The Unapologetic Geek

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E. Magill

E. Magill
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November 05
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E. Magill is an award-winning, though bitterly unpublished, science-fiction novelist, futurist, and entertainment junkie. Learn more about him at www.emagill.com

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Salon.com
Editor’s Pick
MARCH 15, 2011 11:55AM

Top 5 Worst Movie Ideas Being Released in 2011

Rate: 10 Flag

Footloose (2011)

No producer in Hollywood today is capable of even thinking, "Why not?"

Among entertainment news stories this morning, there is Ivan Reitman talking about a possible Ghostbusters 3, Baywatch feature film, and sequel to the Howard Stern biopick Private Parts, along with news that Robert Zemeckis' mo-cap remake of Yellow Submarine has been scuttled by Disney. Just a few days ago, the gritty reboot of Little Red Riding Hood, called simply Red Riding Hood, was released, making $14 million on its opening weekend. This seems as good a time as any to talk about all the really bad ideas not only being thrown around by Hollywood but actually being put into production. I'm not terribly interested in being one of those people who complains about the lack of originality in Hollywood--because I know it's as much our fault as it is theirs--but really, the fact that these movies were green-lit and are coming soon to a theater near you soon should be a sign to all of us that we are quickly approaching the apocalypse.

This list is about movies being released this year. I have scoured the release date calendar for 2011 and picked the five most ridiculous films we have to look forward to. What's far more frightening than these films' very existence is the fact that they all might make a killing at the box office. What is wrong with you people?!

Before I get to the top 5, here are the runners up: Hanna (imagine The Bourne Identity, only replace Matt Damon with a teenage girl and throw in some pseudoscientific nonsense), Priest (basically, it's The Searchers with vampires), Limitless (that "you only use 10% of your brain" thing is a total myth, and movies based on it got old with 1992's The Lawnmower Man), and several unwarranted remakes of beloved eighties movies (Fright Night, Footloose, and The Thing).


#5. Anonymous
Release Date: Sep 30

Anonymous

Filmmaker Roland Emmerich is taking another stab at historical accuracy (because he did such a good job with it in movies like The Patriot and 10,000 BC), only this time, he is using as his starting point an assumption that the Oxfordian theory of Shakespearean authorship is a true fact. Not only that, but he's going with the extra-fringe "Price Tudor" approach, which states that, not only was Edward de Vere the true author of Shakespeare's plays, but he was also the illegitimate son of Elizabeth I. I don't even know how to begin to explain why this is a bad idea, but sufficed to say, Emmerich doing anything other than directing apocalyptic blockbusters (or writing legendary episodes of Star Trek) is, by itself, a terrible idea. Trusting him to do a political thriller is questionable at best, and trusting him to do a historical political thriller is downright stupid. Thinking that it would be a good idea to let him tackle the Shakespeare authorship controversy is even worse, but the good news is that, if his film does for the authorship debate what The Day After Tomorrow did for global warming alarmism or what 2012 did for the Mayan calendar madness, we can all look forward to poking fun at Shakespeare conspiracy theorists in the very near future.


#4. Arthur
Release Date: Apr 8

Arthur (2011)

There are unwarranted remakes like the ones in my honorable mentions, and then there's abominations like this. Look, I'm no huge fan of the original Dudley Moore flick (which did win Oscars), but the idea of remaking it with the ludicrously annoying Russel Brand in the title role just doesn't make any sense. First of all, fans of the original Arthur are, for the most part, over the age of 40, while fans of Russel Brand are somewhere around 15. Secondly, is there a single human being on the face of Planet Earth clamoring for more Arthur? It won't be long before we see a remake of Moonstruck starring Britney Spears and a remake of Tootsie starring Zac Efron.


#3. Apollo 18
Release Date: Apr 22

Apollo 18

I'll admit that I actually like fictional found footage horror flicks like The Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield, and Paranormal Activity, but even fans of the gimmick have to admit it's getting extremely old. Enter Apollo 18, the latest iteration of this idea. The film claims to be secret footage of a post-Apollo 17 mission to the moon in which the astronauts encountered aliens that killed the crew off one by one. The producers are even half-heartedly trying to market it the way The Blair Witch Project was marketed, by claiming that the footage is 100% real. This would be an effective trick if we were still in the late nineties and they could wipe that stupid grin off their faces.


