7 June 2004
So yesterday, as I was standing in line for about an hour for the "Drop zone", evidently the world's tallest gyro-drop, there were monitors blaring and looping an odd mishmash of footage. Incidently said loop was about an hour long, which gives me pause to think that most people in the park spend more than an hour, overall, standing in line. Don't they deserve better than just one hour of VH1 nostalgia, cheesy TV show promos, music videos and movie trailers?
Speaking of those trailers, I saw what has been made of theStepford wives and John Frankenheimer's Manchurian candidate. Back in 1962, John Frankenheimer was still a relative unknown (he hadn't made the hokey Reindeer games or the dreadfulIsland of Dr. Moreau yet) and Frank Sinatra was trying to be a serious actor (it would be below me at this point to mention his appearance in Cannonball Run 2). Frankenheimer's Birdman of Alcatraz had shown him to be a talent to watch in 1962, and people certainly were watching later that year when he released Manchurian candidate, though many of them didn't seem to care for its timely takes on communism, mind control, MacCarthyism, feminine domination and electioneering. Those themes translate pretty well today, which is probably what prompted Denzel & co.'s recent remake, though only time will tell if it stands up as well as the original.
Time certainly has been less merciful to 1975's Stepford wives, knowlingly made with one foot set in the then-modern urban(e) atmosphere of women's liberation and the other firmly on the floor of June Cleaver's kitchen. While the science fiction element is even more easily explained in this world of Aibo, Asimo and Robo Sapiens, the horror aspect of a reversion to the stereotypical fifties can now only be played for kitsch and camp humor. When I heard Matt Broderick's name attached to it (he who was in the remake of Godzilla) I expected an all-out comedy. Nicole Kidman's somewhat neutral on this account, having played in drama, thriller and comedy alike. To discover that Bette Midler had taken on the Paula Prentiss role, well, made my head spin. Bette's not an actress known for her sublety, and what little of the trailer I saw only confirmed that no stops were left un-pulled in the making of that film.
So anyway, with those two remakes in theaters and on the horizon, what can we expect next from the bottom-of-the-barrel scrapers? Some other contemporary "classic", updated for our 00s-sensibilities, say a new Convoy or perhaps Wall street? Perhaps they'll strike gold with the whole paranoia thing and we'll see another Three days of the condor through a Parallax view. Isn't enough enough?