Weekend Roundtable: Movies Actually Worth Remaking

We all know how much Hollywood loves remakes. This week alone sees the release of two remakes of ’80s classics. While most remakes are superfluous at best, and downright insulting at worst, rare cases do exist where remakes are justified, and may even offer improvement over a flawed original film. For this week’s Roundtable, we’re offering up our suggestions for movies that deserve a shot at a proper remake treatment.

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

If you tuned into the USA Network at any point in the late ’80s or early ’90s, chances are you’ve been subjected to Larry Cohen’s ‘The Stuff‘, a deliriously goofy horror/comedy about otherworldly frozen yogurt that some random oil worker or something finds gushing out of the ground in Alaska. Naturally, he takes a taste. Mikey likes it, and before you know it, the Stuff has overtaken every frozen food aisle from one coast to the other. Calorie-free and magically delicious – what’s not to like? Well, maybe the disclaimer they forgot to print about the Stuff devouring you from the inside, transforming you into a hivemind zombie slave before you’re all used up and… explode.

Although I genuinely like the movie, I think ‘The Stuff’ would be a pretty prime target for a remake. A lot of the low-rent blue-screen effects work didn’t look stellar in the mid-’80s, let alone by current standards, so a modern-day visual effects spit-‘n-polish could work wonders. The original movie’s satirical edge about manipulative marketing and the cutthroat food industry would play better now more than ever too. (I mean, what with it being alive and all, that means that the Stuff is 100% organic, right?)

‘The Stuff’ was definitely dragged down by its budget. It hammers some of the same lame gags into the ground over and over and over again, and a few clever ideas made for a great premise but an umm-less-than-great screenplay. Hey, what a tremendous opportunity for a remake to swoop in and smooth out all the rough spots! I’ll just keep pretending that there are more than twelve or thirteen people on the planet who feel the same way…

Nate Boss

I’d want to see a remake of ‘Suicide Club‘. Why not? Every other Japanese film that anyone has ever heard of already has an American remake and a few sequels, prequels, mid-quels and nyQuils. This is a film that was a fun watch, bizarre at times, that could use an update to modern technology, with a little bit more cohesion. On a related note, a film found in a box set with ‘Suicide Club’ would also be an interesting one to remake and localize would be ‘2LDK’. That short but sweet take on competition gone too far flew by like a commercial, and was damn entertaining. Is the only reason we’re not seeing either of these films because they don’t have cheap jump scares with really pale dead-ish things?

Dick Ward

Boy, I wish I hadn’t used ‘Robot Jox’ in last week’s Roundtable! It’s hard to think of a movie that hasn’t already been remade or had a remake announced. Considering the passing of Steve Jobs last week, I would kill for an updated version of ‘“Pirates of Silicon Valley‘. I don’t care if they make it a four part miniseries or a crazy long movie, but it needs to happen. Movies about Facebook are all well and good, but the events and the drama between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates was something breathtaking to behold. Two men who changed the face of the world going head to head and spurring each other to greatness – that’s a story I could watch again and again. With Aaron Sorkin as writer, of course.

Luke Hickman

I’d like to see ‘The Happening‘ get a remake – so long as M. Night Shyamalan has nothing to do with it. I’m a believer in The Shyamalan, but his last few flicks have sucked terribly. The concept behind ‘The Happening’ holds so much potential, but is entirely wasted on its writer pulling a Shyamalan. Someone other than M. Night should take that property and give it an overhaul. Keep the bits about a virus that causes people to commit suicide when infected (because that’s frankly an awesome idea). Remove the damn plants, the cheesy cell phone lion attack, Marky Mark talking to a plastic tree, and the guy who raves about the under-appreciation of hot dogs. Move the film in a much cooler direction (which shouldn’t be too hard considering how lame ‘The Happening’ is) and I’ll watch it. I originally came up with the idea of revamping the project into a Showtime series right after seeing the press screening. When ‘The Walking Dead’ premiered, I felt like that show had given zombies my treatment for what I wanted from ‘The Happening’.

M. Enois Duarte

I’m having trouble thinking of a movie that could benefit from a remake, because frankly, I love my movies the way they are – even when badly made and super corny. But if I really needed to pick something with a strong concept and great potential to be totally awesome, it would probably be ‘Night of the Comet‘. I don’t know how many times I’ve watched that movie on VHS, but the countless viewings only show how much I’ve enjoyed it. It’s a cool idea that for some reason the filmmakers didn’t quite make work all that well. If someone were so inclined to revisit and modernize, there’s the possibility of making the whole thing much grander, and turning the movie into a world run rampant with zombies and fanatics. The original has always felt like it only touches on certain ideas and aspects. The new flick could definitely explore further what it would be like to be young and have the entire world for your taking when car lots, fashion malls and video stores are a free-for-all.

