The Internet lost its collective mind yesterday when AMBI Pictures announced its plans to finance and produce a remake of Christopher Nolan’s 2000 mind-bender Memento, which -- based on the subsequent outcry -- does not seem to be something people are clamoring for. Which is a shame, since it’s not hard to find 10 other films from the very same year that could truly benefit from a new lease on life, provided that the right people were given the reins. In fact, here are those 10, with some suggestions of who might offer a fresh take.
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There have been rumblings dating back to 2013 of FX’s interest in continuing the saga of Patrick Bateman, so what better time to take another cinematic stab (pun totally intended) at Bret Easton Ellis’ sensational 1991 novel? With all due respect to the original flick’s director, Mary Harron, the notion of David Cronenberg helming an American Psycho adaptation has been gnawing at a lot of fans ever since it surfaced that he was briefly attached to the 2000 version. If FX is considering a serial (pun again intended) sequel, perhaps the perfect compromise is allowing Cronenberg to get a shot at that.
Because, what, it’s going to be worse this time? Yeah, not bloody likely.
Known predominantly for first putting actress Michelle Rodriguez on the map, Girlfight came out before female combat sports had a poster woman like Ronda Rousey (or, as it were, Holly Holm). As such, it was far more of a critical darling than a box-office success, and thus seen by relatively few. Now -- with world-famous women kicking ass in boxing rings and octagons -- would be the perfect time to revisit Girlfight, and ideally with another female director stepping into Karyn Kusama’s shoes. Hey, Drew Barrymore: hasn’t it been a while since Whip It?
G-Men from Hell
This strange supernatural superhero adventure -- adapted from Mike Allred’s comic series Grafik Muzik -- starred William Forsythe and Tate Donovan as corrupt FBI agents who die, go to hell, escape, and return to Earth in hopes of doing enough good deeds to find their way into heaven. Great concept, but the screenplay doesn’t come anywhere close to capturing the cool of its source material. Even if it had, the budget would’ve hindered things on that front. Paging Edgar Wright: we have a pitch for you.
Director Stephen Frears’ take on Nick Hornby’s novel has gradually grown on those who bemoaned the film transplanting its characters from London to Chicago. Though for those still smarting, it’s worth recalling that Hornby’s first book -- Fever Pitch, his 1992 memoir about his soccer fandom -- was adapted twice for film: once via the UK with stars Colin Firth and Ruth Gemmell, and then by Hollywood in 2005 with Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore (and Hornby’s beloved Arsenal switched out for the Boston Red Sox). Surely the time is nigh for High Fidelity to get its own, more true-to-the-source overseas adaptation.
It’s hard to argue with what director Paul Verhoeven’s Academy Award-nominated special-effects team delivered for his invisible-man epic, but there are so many other elements that could’ve easily been tweaked to make it a better overall film. Given screenwriter and future Castle creator Andrew W. Marlowe’s evident wit in the latter, imagine a version of Hollow Man where his sensibilities outshone Verhoeven’s darker, more violent impulses. One can dream.
Isn’t She Great
The story of actress-turned-novelist Jacqueline Susann is heartbreaking and befitting of a biopic. She strived for fame so earnestly that she married a press agent, with whom she had an autistic son that required care in a mental hospital, and less than a decade after selling millions of copies of Valley of the Dolls, she died from breast cancer. Unfortunately, the drama of Susann’s life was undercut significantly by filling Isn’t She Great with a flurry of over-the-top performances led by Bette Midler as Susann and Nathan Lane as her husband, Irving Mansfield. Let’s take it down about 20 notches and try it again, shall we?
Reputed cinematographer and frequent Steven Spielberg collaborator Janusz Kamiński’s filmography is filled with a staggering number of classics (Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List et al), which is the sort of thing that tends to happen when Spielberg likes what you do. However, when Kamiński stepped behind the camera to direct his first film, the resulting religious/supernatural thriller Lost Souls had an intriguing premise (Satan returning to Earth as a man) and looked fantastic, but beyond the killer ensemble cast (Winona Ryder, John Hurt, etc.), not much else about Lost Souls merits particularly positive adjectives. Were it given new life, maybe Kamiński could just stick to the cinematography and the end result would be a worthier successor to The Exorcist. (Ouch.)
The Next Best Thing
The story of a straight woman and gay man having a child together was somewhat outside the box 15 years ago -- and served as the final film of Academy Award-winning director John Schlesinger (Marathon Man, Midnight Cowboy). But we’ve come a long way since then, baby, and it stands to reason that a version of Next Big Thing could be made without devolving into something as devastatingly schmaltzy as the original. The first step, of course, would be hiring anyone other than Madonna as said woman, but contemporizing its script to reflect the legalization of gay marriage and other sweeping changes in cultural mores since 2000 could make it far more pressing and provocative.
Call this a classic case of a writer pitching his tiny film, only to see it blown completely out of proportion by a big studio. Supernova, which began life as a potentially great sci-fi flick, was re-written, re-edited, and re-shot to such a degree that director Walter Hill (The Warriors, 48 Hrs.) opted to be credited under the pseudonym Thomas Lee. Still, there are so many what-might-have-been moments in the mix that someone should give in to temptation, back Hill with a decent budget this time around, and implore him to go forth and make the movie he tried making in the first place.
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Will Harris is a freelance pop culture journalist living in Chesapeake, Virginia. His favorite film from 2000 is Almost Famous. Don’t try remaking that one unless you’re cruising for a bruising. Do, however, follow him at @NonStopPop.