The Kid (1921/2000): Do you suffer from a lack of creativity and an overabundance of cojones? Then perhaps you’re one of the makers of the film in which Bruce Willis meets his younger, doughier, screechier self—a premise rich enough that it warranted stealing the title of one of Charles Chaplin’s earliest and most beloved features. Initially, Disney parked their name in front of it to avoid confusion. As if there ever was any.
Heaven Can Wait (1943/1978): No, Warren Beatty’s post-mortem farce is not a remake of Ernst Lubitsch’s late-period charmer, in which a deceased Don Ameche relates his not-so-lurid life to a diabolic agent. It’s a remake of Here Comes Mr. Jordan, in which an athlete is given a second chance at life.
Up(!) (1976/2009): A characteristically simple title from Pixar—too bad it’s also the name of one of Russ Meyer’s battiest softcore porns. Lucky the ’76 Up! isn’t on Netflix, preventing sloppy parents from renting the wrong film and subjecting their spawn, in the first scene, to a man dressed as Hitler as an S&M bottom. Conversely, those wishing to indulge in Meyer’s bevy of buxom beauties will instead have to contend with one of the most depressing openings in cinema history.
Chocolat (1988/2000): Poor Claire Denis. The French sensualist (Trouble Every Day, 35 Shots of Rum) debuted with a minimalist evocation of her youth in Cameroon, gently limning the prickly relationship between the colonialists and the natives. Then, 12 years later, Lasse Hollström unleashes his Miramax-porn about Juliette Binoche peddling mouth-watering aphrodisiacs.
Red (1994/2010): One is the conclusion and apex of Krzysztof Kieslowki’s Trois Couleurs trilogy, as well as an alternately playful and devastating rumination on the fickleness of chance and coincidence. The other has Helen Mirren shooting fuck-off guns. This is arguably better than the year 1993, when Kieslowski and Derek Jarman both released grief porn films named Blue.
Crash (1996/2004): Just imagine how many times people trying to rent Paul Haggis’ brain-drained “study” of racism got the David Cronenberg picture in which people get off on automotive mayhem. Dear Edward Zwick: please make a movie called Naked Lunch.
Six Long-Running Film Franchises