This is a time of year, you may have noticed, when many people choose to re-watch their favorite movies. It's a comforting tradition, certainly, and I'm very much in favor of watching movies repeatedly in a general sense, but there are times when I find myself wishing some of these classics, hampered as they are by oversights and missteps, could be fixed. Some of these changes are more realizable than others, but all are necessary. It afflicts my innate sense of justice to have to see the same glaring mistakes trotted out year after year, and I can remain silent no longer.
The mistakes - and corrections - in order:
10. A version of Double Indemnity where Barbara Stanwyck gets a decent wig. Yes, yes, I know - the wig is the point, she's cheap and she's deceitful. I've read the Billy Wilder interview:
I questioned the wig, but it was proper, because it was a phony wig. It was an obviously phony wig. And the anklet - the equipment of a woman, you know, that is married to this kind of man. They scream for murder.
But no man could possibly commit murder for a woman with one-inch bangs. I stand by my decision.
9. A remake of White Christmas with Donald O'Connor as Phil Davis instead of Danny Kaye, as the director intended. Danny Kaye, one gets the distinct impression, would have faked his own death before consenting to marry Vera-Ellen, who was a lovely person and did not deserve such shabby treatment.
8. The original ending of Pretty in Pink and also make it so that Jon Cryer just retired from acting immediately thereafter instead of going on to do Two and a Half Men, although really who am I to criticize what the man does with his career; maybe he really enjoys the work and I'm sure the money isn't bad, either. I don't know that I'd be able to turn down that kind of money. You don't have to explain yourself to me, Mr. Cryer. It's your life.
7. An anti-racist remake of Dumbo where all of the crows unionize, seizing the means of circus production and becoming wildly successful in the process.
6. An alternate version of The Jungle Book that's just Baloo eating Mowgli in hyperrealistic documentary fashion (Werner Herzog narration optional).
5. A sequel to The American President that's just Sydney Ellen Wade blushing and trying on wedding dresses for four hours, while Michael J. Fox and Martin Sheen get into a clipboard-waving argument in a never-ending hallway.
4. A reshoot of High Noon where Gary Cooper ditches the fussy, prim Grace Kelly for the magnificent Katy Jurado at the end.
3. A remake of Brideshead Revisited - any adaptation, I don't care which - that correctly ends with Charles and Sebastian running off to open a bed and breakfast together and Julia just going away or dying from war or something.
2. I know they're already making a Wet Hot American Summer sequel, but that's not enough. It's been eleven years. We should have had two prequels, a sequel focusing entirely on H. Jon Benjamin's talking Vietnam veteran can of vegetables, a midquel, and a crossover with The Ten already. Get on it.
1. A remake of all of the Batman movies showcasing Courtney Love as the first live-action Harley Quinn. It would be perfect - she would be perfect - don't try to deny it.