8. Citizen Kane remake directed by and starring George Clooney
Who would ever actually remake what many people believe to be the best movie of all time?
It would definitely raise some eyebrows in Hollywood and Clooney might get a lot of grief similar to the kind Gus Van Sant got when he remade Hitchcock’s “Psycho” in 1998. Why not retell the story of the investigation that ensues after the death of publishing magnate Charles Foster Kane and the world wanting to know the meaning of his final word, “Rosebud”?
Film students and cinephiles would still revere the original which just celebrated its 75th anniversary; however, in these tumultuous political times we live in, it would be interesting to see another take on a story a lot of us know very well.
Selecting George Clooney realizes he is much older than Orson Welles was when he directed and starred in the original (55 vs. 25); however, if you want to keep with a writer/director who would be up to the challenge, there are not that many great choices (no one would like Ben Affleck who is 43).
Clooney has directed multiple films including “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind”, “The Ides of March” and the most appropriate “Good Night, and Good Luck.” If you look at the latter, it serves as a good model of Clooney is directing style and his being able to handle a serious, complex story with interesting characters.
Clooney could also bring his own charm, wit and acting chops to the character of Kane, and not try to copy Welles and his highbrow performance.
It would definitely be very interesting to say the least and worth the attempt.
9. 2001: A Space Odyssey remake directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Birdman and The Revenant or Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity and Children of Men) with Andy Serkis as the voice of the H.A.L. 9000
Please no death threats or references to my mother!
This suggestion in film circles would be the equivalent to rewriting the Bible; however, this one could be very interesting.
The story of “Lolita” was remade by “Fatal Attraction” director Adrian Lyne in 1997 to decent reviews. Although not a direct remake, it used the source novel more closely than Kubrick’s version.
Both Iñárritu and Cuarón have exhibited masterful writing and directing talents in recent years and could bring us their own unique takes on this thought-provoking, surreal film experience.
Iñárritu has several visual spectacles on his resume including “Birdman” and “The Revenant” and also more realistic works like “Biutiful” and “Babel” and could really draw inspiration from these when trying to recreate Kubrick’s marvel.
Cuarón had great critical success with “Children of Men”; one of the greatest science fiction films of the last 10 years. He also almost won Best Picture in 2013 with “Gravity” as the film was praised for its use of 3D and its relatively simple, yet gripping story of astronauts surviving a space disaster and just trying to get home to Earth.
Either choice would obvious have some very large shoes to fill and would have to make the film their own while paying homage to the original.
Andy Serkis would be a cool addition as the voice of the evil, yet monotone H.A.L. 9000 computer. He would just have to be sure to reign it in a little and not be too over the top. The cold evil of the original H.A.L. is something that made it work so well.
10. The Grapes of Wrath remake directed by Martin Scorsese starring Leonardo DiCaprio
“The Grapes of Wrath” is one of those books and movies everyone read and watched in high school, but if there is ever a way to ruin any movie experience it’s watching a movie in high school!
The Great Depression story of a young man who rejoins his family after serving a jail sentence only to find out they have fallen on destitution and decide to make their way to California to look for a better life would be just as interesting and emotion if told correctly today.
The simple pleasures in life are discovered as well as how cruel we can really be to each other are both themes which could be explored again in this remake.
Scorsese can obviously direct any type of movie and genre, so this would not be too far out of reach. He has also directed remakes before with “Cape Fear” and “The Departed” as examples of this.
He would undoubtedly have perfect striking visuals and long, tracking shots of the Oklahoma countryside which we would still be talking about.
Henry Fonda was 35 when he starred as Tom Joad and DiCaprio is currently 41, so that would not be a problem. DiCaprio also recently starred in the remake of “The Great Gatsby” and won the Academy Award for “The Revenant”. He is one of the most dynamic, versatile actors working today and could bring a warmth and compassion to the role which would be compelling.
You could even insert Robert De Niro as Pa Joad to complete the ensemble.
11. Chinatown remake directed by David Cronenberg starring Viggo Mortensen as Jake Gittes
Cronenberg is one of the most interesting directors out there. You always know when you are watching one of his films from the ideas and visuals presented or when a typewriter turns into a cockroach!
His early “body horror” type films have given way to a few noir type pictures more recently which would be perfect for a “Chinatown” remake.
If you think of “A History of Violence” combined with “Eastern Promises” with a little “Crash” thrown in for good measure, just think of would could result?
He seems to have just the touch for the retelling of this classic, noir private investigator story involving murder and the city’s water supply.
There would be no other choice to play the lead JJ Gittes than Mortensen. His work in both of the Cronenberg films mentioned above was unbelievable and garnered him an Academy Award nomination for “Eastern Promises” in 2007.
Since the original was the first installment of a planned trilogy, this could end of becoming a franchise of its very own! If you could get Jack Nicholson out of retirement to play the John Huston role of Noah Cross, that would be even better.
12. 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T remake directed by Tim Burton starring Johnny Depp as Dr. Terwilliker
The strange “Dr. T” film from 1953 stands as the only movie with a story and screenplay written by Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel) himself and is the unusual tale of a young boy who wants to escape his piano lessons and dreams of another world of fantasy.
The original film was not received well by audiences or critics of the time after poor test audience reaction, rewrites and edits. Geisel himself called the finished film a “debaculous fiasco” and disavowed all mention of it.
