NOTE: Please don't yell at me about Tropic Thunder's "retard" debacle. While I understand where the advocates are coming from, this is a satire about shallow actors one of whom, the action star, was hoping to be taken seriously as an actor and get one of those little golden statues by playing a mentally handicapped character. Flagrant use of the word "retard" illustrates the shallowness. They don't refer to each other as "retard," either.
Think of it this way: a white character is playing a black character, a crazy-ass Scientologist is playing a foul-mouthed Jewish studio head, one character starts detoxing and about to go into the motherlode, the head of the Flaming Dragon heroin syndicate is a child, and Stiller's character is attacked by yet another child.
This isn't a message movie.
Anyway, I was going to post about Tropic Thunder and how funny it is (it really is) and how awesome Robert Downey Jr. is (he really is) and how miscast yet strangely perfect Ben Stiller was (he really was), but I've decided to divert your attention instead to a problem that has been plaguing Hollywood for a long time now.
We're so inundated with remakes (and 'American versions') that even I can hardly keep count -- Death Race, Mirrors, and Quarantine are but three coming out before the end of the year, not to mention Friday the 13, A Nightmare on Elm Street, My Bloody Valentine (this time in 3D!), The Birds, Sisters, A Tale of Two Sisters, Bangkok Dangerous, and so many more...too many more. However, I think Hollywood has finally reached its breaking point.
MTV has announced that it plans on remaking The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Say what you will about the quality of the original film, it's a landmark piece that has opened the minds of the world's youth and kept small art house theatres in business when they would otherwise be trounced by the big chains. Like some of us here on planet earth, it was made out of passion and fire, a need to do something different and freaky and fun! And it's been bringing that light to millions of people every Friday and Saturday night since 1975.
Rumours have abounded for years about remakes, but this is the first one I've taken even somewhat seriously and that's because of MTV's involvement. Where MTV was once groundbreaking and provocative, and actually showed music videos (you know, MTV stands for MUSIC TELEVISION), it's now just a tired relic full of 'reality' shows. As it's drained the life out of so many teens, I'm afraid they'll drain any spark of life from Rocky Horror.
Thanks to Wil Wheaton's post, where he shared his first time with Rocky Horror, I bear a link to a petition that may not put a stop to the madness, let's be reasonable here, but may get the attention of some of the Viacom bigwigs.
I was twelve or thirteen when I finally saw Rocky Horror. I'd wanted to for a while. I'd first heard of it when I was much younger; my mom had a copy of the movie soundtrack on vinyl (I still have it, though I doubt it's playable now) and I loved the cover. As I grew up and became familiar with Tim Curry through Clue, Annie, and Legend, and Susan Sarandon through Thelma & Louise, I found out that they were both in this one flick. And with big, thick, blood red lips the video box, how could one go wrong?
I rented the 15th anniversary edition of the video from the store where I'd work years later and popped it into my VCR. From the opening chords of "Science Fiction Double Feature" I was hooked and when it was over, I rewound it and immediately watched it again. For years afterward, I would have my own Rocky Horror night, popping it in the VCR and dancing and singing along. Magenta was my favourite character, but I memorized everyone's lines.
Fast forward a few years, and I'm 21 or 22. I track down a cast an hour north of me, call up some friends, and the lot of us went to see the shadow cast Interchangeable Parts at the Beach Theatre in St. Petersburg, Florida. My sister, who isn't my sister but might as well be and HATES Rocky Horror, came with us, mostly because she loves me, but I think she wanted to see what kind of de-flowering I'd have to go through. You see, you're a virgin in Rocky Horror if you've never seen the show in the theatre. It doesn't matter how many times you watch it on tape or disc. I knew that going in and still allowed my deflowering in spite of the fact that I really like wearing clothes.
That night, all of the female virgins had to take off their shirts and run up and down the aisles screaming "I LOVE CHEESE!"
Did I mention that I really like wearing clothes? No? Well, I do. I don't like buying clothes and, really, the most thought I put into my ensemble for the day is saved for my t-shirt choice of "Zombies? Or Stevie Nicks?" But wearing them? Much love. For me to disrobe, even the tiniest bit, is usually unthinkable. Usually.
They let me keep my unbuttoned button-up shirt on, but it flapped mightily as I ran up and down the aisle, bare-chested save for a lacey bra, screaming the phrase that will be forever burned into my memory...and I wouldn't give it up for anything. Later that night, as I recited every bit of dialogue in time with the movie and even better than their Frank, the director of the shadow cast asked me to join up. I had to decline, though...the theatre was an hour away and I didn't have a car. I still don't. These boots were made for walkin', after all.
I highly doubt that a remake would have the same kind of magic that even the 33 year old original still holds, the kind of magic that makes people do things they wouldn't normally do, say things they wouldn't normally say, and have the kind of fun they wouldn't normally have. I just hope it's not too late.
edit to add: I had a problem posting this last night and I didn't realize until just now that the links I'd put in didn't work...so I've redone them.