Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Another Bad Movie Idea: I Know Nothing!

Just to continue a running theme into the ground, let's consider an alternative source of bad movie ideas: re-makes. The big new remake is Red Dawn, which was a perfectly silly movie for the early 1980's/2nd Cold War era--Latin American countries fall to Communism and the US is invaded by Soviet and Cuban troops through Mexico. They are stopped at the Mississippi and the Rockies, with high school kids (led by Patrick Swayze, Lea Thompson, Charlie Sheen and C. Thomas Howell) leading a band of guerrillas self-named Wolverines reaking havoc in Colorado. A fun though pretty stupid flick.

So, there is a remake in progress, and my Facebook friends are pondering who the enemy might be this time with China as the likely answer. But really, this movie belonged in an era where the President was calling the adversary the evil empire and talk of civil defense (including digging a hole and then placing a door over it as a possible quick bunker) dominated the day.

What other movies can we bring back, making a silly premise absolutely absurd?

Well, they already did McHale's Navy. How about Hogan's Heroes? One of my absolute favorite TV shows. In today's context, one could go in two directions
--where Guantanamo is Stalag 13 and the Americans play the roles of the Germans in the original series
--or the Taliban have a prison based somewhere in the mountains on the Pakistan/Afghanistan border, and the plucky crew of American/Canadian/British/French/Dutch/Danish (and perhaps one ironic German) soldiers/officers are constantly undermining the efforts of their wacky/stupid Taliban guards. Perhaps Al Qaeda types will play the visiting scary but not so bright visiting superiors like the Gestapo (Major Hofstader) did in the original series: "What is this man doing here!!!!???"

I would choose the latter as it would play much better in the American marketplace. Indeed, we can play with stereotypes, with the American officer as a bit more hard-charging (but still trying to romance every Afghani woman around--a bit more challenging than Hilda and Helga); the long-haired, peace-loving Dutch soldier, the snarky Canadian more upset about losing ice-time and missing Tim Horton's than the progress of the war (perhaps played by a French Canadian woman?); the German soldier always staying behind to man the radio since his rules of engagement make him a liability in the field (just as Kinch's race made it hard for him to masquerade as a German during the original series); and so on.

PS It sounds really bad, but might be good category: Disney is making an Anne Frank movie--written by David Mamet. This could be really good or really bad....


Rodney J. Clements said...

I believe you've caught the spoonerism bug and the blondes were Helga and Hilda.

Chip Gagnon said...

i'm with you on the Hogan remake taking place in taliban prison. Not sure what to do about the female characters, but it would be easier for Lebeau (or was it Newkirk) to dress in drag in a burqa rather than a German outfit...

As for Red Dawn, how about the Soviets are replaced with the Islamic Caliphate® This parallels the Soviets in Red Dawn in a few key ways:

- As in the 70s/80s, so too now crazy right wingers seem to believe that the US is about to fall and be conquered by the evil enemy (soviets/islamofascists);

- wingnuts believe that the liberals are in league with said evil enemy;

- and their beliefs are totally unhinged from reality -- though I will grant that the islamofascist fantasy is much much more unhinged, given the lack of an islamofascist superpower with tens of thousand of nuclear weapons and a huge military... On the other hand the distance from Reality to Red Dawn is greater than the distance from a Red Dawn scenario to the Islamic Caliphate scenario...

Anonymous said...

This is a great idea. The sheer absurdity of a prison camp comedy really fits in with the whole war on terror meme. I love it!