On Dads, Oz & The Remake Debate

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Day Two of  Father’s Day week (don’t forget to vote in the new Favorite Dads poll we’ve got going with ET).  Now, if you’d rather not be lured in by thousands of images of roguish Oscar/Emmy/Grammy-owning men with scruffy beards grasping the tiny creatures they’ve spawned  (who don’t give a tinker’s damn what they’ve won just so long as there’s a Bouncy Shak somewhere ahead ), then steer clear of the internet this week. Yesterday I happened to look up “Jason Bateman” and was soon ambushed by an armada of Baby Gap’s finest, each one more enchanting than the next, perched atop various (broad, successful) shoulders. Next thing you know it’s five hours later and I haven’t gotten a lick of work done because I’m too busy learning what Hugh Jackman’s littlest likes for breakfast and that which Ben Affleck tells Violet every day before school. So be warned. Now let’s look at the actress from Glee who’s got two dads (and who wants to cast those guys?) Because starlet Lea Michele, who sang at the Tonys and who’s apparently still not sure whether she wants to grow up to be Streisand, Hepburn (um, that’s Audrey) or Cher, has landed her first big-screen gig. No surprises there. Will everyone want to see it? Let’s just say girls, you might want to start working your feminine wiles/powers of persuasion because this one’s going to be a tough sell for the boys. As in, not only is it a musical, it’s also animated. If you don’t already have some, maybe you and every Gleek you know can just borrow somebody’s children for a few hours to catch the magic. The movie’s called Dorothy of Oz and once again they’re trying to tinker with perfection. Although given that it’s based on the writings of the original W. of O. author’s great-grandson and features the voices of Dan Aykroyd, Kelsey Grammer and Jim Belushi, here’s betting the Gleeks won’t be alone. Now these days any movie studio who tries to re-boot or re-imagine or just plain “re” anything a classic (or at least popular) bit of entertainment is playing with/going to come under fire. And why shouldn’t they? 85% of the time the projects are critically-panned travesties (you’ll note I’m omitting attendance here) and the studios who make them are run by wholly vulgar gargoyles who wind up getting parodied by Tom Cruise. BUT…humor me with a nanosecond of devil’s advocacy here.  Admittedly, we all (myself included) spend tons of time demanding to know why they couldn’t just leave well enough alone or respected  & not monkeyed with the original stuff we love. BUT – what if we’d just left the Commodore 64 alone? What if we’d said nope, we’ll stick with LP records? They’re perfect & pristine  — who needs shiny smaller ones? What if we were happy with Compuserve and Prodigy? What if we all thought satellites should be used only for weather information– and shouldn’t be adapted for our own use in personal navigation devices? What if we thought no one should ever write about nether -lands and wizards once J.R.R. Tolkein was finished? Or if we declared nobody should ever wear outrageous clothes and make confusing, overtly sexual, controversial military-themed videos BESIDES Madonna – because we should respect her legacy and leave it alone?  I certainly don’t love all the remakes but if I was running a movie studio (which fortunately for everyone involved, I’m not) I can absolutely see why it might just seem a teensy bit tempting to take something one generation loved and try to spruce it up for the next. Is it a good idea? Rarely. Is it usually all about cash? Absatively. But maybe there’s one person out there who’s doing it for genuinely creative reasons.  Probably not, but you never know.

We’re featuring famous dads this week.  Which TV icon is most like your Dad?

1) Bill Cosby as Heathcliff Huxtable

2) Ed O’Neill as Al Bundy

3) James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano

4) Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy

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