Weekend Movies: Two Remakes and a Film for Senior Citizens

I honestly haven’t a clue as to which film will take Number One at the box office this weekend. I can tell you which one deserves it, but horror movies generally don’t appeal to all audiences.

John Carpenter’s 1982 horror classic ‘The Thing‘ is deemed one of the all-time best that the genre has to offer. So many fans are leery of what no-name filmmaker Matthijs van Heinjninger Jr. is going to do with the beloved property, especially considering that his ‘The Thing‘ isn’t a sequel, but an interesting blend of prequel and remake.

The 1982 ‘Thing’ opens with a team of dismayed Norwegians tracking down and hunting a dog over the snow-covered glaciers of Antarctica. Before the opening credits are over, they chase the dog into an American camp, where our central characters are stationed, and continue opening fire on the speedy canine as if nobody else was in danger. The new ‘Thing’ goes back and tells the story of the Norwegians and what happened prior to their dog hunt. Storywise, the new ‘Thing’ is a prequel, but it unfolds in the same manner as the first, much like a remake. You need not have seen the 1982 version to enjoy the new one, but the better you know Carpenter’s classic, the more fun you’ll have with the new one.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead (who’s owned my heart forever and I refuse to call anything but “Ramona Flowers”) plays the lead, a sexy scientist hired by the Norwegians to help extract a frozen alien carcass. The only other semi-recognizable actors are Joel Edgerton and Eric Christian Olsen.

The remake of ‘Footloose‘ has the complete opposite effect. Instead of featuring anything new or original, it’s a frame-by-frame remake of the old film. A group of kids die in a drunk-driving accident while returning home from a dance party, so the town leaders ban dancing and loud provocative music. A new kid moves to town, but isn’t willing to stop dancing, so he starts a revolution.

‘Footloose’ stars mostly no-name actors too. The only lead that one might notice is Julianne Hough, a professional dancer from television’s ‘Dancing with the Stars’. Be warned, this Reality show dancer can’t act for beans – and neither can the rest of the cast. Wash-ups Dennis Quaid and Andie MacDowell play small side characters that also bring absolutely nothing to the table. To anyone planning to check out ‘Footloose’ this weekend, good luck with that.

The last of the major flicks opening this weekend is ‘The Big Year‘. In all honesty, I had no clue that ‘The Big Year’ even existed – which is odd for a film starring Jack Black, Owen Wilson and Steve Martin – until I was asked to help distribute promo passes for a Salt Lake City advance screening last week.

‘The Big Year’ follows three birders (a.k.a. bird-watchers) competing against one another to see the most species of birds in North America during a calendar year. Each one is in a different phase of his life and has to sacrifice different things to reach the dream.

As you might have guessed, ‘The Big Year’ is about as much fun as real bird watching. While it’s not terrible, the only demographic I can see actually enjoying the film is the 60+ audience. Everyone else will be underwhelmed and mildly bored.


  1. lordbowler

    I’m looking forward to The Thing since I loved the original.

    I knew Footloose would suck. The original is a classic that I don’t think would work these days.

    It may have worked as a fish-out-of-water story, like a gang-kid from the inner city sent to the mid-west town in an attempt too save his life. Kind of like Save the Last Dance but in reverse.

  2. EM

    Recognizability and semi-recognizability are relative. When I look at a cast list for The Thing, the name that leaps out is that of Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, who played Eko on Lost.

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