By: Frank Hyden
They’re doing a remake of the Steve Martin and John Candy movies Planes, Trains, and Automobiles with Kevin Hart and Will Smith. Insert facepalm here. Why does Hollywood insist on remaking movies that don’t need to be remade? Action movies, or movies with lots of CGI, are the only ones that should ever be remade. And that is solely because of the CGI. And even then you probably still shouldn’t remake movies. This shows a complete lack of creativity. You have two options.
One, you use the exact same script. Perhaps you film it a different way but that’s probably not a good idea. So you do a shot-for-shot remake, in which case, what’s the point?
Two, you change the script and do things differently, in which case, why call it a remake? Why not just make a new movie that borrows a few elements from a previous film? You know they’re going to make major changes to the story and jokes and all that, because 2020 is a much different place than 1987 was. It’s far less funny, a bunch of people get offended at inconsequential little things, PC culture has run amok, etc. etc.
So the only thing that’s going to be the same is the one sentence summary of the movie- “Uptight Neal needs to get home to his family for Thanksgiving, while good-hearted but annoying Del complicates things”. Most of the movie will probably be changed to fit the standards of today. Why even call it Planes, Trains, and Automobiles? Trick question, we all know the answer. It’s because they’re race-swapping the main characters, which apparently will help fight racism. It’s striking a blow for diversity and representation. Or so people on social media will have you believe. Most normal and sane people will see this as nothing more than a cashgrab, trying to bank on the good will of the original.
Why not just bank on the names and starpower of Kevin Hart and Will Smith? Those are two huge names in the movie business. Will Smith has a list of blockbusters longer than your arm. An exaggeration sure but he’s been in a lot of big movies. And Kevin Hart has good movies on his resume as well. Sidenote- I personally like The Upside as my favorite movie of his, though I’ve really liked several of his comedic roles as well.
Maybe I’m just too cynical but I’m tired of this kind of patronizing way Hollywood has where they try to appeal to PoC and women by saying “You know that really good movie that had white men in it? Well, now it has black people in it! Isn’t that cool? Give us your money.” And the mainstream media eats it up, because if you criticize these movies you’re labeled a racist and sexist bigot. Nevermind that most of these movies are a lot worse than the originals, largely because they’re so busy trying to make a point that they fail at the number one thing they should be, a good movie.
Take this movie, for example. What are the odds that there will be a scene where the car gets towed, like in the original, and at least one comment is made about two black men being pulled over for Driving While Black. That’s a problem because it shows that the filmmakers are more concerned with sending a message than trying to be funny in a comedy. That’s the exact problem with too many “comedians” these days, they’re more about furthering a message than doing the one thing they’re supposed to do, be funny. Sure, you can do both but that’s hard to do and I don’t have much faith in these corporations to be that talented.
Despite everything I just wrote, I still think this movie has a chance to be good, or at least good enough to rent at Redbox or stream on one of the many streaming services. I really like Kevin Hart and Will Smith. They both have the charisma to maybe pull this off. The problem is, most people in Hollywood don’t have the charisma they do. It’s a fine line to walk, and the vast majority can’t do it. That begs the question, then, why do so many attempt it?
Thanks for reading. Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank