We’ve only got news on one remake, one sequel, and few odd cultural jeremiads on the same theme.
* I’ve just barely finished my decades-long personal boycott of the original, and now there they’re talking about a remake of John Milius’s “Red Dawn”. The 1984 film may seem a bit quaint now that it’s old enough to be ready to finish grad school but at the time it seemed to me an irresponsible act of cultural provocation with potentially catastrophic impact if people took it too seriously. Fortunately, few did and most took its absurd plot about a Soviet land invasion as the balderdash that it was. Back then, Republicans and Democrats alike knew that World War III would last about 90 minutes and result in the destruction of most everyone and everything. (This was before the tinfoil
hate hat era of Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin.)
As political propaganda, the prior year’s “War Games” proved far more effective and possibly even affected movie-bred President Reagan’s thinking on the topic as well. In any case, a film about a Chinese-Russian co-invasion (don’t they still hate each other?) seems just bizarre now and, again, pretty much impossible — assuming it doesn’t end with something very close to complete annihilation.
* Frank Langella, whose characters have ranged from Dracula to Richard Nixon (which of them would you buy a used car from?), is joining the cast of “Wall Street 2.” Makes sense.
* The slowish (but steady) build of “The Hurt Locker” has led to a round of the old cultural-degeneration meme from A.O. Scott and Roger Ebert, among others. (With a nod to H.G. Wells and George Pal, Jeffrey Wells gets going with Eloi and Morlocks.). I’m usually a complete skeptic on stuff like this and I truly believe the Internet and possibly even cable and long-form television (“The Daily Show,” “The Sopranos,” and “Mad Men” are not signs of cultural degeneration) and complex video games have to some degree saved us from the complete brain melt warned about by Paddy Chayefsky in “Network.” Say what you will about the ‘net and video games, they are not the passive mind suckers that the vast, vast majority of seventies and eighties TV was. I also think that we tend to look on the past with a rosier glow than it really rates. For example, good movies stay with us while the vast majority of bad movies are forgotten. Also, as my item above about “Red Dawn” may indicate, it’s not like stupidity or ignorance are new inventions, though we’re endlessly perfecting them.
Nevertheless, I do believe there is something to some of what Ebert said, at least as it relates in a very strict sense to movies in particular. Still, as the ever sane, and now thankfully fully returned, David Hudson points out, “The Hurt Locker” is doing well enough and Paramount is even reteaming director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal for a new meaty action-adventure piece. That, by the way, is the kind of sequel that nearly always makes sense.