I know I often rant and rave about how tired I am of beloved Hollywood films being dusted off and repackaged for today’s audiences, but sometimes lightning does strike twice. It’s rare, and in fact, I could not think of more than 5 films that managed the remake successfully. Everything else just makes me want to drink, even more than I already do. Here is my list of Top Five Movie Remakes (note: sequels and classic lit adaptations are not included on this list- we all know Pride and Prejudice will continue to be done to death, in many iterations, for centuries to come. That’s just the way it is).
This film is sort of the holy grail of movie remakes. Steven Soderbergh managed to turn a moldy Rat Pack lark into one of the greatest caper films of all time. Who needs Sinatra when you’ve got Clooney? It’s a tough choice between this one and The Italian Job (also a remake), but since they’re basically the same movie, I must choose Danny Ocean’s crew. Every time.
Paris is always a good idea. Even when it’s with Julia Ormond instead of my beloved Audrey.
As much as I love The Shop Around the Corner, I have to give credit to Nora Ephron for turning a classic Jimmy Stewart film into a perfect modern romantic comedy. Bookstores and Brinkley- I’m hooked.
4. True Grit
I am NOT a fan of Westerns, yet even I couldn’t resist this Coen Bros. update of a John Wayne classic. Jeff Bridges was born to play Rooster Cogburn, maybe the greatest name in the history of names (sorry, Dude).
5. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
I went into this one with zero expectations, but was pleasantly surprised. The Danny Kaye version is beloved by classic movie buffs, but Ben Stiller makes it his own here. It may have flown under the radar upon its release, but as a grizzled Sean Penn says, “Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.”