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Zach of all Trades/Zach Kukkonen

A lack of originality

July 21, 2011
The Daily Mining Gazette

As I was sitting in the movie theater recently, I was watching a preview and thought to myself, "Wow, this preview looks strangely familiar."

Slowly but surely - as more of the plot became revealed - I realized it was the preview for the "new, hip" version of "Footloose," a film that was just crying out to be remade.

Sarcasm aside, I'm not a movie snob, but "Footloose," as charming as the original was, really wasn't that great of a film to begin with. It may be a quintessential '80s movie of sorts, but I cannot imagine anyone seeing it today and saying, "You know what, I wish they would do this movie over, only with a handful of unknown actors and some of the moves from 'Step Up 3D'" instead of what they're actually saying: "Wow, these kids dance really well for never having done it before, and in unison too!"

The only fairly famous actors in the remake are Dennis Quaid and Andie MacDowell, who likely will fall short of the quality performances given by John Lithgow and Dianne Wiest in the original.

The "Footloose" remake, however, is only indicative of a larger problem in entertainment - that authentic creativity comes at a premium these days. Of the top 10 grossing films this year, only one film - the underrated "Bridesmaids" - is what I would consider an original film. Eight of the 10 are the second, third, fourth, fifth or eighth installment in a series.

It does not just stop at cinema, either. Charlie Sheen's comeback trail will start with "Anger Management," a TV show inexplicably remaking an atrocious 2003 movie starring Jack Nicholson and Adam Sandler. Combine the averse feeling most get regarding Sheen with the fact that "Anger Management" is a one-joke premise that was unfunny in the first place, and I'm guessing you will get a train wreck.

I'm not saying that sequels or remakes should never be done, as I enjoyed the latest "Harry Potter" installment and will probably see the fourth "Pirates of the Caribbean" when it comes to DVD. But unlike last summer's "Inception," there doesn't appear to be a fresh film to blow away audiences this summer. Even movies I badly want to see draw heavily upon ideas from past movies ("Crazy Stupid Love" from Hitch and "Horrible Bosses" from "Strangers on a Train").

The problem does not just lie with the creators, however, as they are doing what makes money. People complain about sequels and remakes constantly, yet those are the movies that end up raking in the cash. If viewers want change, they need to facilitate it with their wallets.

Yet I suppose as long as sleepers like "Slumdog Millionaire" and "Little Miss Sunshine" emerge every once in a while, there is hope for Hollywood still. Viewers just need to be patient and wade through a myriad of mediocrity to get there.

Zach Kukkonen can be reached at



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