February 6, 2006

Viewer Discretion Advised

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Having rushed potential Oscar winners to the screen before the Academy’s deadline and with summer blockbusters months away, February and March mark the depths of Hollywood’s doldrums. That explains in part the egregious lack of even mildly stimulating reels of 35 mm. (The omission of the word film there was quite intentional, and irrefutable if you bothered to look at your local theater’s “Now Playing” slate.) The next few weeks are a sort of inescapable vortex of doom as far as movies go.

All Hollywood bashing aside, all that ranting really was supposed to validate my choice for this week’s topic: trailer “re-cuts”. For those of you completely baffled by that last word there, think of something along the lines of rap’s countless remixes but with movies. And while these may not feature that same dramatic, disembodied male baritone we’re all used to hearing in movie trailers, they offer a different take on some old classics. That and they’re infinitely more entertaining than some of that complete crap that studios are putting out. So, without further incessant babbling, here are my top five trailer re-hashings, available through an appropriate Google search (then again, what isn’t?):

5. Top Gun (1986)

As if the original wasn’t homoerotic enough, someone decided to kick those undertones up a notch. No longer are Val Kilmer’s “Iceman” and Tom Cruise’s “Maverick” rivals; instead, suggestive glances made possible by clever cutting and gentle guitar strumming as background music provoke a reading between the lines message that maybe these two are “more than just friends”. And with two men in a masculine profession sharing a special bond, this re-cut makes Brokeback Mountain seem like a cheap rip-off and gives new meaning to “You can be my wingman anytime.”

4. Sleepless in Seattle (1993)

Sure, Meg Ryan seems like an effervescent, blond-haired, blue-eyed “girl next door,” but in reality she’s a crazed killer out to get Tom Hanks’ character. As a mysterious Steve Buscemi-like voice opines, “There’s a lot of desperate women out there looking for love.” The stock horror movie soundtrack in the background featuring thundering percussion really sells this original chick flick and romantic comedy as a horror movie.

3. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

There’s no way anybody could turn this Arnold action classic into anything but a movie about robots from the future trying to kill humanity’s latter day savior, John Connor, right? Wrong. T2 is really the poster child for NAMBLA, a movie about the forbidden love between a cyborg and the child he’s supposed to protect. Yes, it does take advantage of some tasteless and unimaginative humor, but it really requires a creative mind, the Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris” and some major cojones to shed new light on the Terminator-turned-Governator’s character.

2. Se7en (1995)

This re-cut’s merits lie not in its originality or stark departure from the original, but in it’s professional feel. For someone who’s never seen the 1995 classic about two cops hunting down a serial killer obsessed with the Bible’s seven deadly sins (and hence the title, albeit with its pretentiously hip spelling), this re-cut would have you believe it’s about the rocky relationship between a retiring art critic and “the new guy.”

1. The Shining (1980)

This is the one that started it all. A brilliant reworking of Kubrick’s film that’s as masterfully done as the original. No longer is Jack Nicholson’s character a crazed maniac; he’s just a frustrated author who just can’t seem to finish his book. His psychic son Danny is just a kid looking for a father. With the only authentic-sounding narrator of the bunch and a perfectly fitting soundtrack that includes “Salisbury Hill,” it’s no wonder this re-cut really “shines.”

Archived article by Zaki Rahaman
Sun Film Editor