the devil's dump
Besides the fact that "Remake Yourself" remotely sounds like Atari Teenage Riot meets Self-Help Group 2000, it also indicates a pretty sad state of affairs in movies nowadays.
Granted, remakes and "updated" versions aren't a new thing. We've had 'em for years: those who try to remake the classics (ie. the non-violent "The Thing" with John Carpenter's visceral and gory version), but this year seems to herald in a new trend. We've got Christopher Reeve as realistically as possible portraying the photographer in Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window". We've got carbon copy remakes of another of his classics, "Psycho", and now there's news that "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" is being remade for its 25th anniversary.
What a crappy present.
You'll also notice that these movies are all "thriller" related. Remember when "thriller" was the buzz word long ago? You saw it in TV Guide describing movies that you knew were 100% horror. You saw Siskel and that other guy describing "thrillers" - "horror" was a turn-off... it just wouldn't sell.
No, no, no, though. Not anymore. "Scream" made slightly more money than they imagined (ok, a lot more), and then "Scream 2" did the same thing, even being re-released to keep the audience coming. All of a sudden, we see old series being revitalized ("Halloween" and "Child's Play") and new movies being created that follow the same idea ("The Faculty" and "Disturbing Behavior"). And, oh yeah, you're goddam right it's a horror movie, and it's the best damn one you're gonna see this summer.
Yeah, right. Movie people are already running out of ideas... which is one of the reasons I'm attributing to the rash of remakes. This isn't all bad, and I don't want that to come across. Horror movies and the horror genre is my life. I love the idea of seeing a new horror movie on the big screen every week. So, why am I complaining? Because the QUALITY of horror movies on the big screen is becoming much like that big shelf of "unrented, unknown horror"... most of it sucks, but you'll probably find a gem somewhere.
Disney has the right idea, as this Christmas they'll be releasing "Mighty Joe Young". Most people don't know that this is a remake of a rather old film (which was quite good). But... no one has heard about it, so it seems new.
I firmly believe in the fact that you can't remake a classic, which is why "Psycho" (good Norman Bates, mediocre else), and "Rear Window" (bwa hahah... um. No. Bad.) will never match up. If you shouldn't remake a classic, at least remake an unknown. Hell, maybe you'll find a new series venture ("Suspiria 4: The Witching Hour" ... ahhhhhhhhhh!).
This had to come sooner or later. Long time readers of Devil Shat know of an article about those stupid Tamagotchi's that penetrated into our society, and then a follow-up concerning virtual life that could breed like rabbits. The Furby, that cuddly little thing, is the next in the evolution of non-life, as well as the model for next season's rip off toys.
Besides being a furry computer that can learn English as well as speak their native tongue (conveniently called "Furbish"), Furbies can transmit their own sickness to other nearby Furbies. Isn't that just great! Not only will our kids be talking more to their imaginary friends, but they'll also be beating up their neighbor because they made their toy sick.
I don't know about you, but that disturbs me.
Kids have an active imagination... they see things where adults don't, personify their toys, play guns with their soldiers, or dress up their dolls. That's not the problem - the kids control their play themselves.
Mixing "new" toy technology with unrefined imagination throws in a randomness that isn't healthy. Furby gets sick but the kid wants to play. The kid wants to play the next day but the damn toy is STILL sick. Sure, we see kids claiming their doll is ill, and for a day or two take care of it... eventually nursing it back to health. There is no right or wrong way of nursing, nor is the sickness a negative: the kid has created it.
A Furby that gets sick while the kid is having fun, or gets sick during the kid's birthday, or just plain old gets sick and stays sick, anchors the kid into an imagination they might not to play with.
Let alone the fact that they are carrying around a technological bombshell. What if the damn thing shorts out (which has happened)? What if it just starts growling due to some mechanical error? A growling Furby immediately floats "Kill the humans" through my thoughts, along with the nightmares that it'll give the child. Aren't toys supposed to be fun? How the hell can a toy be fun if you can't cuddle with it because of its hard inner parts? Or that you can't take it outside because it's dirty or raining?
Furbies, virtual life, and all of its offshoots just seem to be a bad solution to a problem that shouldn't exist: parenting. "Ignore the kid, dear, he's got the Furby to talk to him."
Where the hell is Teddy Ruxpin when you need him?
I'm not one to be religious... hell, I could be considered an anti-religious zealot, if they exist. Yet a tip from a reader and writer of Devil Shat prompted this impromptu DEVIL'S DUMP.
It seems that one morning on the traditionally named "Morning Wake Up Show" of a WXPZ, Bill and Denise read something called "The Bible in 50 Words". I reprint it here since it'll probably disappear in a couple of weeks:
God made, Adam bit, Noah arked, Abraham split.
It seems to me that by summarizing the Bible into this nice little rhyming limerick, we give a horrible insult. When you go into a bookstore, more often than not, you see Cliff Notes somewhere within. Cliff Notes are for those who don't give a damn about the book and don't want to read it ("yeah, but this isn't an ordinary book, Morbus! This is THE Book") or for those who don't have time to read it ("don't have time to read the Bible? Sinful!")
