Of all the current calamities befalling the U.S.A., financial, political, or even those cartoon safes dropping from the sky, none loom as ominous as recent news items hyping Hollywood remakes for national treasures The Three Stooges and John Wayne's True Grit.
Want to nationalize banks? Be my guest. Defame AIG? Mission accomplished.
Feel like hangin' Wall Street fat-cats in effigy and replace the dollar with the Chinese Yuan while you're at it? It's all play money to me. But the #1 sure sign that American culture is on the fritz and fading fast are announcements touting such heretical movie re-dos in the name of Hollywood hipness.
Talk about your no-brainers: The Three Stooges are 'untouchable,' period! If you have to be given reasons why -- a) You should not be making movies, and b) The only fitting punishment for such hubris is two fingers thrust in your eyes ala Moe's cantankerous jujitsu for the remainder of eternity. Sean Penn, Jim Carrey, Benicio Del Toro -- who are rumored to be up for the roles of Larry, Curly and Moe should know better. They'll certainly become enlightened when the film is skewered for the typical 150 million dollar budget, panned and banished to the bin of eternal suckdom.
And while we're at it -- let's do a lap here for the great Shemp Howard, the much-maligned fourth Stooge, brother of Moe and Curly, (all natives of Brownsville, Brooklyn) who stepped up for Curly after he suffered a debilitating stroke in 1946. Sony Pictures' wonderful 5 Volume DVD set -- 3 Stooges Collection -- showcases Shemp's brilliant contribution to the Stooge legacy (he appears in Volume 5, 1946-48). The guy was funny, focused, and a damn good actor, emitting elastic twitches of a kind of hole-in-your-pocket humanity that tempered the Stooges clockwork-hijinx.
A single viewing of any of the Stooges' trademark symphony of snores, stammers, and/or frightened backpedals affirms their anarchic brand of lunacy can never be recreated. Or should be. Sean, Jim, Benicio -- Buy the DVDs.
As for John Wayne and True Grit -- I'll let the great Roger Ebert put the crazy notion of remaking this iconic classic to rest. Somebody should send his wonderful review of the movie to the Coen Brothers -- who -- according to news releases, 'plan to put their own spin' on the project via the original book. Wrote Ebert about the movie and Wayne's Oscar winning portrayal as Marshall Rooster Cogburn: 'This is the sort of film you call a movie, instead of the kind of movie you call a film. Wayne towers over this. He can play Rooster because of all the western roles he's ever played. He never reaches. He never falters. He's all there. God loves the old pros.'
Hear that guys? It's 'all there.' Don't need no Barton Fink feeling on this one.
Some times it's the wiser man - and the country - knows when to leave shit alone.
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