Manchurian Candyass

manchu.jpgNot sure what’s bothering me more, the broad fact that a remake of “The Manchurian Candidate” was made at all (and by Jonathan Demme, no less!), or the underlying lameness of the billboards I’ve been seeing for the film.

Did Paramount’s marketing department just throw in the towel or conveniently forget those millions who’ve seen the acclaimed 1962 John Frankenheimer masterpiece? Sure seems like it, because from high above the streets their ads ask “Who is he?” and “Can he be stopped?” Well [spoiler alert ahead for allayooz who Paramount must be targeting], he’s Raymond Shaw, and yes, he can be.

Now, I’m blissfully unaware of how Demme might have purportedly “updated” or twisted the telling of this ultimate way-ahead-of-its-time cold war chiller thriller (based on Richard Condon’s novel). Doesn’t matter; not interested. Even with the star power. Sure, Denzel Washington plays Frank Sinatra, Liev Shreiber plays Lawrence Harvey, and Meryl Streep does her best Hillary Clinton ó I mean Angela Lansbury. Hell, Lansbury’s even gone on the record wondering WTF were they thinking, and I’m so with her.

8 thoughts on “Manchurian Candyass”

  1. i’m so with you too. are people that thrown off by the whole black and white thing?

    really, who’s going to do harvey and lansbury any better? and they should not have even tried to redo the garden club sequence. no one is going to match that.

    those who do not learn from history are damned to have the psycho remake happen again.

  2. Yet another example of how creatively bankrupt Hollywood is. I’m waiting for them to remake Citizen Kane any day now, starring Ben Affleck. Why can’t they ever leave well enough alone?

  3. I should change my name to Big KillJoy — I’ve recently gotten into the habit of reading movie reviews, and there seems to be an anti-craze about remade movies, and movies based on or “suggested by” books (I Robot, if you haven’t caught on). I think you “professional” movie critics need to realize that there’s a younger generation out there (me and my peeps), that haven’t ever heard of the 1902 Manchurian Candidate movie, and are not interested in seeing a re-released black and white film. Some of us, don’t like reading books (although we can and have) and have no idea who Mr. Asimov is (I’ve already forgotten his last name, or first name, whichever isn’t Asimov). Some of us find I, Robot, and the Manchurian Candidate to be great and original works…satisfyingly entertaining, and well worth the $12 theatre prices. So, before you and your kind, finish damning Hollywood and every movie that comes out between now and your inevitable passing, think of us youngsters and remember for us, it’s a brand new movie. Either that, or make up for that “increativity” and script your own movie. By the way look for my movie coming out in the next few years titled, “Coincidence”.

  4. basically, i don’t give a damn what the studios do big mike, they can shit money away as fast as you can give it to them for all i care.

    did you like the new rollerball a lot? (they origianlly did that back in the 70s) that LL is a hell of an actor, isn’t he. and planet of the apes. (again, 70s) marky mark rocked! the aforementioned psycho. POS.

    maybe it doesn’t mean a whole lot to you big steve, but some people view this as fucking with real art. i can look at these remakes as a different entity and accept that, but it is almost insulting.

    and as i have a career outside of “the industry” that i have developed and grown, i choose to use my creativity and energy in other directions as a waste management engineer. you and “your peeps” get on that original script and get back to me.

  5. Thanks for sharing Big Mike and don’t let a little self-doubt or sloshy negativity force you to consider changing either your screen name or your lack of historical perspective. Paragraphs might be a nice touch, though.

    As for this old fogie, I’m going to keep on “damning Hollywood” when it makes me and I’ll have to take a pass on your offer to have consideration for you inconsiderate wide-eyed youngsters so eager to explore and embrace all that’s vapid and blockbustery. In fact, I’m going to continue to think of you legions of tart whippersnappers as sparingly as possible.

    Of course, you make yourselves hard to avoid with laughable posts like the one above which so glaringly illustrate how little you know and how little you care to know.

    As such, you call me to task for daring to have an opinion contrary to yours. And then kneejerk that clichÈ of a challenge for me to put up and shut up and script my own cinematic masterpiece. Well BM, you got me there. Never wrote one, probably never will. But as long as I pay my $12 to see them I have every right to demand a quality product and ó even more pompously ó a personal obligation to bemoan the lack of it and to demean the creative dearth being delivered.

    Clearly we have different versions of what that quality entertainment is. The difference is I don’t begrudge you whatever floats your boat. I say go for it while you say go away. Can’t do that, BM. So instead, let’s just chalk it up to a phrase someone really smart once said: “There is no disputing taste,” But that was in a book you haven’t read originally in a language long since dead.

  6. I worked “in the industry” for a few years and there was a great joke one of the writers told me. It goes something like this:

    One screen writer says to the other “Well it looks like we’re going to have to write something that’s actually new pretty soon.”

    The other screenwriter, aghast, turns and exclaims “my god! Has it really come to THAT?”


    This is from professional screenwriters :-)

  7. Wow. First – I adore the photo along with the post – mad props on that.

    After being ordered to for years by my parents, I finally broke down and rented the original “Candidate” last week (I could only find the VHS, but the ‘rents said they just watched the DVD and it has some worthy bonus material). To say it was “ahead of its time” is an understatment. It hasn’t lost any of its bleeding edginess over the years.

    To BigMike who posted his dismissal of old black and whites and reluctance to read books – well – that’s your right and I won’t take it away from you. But there are three things that bug me:

    1.) Willful, if not gleeful, ignorance of past art.

    2.) That somehow the remake is brand new to you in a way the original wouldn’t be. I hadn’t seen it before either, so it was brand new to me. Hell, NBC markets their laziness on the same premise (watch this crappy Friends repeat – it’s New To You!).

    3.) I hope the lack of shiny colors really isn’t what’s between you and a fine cinema education. Back in the day when AMC actually showed “classics” (which they sometimes do now, but with commercials and they’re 80s classics), I used to fall into all kinds of gems (and I’m only 25 now, so this was when I was 12 or 14). It’s a hell of an education – about cinema, movie-making technology, culture, and the of-the-moment America in the film.

    My suggestion – in honor of the current Iraq war, go rent “The Best Years of Our Lives,” a post WWII movie about the painful, awkward transitions of several service men back into peacetime lives.

    I don’t hate the idea of remakes (new staging of plays, etc). I say, make away. But I do dislike the idea of substitution, or laziness.

    And willful ignorance.

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