Hollywood loves remaking old movies and rebooting dormant franchises almost as much as movie fans love complaining about them doing it. That shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, of course. Movies are hardly the only entertainment medium that thrives on recycling the same shit year after year. It just stands out a little more with movies because the money you spend seeing one in an actual theater could finance a South American revolution that would probably be twice as fun to watch as anything the major studios will ever come up with.
Seeing as how they're such a contentious topic of conversation, we talk about a few underrated movie remakes that everyone is wrong about on this week's Unpopular Opinion podcast ...
... where I'm joined by should-be Cracked columnist David Christopher Bell and professional dreamboat Soren Bowie. As for this column, let's talk about a few movies Hollywood will likely be remaking for the rest of time.
Scott Barbour/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Surprise, nerds! Legendary Pictures dropped a bomb on attendees at Comic-Con this year when they announced that a new King Kong movie would be in theaters well over two years from now. This one is a prequel, of course, because that's what we're doing these days. That means it will take place entirely on Skull Island, the mythological land that the most beloved fictional gorilla killing machine of all time called home. So, it will be all of the skyscraper-scaling action you've come to expect from the King Kong franchise, except without the skyscrapers this time.
It's going to be damn adorable.
Does this all sound familiar? Sure, because this exact same thing, right down to the company behind it, happened just under a decade ago. It was 2005, to be exact, when Legendary Pictures teamed up with Peter Jackson to bring King Kong back to theaters ...
... for the first time since 1976.
If you're keeping score at home, this new installment in the Kong series will mark the fourth time the movie makers of America have gone back to this well (the original King Kong movie premiered in 1933).
So, that should be enough, right? Of course not. For one thing, you read the part where I said this is a prequel, correct? Once that word starts getting tossed around, "sequel" usually isn't too far behind. I don't know how they'll stretch this premise into multiple films, but I had the same questions about Taken, and Liam Neeson shut me right up about that, didn't he?
It won't be sequels that keep us in King Kong movies for the rest of our days, though; it will be special effects. See, no matter how good or bad the previous films may have been, until the 2005 remake, one fact remained the same throughout every single one of them: That gorilla ...
... looked fucking stupid.
Peter Jackson fixed all that in 2005. It took a long time, but we've finally perfected the computer-generated gorilla. This, in turn, blows open a veritable Pandora's box of potentially awful King Kong movie ideas. Now that we have our animal, it's time to find out what it can do, and find out we will. Hollywood will make damn sure of it.
Here's a fun bit of trivia to run past your bar friends: Did you know that the 1998 Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan raunchfest You've Got Mail is actually a remake of a 1940 film called The Shop Around the Corner? Once everyone's done questioning why you have such in-depth knowledge of late '90s rom-coms, the discussion might turn to how, exactly, an email-based movie was made in the 1940s.
Like this, obviously.
I mean, I hope the discussion doesn't turn to that, because it's an awfully stupid question that says terrible things about your thinking skills as a group more than anything else. Just in case, though, the answer is that, obviously, the original version of the film centered on two pen pals who communicate via letter.
You've probably never seen one.
There are a few reasons we'll never stop seeing this movie. For one, The Shop Around the Corner seems to be the wellspring from which every romantic comedy in history has flowed. Even movies that aren't credited as official remakes of this one seem like they should be. Case in point: One remake, 1959's Pillow Talk, involves a man who makes up a fake persona to woo a woman who already knows everything about the real him except for one thing -- she has no idea what he looks like. All my thugs reading this will surely recognize that as being strikingly similar to the plot of the Uma Thurman/Janeane Garofalo vehicle The Truth About Cats and Dogs (which is generally thought of as a take on Cyrano de Bergerac).
The way Janeane Garofalo spells her first name can kiss my ass.
Seminal-ness aside, the main reason we'll never stop seeing The Shop Around the Corner is because mankind will never stop coming up with new ways to communicate. In 1940, people were still writing letters; by 1959, they were talking on "party lines," which basically meant you shared your telephone line with untold numbers of faceless strangers in your general vicinity. Come 1998, email was the way to go, and so far, that's where we've left it. We've still got Yahoo Messenger, texts, Snapchat, and any manner of other newfangled communication tools to write movies around.
And when we do, I'll watch every goddamn one of them.