The adage about ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ applies in spades to music. Most covers are an absolute travesty, though there are some noble exceptions to this. Summertime is such an inherently great song nobody can cock it up. I’ve got at least 20 versions of it stashed away. I’ve also told you about my great regard for Daughter’s version of Daft Punk’s Get Lucky. But some songs you should just leave alone.
I heard a cover of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game the other day, and it was truly horrid. Don’t let anybody try to cover anything by Adele, because they’ll fluff it, especially if they’re only 12 years old and haven’t been round the block a few times. I’ve heard covers of White Rabbit that made my fillings hurt. Just don’t bother. Similarly don’t bother covering Ed Sheeran. You’ll just end up sounding like any other whining folkie with a finger in your ear.
The same applies to films. Do not bugger about with remakes. They’re never, ever as good as the originals. Look at last year’s remake of Ghostbusters. Better still, don’t look at it if you value your sanity. The original was so good there was never a hope in hell of matching it, and that the four main characters were women was a cynical marketing gimmick.
The Italian Job. Holy cow, the Mark Wahlberg remake was a turkey. I like Markie Boy, and you get Donald Sutherland and Edward Norton and Jason Statham too, and Charlize Theron into the bargain. Despite what you might term a stellar cast, this was a stinker that should have been left on a hillside at birth.
What got me onto this topic was a truly awful remake of Get Carter. This piece of gritty gangsterism was set in London, then moved to Newcastle. Michael Caine is threatening, Britt Eklund makes an ideal moll, you have Ian Hendry and George Sewell adding some real heft. Brilliant, and very much of its time.
Its time was the 70s, not 2000. I like Sylvester Stallone generally, but he’s a one trick pony, and doesn’t cut it as Jack Carter, and the story sits uncomfortably in its new home in the US (of course). The iconic telephone sex scene in the original has been watered down to some harmless billing and cooing. For goodness sake, Carter doesn’t even end up dead and dumped into the sea in a skipload of coal waste. There was no ‘Happy ever after.’
I’ll touch briefly on the concept of prequels. The first three prequels to the Star Wars franchise were so dire (and had some terrible anachronistic continuity gaffes) that I’ve flat out refused to watch any of the subsequent offerings.
But it’s remakes that get my goat. If they ever try to do a remake of Bullitt, I’ll be off to Hollywood to firebomb somebody’s house.