Tag Archives: Scarface

Please Stop Remaking My Childhood…

220px-fridaythe13th2009The release this week of Pet Sematary is just the latest example of the lack of creativity in Hollywood today. Admittedly, it’s been getting great reviews, and the original was an average movie at best, but I don’t think there were many people screaming for it to be revisited in the first place. Well, perhaps Stephen King was on board with it, but he’s certainly not averse to the odd retake anyway.

ghostbusters_2016_film_posterI guess, if we must see things a second time, the very least a filmmaker can do is polish up something that wasn’t very good in the first place. The object of the exercise should be to improve upon the source material. If it isn’t, why are you wasting everyone’s time?

Point-Break-2015-Poster-Advance-Style-buy-original-movie-posters-at-starstillsOf course, there are some examples where the revision is better than the first try (Scarface, The Thing, The Fly), but for every smile there’s a frown. Does anyone think Jude Law’s version of Alfie is superior to Michael Caine’s effort? Or that the Poltergeist from 2015 is greater than the classic 1982 movie it’s based on? Hell, I didn’t even know that was a thing until recently.

MV5BN2ZiMDMzYWItNDllZC00ZmRmLWI1YzktM2M5M2ZmZDg1OGNlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNDQ2MTMzODA@._V1_So, with all the remakes, reboots and reimaginings that have done the rounds over the last few years, here are ten properties (not exhaustive, by any means) that I never want to see redone, because I do not believe it is possible for them to be bettered:

  • Airplane!
  • Back to the Future
  • Die Hard
  • Duel
  • Dirty Harry
  • First Blood
  • The Goonies
  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Jaws
  • Rocky

Let me be clear: these are not perfect movies. Some of them I wouldn’t even consider to be amongst my favourites. But every one of them is an example of how sometimes, the total package is greater than the sum of a production’s parts.

These movies are quite simply, lightning in a bottle – a confluence of facets and factors that cannot be repeated. They each have an intangible quality that is impossible to quantify, or to replicate a generation later, no matter how talented or dedicated the team working on it may be.

Monday Movie Mentions #16…

Scarface (1983)


Al Pacino is one of the best actors Hollywood has thrown up in this or any other generation, and he has been a vital cog of many classic movies. The character of Tony Montana is transcendent – even people who have never seen Scarface know who he is – and when all is said and done, Pacino’s interpretation here will perhaps go down as the most iconic performance of his illustrious career.

Scarface is a wacky snapshot of cocaine-fuelled eighties excess, set under the Floridian sun. It’s a gangster movie, but one that is as gloriously over the top as its running time. It has a great soundtrack, a cornucopia of quotable lines, one of the most bloody and exhilarating finales ever, and these days has a very large cult following.

But Scarface is not without its fair share of criticism. It’s unrelentingly violent, a little saggy in the middle, and it’s portrayal of women is lazy at best and misogynistic at worst. With his exaggerated accent, Pacino initially seems badly cast a Cuban refugee, but once the credits roll three hours later, his mesmerising and intense portrayal is difficult to ignore.


Nope – that ain’t sugar.

Back in the late nineties, when the internet was just beginning to find its feet, there were many websites dedicated to collecting movie soundbites that you could download and play at your leisure. The most popular of these (and no, I’m not making this up) were Schwarzenegger and Tony Montana clips. I had dozens of WAV files that I would play via Winamp, chronicling Tony’s rise from the gutter to the top of his cocaine mountain, and his subsequent fall down the other side.

But to distill Scarface into a few seconds of sweary audio would be a disservice to the movie. It’s one of the best examples of its genre, and definitely the most fun to watch.