Movies + TV

Return to the Scene

Reboots and remakes, copies and cults in some of our favorite movies and shows.

TheSourceFamily_Poster_ALT31The Source Family (2013)
PLEASE SEE THIS MOVIE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. It is a documentary about a ’70s cult of Southern California souls seeking refuge with Father Yod, an all-American boy turned yuppie turned hippie. You WANT to be able to watch it and be like, Look at how awful he is, look at how foolish they are, how could they get sucked in? But within 10 minutes you’re like, Oh man, if someone approached me like, “Hey wanna wear flowy dresses all day and get a name like Sunflower?” I would totally be down. I could be perfectly happy just watching The Source Family all the way through on mute, that’s how beautiful all the original footage is (Father Yod had assigned one member, Isis Aquarian, to document EVERYTHING). Watching it on non-mute, however, has given me lots of good anecdotes to share when I socialize, as long as I’m around people who don’t mind hearing about the most elaborate midlife crisis ever, or how Bud Cort from Harold and Maude was once involved with this “spirit commune,” as cult members called it. Some parts are kind of a huge bummer: This guy who once preached “one man, one wife” suddenly decided he wanted like 13 teenage wives; and followups up with former members show that only about half of them seem to have truly moved on (though no one seems to have any regrets). You kinda start to think there must have just been something unique about that group of people, regardless of Father Yod’s influence/manipulation. And not just because they smoked weed every day as a “ritual.” —Tavi

215px-Footloose2011PosterFootloose (2011)
This is a little bit controversial, but I’m going to go ahead and say it anyway: I think the 2011 remake of Footloose is just as good as the 1984 Kevin Bacon classic, if not a teensy bit better. The plot is exactly the same—a city boy moves to a tiny town in which dancing has been outlawed and promptly falls in love with the preacher’s daughter. The dance sequences are terrific—director Craig Brewer did the right thing and hired dancers who could (mostly) act instead of actors who could (kind of) dance. Julianne Hough, of Dancing With the Stars fame, is convincing as a slightly naughty high school vixen, and the lead, Kenny Wormald, is so adorable with his thick Boston accent that he could have said all of his lines backwards and I wouldn’t have minded a bit. One of the best things about the original Footloose was the kickass soundtrack, and Brewer, in another genius move, got people like Blake Shelton and David Banner to remake some of that movie’s songs for his own soundtrack. This movie is great. You’ll be dancing on the couch, I swear. —Emma

5179A57RJTL--845209818893276396The Parent Trap (1961)
Hayley Mills plays both Susan Evers and Sharon McKendrick, twins who meet at summer camp with no prior knowledge of each other’s existence—prompting the greatest line in cinematic history: “The nerve of her! Coming here with your face!” Of course they hate each other at first, but after a while they get to talking and figure out that they’re not freaky doppelgängers but actually sisters separated in infancy when their parents divorced. They hatch an elaborate plan to reunite their parents by pulling the ol’ twin-sister switcheroo, which requires each girl to learn to perfectly imitate the other and to know the ins and outs of her life. The Parent Trap is perfect in every way, and it includes the best movie makeover of all time! I know the Lindsay Lohan version is good, too, but the original is still the greatest! —Pixie

buffycollage1Buffy the Vampire Slayer (movie, 1992; TV show, 1997–2003, the WB/UPN)
Annoyed that the blond teenage girl was always the victim in horror movies, Joss Whedon wrote a screenplay where she’d be the one kicking the most ass. That script, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was made into a mediocre movie in 1992, having strayed a great deal from Whedon’s original vision. It isn’t necessarily bad—the campy humor is fun—it just isn’t very good. In 1996, Whedon revamped Buffy as a TV show, this time retaining creative control. It was still campy (especially the first season), a little goofy, and a lot of fun, but way, way sharper. The tone was darker, the plots were tighter, and the mythology surrounding vampire hunting was meticulously crafted. This show was life-changing for me! There is a moment in season two—and I don’t want to give it away, but it involves Buffy grabbing the blade of a sword with her bare hands—that made 13-year-old me think, That’s it, I’m a feminist. The show stayed pretty strong for a full seven seasons, and really deconstructed and feminized the superhero trope. What I like most about the original movie is that it shows how bonkers a great idea can go in the wrong hands, and makes you appreciate the genius of the TV show even more. —Anna F.

