Why ask for ideas on how to improve your city's image if you're going to reject the best one? The mayor of Detroit apparently felt that the Twitter-suggested "erecting a statue of Robocop" was not the best way to boost his city's public image, and we respectfully disagree. (As do others.) Dystopic and bloody though it may be, Robocop is still most non-Detroitians' fondest memory of Detroit (even though the movie barely even filmed there), so why not idolize the cyborg civil servant who cleaned up the town? It'll be a great tourist destination, it's a symbol of the motor oil that flows in the city's veins. In fact, we think more cities should put up statues of their most famous and/or controversial movie residents. Here are a few we'd make a pilgrimage to.
Irvin Kershner, the director of The Empire Strikes Back, passed away over the weekend, and everyone is filled with kind words about the man who gave us the greatest Star Wars film. But Kershner directed other movies, as well, in a broad assortment of genres, from romances to thrillers to comedies, and he was apparently the go-to guy for sequels, having directed three besides Empire -- none of which featured his hand on the original. I haven't seen The Return of a Man Called Horse, but the other two are personal favorites, so I thought I'd shine a spotlight on them, since Empire has its own arsenal of spotlights.
At the Licensing Expo in New York this weekend, MGM unveiled a teaser poster for the upcoming Robocop remake. Aside from the fact that Robocop will apparently be played by the X-Men's Cyclops, no details have been released, except that it's due out in 2010 and can never, ever be as good as the original. Seriously, why even try? The only good thing about this is that they can get rid of the terrible Nancy Allen, and use a CGI ED-209 instead of the stop-motion animation they used in the original. Oh, and they can totally get Kurtwood Smith to come back and play Clarence Boddicker again.
Meanwhile, in the category of "Movies that Could Actually be Improved the Second Time Around," Robocop will be joined by a remake of 1980s Commie invasion flick Red Dawn, which starred a young Patrick Swayze, according to this article in last month's Hollywood Reporter. Maybe if Swayze's health continues to improve, he can play the imprisoned dad in the remake. I want to see him in a concentration camp, yelling at the top of his lungs, "AVENGE ME!"
Even though the economy is in what's cheerily being called a "downturn," you wouldn't know it from the bustle around Hollywood studios lately, with more than 40 films being hustled into production for next spring and summer. Because of the writer's strike and the looming threat of an actor's strike, most studios halted production in late 2007 and, as a result, don't have much of a slate for their 2010-2011 release schedule. The few films that did go into production following the writer's strike had strike protection insurance in case the actors -- who still haven't reached an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and remain without a new contract -- decided to have a strike of their own. Now desperate to fill theaters with their usual crap in two years, studios are pushing to get movies made, crossing their fingers that the actor's union in-fighting continues.
It's hard to imagine that anything can beat the awesomeness that is the original Red Dawn. After all, it had Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, Charlie Sheen and Jennifer Grey as teenagers fighting (and slaughtering) invading Cubans and Soviets. Plus, Harry Dean Stanton screamed "Avenge me!" from behind a chain-link fence. But they're remaking it all the same, and the writer and director attached to the project may actually be just what the film needs to become even more kick-ass than the original.
Starting with 1960's The Magnificent Seven (a remake of The Seven Samurai) and culminating in the recent spate of adaptations of Japanese and Korean horror movies, Hollywood has often looked to Asia for new ideas. But rarely do we see it go the other way -- at least, not in any sort of official capacity. But Sony Pictures Classics will distribute the new film from acclaimed Chinese director Zhang Yimou (Hero, House of Flying Daggers), and it's a remake of the Coen Brothers' first film, Blood Simple.
It was announced that next week CBS will be running a special on the American Film Institute's top 10 movies of 10 different genres. They haven't yet revealed what movies made the cut (you'll have to tune in to see, apparently), but their website does have a list of the 500 nominees.
I've sifted through them (so you don't have to!) and was surprised by more than a few of the noms, particularly since some of the criteria jurors were asked to consider are "Critical Recognition," "Cultural Impact" and "Major Award Winner." All that and they have to be American productions! When the one hundred picks come out on the 17th, we'll see what they give us, but in the meantime, I've gone through the nominees and called out a few that had me doing a double take. These were up for the best of the best!?
If you were looking forward to Darren Aronofsky's Robocop remake, you might be looking for a long time. While promoting The Wrestler on the Howard Stern show, Aronofsky reportedly said he was still working on the script about Detroit's finest cyborg, but that he's "not sure" if the project would still be going ahead. The now in-demand director has a lot on his plate, going from the wrestling mat to the boxing ring in his upcoming The Fighter. Then there's that diluvian epic he wants to make about Noah's ark, a project he's calling "huge." Considering the amount of time and energy Aronofsky usually spends on a project, it's not hard to see why an '80s remake might draw the short straw when it comes to priorities. And Robocop's not the only robocharacter in an upcoming movie to face the chopping block, either.
What do you do for an encore after your film, The Wrestler, was the buzz of this year's Toronto Film Festival? What's your next move after you've directed Mickey Rourke to a potential Oscar nomination in said film, revitalizing his career in the process? If you're Darren Aronofsky, you don't go to Disney World. Instead, you tackle a flick about Old Detroit's knight in shining armor, then write a script about the Original Love Boat, Noah's Ark. To hell with readin', 'ritin' and 'rithmetic; the new R's are rasslin', Robocop and religion.
Full disclosure: I own no end of movie memorabilia. In addition to the numerous action figures that decorate my home and office, I also own posters, novelizations and commemorative glasses out the wazoo. (My latest acquisition: a hardcover of Romancing the Stone, by Joan Wilder! The Joan Wilder!) And I also love the movie Idiocracy. Not only is it a brilliant satire about the direction this country is going in (with pretty impressive background paintings for what must have been a pretty small budget), it's got a great cast -- I could watch Luke Wilson and Maya Rudolph read a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book for an hour and a half and enjoy the hell out of it. But as much as I love it, I don't know if I can buy Idiocracy merchandise, let alone an Idiocracy-themed beverage.