Now, I don't know about you reader type people, but one of the major things which is always brought up when concerned with the Bible are the 10 commandments. Hmm... read, read, read ("hey! the Bible in 30 seconds! This is great!")... nope, nothing in here about any Commandments, guess they aren't important.
In a day where religion incites wars, hatred, prejudice, and as much media as it does, it seems that practitioners should try making other people understand religion's importance and merit. Dummying up the Bible into 50 words IS NOT the right way, nor does it show the respect, the reverence, or the moralistic teachings that so many people want us to see and understand.
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Thanks for 42. I dug it, especially your slant on furbies and the bible.
First, about furbies:
Furbies remind me of the Planet of the Apes -- the desire to control that which is inherently somewhat) uncontrollable. The apes ran amock. Will the furbies, or their future offspring, do the same? (The more obvious choices for comparison are the Terminator movies, but I like the ape thing better, being a child of the 70's.) I'll be on a personal furby bashing frenzy throughout the next several months. Impressionable children with thoughtless parent, look out!
About the bible:
I appreciate a viewpoint that honors the importance of knowing. Heinlein used the term "groking" (I may have spelled it wrong) in "A Stranger in a Strange Land", which was a term for total understanding and comprehension of a topic or situation. With a Cliff Notes version of anything, you fail to grok the totality of the event/book/situation. In today's lazy world, it is easy to think there is a need for shortcuts, and that shortcuts cannot be lived without. It is unpopular to speak otherwise -- thanks for making and taking the time to do it in the Devils Dog-Doo. You tha man!
I think, for the most part, that remakes are a good idea. As long as they are done well. You made a point about the movie Mighty Joe Young is a remake of an older movie. I would have never known had you not wrote that. Tis why I think remakes are a good idea. It's a way for the younger generations to experience the good parts of past generations. However, this only goes for movies. At least, in my opinion. Has anyone else noticed the slam of country songs bein *re-done* for the pop charts, or vice versa? For instance, the Aerosmith song from Armageddon. I switched on the radio while driving home from work (becuz that's what I do when I drive home) and the radio happened to be on a country station. I heard the first few words and got sick to my stomach. A country version of that song. But on the other hand, the remake of "Hard to say I'm sorry" by chicago was redone by... someone, and it's actually a decent song. Another example is "When I see you Smile" originally done by Bad English. I've only heard parts of the remake, but it seems to be a decent song. I know sometimes the reason they remake songs is becuz people that *only* listen to one genre of music may be missing out on a message that a song has to say. Let them miss it. I'm sure that there will be ANOTHER song in their genre that will have the same message. There are just certain songs that shouldn't be remade.
Just what the world needs is a lil furry adorable computer who will be talkin like our kids. I'm waiting for the lil furry adorable Ebonicans, who conveniently speak Ebonics. Then I'll really be scared.
Kids have a very active imagination. And your right, it's an imagination that they control...by letting the toy control what happens when they play, that's only asking for trouble. What happened to toys like "Betsy Wetsy" who's only damage was a leaky diaper? Or Betty Crocker's Easy Bake Oven (I think it was Betty Crocker), which if not watched carefully could burn the house down, but still a good toy idea. What about a good old fashioned barbie? I'm gung-ho for advanced technology, but not when it comes to kids toys. I've seen kids play with ordinary toys and it's amazing some of the things they come up with...they don't need advanced technology to have a good time. Another problem is what happens when one kid has the OLD version of a technological toy and another kid has a NEW and IMPROVED version? The old version kid is picked on becuz mommy and daddy either can't afford the new version or simply don't have the time to get the new version. Kids can be very cruel when it comes to things like that. It doesn't matter how they were raised. They simply just don't know any better. Down with the Furbies.
Is it wrong that I actually counted the words to the limirick to make sure there was only 50??
yeah, great rant about the horror flicks(not the old movies (or type) but the new remakes). it has been pissing me off lately too.some movies i wouldn't mind being re-done for the 90's : Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2, Army Of Darkness, Weird Science (he he), A Clockwork Orange, and maybe Delicatessan. The matter at hand is: people want and they get the dumb movies that keep them satisfied (i.e. Scream & Scream 2, I Know What you did last summer & its shit sequel, Urban Legends & the sequel they will most likely do). It has gotten so overwhelming lately that i just stopped going to the movies, if i want to see something now, i just rent it. The plain low down fact is that the shit heads who run the companies play up to what (most) people want, and for those of us who want a real flick, there's always the little off the wall movie theaters that show stuff like B flicks and college prods. Maybe someday the gene pool might get that necessary dose of (your chemical of choice here) and those little well known, well done movies will rule supreme.
...and what about these lame remakes of classic pop songs??? Case in point: the latest version of Killing Me Softly. What a laugh.
My rule for remaking anything is this: If you're going to expend all this energy to reintroduce something, you'd better make it better than the original, which usually is not an easy thing to do.
You want to know a song that was remade properly? Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds by Elton John. He took a good song and made it better. But rare is the remake that pleases me! The vast majority suck, period.
Preach on, even if you're only preaching to the choir.