oltltowlkOne Life to Live (original, 1968–2012, ABC; revival, April 2013–present, Hulu/iTunes/OWN)
I was obsessed with the ABC soap opera One Life to Live for many years, so I was bummed when it was canceled a couple of years ago, and pumped when it was rebooted on Hulu (and iTunes, and OWN) in April. For the most part, I haven’t been disappointed. The production quality is just as good if not better, and since it’s airing on the internet and cable instead of network TV, they can push the boundaries a bit more, making the show edgier and more realistic (sometimes you really do just need to swear!). The cast is smaller and it’s 30 minutes long instead of an hour, but that actually means less filler and more drama! My only complaint is that I don’t know why all the girls on the show are throwing themselves at Matthew, who is a douchey deadbeat dad. But the mystery surrounding the battling brothers Todd and Victor, the return of my favorite soap couples (Todd and Blair, David and Dorian, and Bo and Nora), and a surprisingly awesome performance from Jersey Shore’s JWoww as a sassy bartender have kept me invested—and you can’t beat the convenience of being able to binge-watch on Hulu whenever you want! —Stephanie

MV5BODE0MDE2MTg2M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjE2NjgyNA@@._V1_SX214_Breathless (1983)
The American remake of Jean-Luc Godard’s 1960 French New Wave film Breathless takes place in ’80’s L.A. instead of ’60s Paris, and instead of an American girl abroad (Jean Seberg), the leading lady is a French UCLA student named Monica (Valérie Kaprisky). A drifter named Jesse (Richard Gere) is on the run after stealing a car and shooting a cop; he hides out at Monica’s apartment and tries to persuade her to run away to Mexico with him. She’s into it until things get serious with the law. Some larger plot points aside, this movie has totally different vibes from the original. Let’s just say the American version takes those long talks in bed and turns them into steamy sessions with no talking; and in the place of Godard’s exquisite black-and-white this version is all bright lights, cheesy pink furniture, and Jerry Lee Lewis tunes. Like all my faves, I found it in the free section of Xfinity OnDemand. —Monika

wonkacollage2Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)

Both Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and its remake, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, are adaptations of Roald Dahl’s children’s classic about an eccentric chocolate-factory owner who, wanting to find an heir to his factory before he dies, hides five golden tickets in candy bars in the hope that the right children will find them. I really enjoyed both versions, but the original is more heartwarming. It stars a totally hyper Gene Wilder as the unpredictable but ultimately good-willed Willy Wonka, uses gorgeous Technicolor, and features a delightfully lo-fi rendering of the factory. The new one, directed by the macabre Tim Burton, has a more amazing set, but you never get the sense that Wonka, played here by Johnny Depp, cares very deeply for the children. —Britney

_1365730988Much Ado About Nothing (2012)
William Shakespeare’s play Much Ado About Nothing has always been one of my favorite romantic comedies. I enjoyed the 1993 Kenneth Branagh movie version, but as a huge Joss Whedon fan, I couldn’t wait to see his 2013 take on it. Instead of doing a straight-up period piece, Whedon staged the play, with its original text, in a modern setting (his own Los Angeles home, which is OMG gorgeous!) and filmed it in black-and-white, which I thought was perfect because it felt classic and completely up-to-date at the same time. Even my husband, who is usually intimidated by Shakespeare because of the language, enjoyed it immensely and was laughing his butt off. Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof steal the show as Beatrice and Benedick; not only were they hilarious (people who shipped Fred and Wesley on Angel will especially love seeing them together), but Acker’s delivery of Beatrice’s “O that I were a man!” speech was the best performance I’ve seen! The additional dramatic touches and new spin on Beatrice and Benedick’s relationship instantly made this my new favorite Shakespeare play on film. —Stephanie ♦


  • alienbabe July 18th, 2013 11:29 PM

    Omg. This made me think of the original Carrie and the new one that’s coming out with Chloe Grace Moretz. I can’t wait!

  • AnaRuiz July 19th, 2013 1:13 AM

    All the new Footlose review did was make me want to watch the old Footlose again.

  • monkshood July 19th, 2013 1:31 AM

    I was so thrilled to see that you included Much Ado About Nothing. It’s literally one of the best new films I’ve seen this year! Any Whedon or Shakespeare fan (or both!) should definitely go see this movie. One of my highlights of the movie were Denisof and Acker’s hilarious slapstick moments. I could not have been more giddy and content even after my second viewing of this movie.