It actually reminds me a lot of “The Wizard of Oz” in plot and conception the main difference being a young male lead instead of a female one. There are amusing songs, interesting characters and a colorful villain.
My personal favorite is the underground “Dungeon for Scratchy Violins” sequence. So kitschy and fun!
There is no one other than Tim Burton who could resurrect this forgotten film and breathe new life into it. His art direction, look and visual style ate always unmistakable and could do wonders with this material similar to what he did with the “Alice in Wonderland” remake.
Johnny Depp would be the obvious choice for Dr. Terwilliker as he is so goofy and fun and Depp could probably play him in his sleep. Coupled with the fact he and Burton have already worked together so many times already they can probably finish each other’s sentences at this point.
There could be many adventures for child Bart Collins in the mysterious world below.
13. The Dirty Dozen remake directed by Joss Whedon starring Hugh Jackman, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johannson, Edward Norton, Eric Bana, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Paul Rudd and Chris Pratt
In between the Disney Marvel cash-making machine, its principal players could get together and find the time to participate in another genre of ensemble entertainment.
Instead of Lee Marvin and Ernst Borgnine recruiting the likes of Telly Savalas, Charles Bronson and Jim Brown for an assassination mission during World War II, the story could be updated so that Hugh Jackman finally gets a chance to act alongside Chris Evans and others as he recruits and bunch of cyber assassins and terrorists for a similar modern version.
The style could be very much like a “Mission: Impossible”, “Bourne” or “Bond” film with lots of exotic locales and great action scenes.
In addition to being a competent action director, Whedon has written pointed dialogue like in the films “Serenity” and “Cabin in the Woods” as well as a lot from his “Buffy” days and still would be a great choice to bring this film to life.
This may be the only way we see Hugh Jackman being heroic alongside Robert Downey Jr. et al and would promise to be very interesting and fun.
Villains in the film would undoubtedly be sinister brothers Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart bent on the world’s destruction and their global takeover.
14. Die Hard remake directed by Gareth Evans (The Raid: Redemption and The Raid II)
Sooner or later Bruce Willis will be too old to continue starring in the franchise that made him a megastar if he isn’t already and it will be time for a reboot.
The subsequent films, while some were pretty good, could never match the quality of the original.
In order to reboot the series and bring back to the big screen, something would have to be different or more intense, and who better to bring this back than the guy who brought us “The Raid” films, Gareth Evans (not to be confused with Gareth Edwards who helmed the recent “Godzilla” reboot and the upcoming “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”)?
“The Raid: Redemption” and “The Raid 2” have to be two of the most entertaining, riveting and thrilling action movies of all time and they were both a complete surprise to me when viewing them over the last few years.
Evans definitely knows how to write, direct and even choreograph unique and clever fight sequences in ways you have not seen before and someone should give him the chance to show these talents to a mainstream audience.
Even the setting for “The Raid: Redemption” was in a high rise building. While not the same as the Nakatomi Plaza setting for “Die Hard” it is an interesting comparison.
This one could be really cool and spawn another action franchise dynasty which would last another 20 years!
15. The Last Starfighter trilogy directed by JJ Abrams starring Eddie Redmayne as Alex Rogan and Michael Douglas as Centauri
How do you follow directing the highest-grossing film of all time? Now that you have reintroduced both “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” to a new generation of film audiences what do you do next?
My suggestion would be to remake one of my personal favorite films the 1980s and all time, “The Last Starfighter”.
Having said that, it appears in researching this that both Steven Spielberg and actor Seth Rogan have attempted to gain the rights to the film for a remake, but have had no luck in securing them from rights holder, the original writer, Jonathan Betuel.
One could only assume he turned down some serious cash, is holding to his artistic integrity, is worried a remake would be crap or if this is even true. You’d have to assume if he turned down Spielberg, that would be it, but maybe JJ could talk him into it now he has witnessed what he did with “The Force Awakens”.
Eddie Redmayne was kind of a random pick for the lead; however, he has proven some great acting range at a young age and will want to cash in on a huge Hollywood paycheck sooner or later.
Michael Douglas has always been one of my favorites and would be fantastic as the charismatic, space salesman/broker Centauri. He proved he still had it with his recent appearance in “Ant-Man”.
The story of video game master turned savior of the universe Alex Rogan continues to be a great, fun David vs. Goliath type story and would be great to retell in a trilogy arc:
The Starfighter Wars Part I: The original story of Alex’s recruitment by the “Star League to defend the Frontier from Xur and the Ko-Dan armada”. Ends with Alex’s victory, but Xur escapes to fight another day. Alex still returns home to collect his girlfriend, Maggie.
The Starfighter Wars Part II: The subsequent war between the rebuilt Starfighter brigades and Xur’s forces. One of the most epic space and ground battle films of all time. Ends with an “Empire Strikes Back” style downer ending with the Starfighter forces being defeated and having to regroup for another offensive.
The Starfighter Wars Part III: It turns out Alex was descended from one of the great Starfighter legends from the past and had been placed on Earth a long time ago to grow up on his own until he was needed and his prowess as a Starfighter and his skills could be honed.
Once back to his full glory, he leads the Starfighters in one last offensive against the forces of Xur and claims ultimate victory.
A guy can dream can’t he?
Author Bio: Andy Kubica is a life-long cinephile. Having spend time as a video store manager, movie theater manager and the first DVD buyer for a former rental chain he now spends every waking moment reducing his film “bucket list”.