It may be difficult to understand why someone would care to remake films whose originals already seem to stand the test of time. However, I believe that as new generations of moviegoers evolve, fewer and fewer people will take the time to discover classic films and stories that once romanced us and stole our hearts. There are some films on the following list that are recent and may not be ready for a remake. But each of these romantic comedies are fabulous stories that with a little freshening up can either excite once again, or garner the interest of an all-new body of moviegoers to keep the stories alive.
In chronological order here is a list of ten romantic comedies I would love to see remade sometime in the not-so-distant future:
This is a hysterical stage production. After watching the 1967 film version of Neil Simon’s famous story, I was downright disappointed. The film stars a young and handsome Robert Redford, and a fun-loving Jane Fonda as a newlywed couple working to survive wedded bliss after the honeymoon. The stage version I saw just knocked the ball out of the park; there is so much more to this Neil Simon work of art than what was captured in the film version. The plot is so universal that with a little primping, this could be a great flick for the 21st century.
Released in 1979, this romantic comedy is set at the Cannes Film Festival and revolves around an affair between a filmmaker and a film producer’s wife. Imagine what the film festival was like in ’79 versus ’08. This would be an incredible indie-esque film, with room for beautifully artistic shots of French scenery. I am surprised no one has thought to remake this film. I have read that the issue that prohibited any lasting success for the ’79 version of this story was how specific the jokes and plot were to the film industry. Essentially, a lot of what took place was going over the heads of audiences. Today, the film industry is so in and popular that I imagine a wide body of patrons would swoon at the chance to see a romantic comedy that also shares some insight into the lives of those hard-to-reach filmmakers.
When you say '80s classic, I say Pretty in Pink (or Teen Wolf). Molly Ringwald stars as the poor, but fashion-conscious high schooler in love with the handsome, popular, rich boy. With teenage heartaches abounding, this is a typical high school comedic love story. Today, the adult films that take place in high schools are much more extreme; take Charlie Bartlett or High School Musical for example. One is hysterical, yet unconscionable while the other breaks out in ridiculous song. I’d love to see this classic remade so that the story is not lost forever. Generations to come should know of these old stories; I fear soon there will be so many films with so much glitz and glamor, the older and, dare I say, simpler bells and whistles will be pushed to the wayside.
Brought to cinematic life in 1993, Benny and Joon is an incredible film about two eccentrics who fall in love. Starring Johnny Depp as Sam, a whimsical guy with the oddest of behaviors, and Mary Stuart Masterson as Juniper/Joon, the mentally-ill sister of Benny (Aidan Quinn), this is a lovely story about the power of compassion and understanding. Of course, the film is perfect as is, but it would be truly incredible to see a fresh cast of actors take on these challenging roles, rediscovering each element of the characters once again. An interesting tidbit about this film; it was filmed entirely in Spokane, Washington.
I never tire of period pieces or Jane Austen. Wonderful reinterpretations are always welcome. As much as I adored Kate Winslet in the 1995 film, I believe that every so often, a new director should visually reinvent Jane Austen’s miracle stories. With richer and more lush scenery, ornate gowns, and more stuffy affluent men than ever, reaching into these stories and bringing the characters to life is an exciting experience for all Jane Austen lovers when it’s done well.
“A romantic comedy with the works.” That was the tagline for this 1988 rom-com. I’d be curious to see what director would remake this film and who would be cast. This is a charming coming-of-age story about three young girls working at Mystic Pizza in Mystic, Connecticut, as they experience the ups and downs of love and friendship. I think it would be fun to see a fresh cast of young faces do this film. It is heartwarming and wholesome, qualities we, frankly, don’t see too often in theaters these days.
This is a film that tugs at the heartstrings. In 2000, David Duchovny and Minnie Driver broke hearts in Return To Me. The story is about a widowed man who falls in love with a woman who is in need of a heart transplant and the difficult decisions that ensue. This is an incredible story that was not high profile enough to attract a real audience. It will never be your Friday night thriller or blockbuster, but this is still a sweeping love story that if cast well, could be revived over and over.
The battle of the sexes begins in Two Can Play That Game. This is your typical relationship flick about playing games with your mate and ultimately losing, because honesty is the best policy. I’d venture to guess not too many remember this film or cared to ever see it. Considering the African-American cast, I would say a substantial percentage of moviegoers probably assumed it was a niche film. But it really doesn’t have to be. Any race or culture could be in this cast, and any remake could aim for more uproarious laughter and ridiculous scheming. There is good plot foundation here. I say, “More! More!”
Two divorce attorneys. Neither believes in love. Both complete opposites go head-to-head in the courtroom. Seems like we’ve seen it before, but really this is a fun, romantic comedy that is both light-hearted and entertaining. Here is the core quality of rom-com movies: they’re not trying to be of the same caliber as award-winning dramas or war flicks, they are meant to be easygoing, 90-minute pieces of entertainment. The problem I had with this version of the story was that Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore (both great actors) didn’t seem to mesh well together on camera. I just didn’t believe that they were a couple. Though, this laws of attraction theme could apply to a myriad of couples. The needn't be divorce attorneys, why not rock stars? We could see a Joni Mitchell-esque singer fall for a Robin Thicke, eh? Okay, I disagree with myself, but you get the idea.
If my memory serves me correctly, The Break-Up opened at box offices nation-wide at the height of the Jennifer Aniston-Vince Vaughn tryst. Well, not only did this amplify the general interest in the film, but I would say it certainly impacted the overall take home the film received. I think films like this should be remade over and over again. Not because the actors don’t seem to get it right, but because the content is so universal and each couple interprets these ridiculous arguments so differently. Really, I think if I were to be fighting with my boyfriend, watching this film would honestly make me look at my behavior and wonder if, at some point, I was being as ridiculous as they were. It’s fun, it’s nasty, and it will never get old.