  • elliecp July 19th, 2013 2:06 AM

    I want to see all of these….I never realised there was an original version of the parent trap! going to add all of these to my summer movies list woop <3

  • Ella W July 19th, 2013 5:25 AM

    I genuinely love both Charlie and the Chocolate Factory films. The original is so heart warming, and the newer one is hilarious! Me and my sister regularly quote parts of the film!

  • Sophie ❤ July 19th, 2013 6:49 AM

    I really need to get around to watching some of these, they sound amazing!

  • Lillypod July 19th, 2013 8:33 AM

    much ado was soooooooo good

  • bugaleeto July 19th, 2013 10:27 AM

    Omfg perfect show about imitation: Orphan Black!!! I just binged the whole first season a few days ago, it was amazing.

  • wallflower152 July 19th, 2013 11:10 AM

    Much Ado was soooo good. I’d heard about it a long time ago in a podcast and didn’t remember much about it except it was by Joss Whedon and filmed in his house. There was only one theater in the city showing it. And it turned out to be the fanciest theater ever! You could order fine wine and cheese and fruit plates, etc and me and my bf were the youngest people there by like seriously 30 years. When it first started I was like wait are they gonna talk like this the whole time? As much as I love literature I still have a hard time getting into Shakespeare without Sparknotes. But the movie was so easy to get just cuz the acting you could totally get the context of when someone was trying to be sarcastic or serious. It was just a beautiful movie, everyone drinking and partying and falling in love and hyjinks in a beautiful house. <3

  • Sho-Sho July 19th, 2013 11:14 AM

    Could not agree more about the original of The Parent Trap!
    I’ve been watching it repeatedly over the past few weeks but none of my housemates will watch it with me as they think the Lindsey Lohan one is better! Gaaaah! THEY KNOW NOTHING. Maureen and Brian are perfect!!!
    Pixie, you’re the greatest!

  • Monroe July 19th, 2013 12:23 PM

    “you never get the sense that Wonka, played here by Johnny Depp, cares very deeply for the children.”
    Thats because he didn’t! In the books he was kind of a creep, and seemed to dislike children.
    I wouldn’t really consider the Tim Burton version a remake of the old one, but rather just a new version, based off the book. It was much more true to Roald Dahl’s original story than the 1971 movie was. If you’ve read any of Roald Dahl’s works, you’ll know how bizarre and sometimes questionable they are. I thought the newer movie was more successful in capturing that aspect.

    • Britney July 22nd, 2013 3:24 AM

      I’ve read a lot of Roald Dahl’s work, but I actually haven’t read the original story of this movie! I should get around to it. I know what you mean, though, although it’s just odd in general to invite someone to something and then not really want them there. Both versions are still amazingly amazing. (I still cannot get over how cool the set of the newer one is.)

    • Ariella95 August 3rd, 2013 1:27 AM

      I still prefer the 1971 Wonka, though. Also, if I remember correctly, none of the weird backstory of Wonka’s life was in the book.

  • rachaelreviewsall July 19th, 2013 1:05 PM

    Much Ado About Nothing is one of the best films I’ve seen this year. And I looooove Buffy the Vampire Slayer so much!

  • rubypowers July 19th, 2013 1:52 PM

    The parent trap is a bit sad though, no? Maybe they touched upon this but isn’t it horrible to think that one parent was so willing to take just one child and never communicate with the other? I mean, when were they going to tell their daughters about their twin sister? Oh god, maybe I’m making this seem depressing but it’s totally true! I can’t believe there were no feelings of resentment.

  • SamanthaL.Jackson July 19th, 2013 4:37 PM

    The Oldboy remake by Spike Lee is coming out. I’ll see it but I’m a die hard original fan. (South Korean cinema is my one love and takes me back to my roots yooo)

  • Joyce July 20th, 2013 7:07 AM

    ^the original Oldboy will ALWAYS always be the best. (chanwook park is a genius!) I’m like telling all my friends to watch the original before the remake comes later this year. plus, there are a lot of Hollywood movies based on Korean (or other countries’) films and most people have no idea they’re not originals.

    have NO idea about the Much Ado About Nothing film. will totally look forward to watching that :)

  • Nimble July 20th, 2013 6:49 PM

    Buffy is totally my life!! I love it and I wasn’t even alive when it was made!

  • mollyjane July 25th, 2013 3:51 AM

    Wow thanks so much for the suggestion to watch The Source Family!! did you happen to see the names of the song titles during the end credits? too good

    also apparently half of the people interviewed live like an hour away from me at a special spiritual site that totally offers beginner classes i guess??