Sadness and Pity – The Words

The Words - Official Poster - from

The Words – Official Poster – from

The Words (2012)

Directors: Brian Klugman, Lee Sternthal
Writers: Brian Klugman (screenplay), Lee Sternthal (screenplay)
Stars: Bradley Cooper, Dennis Quaid, Zoe Saldana and Olivia Wilde

There are moments when a movie trailer can win me over enough to send me to the cinemas. The Words wasn’t even on my radar and I’m usually not a huge fan of Bradley Cooper or Dennis Quaid. It was the story that was told in the trailer that caught my attention. (Watch it here)

The story of a stolen novel and a stolen life. The composition of the film is beautiful and tragic. You know from the moment the film begins that it won’t have a wonderful and happy ending but neither do you know what will inevitably become of the young man who dreams of being something more than what he is. This isn’t a fast moving, action packed film, nor is it an utterly tragic drama, and yet it left me with a feeling that I cannot fully explain. I left the cinema with a heaviness and depth of pity and sadness for the men in the film that I haven’t felt before, which makes me ask the question: why?

It wasn’t the most amazing film I’ve ever seen, it wasn’t even hitting in my top twenty or fifty necessarily. However, it was able to convey something that I hadn’t experienced before. The darkness of fame, the twisted shame of lies, the hurt and pain of loss, the need for redemption and to right our wrongs, and the emptiness that comes with keeping a secret that tears apart your life. That is what the film left me with. The simple truth that we do wrong and we have to live with the consequences.

The way that Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal composed this film brought into light that if a story is worth telling then do it simply, without grandiose or theatrics. Just tell it like it is, let the characters be real and true and awful. I felt the pain and shame of Bradley Cooper’s character; and the hurt and loss of Jeremy Irons old man; and the love and fear of Zoe Saldana’s character. There was depth to the narrative and development of the characters without being obvious or over-the-top. It meant that the heart of the film was able to shine through without being tarnished by me thinking about the film making techniques or script. It was a beauty and sad story told simply and graciously.

I really recommend you see this film. Not just for the gorgeousness of Bradley Cooper’s blue eyes, but for the feeling that this film leaves you with when the lights go up at the end of the film. It may not change your life, or stay with you forever, but it will make you feel something different.

To make or to remake? – Footloose

Footloose - 2011 Official Poster - from

Footloose – 2011 Official Poster – from

Footloose (2011)

Director: Craig Brewer
Writers: Dean Pitchford (screenplay & story) and Craig Brewer (screenplay)
Stars: Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough and Dennis Quaid

There is nothing new under the sun, or on our movie screens. Whether it’s book-to-movie adaptations, comic hero films, version 2, 3, 4 or 5 using the same characters over and over again, or just Disney rehashing the same old princess story again, it seems that the majority of the films nowadays aren’t showing us anything new or creative. Don’t get me wrong, there are some gems in this (including Toy Story 3 which I prefer over the second and almost over the first or unique films like Moonrise Kingdom) but studios want to make films that will earn the big bucks, and I will pay to see those big blockbusters like everyone else.

But when it comes remaking films there seems to be complete lack of creativity in this idea. Why would you re-do something that was perfect to begin with? Or at least perfect for the original idea. It confuses me when people think these remakes will be as successful as the original, or even come close to being as satisfying. So when I hit a low point last night and watched Footloose (the remake) for the first time after delaying it for as long as I could resist, I went in with the assumption that it was never going to be as great as Kevin Bacon dancing his arse off in the factory or Lori Singer dare-deviling between the two cars with the truck approaching. You can’t beat that classic 80s recklessness. We may be stupid and reckless nowadays but the 80s kids were competing with their hippy-turned-conservative parents, we were never going to be able to beat that.

The remake wasn’t awful, it had the moments of cheesy triumph over The Man and the brilliance of gentlemanly behaviour trumping the bad boy act. But the entire time I was thinking about the original and how awesome it was. The only improvement I could see (mainly because I didn’t really remember it from the original) was the aunt and uncle’s support of Ren.

With the lack of success that Total Recall has received, along with the remake of a bunch of other films coming to cinemas soon – including Red Dawn, Point Break, Annie, and A Star Is Born – it just makes me wonder, what is the point? I know there are so many brilliantly creative people out there with fantastic ideas for films, if we invested some more money into developing them we could create a new era of fantastic films rather than rehashing films that were fine to begin with.

What do you think? Are remakes worth it? Or should we rebel against the big studios and only support original screenplays and indie films?