Wayne Rowe

Josh posed a very interesting, but difficult question for this week’s Roundtable – movies we thought could benefit from a remake with an eye for interesting concepts but poor execution. He asks due to the ’80s movie remakes coming out this weekend, and so my first thought was to look at those films: ‘Footloose’ and ‘The Thing’. Both of these flicks are sacrilege in my book.

First, ‘Footloose’, not because I dig chick flicks, but I feel like there are a bunch “ladies of the ’80s” in my life that love that movie, and this remake looks like ‘You Can Dance’ and ‘Fast and Furious’ dragged ‘Footloose’ over a landmine filled with diarrhea. I have a soft spot for ‘Dirty Dancing’ and would personally be grouchy about Hollywood bastardizing that film. As for ‘The Thing’, I suppose someone thought that it would be a good idea to just put ladies and goofy CGI in the classic original to make a quick buck. I hope it fails miserably.

Now, to Josh’s question… I had a bit of trouble trying to remember movies that fell into that group, but a pal of mine came up with a decent suggestion: ‘Waterworld‘. I LOVED the idea, but the movie mis-stepped in every manner. From the terrible script (“Dry land is not just our destination, it is our destiny!”) to ideas that were completely half-baked (there was enough oil to last generations for folks to evolve into water breathers?) right down to the minutiae of stupid stuff (where is everyone getting all these cigarettes?). Yeah, in capable hands, I’d give ‘Waterworld’ another chance.

Josh Zyber

Since remaking movies from the ’80s seems to be the thing to do these days, I’ll stick with that decade. It doesn’t hurt that I grew up then, and still have fond memories for movies that I loved as a kid but that don’t hold up to adult scrutiny. Sci-fi movies, mostly. So, my pick for a remake candidate is 1984’s ‘Runaway‘, starring Tom Selleck as a robot cop. No, he’s not a robot who is a cop; he’s a cop who hunts robots… No, he’s not a Blade Runner either. Mostly, he chases down industrial machines that have gone haywire, until a crazy madman (a snarling Gene Simmons) starts using strange robotic weapons to murder people.

The film was written and directed by respected sci-fi author Michael Crichton, which you might assume would be pedigree enough to ensure some timelessness. But no, this isn’t among his best efforts. (I swear I’ve read somewhere that Crichton had a cocaine habit around this time, which I was inclined to make a wisecrack about, but I can’t seem to find any references to that right now.) The plot of the film feels awfully half-baked. For one thing, why would the police department have a division that responds to incidents with malfunctioning industrial equipment in the first place? How is that a crime? Wouldn’t that be an IT issue? When your copier acts up, you call the Geek Squad, not the cops.

The movie is also mired in ’80s cheese, including the laughably clunky robotic spiders that victims cower in fear from. Even so, it has a few nifty ideas in it (like smart bullets that can track a target and turn around corners). With a clever reworking and modern visual effects, ‘Runaway’ could become a slick, ‘Minority Report’-style sci-fi thriller. I’d kind of like to see that.

Those are our ideas. Now tell us in the Comments about movies that you think are worth remaking.


  1. Jared Chamberlain

    I’m a firm believer in the idea that good movies should not be remade, or re-invisioned as some would say. I do believe however if the movie was shit to begin with, by all means, improve upon it. So I recommend hollywood take a good long look at shitty properties that were at the very most, watchable, before they start pre-production on movies like Straw Dogs. So, that being said, I think a remake/reboot of Daredevil or Constantine, would be a welcome addition to the list of worthy remakes, as both of these titles pretty much topped out as watchable.

  2. Jane Morgan

    (A) They should just start remaking all the hits from 1984.

    Beverly Hills Cop
    Police Academy
    Romancing The Stone
    Revenge Of The Nerds
    Red Dawn
    Conan The Destroyer
    The Last Starfighter

    (B) They should go back to 1928, and remake The Passion Of Joan Of Arc.

  3. lordbowler

    I loved Runaway, a great movies. Its funny to watch it now and see how far robots have come since then.

    Another great Robot film, in addition to Robot Jox, that could use a reboot is Short Circuit.

    Keeping the theme, how about Batteries not Included?

  4. the only thing i can think of that needs a reboot is DUNE. i know josh loves it and i have had great laughs over it but thats one that need to be remade and told better.

  5. Alex

    I’m gonna concur with Jane that “The Last Starfighter” seriously needs a remake. Not only does it need a remake, but it needs the “Battlestar Galactica” treatment, ditching the cheesy comedy and weak production values and making it a serious space opera with the lonely, dazed earth kid tossed into the middle. I think it could have some real potential.

