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January 19, 2011


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Robert Hunt

I saw a stand-up display for the Sandler film and my jaw dropped when I read "Based on a screenplay by I.A.L Diamond for "Cactus Flower" based on the play by Abe Burrows based on some other play by some French guys...". I don't really remember "Cactus Flower" but I can't think of any reason to remake it.


Brooklyn Decker Yep Yep Y'All!

Victor Morton

Here's something else weird. If you look up the trailer for that film, there is no mention AT ALL that Nicole Kidman is in the film nor does she appear (unless we see the back of her head for a half-second or somesuch).

Kevyn Knox

Hey, I actually guessed it without Googling. Colour me surprised.

Fabian W.

Really uncool.

Terry McCarty

Another in the line of unofficial Sony remakes e.g. GUESS WHO? (GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER) and that ROOMMATES Screen Gems thing with Leighton Meester, Minka Kelly and Cam what's-his-name-from-BURLESQUE (looks like yet another trip round the mulberry bush of SINGLE WHITE FEMALE).


It could be worse. It could be Götz Spielmann's Hollywood debut or something.

The Siren

The original was an occasionally cute, quite sexist little movie, so much of its time it's like finding go-go boots in Grandma's closet. And it actually won Goldie Hawn an Oscar, as people here probably remember but it's worth stating FTR. But of course the LAST thing I want to do is make jokes that would appear to demean or pre-empt the work of a trustworthy modern filmmaker, sight unseen. So much better to say we won't know for sure until it's released, and shouldn't judge until then, because really, that can't be said too often and it's a far more substantive observation, don't you think?

Anyway, I had never seen this poster, and WHO is the woman on the left supposed to be? Ingrid Bergman? She looks like Barbara Billingsley. And the slimmed-down, sexed-up Matthau, and the Goldie Hawn pose; this thing is pure joy.

Tony Dayoub

@Robert Hunt,
See, I'm of the opinion that if one is going to revisit something, it's these kind of "weak tea" movies that are perfect for a remake. Why even consider remaking a great film like THE WILD BUNCH (another bit of gossip going around)?

Of course, the point is to improve on it which I doubt is even the intention of Sandler's film.

Pete Segall

@Victor Morton: I was going to say the same thing. I almost find that more surprising - and saddening - than the fact that this is Cactus Flower as reenvisioned by the director of Grown Ups.


I just hope Sandler and Co. don't decide to remake KISS ME, STUPID next.

Unkle Rusty

Seems like Matthau had that brief period as a sexy leading man, didn't he? He lampoons that image brilliantly in May's New Leaf, of course. The image didn't really take, but he was still good in those movies. Something tells me he found the whole thing very amusing.

Sandler, on the other hand, I truly believe, regards himself as Dead Sexy.


Yes, in making remakes I suppose there are two categories for the promising director. There are movies that are slight but which have potential. I haven't seen "Cactus Flower," but I suspect that it falls into that category. Has anyone even seen "A Touch of Class" since 1974? I suspect that would be another movie that Hollywood might try to remake.

Then there are movies that have a bigger reputation, but which many critics strongly dislike. The problem here is that it's not likely that Hollywood would be interested in getting the right director. I actually love "Death in Venice," but I don't suspect we will see Alexander Sukorov's "Death in Venice." Nor do I think we could look forward to Hayao Miyazaki, Chris Marker and Terry Gilliam's "Blade Runner" or Chantal Akerman's "A Clockwork Orange." On the other hand Alan Parker's "Alien' is the kind of movie I'd like to see that Hollywood might actually make.

Stephen Winer

From Matthau and Hawn to Sandler and Aniston makes me think of an old Mort Sahl line from a different context: "Darwin was wrong!"

Tom Block

I've been hearing of a "Wild Bunch" remake for a while, too, but IMDb now shows it's an animated comedy about flowers. Rod "Fellini" Lurie's remake of "Straw Dogs" keeps getting pushed back and is now scheduled for September. Its setting has been moved to the Deep South, the cast looks like the kids in "Glee", and Lurie promises that audiences will "go bananas" at the end. I just can't help thinking it's headed in a different direction than the original.

Richard Brody

Oh, I forgot: everyone dead is better.


"I just hope Sandler and Co. don't decide to remake KISS ME, STUPID next."

Let's be fair - Kiss Me, Stupid was a remake.


Hey, Sandler and company remade MR. DEED GOES TO TOWN, and that worked out pretty well.... oh wait.

Actually, I've become a bit of a Sandler apologist in recent years. While I haven't seen GROWN-UPS, I greatly enjoyed YOU DON'T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN (even with Dugan directing!), and FUNNY PEOPLE was one of my favorite films of '09. Even lesser recent efforts such as CLICK and BEDTIME STORIES show flashes of, I dunno, ambition? 50 FIRST DATES seems like a good script that got compromised. THE WEDDING SINGER was a good time. And PUNCH DRUNK LOVE, people!

Walter Matthau's 70s run as romantic leading man/tough cop/bank robber/drunken baseball coach/etc. is one of the joys of that decade.

