interesting list here mate, I've never seen I Am Legend so really can't comment.

  24. Tyrean -- I don't recall if "...Legend" was bad. I need to watch it again.

    DG -- I like Will Smith, but for a while there it seemed like he was all I was seeing and I started getting burnt out. I think they could have found a better pick for Smith in ...Legend.

    Sheena-- I'll have to see it again and come to a decision. I find a remake tough when I put it up against the earlier version that I liked a lot.

    Leopard-- I think The Out-of-Townners worked best with subtlety. Martin and Hawn can be so over-the-top.

    Larry -- I think sometimes the first take is our sentimental favorite if we liked it a lot. I need to watch both "Grit" movies again side by side to reevaluate.

    Nutschell-- Actually the Smith version was the 3rd variation on the original story by Matheson. The 2nd version was The Omega Man with Charlton Heston.

    Yeamie -- The first Grit was a big film for Wayne as well as a big hit for Glen Campbell who sang the theme for the movie.


  25. I have not seen any of the movies you mentioned but so far I had heard good things about I am legend. Not my kind of movie so I guess I'll never know. Thanks for participating! :)

  26. Little Women (1994) is one of my favorite remakes. I was not impressed with The Karate Kid remake. I'll stick with Noriyuki Morita and Ralph Macchio in 1984!

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

  27. I didn't know there was a remake of True Grit. Will have to look out for it.


  28. Great list, you pulled out some jems for the songs

  29. I AM LEGEND was a remake of a remake, the second incarnation being OMEGA MAN. I like Price's original, too -- it's closer to the novella it was based on.

  30. Totally with you on True made my list. I Am Legend almost made it and I really loved The Omega Man with Anthony Zerbe and Heston.

  31. I'll have to agree with you. True Grit was the best movie remake. I had a crush on Kim Darby, but would prefer Hailee Steinfeld watching my back. I confess I did enjoy the remake of "The Parent Trap" as it paid a great homage to the original, including bringing back Joanna Barnes as "Aunt Vicky." Best song remake I'd have to say was the Beatles version of the Isley Brother's hit "Twist and Shout."

  32. They should have left Willie Wonka alone. The first was much better with Gene Wilder than the second one with Johnny Depp.
    I don't know about rest of the movies and music mentioned. Have only seen or heard one of each pair.

  33. Al -- Thanks for hosting the event.

    Laura -- Don't recall ever seeing any versions of Little Women.

    Jo -- It's a pretty good western in a different vein.

    Mike - Yes, these song covers are all fairly old.

    Milo -- Omega Man had some strange stuff in it, but I did like it.

    Chuck-- Thanks for dropping in.

    Rocky - The Beatles did a few good covers.

    Donna -- Yeah, but Depp was so weird in the Wonka film.


  34. True Grit is a good choice. I don't quite remember the original, but loved the remake.

  35. Though Steve Martin is very funny, it would be tough to beat any of Jack Lemon's roles. I also didn't realize that I Am Legend was a remake.


  36. When I got to Blinded by the Light I thought, "I didn't know someone remade the Manfred Mann classic"


  37. Julie -- Martin and Lemmon are both funny, but they come from very different humor camps.

    Rhonda -- Yeah, right, huh? I didn't realize the song wasn't a Manfred Mann original for many years. It just didn't seem like the Springsteen I knew.


  38. There are so many remakes floating around as of late that it's not even funny.
    But for the most part, I try to avoid them... unless of course I'd seen the original first and I don't have a major attachment to it.
    on principle, I refuse to see the "Karate Kid" remake because the original is too close to my heart and I can't legitamize that... with "True Grit," I saw the original first and loved it, so I really did not like the remake. Granted, I'd never seen John Wayne in any capacity before and it's a tough act to follow.
    I'm sure some people would brink up "The Amazing Spider-Man" as a bad remake (as in not necessary, I have yet to see it) and "Total Recall" as a good remake (haven't seen it either but it got a lot of praise).

    with songs, nothing comes to mind for me at the moment, sorry :-P but pretty much everything that has been covered by a Disney affiliated artist qualifies as bad

  39. Loved True Grit! And I'm going to rent the original I Am Legend s I've never seen it.

    The Out Of Towners was a bomb. So bad I could not watch more than five minutes at a time. Ugh!

    Big Vincent Price fan back in the day.

  40. I didn't realise that there was a previous version of I Am Legend. And I like Vincent Price so I'll have to check it out.

    The Will Smith version is very different to the original story.


  41. I didn't realize how many movies I haven't seen until this bloghop, and yours are no exception. I need to stay inside more, I guess. LOL.

  42. Jackie -- Remakes are fun except when they totally botch them.

    Stephen Tremp -- If you like Price, then you will probably enjoy his Last Man on Earth.

    Chippy -- I need to read the Matheson story "I Am Legend".

    Melanie -- More movies than I'll probably see, but I guess I've seen many of them already.


  43. Love your choices Dude. Nobody tops The Beetles. Or Vincent Price. Bella Lagosi either. Remakes aren't always better.

    I saw Omega Man with Charleton Heston when I was a kid. Scared me; and I think it must have been one of the original zombie movies. I think I Am Legend is based off that, I think. I did like that one. But Omega Man was also a remake of a prior movie that starred Vincent Price? I think I remember seeing that on some Creature Feature type show. Gads, I miss Saturday Night movies.

    I feel nearly as old as you Lee :)

    Stop the world, I wanna get off.


  44. I have seen the remake of I Am Legend, but not the original. And I haven't seen any of the others you mentioned :)

    I haven't heard any of those remade songs either.

  45. True Grit was awesome! John Wayne could never have done that role. On the other end, you are so right about the Out of Towners. I was never a big fan of Steve Martin anyway. Except for SNL and maybe The Jerk.

  46. I know a lot of people who liked the I AM Legend remake, but I'm not one of them. The CGI monsters were awful and embarrassing!

  47. I love Steve Martin but Out-of-Towners was pretty bad! I didn't see the original of I am Legend but thought the Will Smith one was ok.


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