Monday, June 22, 2009

f'ing with the classics

I know that it's common for Hollywood to do remakes.

They do big-screen remakes of television shows, like "Bewitched" (never saw the movie, heard it was awful), "S.W.A.T." (saw the movie, hated it), "Miami Vice" (saw the movie, hated it) and "Land of the Lost" (didn't see it).

They also do big-screen remakes of previous movies, like "Psycho" (never actually seen all of the original, didn't see the remake - didn't see the point), "Sabrina" (never saw the original, liked the remake) and "Halloween" (liked the original though didn't see it until much after its release and don't plan to see remake).

But there are some movies that are just so classic, so iconic, so perfect, that they should be untouchable, never to be messed with by new hands. And now, they're daring to do a remake of such a classic, to try to make lightning strike twice in the same spot. Impossible!

Are they remaking "Gone with the Wind"? "Birth of a Nation"? "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"? No. Worse.

They're remaking "Fame".

"Fame" was an amazing movie. It was based on the real-life performing arts high school in New York, and it allowed the rest of us to see what it was like. That cafeteria scene. Remarkable. The street scene with Bruno's music blaring? Incredible. And how awesome was the scene of Doris coming into her own during "The Rocky Horror Picture Show"?

You had Coco and Leroy and Bruno and the other students and the teachers and other faculty.

Irene Cara was Coco, the confident, talented singer/dancer/actress who knew she was going somewhere. But it was heartbreaking to watch her sing on camera as she took her clothes off, hoping this was going to be her big break. Irene Cara made a name for herself for a while, partly as a singer.

Gene Anthony Ray was Leroy, the foul-mouthed street punk who had an attitude unsurpassed by anyone, but he could also dance his ass off. His relationship with teacher Mrs. Sherwood (played by Anne Meara) was incredible to watch. Different worlds, on a collision course.

And then there was Lee Curreri as Bruno - Bruno was my favorite. I had such the crush on him. Yeah, ok, he's quiet, and he doesn't have the greatest singing voice, but he was shy and a hell of a musician and composer.

And Paul McCrane as "I'm afraid to come out of the closet" Montgomery. Who knew that skinny little nervous kid was going to grow up to be the asshole head administrator of a giant Chicago hospital, not to mention Jack Bauer's evil brother?

Albert Hague played Shorofsky, the music teacher. I would have loved to have had him as a music teacher. Maybe I might have been inspired to be more musically inclined.

Oh, yeah, and Debbie Allen was the dance teacher.

Perfection. The final concert at graduation. Spectacular.

The movie was so great, they even made a TV show out of it. OK, the TV show wasn't quite as good, though Bruno was still in it, and I did like Erica Gimpel as the new Coco, though I don't think I saw her in anything else other than a few episodes of "E.R."

But later this year, they're going to release a remake of the movie.

This is the trailer that I saw when I was at the movies yesterday. I will admit that the singer (I'm told it's Naturi Naughton) does a good job with the song. But I can't do it.

It looks like they've changed the names around, so it's not technically a remake, but I guess a modern day re-telling. Whatever. I don't care. Yeah, kids are still graduating from that high school. But it won't be the same.

Debbie Allen plays the principal in the new movie. She was relevant in the 80s. She hasn't been relevant in a really long time. I hope she's not choreographing the new movie though. Once upon a time, she was a damned good choreographer. But that was a really long time ago too.

I know some people will be interested in the new movie. But me? I'll be hangin' with Coco and Leroy and Bruno.

The Oscar-nominated song "Out Here On My Own".

The Oscar-winning Best Original Song "Fame".

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