Owain Wilson

Warner Bros has announced that they will be remaking Lethal Weapon. Now that makes me REALLY angry.

Kent Jones

jbryant, it's not a popular choice but I really love SPANGLISH and I think he's great in it. And he's also great in the 9/11 thing with Don Cheadle.

Victor Morton

"Oh, I forgot: everyone dead is better."

That WOULD follow ...

Robert Cashill

CACTUS FLOWER the play is being revived Off Broadway this season.

CACTUS FLOWER the movie does have a nice scene set outside the Plaza Theater.

Jack Gibbs

Oh yes, another pithy one liner from Richard Brody that entirely dismisses the acutal discussion going on for a reductive generalization that is either a misreading or a disingenuous response. Nobody said the dead are better, if you read this thread you would see there are many who praise and parse the purpose of remakes, but why bother with that when you can dismiss and disregard it all with an intentionally (I only hope) misguiding reply?

Stephen Winer

Richard, Goldie Hawn isn't dead. That's just the face lift.


Kent: I left SPANGLISH out only because I was trying to stick to films Sandler also had a hand in producing, picking PUNCH DRUNK LOVE as an exception for the capper (I missed REIGN OVER ME). But I liked SPANGLISH, too: it's sort of like a sitcom by Renoir. Some find it patronizing in a limousine-liberal way, but I think Brooks is really trying to get at something about cultural differences. His efforts can be clumsy, but his earnestness is thankfully minimized by his flair for comedy. I also find his rambling structure rather refreshing amid the sea of formula that Hollywood usually navigates. It's a heck of an ensemble, too, with special kudos to the fearless Tea Leoni, saddled with perhaps the least likable character in recent American film history.

Glenn Kenny

@ J. Bryant: I did not care for SPANGLISH all that much—I found it wildly uneven, let's say. But I thought Sandler was good in it, and I'm not anti-Sandler as a rule, by any means. I've actively enjoyed him, albeit in small doses, since his stand-up days. But please, be careful with those Renoir comparisons. Not because of sanctity, but just because...well, I don't really think they apply. If Brooks is working within a tradition, it has more to do with that of McCarey (who Renoir admired very much) or Stevens (I'm thinking like stuff such as "The More The Merrier" in particular) than with Renoir. As for the whole "dead-people" non argument, I was gonna let it pass, in part because I'm trying to keep my own powder dry with respect to Mr. Brody because he's most likely REALLY not gonna like what I have to say about "Uncle Kent" when I get around to it, and because, yeah, it's a non-argument, it's always been a non-argument, and it's particularly irrelevant here because I wasn't professing anything like a great love for "Cactus Flower" in the first place. My bemusement stemmed from my feeling that it's such a random film to remake, is all. But even if I were proceeding from the "dead people are always better" proposition, what would the ramifications of a counter to that idea be? That Dugan and Sandler chose to remake "Cactus Flower" because the original film was such a botch, and they were gonna show I.A.L. Diamond and Walter Matthau how it's SUPPOSED to be done? Somehow I don't think that's the case. Call me crazy...

Kent Jones

Glenn and jbryant, I come down on Mr. K's side of the Renoir question. However, while I have found most of Brooks' films really jarring on a visual level (AS GOOD AS IT GETS in particular - that one was kind of hair-raising), this one was different, filled with sun-dappled imagery that Renoir probably would have liked, and that probably has less to do with Renoir fils than with Renoir père and an impressionist visual palette (courtesy of DP John Seale). It may have been awkward, but I found it a genuinely troubling movie that worked a lot of extremely delicate territory with real bravery.

Actually, I think Brooks sort of invented his own tradition with his television work, and, like his namesake and frequent collaborator Albert, worked the comic side of a particular type of self-consciousness and self-analysis, straight out of the 70s. When I watch his films, it's not McCarey or Stevens that come to mind as much as Laing, Reich, Karen Horney and the Esalen Institute.


Well, hey, I did say a "sitcom" by Renoir rather than a film by Renoir. Since we don't actually have an example of Renoir sitcom, can you prove such a thing WOULDN'T be like SPANGLISH? (imagine that being said in the tone of Criswell). :)

Come to think of it, Glenn, I probably got to the Renoir citation through McCarey, who's just about my favorite director. Guess I thought my point would carry more weight if I dragged Renoir into it. Like Beatles fans who make Mozart comparisons or something.

Kent Jones

"My friends, never before, in the history of mankind, have we been confronted with a contradiction SO shocking, SO chilling, SO utterly beyond our very COMPREHENSION as HUMAN BEINGS...as s SITCOM directed by JEAN RENOIR!"


Dang, you know, come to think of it, in 1987 Fox did a sitcom version of DOWN AND OUT IN BEVERLY HILLS (which was based, of course, on BOUDU SAVED FROM DROWNING). Hector Elizondo, Tim Thomerson, Anita Morris. Thirteen episode. I guess that's as close as we've gotten to a Renoir sitcom.

I also find it interesting to note that Renoir's THE SOUTHERNER co-starred Barbara Pepper, better known as Mrs. Ziffle in GREEN ACRES. I bet she shared some great Renoir stories with Eb and Mr. Haney.

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