    • good god no. you miss the point of the movie if you go battlestar on it. it was a story about finding your dreams and taking a chance. starfighter is fine as it stands.

  6. You shouldn’t remake movies that are already good…you should remake movies that SHOULD have been good, but for whatever reason, failed:

    Remo Williams
    Buckaroo Banzai
    Alien Nation

    • I love ‘Alien Nation’ and think it’s still pretty good. I hate to imagine how Hollywood would only ruin ‘Buckaroo Banzai.’

      But ‘Remo Williams’ definitely needs a remake. The original is such a failure, yet the potential of being the next Bond series is right there.

  7. Jane Morgan

    Reboot ‘Van Helsing.’

    Keep Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale.

    Replace Stephen Sommers and Richard Roxburgh.

    And this time, don’t photoshop the nipples.

  8. Brian Haney

    +1 for Last Starfighter, I just watched it yesterday, and its begging for a remake, keep the music though. SOmthing about it, its just great, but definatly update the special effects.
    Thinking maybe Tom Welling as Alex, and dont know who for Maggie, or at the very least bring the original cast and pick it up from there with the brother or something. Would be intresting.

  9. Kevin

    You know what could use a good remake? The remake of “The Day the Earth Stood Still”. I’m convinced there’s a cool modern version of that story to be made. Unfortunately, the Keanu as Klaatu version wasn’t it.

  10. I would be furious if they remade The Stuff! I’ve said it before, but I still think they need to start the Lemony Snicket series over again, filmed back to back and try to cover all of the books.

  11. Jane Morgan

    Christopher McQuarrie’s remake of ‘Seven Samurai’ sounds interesting.

    Set in Afghanistan, with Taliban versus Navy Seals.

  12. Jane Morgan

    Guillermo del Toro should remake ‘The Wizard Of Oz.’

    David Fincher should remake ‘Battle Royale,’ with an all schoolgirl cast.

    Terrence Malick should remake ‘The Island Of Dr. Moreau.’

    Martin Scorsese should remake ‘Quo Vadis.’

    Bernardo Bertolucci should remake ‘Lolita.’

    Michael Mann should remake ‘Cleopatra.’

    Sacha Baron Cohen should remake ‘The Pink Panther.’

    Woody Allen should remake ‘Every Thing You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask.’

    Julie Taymor should remake ‘Dangerous Liaisons.’

    Chan-wook Park should remake ‘The Punisher.’

    Darren Aronofsky should remake ‘Catwoman.’

    Wes Anderson should remake ‘Snow White,’ based on the novel by Donald Barthelme.

  13. Dimwit

    I was watching a Virginia Madsen interview (KP Chatshow) and she brought up Electric Dreams. Moving it into the current era, an aware computer, spurned. Can you imagine the havoc it could wreck in this digital age?

    • i LOVE that movie and soundtrack. I know it got a UK DVD release, it needs a US release too.

      And Pass the Ammo needs a DVD release.
      And I was SHOCKED to see a DVD release of Love at Stake…. That’s on my list for Halloween viewing this year.

  14. that1guypictures

    I’d love to see Alfonso Cuaron remake a non-musical trilogy version of the Mary Poppins books that are more faithful to the books. If not Mary Poppins, then the Bedknobs and Broomsticks series.

  15. I like the choice of Runaway. It was fun, but not an 80s classic. I agree it’s ripe for a remake.

    I don’t like the idea of a ‘galactica’ style remake of Last Starfighter though. What made that film work for those who enjoyed it, was that sense of adventure and innocence. It had an 80s sense of charm and wonder that is difficult to recreate. (The only film in recent years that I think managed that, was Super 8.) Making it dark and gloomy and turning it into a melodramatic soap opera isn’t going to help one bit. 😉

    I’d like to see a remake of Saturn 3, with a great sense of isolation, threat, and seriously twisted robot insanity.

  16. EM

    It might be interesting to see what Kerry Conran (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow) might make of the Flash Gordon property. Conran has a stated preference for developing his own material rather than adapting (supposedly one of the reasons he left the John Carter project); but there’s already a rich history of loose Flash Gordon interpretations, and maybe Conran would feel free enough.

  17. I just had this conversation at work the other day. I’m actually shocked that they haven’t remade “The Creature from the Black Lagoon.” There have been endless amounts of vampires, werewolves, mummies, and zombies and I’m pretty tired of those for the most part. I could only imagine how awesome of a costume they could come up with now that effects have come such a long way in 50 years. Having said that I don’t think there are ANY other movies I would like to see remade unless they sucked the first time around.