In his 1996 review of Cop Land, Roger Ebert wrote that a reader once asked him “why they only remake the good movies, not bad ones. Good films don’t require remaking… but what about ‘promising concepts which were poorly executed for one reason or another?’” It’s a question we ask ourselves every time Hollywood decides to remake a perfectly good movie. This week, for example, we have the big-budget, Colin Farrell-fronted remake of Total Recall, a perfectly good Schwarzenegger/Verhoeven picture from 1990 that marries Philip K. Dick’s “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” to the boom-crash action aesthetic of the period, and which stands up just fine these days, thank you very much.
But Ebert and his reader might be on to something — if the suits are going to insist on spending all of their time and money developing remakes, why not remake some movies that didn’t turn out so well, and try to get them right this time? Or better yet, good movies that no one saw, so you’re not doing the original any damage by taking a chance on a copy? With those parameters in mind, we put together this list of movies we frankly wouldn’t mind seeing remade; check it out after the jump, and contribute yours in the comments.
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Every year, we hear about the hugely depressing spectacle of books being challenged and removed from American libraries and schools because someone out there objects to their content (usually on the grounds of depictions of people enjoying themselves in bed.) This week it was hugely successful erotic novel 50 Shades of Grey, which has been removed from the shelves of libraries in parts of Florida for its depictions of, y’know, people having sex. Absurd as the whole situation is, it did get us thinking about some books that are far more deserving of being removed from library shelves than EL James’s sexual exploits. Obligatory disclaimer: we’re of course not in the market for banning any books, but we’d much prefer to find the kiddies reading 50 Shades of Grey than any of this lot.
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The cover of this week’s Time Magazine features writer Jonathan Franzen, whose new novel, Freedom, publishes at the end of August. As the New York Times points out, he’ll be the first living writer on the cover in ten years. To get there, an author must brew the perfect combination of sales, publicity, and cultural impact. (Only a small fraction of the authors on Time’s 100 Novels list ever made the cut for a spot on the cover.) After the jump, we’ll take you through the last 15 Time covers featuring a living writer, and explain what landed them there.
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1. Michel Gondry is planning some top-secret project with frequent collaborator Björk, but he’s being cagey about it. (“It’s very undefined, so it’s hard to give more precision.”) [via
The wait for Nabokov’s unfinished novel, The Original of Laura, is almost over (countdown to November 17th, people). The story, if you hadn’t heard, is that before his death the grand master ordered his son, Dmitri, to destroy the notecards on which he had been crafting his newest novel. Dmitri, after much struggle (both in the press and personally, we expect), has decided to publish the thing anyway, and we hear it’s true-to-form amazing.
If you’re really anxious (or just a fanboy), check out the awesome-sounding celebration of Nabokov’s work at the 92nd Street Y the day before Laura comes out. Martin Amis, Brian Boyd, and Chip Kidd will be there. Or while away the hours by starting in on our list of the most exciting unfinished novels, both classic and forthcoming.
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Crichton dies at 66: Bestselling giant MICHAEL CRICHTON — who began writing to pay off his bills at Harvard Medical School — died Tuesday at the age of 66. After having churned out science-fiction thrillers like SPHERE and ANDROMEDA STRAIN, not to mention all the JURASSIC PARK books, he leaves quite a legacy. [… Read More