#2. Conan the Barbarian
Release Date: Aug 19

Conan the Barbarian (2011)

Oh boy, another remake of a movie from the eighties! What separates this one from the others on the list is that, in addition to being a retarded idea, it isn't a terribly profitable one. Consider that this remake wants to be true to the original film's hard-R-rated titty-soaked violence, is being produced by smaller companies, has a working budget upwards of $150 million, and has virtually no star power attached to it. Even though this film purports to be based more on the original 1930's pulp fiction than on the 1980's films, it is hard to separate the character of Conan from the grips of Arnold Schwarzenegger's iconic performances, especially when you are replacing him with someone who is essentially unknown. Also, recent attempts to revive the character as a video game icon, similar to God of War's Kratos, were dismal failures, which should be a warning to anyone interested in the property that it's not something people are longing to revisit. While there are certainly a handful of geeks out there excited by this one, they do not make up enough of a population to recoup the film's bloated budget.


#1. The Smurfs
Release Date: Aug 3

The Smurfs

Not only was this idea the brunt of an SNL parody many, many years ago, but it is actually a real thing being put out by the same Hollywood that brought you Alvin and the Chipmunks, Garfield, and Marmaduke. Just like those other three embarassments (all but one of which was hugely, inexplicably profitable), this one is taking a classic cartoon, turning it CG, and putting it into a live-action movie where wackiness is bound to ensue. The fact that there is even a single person who thinks this is a good idea makes me lose faith in humanity in general, but the fact that it's actually, seriously being made and released gives me a new understanding as to why the terrorists want to kill us all.

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not a single new idea has come out of Hollywood since Casablanca
I wouldn't have wasted money on any of these at the theater and now I won't be tempted to waste money on any of these as a rental either.
I think all of us at OS should start writing screen plays!!
Congrats on the EP!
rated~
Yep, no disagreement from me.
Everyone knows Conan wrote Shakespeare while wildly drunk and using his committee of Smurfs to help him stage the lunar landing.
The only good thing about the "Priest" movie is people might mistakenly rent the earlier movie of that name, which was actually quite good. Linus Roache and Robert Carlyle getting it on in the back of a car isn't everyone's cup of tea, but it should raise a few eyebrows!
Oh my god. No wonder I stay home.
No wonder I've gone to only two movies in the last three years.
How inspiring. Let's review a movie before it's even been released. I'm looking forward to Emmerich's film as perhaps the first movie about Shakespeare that dares to tell the truth. But keep ridiculing. That way, you won't have to worry about opening your mind. "Denial, ridicule and entrenched belief systems are extremely potent defenders of the status quo."
For the record, howard16, I have studied the Shakespeare authorship question rather exclusively, and used to be a believer. However, thanks to my having an open, skeptical mind, I was able to change my beliefs in the face of evidence and logic that pointed to the undeniable conclusion that the entire controversy is built upon anachronisms, misunderstandings, and sheer fantasy. I recommend reading "Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare" for a fair review of the evidence, assuming of course you have an open enough mind.
I meant "extensively" of course.
Right on for all of them -- except Apollo 18. The movie will surely stink based on the footage I've seen, but the premise actually had some potential to be a good thriller in the right hands.
That's nothing - Universal has also considered remaking Back to the Future. Why, instead of remaking classics like The Omen and The Thing, don't they remake films that weren't perfect first time?
@ Elijah Rising - Casablanca?? That was a rip-off of Algiers, itself a remake of Pepe Le Moko - or were you being sarcastic? (If so, brilliant!)
I thought that Inception was great. Just the whole concept of being able to enter other peoples mind in their sleep to steal secrets is phenominal and ORIGINAL to me. The first thing I did when i saw the poster for The Smurfs was raise my hands to god and asked "WHY?". I guess you can have a horrible idea but as long as you know the right people your movie will be made. Wish I had the oppertunity to do better. :(
I will say, and as someone who typically hates remakes, that I do think it's time for a new Conan film. Robert E. Howard's character and stories are kinda timeless and don't have to be embodied in any one actor. It's ripe for continual reinterpretation.
Thanks for your comments and ratings everybody!

As for Casablanca, that movie was thrown together in such a crazy, haphazard way. It's a classic--one of the greatest films ever made--but it was lightning in a bottle that could only have been captured by the studio system of the 30s and 40s. Nobody makes movies that way nowadays, for better or for worse.
Actually, I'm kinda curious about Hanna. I expect it'll be horrible, but you never know. Right there with Sucker Punch. Horrible, or brilliant? I'm simultaneously scared and fascinated to find out.

But Arthur? My god. I always despised the Dudley Moore film, and the thought of suffering through a remake . . . well, even the prospect of staring at Helen Mirren won't get me near the theater.
"Arthur" is a remake? I thought it was some unrelated story poaching a long-forgotten title. Thanks for the tip, I'll alert the media.