Sometimes, you fall in love. Hey, you just can’t help it. I’m not talking about falling in love with a person or place. I’m talking about falling in love with a movie. You’re so in love with a movie you wish you made it. Maybe that’s what went through these director’s heads when they made the films featured in this list. Here are ten movies from the 21st century inspired by great works of the 20th.
10. The Shape of Water (Inspired by La Belle le Bette and Creature from the Black Lagoon)
“The Shape of Water” follows Elisa, who is a mute janitor at a top secret government facility during the cold war. There she meets one of the lab’s secrets: the mysterious “asset”. The “asset” is actually a mysterious, water dwelling amphibian man captured off the coasts of South America. The amphibian man isn’t just a mysterious creature… he’s also an attractive creature, with firm, green abs, adorable eyes, and a tight butt. Elisa and the monster begin to fall for each other.
The strongest parts of the film aren’t all the looming Cold War era drama, which illustrate the themes of the film quite unsubtly. It’s the chemistry and romance between Elisa and the creature that truly elevates Guillermo Del Toro’s latest waltz.
2017’s “The Shape of Water” is a terrific beauty and beast story of this era. In fact, it was inspired by the story of the Beauty and the Beast, especially Jean Cocteau’s version, stealing shots from the acclaimed picture. It also mixes in a little of “The Creature of the Black Lagoon”, most obvious in the asset’s character design, as well as its commentary on the portrayal of monsters and women throughout the history of cinema.
9. The Royal Tenenbaums (Inspired by The Magnificent Ambersons)
Wes Anderson’s quirky tale of family and healing is one of his most charming and heartfelt, and might contain his best opening sequence. (Scored magnificently with an instrumental version of “Hey Jude.”) But there’s an even more magnificent, dare I say, fantastic film that it was inspired by: Orson Welles’ 1942 “The Magnificent Ambersons.”
Both are quirky tales of a wealthy family’s downfall and redemption. Wes Anderson lifted quite heavily from the Amberson’s home to create the Tenenbaums! Both families complement each other well and make for a perfect double feature!
8. Chicken Run (Inspired by The Great Escape)
DreamWorks collaboration with Aardman Studios resulted in the 2000 claymation dark comedy that was “Chicken Run.” As a child, “Chicken Run” was both a good time and a nightmare. You cheered for the victory of the clay chickens but were extremely scared of the film’s evil, chicken shredding antagonists. But if watched at an older age, you can’t help but to see “Chicken Run” as a clever spoof on the 1963 war film “The Great Escape.” Both are epic stories of an American captain collaborating with a British Squadron to escape their perilous plight.
“Chicken Run” cocks out a story about a community of chickens on a Yorkshire chicken farm, destined to be egg-laying slaves for the rest of their lives. The American rooster Rocky seems to be their only resort to escape the farm. Because they’re egg laying situation has turned into a chicken pie situation! Can Rocky teach the chickens to fly in time before they all get squashed into chicken pies?
7. Synecdoche, New York (Inspired by 8 ½)
Federico Fellini’s 8 ½ can’t stop inspiring filmmakers. After all, it is a romantic version of Fellini’s life. But other directors, screenwriters and artists have failed to live up to Fellini’s personal fantasy. Some have come pretty close though, and one of those that have come pretty close is Charlie Kaufman’s film “Synecdoche, New York.”
“Synecdoche, New York” follows theatre director Caden Cotard as his life falls apart. His family’s left him, his therapist doesn’t care about him, and he’s deathly sick. So he moves to New York and embarks to create his most ambitious play yet, in which actors must improvise realistic lives on a 24 hour basis. Reality and fantasy are no longer separate. Kaufman’s hipster “8 ½”demonstrates the hardships of the creative process, especially when a narcissistic, tragic protagonist is involved. At the end of the day, even art may not be enough to fill the void.
6. The Hateful Eight (Inspired by The Thing)
“The Hateful Eight” is set in the snowy old west about eight scallywags (a mix of criminals and lawmen) that get stuck in a cabin because of a snowstorm. No one can trust anyone. Even the audience can’t trust anyone. There is double crossing, typical talky Tarantino violence, but “The Hateful Eight” isn’t your typical Tarantino western homage. It’s secretly a horror movie.
Tarantino actually made his whole cast watch John Carpenter’s “The Thing” before shooting. But instead of an extraterrestrial life-form, the monsters in “The Hateful Eight” are the characters themselves. They are all monsters to each other, and the tension we feel between them results in a tense sort of terror not found in Tarantino’s other films, instead feeling like a terror straight out of a John Carpenter movie.