Thursday, January 28, 2016

Thursday Movie Picks - Movies Adapted from Movies of a Different Language

Written as part of the weekly blogathon hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. You should join in! All you have to do is pick three movies that fit the week's theme and write a bit about them - it's fun!

This week on Thursday Movie Picks, we have been assigned movies that happen to be remakes of a film from a different language. Hollywood does this a lot, and usually NOT for the better. These happen to be some of the worst.

Do not - I repeat - DO NOT watch these movies. But DO seek out the originals!

Dinner for Schmucks (Jay Roach, 2010) Crass, grating, and unfunny in the worst way, despite the handsomely talented Paul Rudd and Steve Carell. Screenwriters David Guion and Michael Handelman have taken Francis Veber's classic French farce Le diner de cons, removed its heart, and replaced it with gags galore. The problem is, only about half of them are funny on their own, and the rest rely on the actors, who all turn in their most insipid, obnoxious performances. A quick synopsis: The titular dinner is one held by businessmen, who bring idiotic "friends" along in a sick game of one-upsmanship. While the original French film was smart enough (while still providing tremendously funny slapstick) to have you actually switching allegiances between the two main characters, this version is just nasty through and through.

Last Man Standing (Walter Hill, 1996) Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo is one of the greatest films ever made, with a tremendous lead performance from The Man himself, Toshiro Mifune. The first remake of it, Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars also had a killer lead performance, from Clint Eastwood. Walter Hill's version, however, has a mumbling Bruce Willis in one of his least charismatic performances. Unfortunately, that performance is pretty much of a piece with the rest of the film, which is mostly dull and oppressive. Who'da thunk so many shootouts could feel so listless?

The Vanishing (George Sluizer, 1993) Exhibit A for how Hollywood can ruin even a director adapting his own great film in English. George Sluizer's Spoorloos is a masterpiece, taking a simple premise (one half of a couple vanishes from a public place, the other half becomes obsessed with trying to find out what happened) and teasing out incredible tension and complex philosophical questions in equal amounts. But the Hollywood version (tellingly written by an American as opposed to the director/writer of the original) is a rote thriller, losing nearly everything in translation. But the film's biggest sin is replacing the original's ending (one of the greatest of all time) with a big, fat Hollywood ending, rendering the film completely toothless.

22 comments:

  1. I went with the same route (worst movies I've seen) and I have not seen any of these. Originals are almost always better.

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  2. There's definitely a sub-theme going on this week! I haven't seen any of these, but I've heard of Dinner for Schmucks, thanks for the warning!
    - Allie

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    1. Hehehe, so glad to hear that's the case. I'm finally getting around to reading everyone else's entries. Yeah, Dinner for Schmucks is terrible on just about every level.

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  3. The only one I've seen is Dinner for Schmucks and it's SO BAD. And what annoys me personally is my Dinner for Schmucks review is one of the most viewed on my blog because people seem to search for that Van Gogh quote from the film. It's so embarassing. lol

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    1. LOL that's awful/amazing. Now I have to go read it.

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  4. I've only seen Dinner for Schmucks and I also picked it as one to avoid completely.

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    1. Yup. I really wish I hadn't seen it.

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  5. I didn't hate Last Man Standing nor was I that favorably impressed, I've only seen it the once. I did enjoy A Fistful of Dollars though. I HATED The Vanishing so much. Thanks for the warning on the other, I had no intention of watching but it's nice to know that was the right decision.

    I tried to go with more obscure stuff for the week except perhaps for my bonus, though I would recommend seeing mine!

    Sorcerer (1977)-Four desperate men agree to transport a volatile shipment of nitro-glycerin over rugged terrain in the hopes of earning enough money to escape their present state. William Friedkin directed remake of the French classic Wages of Fear wasn’t a big success on its initial release but is a taut gritty drama. An international cast headed by Roy Scheider give intense performances. Perhaps not the equal of the original but on its own a solid suspenser.

    Human Desire (1954)-Fritz Lang helmed redo of Jean Renoir’s La BĂȘte Humaine is hampered a trifle by the Hayes Code but his great cast, in particular Broderick Crawford and Gloria Grahame, and solid direction fill in the code demanded blanks. Loaded with sexual undertones.

    Intermezzo (1939)-American remake of identically named Swedish film also starring Ingrid Bergman served as her introduction to Hollywood. A world famous concert violinist becomes enamored with his daughter’s piano instructor. Feeling restless he invites her to tour with him, eventually they become involved and he leaves his family for her but soon realizes what he had originally. It’s a weepie loaded with beautiful music that’s worth catching for Ingrid’s stateside debut.

    Honorable Mention-Point of No Return (1993)-Stylish, glossy remake of Luc Besson’s La Femme Nikita with Bridget Fonda at the height of her brief heyday as the druggie turned government assassin. Not quite as sleek as the original but a propulsive engrossing thriller with Anne Bancroft a standout in her brief role as an etiquette teacher with an underlying fierceness.

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    1. You hated THE ORIGINAL of The Vanishing?!? Calm down, Daniel.... I can see that, I guess. It is SLOW going, and at least that isn't the case with the American version. But I was blown away by the original, especially the ending. I think I forgot to breathe for the entire last sequence.

      Of yours, I've seen Intermezzo and I so love it. And I've also seen both La Femme Nikita and Point of No Return, which are both fun in very different ways. I really need to see Sorcerer. And The Wages of Fear for that matter.

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  6. Bitch, I really liked Last Man Standing.

    LOL

    :-D

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    1. I mean.... I LOVE me some Bruce Willis, and some scenery-chewing Christopher Walken, and I haven't seen it in years, but I just remember being so BORED.

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  7. Unfortunately, I have seen Dinner for Schmucks. No one should do that. I'll keep skipping the others as long as I can.

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    1. UGH. Tell me about it. Needless to say, it was NOT my choice.

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  8. Thanks for the warning! I remember Dinner for Schmucks and it sounded bad even in the trailer. The other 2 I also recall and may still see...

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    1. I can't even watch the trailer for Dinner for Schmucks without wanting to vomit.

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  9. Haha! I think I saw Last Man Standing once upon a time. Obviously wasn't worth remembering. Anyway, I like your take on this week's theme. I'll be sure to miss all of these.

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    1. "Not worth remembering" is a pretty good synopsis of Last Man Standing lol.

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  10. I wanted to see the original Dinner for Schmucks, my family enjoyed that one, but not the remake. Ah The Vanishing, back in college we watched both versions and we all took a vote on which was better. Even though the American remake was terrible, especially the messy ending and cheesy lines, basically we all hated it but we chose that one over the superior original. I think the original was too dark and desparing.

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    1. LOL. The original is dark and depressing but SO. GOOD.

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  11. The Vanishing remake is the only one I've seen and that was a few years back and I can't remember the ending at all, still I thought it was creepy film.

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    1. If you want creepy, see the original. Trust.

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