Monday, February 18, 2008

Be Kind - Watch These Remakes!

Ah yes, yet another opportunity to sing the praises of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. I'm starting to think Tim League should put me on the payroll.

For a while now the Drafthouse has been sponsoring numerous short film competitions, from 48 Hour film festivals to trailer competitions to the Unnecessary Sequels contest that begat SON OR DAUGHTER OF GLEN OR GLENDA? The latest is tying into Michel Gondrey's BE KIND, REWIND (supposedly not very good), using the film's concept of DIY remakes of beloved movies ("Swedes" they call them) and it has begat a slew (a slew, I say!) of clever (and some not so clever) versions of many film favorites and about a dozen fucking versions of TOP GUN, making me wonder about just what the hell it is people see in that movie, but I digress.

It's impossible to go through all of them (unless you have the time), but I'm digging quite a few of these, with my favorites thus far being Thomas Humpries' BEAST MASTER; a very amusing Syracuse-produced version of John Carpenter's THE THING; and a most creative version of LABYRINTH that has fun with the original film's overall silliness (Bowie in that stupid wig and outfit) but is also an obviously loving tribute. I suspect this one might be the winner.

The best ones for me have been those that are respectfully trying to re-create the original film on no budget (this version of TRON leaves a smile on my face for that reason alone). When the contestants go off on their own and make jokey versions of these movies it just doesn't work for some reason (BEAST MASTER being a solid exception), proof that you can't always improve on a beloved original.

The winners are going to be announced Thursday, but the site will be up for a long time, so if you've got some time to kill (and let's be honest, where the internet is concerned we all have time to kill) you'll find the Kindly Rewind website a lot of fun and a nice reminder of why we love movies (I don't really know what that last part meant, but it's sounded like a nice closer to me). In the meantime, start with BEAST MASTER (and yes, that is Jonathan Gries):

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