All Female Movie Remakes: Hollywood Genius or Stupidity?

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All-Female Movie Remakes: The remake has become an extremely close associate to the Hollywood production machine. Once upon a time, it had little attachment to the term till it discovered the genius of European cinema and started remaking their films. Not long after that, Hollywood started remaking its own classical films. Initially it didn’t seem so problematic, until they started remaking 1980s films like Footloose, Friday the 13th, Halloween and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Simultaneously, sequels are often being taken further and turned into extended franchises. The latest trend to sweep Hollywood is the all-female reboots/remakes of roles in films that were originally played by men.

The Ghostbusters reboot was the first to begin this trend and faced vicious backlash from the public. The film ended up becoming a box office flop, received mixed to negative reviews and holds the record as the most disliked movie trailer on YouTube. The negative Ghostbusters reception has not discouraged Hollywood. An all-female  remake of Ocean’s Eleven (Ocean’s Eight) starring Hollywood actresses Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter and Rihanna is in the works. There is also a talk about a female version of The Expendables (Expendabelles). Julia Roberts is playing the part that was originally played by Ricardo Darin in the remake of The Secret in Their Eyes, and Ronda Rousey is scheduled to play the Patrick Swayze role in the remake of Roadhouse. As predicted this has equated in some strong opinions that support and reject this new film phenomenon.

ocean's eight all female cast

The proposed all-female cast for the upcoming Ocean’s Eight 

Are you for or against this new trend of all-female gender reversal movie remakes?

Is this process beneficial or limiting to women in the film business?

Are Hollywood film roles for women better today?

ARGUMENTS FOR THIS TREND:

  • It is difficult to convince Hollywood that a film dominated with a female cast can make money. Hollywood has a history of ignoring all-female projects and not supplying women with strong roles. Despite the failure of Ghostbusters remake, it received significant support for the trend that it started. It shows that people want more films with strong female leads, regardless of whether they are taking on roles originally played by men. The trend should continue.
  • A remake like Ghostbusters is placed in a difficult position and is almost doomed from the beginning. It receives such a back lash before it’s even released (due to its female cast) which damages its potential for success. Cast member Leslie Jones received a great deal of harassment and abuse on Twitter for her participation and performance in the movie.
  • The delicate male souls who claim that their fond childhood memories are being destroyed by the  all female remakes, such as Ghostbusters, is a front for the sexism and misogyny that not only pumps through general society but when it comes to making choices in watching a film. Many men cannot handle films where women are central with strong characters. The same men often can’t handle watching films where the exploration of female lives is prominent because they feel that they can’t relate or the film has nothing to say to them. They simply can’t see past gender to the human qualities characters have that we can all relate to. This type of man is generally happy to see women in one dimensional roles: mere sex objects, dutiful wives and mothers or damsels in distress.
  • This new trend is both hopeful and heartening and should only be seen as a good thing. Hollywood is sorely lacking in providing women with strong, interesting, complex and diverse roles. If the representation of women in film is heightened by this gender reversal remake trend, then it can only be seen as a good thing.
  • Hopefully this new phenomenon successfully diminishes the ingrained sexism that is prevalent in Hollywood. In the top 100 grossing films of 2014, 90% of the scripts were written by men. Twenty one of these films had a female lead. No female actors over the ages of 45 had a lead role.
  • Channing Tatum is set to star in the remake of the 1984 comedy Splash. This film also features a gender reversal. Tatum will be playing a merman, replacing the original mermaid character played by Daryl Hannah. Interesting how this gender reversal (woman’s role reversed into a man’s role) has not created any backlash. Fans of the original have not taken to social media complaining that their childhood memories will be destroyed. By logic, should this receive the same type of backlash that Ghostbusters remake did?
  • The old can be made new again. There is nothing wrong with rejuvenating old works via unconventional methods such as changing genders of characters. There is an endless vault of movies, theatre, and TV shows that could be remade, re imagined and presented to generations that have never heard of these works.

