How do you make a remake worth while? You take a film classic, add a black cast…stir…wait 2 hours and presto! You’ve got a fresh new look on an old Hollywood favorite. Sometimes it doesn’t work out (see the Honeymooners), but other times it’s movie gold. These are such times. Happy Black History Month!
Original movie: A British version. Nothing against our neighbors in language, but a lot of the humor just went over my head. Still a hilarious movie, but lacking that Apple pie feel.
The black version: And so enter these proud Americans: Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, Danny Glover, James Marsden, Tracy Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Luke Wilson, Regina King…okay stop, stop, stop. We’d be here all day if I named all the great actors. The point is, black funerals are crazy enough as is…if you put this many all-star comedians together, the only Death at a Funeral is going to be of laughter.
Original movie: Technically it was called the Frog Prince, but it was still about a Frog and the Princess. I don’t recall any movies made about the Frog Prince, but it certainly was a popular fairy tale.
The black version: A mildly successful Disney flick moved out of the forest and into the magical swamps of New Orleans. I haven’t seen it yet, but The Princess and the Frog does inspire that southern comfort feeling. No not that southern comfort.
3) The Last Dragon
Original movie: Kung-Fu theater. Pretty much anything with Bruce Lee in it was the inspiration for the Last Dragon. Bruce Lee was one of the greatest martial arts actors of all time and I don’t know anyone in a urban neighborhood that isn’t a fan.
The black version: Which gives birth to Bruce LeRoy! Sho’nuff! I know this isn’t exactly a remake of Enter the Dragon, but the Last Dragon pretty much put a African American spin on the entire kung-fu genre so I’m adding it anyway. And the soundtrack? Killer.
2) Bad Boys
Original movie: Bulletproof Hearts. Most people don’t realize that Bad Boys was written for Jon Lovitz and Dana Carvey. I think I speak for all parties involved when I say, I’m glad this version never got made.
The black version: Will Smith and Martin Lawrence were obviously the more hilarious choices. And the more cop-ish choice. But considering Bad Boys is my absolute favorite movie of all times, I don’t think I need to elaborate anymore.
So what could be a better black-casting (I just made up a new adjective) than my favorite movie of all times? Well…
1) The Wiz
Original movie: The Wizard of Oz. A definite classic. I can’t speak ill of the Wizard of Oz at all. But wasn’t it a little juvenile?
The black version: Are you freaking kidding me? I’m sorry but Judy Garland — as wonderful as she was — don’t got nothing on Michael Jackson and Diana Ross. The music was phenomenal. Seriously sick. Even though the Wiz scared the bejesus out of me when I was younger and I used to have nightmares about those motorcycle riding monkey birds, I still can’t stop easin’ on down the road.