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March 12, 2008

LANE: Many movies stories don't need to be retold

While perusing the stories written by our corporate siblings last week, I came across a report from Mike Mastovich of The Tribune-Democrat in Johnstown, Pa., that a screenwriter is in his town working on a remake of “Slapshot.”

Peter Steinfeld said he was there to scout locations and atmosphere for the potential remake.

“This is not a sequel,” he said. “I am going to try to adhere to the original movie as best as I can. At the same time, it can’t be just a retread of the original.”

Rather than open yourself up to the inevitable criticism that your film isn’t as good as the original, why not leave a classic alone? “Slapshot,” which followed a minor league hockey team in a struggling steel town that fought for its survival and a title, is widely considered a top-five sports movie. Aside from taking a few bucks from “Slapshot” fans who will come to the remake to pan it, there’s not much to gain from the whole scenario.

Despite repeated historical precedent, filmmakers continue to think they can do things better than their predecessors.

• Adam Sandler is funny in his element, but he had no business stepping into Paul Crewe’s shoes in his 2005 remake of “The Longest Yard.” Burt Reynolds was the personification of cool in the 1974 original as a former pro football quarterback who ends up in jail. Sandler wasn’t horrible, but you can’t look at him without thinking about dueling hair product bottles in the bathtub.

And word to the wise: Adding a few toilet jokes into a classic movie for the sake of differentiation doesn’t make it better. If potty humor was cool, consider this remake Miles Davis — but that doesn’t mean it’s any good whatsoever.

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