ARGUMENTS AGAINST THIS TREND:

  • Whether we like it or not, the main consumers of Hollywood output are male with the majority of that market being teenage boys and young adults. This accounts for the large number of super hero films, action and science fiction blockbusters and slap stick/teenage/toilet humour based comedies. These are the types of movies that the masses want. They are not interested in films where females dominate because they don’t feel that they can relate to them.
  • The commercial, critical and public failure of the Ghostbusters gender reversal attempt should be an indication that projects like these are far too financially risky. Hollywood generally is not willing to take a gamble on something that does not have a type of brand recognition: Either a remake, sequel, or adaptation of a successful book or play. Since that is the case, Hollywood should stick to the conventional formula of remaking them in a traditional sense.
  • As the world moves towards a new brand of excessive political correctness, so has Hollywood. The all-female remake phenomenon is engineered by rigid modern feminists and social justice warriors for female inclusion for mere inclusion’s sake. There is no regard for quality or originality, their motto is female visibility is
  • This trend could send out the very sexist message that men set the templates when it comes to defining characters. Men are the pioneering default, whilst women are the spin off.
  • This new phenomenon is a new brand of Hollywood laziness. Hollywood is not known for, especially over the last 20 years, investing in originality. If the industry wants to promote strong central roles for women, all female remakes of originally male material is not the way to go about it. The development of new stories and original female characters should take precedence.
  • This approach may please and fool the masses and casual film goers but it insults real film buffs by not offering innovative fresh material.  It is damaging and limiting to actresses by offering them the “reduce, reuse and recycle” formula. It also suggests that women/actresses are inferior to their male counterparts and are not worthy of original material.
  • The idea that these remakes are giving back strong substantial roles to women is rubbish. A real film buff knows that we are in age of regression when it comes to quality roles. If anything, the Hollywood films of yesterday provided better roles for women. Check out this YouTube video below to see the difference. This video was a tribute to women in films at the Academy Awards in 1993. The strong original lead female Hollywood roles in this montage no longer exist.

Scenes include: Katharine Hepburn in Adam’s Rib, Jodie Foster in Silence of the Lambs, Faye Dunaway in Network, Jill Clayburg in An Unmarried Woman, Bette Davis in All About Eve, Sigourney Weaver in Aliens, Cher in Moonstruck, Katharine Hepburn in Lion in Winter, Judy Davis in Husbands and Wives, Vivian Leigh in A Streetcar Named Desire, Anne Bancroft in The Graduate, Liza Minnelli in Cabaret, Bette Midler in The Rose, Michelle Pfeiffer in The Fabulous Baker Boys, Jessica Lange in Frances, Meryl Streep in Sophie’s Choice, Jane Fonda in Julia, Vanessa Redgrave in Isadora, Gena Rowlands in A Woman Under the Influence, and Susan Sarandon in Thelma and Louise.

OLD SIMO’S OPINION

As many of you may already know, I am a massive film buff. I have been ever since I was a little boy and I grew up watching Hollywood films from the 1950s to the late 1990s. I believe that this was their finest era. Major studios released so many interesting films with fine attention to directing, writing, and acting. They created amazing roles for men and women and utilized the marvellous method acting approach. They were in the business of providing variety but they definitely focused on providing films for adults to watch. It’s completely the opposite today. The market has changed, good taste and film appreciation has eroded and the industry continues to make low grade films for their major market: adolescent boys and young men. They simply don’t make films for adults anymore.

I understand the financial decisions behind the countless remakes (brand awareness) yet this doesn’t stop my disdain for the industry’s laziness. Luckily film buffs can still rely on independent US cinema as well as cinema from Europe, Asia, the UK, Australia, South America, the Middle East and Scandinavia otherwise we would truly be in a state of depression.

It’s this epic Hollywood fall that has resulted in the rise in quality of television, which explains why so many good writers and actors like Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, Jessica Lange and Kathy Bates chose to heavily in television. Good roles for men and women are hard to come by in Hollywood.

These all female remakes are just another example of the system’s laziness. Take an old package, give it a few tweaks and you have something marketed as “fresh” and of course it is such a great thing for women? Nonsense!

I dismiss the claim that this movement provides strong and substantial roles for women. Sure, it might be putting them at the forefront but what good does that really do if the films and the roles are garbage? In my opinion, Hollywood used to provide great roles for women: strong, varied, and multi dimensional.  It used to explore human nature rather well and it told interesting stories. Now it has just become a cookie cutter machine for rather overly simplistic tastes. Hollywood was progressive when certain people thought it was backward. We are now witnessing the system at the lowest it has ever been.

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