Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the coolest club for night owls, early-risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. It’s another fine week at our Cubs after-party and we’re glad to see you here. If you were at the game, please come in and get out of the cold. There’s no cover charge tonight. Dress code is Cubbie blue. There are still a few good tables left. Bring your own beverage.
BCB After Dark is the place for you to talk baseball, music, movies, or anything else you need to get off your chest, as long as it is within the rules of the site. The late-nighters are encouraged to get the party started, but everyone else is invited to join in as you wake up the next morning and into the afternoon.
The Cubs beat the Rays tonight, 4-2. I have a lot of family obligations on Monday evenings, so tonight’s game was the first Cubs game of the season that I saw almost none of. I did listen to the game on the radio in the car, although even then I only caught bits here and there.
Now baseball superstition dictates that I can’t watch another Cubs game until they lose, but I did actually see about an inning and a half of the game and I did see the big home run by Patrick Wisdom. So I guess that the etiquette of being a Cubs fan means that I have to listen to the radio and then quick turn on the TV when Patrick Wisdom is due up.
Last week I asked you if Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw should have been given a chance to finish his perfect game in his first start of the year. By a margin of 54 percent to 46, you thought manager Dave Roberts should have left Kershaw in the game.
Here’s the place where I talk about jazz and movies. You’re free to skip ahead to the end if you want. You won’t hurt my feelings.
Tonight’s jazz selection is saxophonist Joe Henderson doing his version of Billie Holiday’s “Good Morning Heartache.” I’m just going to leave it at that. It’s a great version to listen to if you are trying to unwind before heading to bed.
I’ve noticed that I get a good reaction when I write about a film and its remake. I’ve done this twice with The Shop Around the Corner and You’ve Got Mail and the two different versions of Nightmare Alley. With that in mind, I watched both the Kenneth Branagh version of Agatha Christie’s Death on the NIle (2022) and the 1978 version by director John Guillermin.
I didn’t have time to do a full essay of the two versions. I’ll try to do that on Wednesday night/Thursday morning. But I can say that both films stick to the same basic plot from the novel and both feature all-star casts. There was a bit more star power in the 1978 version, but since that version had Bette Davis in it, they probably could have cast all the other parts with community theater regulars and still had more star power. Still, the new version isn’t hurting for stars with Gal Gadot, Annette Bening, Letitia Wright, Branagh and others.
Not to spoil anything, but both films are good and neither film is great. They are both meant to be light entertainment like Christie’s novels were and in that, they both succeed. But if you ask me which one is better, I’d go with Branagh’s new version and I hope to explain why next time.
But that struck me because I couldn’t think of many films in which the “re-make” is better than the original. Now there is a definitional problem here because was Branagh’s Death on the Nile a remake of the 1978 version or was it simply another take on the original Christie novel? The same could go for Nightmare Alley. That film tried to make clear in its promotional material that it was a different adaptation of the William Lindsay Gresham novel and not a remake of the 1947 version. At least most of the time. Sometimes they slipped up and called it a remake.
But let’s put that aside and say for tonight’s discussion that any film that is based on the same source material is a remake. So what other remakes would you say are better than the original?
For tonight’s discussion, I’m going to limit this to English-to-English films and not go with foreign films that were remade for Hollywood (or London). We can do foreign adaptations another time.
One reason why I’m making this distinction for tonight is that CODA, the recent winner of the Best Picture Academy Award, is a remake of a French film, La Famille Bélier. But while that film was a hit in France, the producers intentionally kept it unavailable in most of the English-speaking world so as not to spoil any potential American-made remake. From those that have seen both versions, CODA is pretty universally considered the better film. One reason is that La Famille Bélier used hearing actors as the deaf parents instead of the deaf Troy Kotsur and Marlee Matlin, although that’s not the only reason CODA is considered superior. Clearly, I have not seen La Famille Bélier so I can’t offer my own opinion.
But also, foreign remakes are made because most American audiences won’t watch foreign-language films, which is a different motivation that just remaking an English-language movie.
I had trouble coming up with many remakes that were better than the original. Part of the problem is that they only remake films that are already very good in the first place. What filmmakers really should be doing is remaking films that had good premises but ended up not turning out the way they should have. But that brings up a marketing problem. One of the reasons they remake a film is that a successful film already has a built-in audience of people who loved the first film. If you remake an unsuccessful film, then you’ve got an audience that is predisposed to not like it.
I only came up with a few films that were better as remakes. The Maltese Falcon, the 1941 film that made Humphrey Bogart a star, was a remake. I haven’t seen the 1931 original, but I can’t believe that Ricardo Cortez was a better Sam Spade than Bogie.
But the first two that I came up that were better in the remake is the Coen Brothers 2010 remake of True Grit (which I liked better than the 1969 John Wayne version, although I did also like the original) and Warren Beatty’s 1978 film Heaven Can Wait, which is not a remake of the 1943 picture of that name but rather of 1941’s Here Comes Mr. Jordan.
Another remake that I liked better than the original is 1948’s The Dark Past over 1939’s Blind Alley. Although neither of those films were great, I thought the version with Lee J. Cobb and William Holden was superior to the earlier one with Ralph Bellamy and Chester Morris.
One that I’d like to do this comparison in the future on are the two versions of 3:10 to Yuma. It’s been a few years since I’ve seen either versions but as I recall, I loved them both. I especially liked that the 2007 version took the exact same plot as the 1957 version and then gave it a different, but equally appropriate, ending.
So for discussion tonight, tell us what some of your favorite film remakes are. Or if you’d rather, tell us how one of your favorite films was butchered when they tried to do a new version. If you’re able to make a comparison between the original and the newer version, that’s all the better.
Welcome back to everyone who skips the music and jazz.
For years now, people have been mentioning the Cubs inability to produce homegrown pitching talent. In fact, people have blamed it as a big reason the Cubs only won one World Series title rather than producing a dynasty after the 2016 title.
But now, the Cubs have five homegrown, drafted and developed, pitchers on the current roster. A sixth one, Adbert Alzolay, was a international signee who would be on the current roster if he weren’t injured.
Maybe this is unfair the night after Keegan Thompson turned in a strong performance, but tonight I’m asking you which homegrown pitcher is going to have the best career? Which one are you most excited about at the moment? I’m not including guys who are down in the minors like Brailyn Marquez or DJ Herz or anyone like that. For tonight, we are just counting the five on the roster and Alzolay.
So which of these six pitchers are you most looking forward to their future?
Which Cubs homegrown pitcher are you most excited about?
This poll is closed
Thanks so much for stopping by tonight. If you checked your hat and coat, we’ll get it for you now. Please get home safely. Tip your waitstaff. Tell your friends. And stop by again tomorrow night for another edition of BCB After Dark.