Today we welcome Rick Daley
from My Daley Rant!
His theme for the A to Z Challenge was movies, something we can all enjoy. He was willing to answer a few questions about films, remakes, and bad adaptations.
Your theme was movies – which I thought rocked – what made you decide to post about films?
Short answer: I thought it would be easy.
Long answer: I wanted to participate in the A-Z challenge because my blog is more neglected than a fact at a political rally. Posting every day for a month seemed like a great way to force myself into action…I am a world-class procrastinator (MOTTO: Never put off until tomorrow what you can put off until the day after tomorrow).
Before I pulled the trigger and signed up, I wanted to make sure I could finish the task. I needed a topic I could dive into, deep. I’m the kind of guy who knows a little bit about a lot of things—my wife calls me a “vessel of useless knowledge”—but one area in which my inventory of arcane knowledge runs deep is film. I made a list, A-Z, and quickly came up with at least one movie title per letter. It was time to email Alex…
It was an eclectic mix, so I have to ask – what’s your favorite genre?
That’s tough. I think I’ll have to go with Comedy. My favorite movie is Monty Python and the Holy Grail, so if that’s my favorite movie, it must be in my favorite genre, right? Besides, laughter is always good. Except maybe at a funeral. But then again, *Death at a Funeral is a damn funny movie.
I don’t know if there is a genre I don’t like. I love horror movies, too. And superhero movies, martial arts movies, action / suspense / thrillers, some dramas, even some RomComs have merit.
*Even though I have some choice words about remakes in general in response to the next question, the re-make of Death at a Funeral with Chris Rock is 100% hilarious.
Talk to us about your R post, Robocop and Ridiculous Remakes.
I went back and re-read that post…
Now I have to rant for a minute. Studios are churning out remakes because they think it will net them a quick buck. Marketing can be cheaper when your name is already known. Properties ranging from 70s TV shows to board games have made it to the silver screen without any regard for quality. Many have sucked, while good, original stories deserving of the limelight go unnoticed. Not that I am bitter. It’s just that Remakes are the new Prequel. (Remember ten years ago, when Prequels were the new Sequel?)
Then you have movies like Prometheus, which was tied to Alien, one of the best horror / sci-fi / thrillers of all time, but tied to it in a new way, that supposedly stood on its own.
I was really excited to see Prometheus, and it ended up as the biggest letdown of my film-watching life. Here we have a fantastic tale of wasted potential: a movie with an excellent premise but stocked with characters so dumb you could create a satire like Airplane! without changing a single line in the script. It was lazy writing. The characters had no purpose being together in that story. Formulae was pinched from other properties, but the recycling didn’t work in Prometheus…In LOST, a group of disparate characters waking up and meeting each other for the first time worked because they were on a crashed commercial flight, but that made no sense on a trillion-dollar corporate investment to meet God. In Alien, a roughneck captain leading a crew in deep space worked because the ship was essentially a tractor-trailer; but that made no sense on a trillion-dollar corporate investment to meet God.
Some people argue about the film’s thematic implications of the origins of life, claiming the movie is interesting because of what it leaves unresolved. For me, the problem is not what the movie didn’t tell us; its flaw is what was actually on the screen. I could go on and on (and on), but there are other questions I need to address…
You talked about Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein and Quentin Tarantino. Any other favorite directors?
The Warchowskis did a fantastic job with The Matrix (I’m not a big fan of the 2nd and 3rd in the trilogy, but the original is a modern classic, truly groundbreaking).
Peter Jackson nailed it with LOTR, but I am very disappointed to hear he is breaking The Hobbit into three movies. I think he is giving himself too much license and I worry he will stray too far from the primary story. LOTR succeeded as three movies, but it was also three books.
Steven Spielberg is a director who has made countless exceptional films over the years, demonstrating success in multiple genres. Scorsese has, too.
And speaking as a kid who saw Star Wars at a drive-in when I was six, George Lucas played a large role in my childhood.
Finally, while we’re talking about directors, I must lament the passing of Tony Scott, who directed my T-movie and one of my all-time favorite films, True Romance.
You also mentioned books to movies. What are some of the worst adaptations?
The Sum of All Fears tops my list of bad adaptations…Harrison Ford declined the role of Jack Ryan in this film, and the studio fixed that problem by making the character of Jack Ryan a junior analyst instead of the senior agent who had Hunted for Red October, played the Patriot Games, survived the Clear and Present Danger, and rescued the Cardinal from the Kremlin. (NOTE: The lattermost title never made it to film, but the story has a huge role in the plausibility of Ryan’s actions in The Sum of All Fears).
By casting a young actor (Ben Afflek), the writers removed Ryan’s experience and zapped the film of the realism that makes Clancy’s books so damn good. The result is a brainless romp with a cheesy ending.
Do you consider yourself a real movie geek?
No, I only geek out about fake movies ;-)
Have you ever done an all-day, extended-version marathon of Lord of the Rings?
Not yet. I don’t have the extended editions of The Two Towers or Return of the King, so an extended-edition marathon is out of the picture (yeah, there’s a pun, take it or leave it). The real challenge is getting permission from my family to let me just sit on the couch for ten hours watching LOTR at volumes that shake the very foundation of my home, which I would gladly do if only they would let me.
If you do the Challenge again next year, what theme would you consider?
I’m also a musician, so next year I may go after bands and songs, another area where I have very eclectic taste.
Thanks, Rick! Music would be an awesome theme for next year.
Co-host Ninja Captain Alex is the author of CassaStar and CassaFire and his blog can be found HERE