There’s a saying that an infinite number of monkeys on an infinite number of typewriters will eventually reproduce the completed works of William Shakespeare. It’s supposed to illustrate how amazingly improbable things can happen in the vastness of time and space. Well, the nigh-infinite number of simians who run Hollywood have been churning out remakes seemingly forever and they’re a long way from validating that saying. The movie industry’s track record of taking good to truly great motion pictures and refashioning them into dramatically inferior products appears to defy the laws of probability. When you’re handed a blueprint for success, how can it be so hard to not suck?
his edition of KIMT’s Weekend Remake Throwdown is taking a look at the infinite number of monkeys finally getting it right. It’s “Overboard” (1987) vs. “Overboard” (2018) in a contest that makes every single moviegoer with an IQ above room temperature in Antarctica want to turn to Hollywood and say “See? That wasn’t so hard, was it?”
It's hilarious that this get up was supposed to be over-the-top in 1987 but if Beyonce showed up in it today, people would lose their damn minds.
The original film washed ashore in the 1980s, possibly the greatest decade in the history of modern filmmaking. Anyone who wants to argue that should consider that in just 1987 “Overboard” shared the screen with “Three Men and a Baby,” “Fatal Attraction,” “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “The Untouchables,” “Lethal Weapon,” “Dirty Dancing,” “Predator,” “Robocop,” “La Bamba,” “Full Metal Jacket,” “The Last Emperor,” “Wall Street,” “Spaceballs,” “The Lost Boys,” and “Baby Boom.” Heck, “The Hidden” (1987) is better than 99% of sci-fi action flicks that come out today and is only a naked Claudia Christian away from being one of the greatest films of all time, yet ranked #90 at the box office for that year.
“Overboard” (1987) is a fairy tale about an awful rich woman named Joanna (Goldie Hawn) who is so bored and disgusted by the emptiness of her existence that she lashes out at everyone around her, including Dean Proffitt (Kurt Russell), the carpenter she hires to remodel the closet on her yacht when she docks in a tiny coastal town in Oregon. After arguing with Dean, Joanna refuses to pay his bill and kicks the working class hero off her boat and into the ocean. But after Joanna falls off her yacht out at sea that night and washes ashore with amnesia but the same snooty and abrasive personality, Dean shows up at the hospital with what Edmund Blackadder would call “a cunning plan.”
"Woman! Where's my MAGA hat?!?!"
Dean claims that Joanna is actually his wife Annie and everyone at the hospital is so sick of her nonsense they’re happy to shove her out the door and into Dean’s pickup truck no matter how much she doubts their matrimonial union. Dean, a widower, takes “Annie” back to his disaster area of a home and intends to make her clean, cook, and tend to his four young boys, who are so feral it’s like they were raised in some Mad Max/zombie apocalypse hellscape, until she pays back all the money she owes him for his work on the yacht.
At first, Annie is humorously overwhelmed by her situation but it turns out she’s exactly what the boys and their very immature father need as the spoiled rich girl proves herself to be more parental and responsible than Dean ever imagined. To the surprise of no one, Dean and Annie start to fall in love and the movie shifts to more of a romance than a comedy, with all the screwball antics relegated to Joanna’s husband enjoying his reborn bachelor life with a string of harlots, until the demands of Joanna’s mother to see her absent daughter force a reunion that restores Joanna’s memory and leaves her to decide if Annie’s life was more worth living.
"Excuse me. I'm trying to eat here."
“Overboard” (1987) is a fairy tale in that you’re really not supposed to think about how Dean is…technically…a kidnapper and a rapist just like you’re not supposed to think about how Jack from “Jack and the Beanstalk” is…technically…an ultimately murderous home invader. You’re not supposed to dislike Dean for being a horrifically irresponsible parent or bristle at the movie’s politically incorrect allusions to the importance of being a wife, mother, and homemaker. You’re not supposed to care that the movie kind of stops being a comedy and becomes a straight up romance with a subplot about a miniature golf course because it’s just so much fun watching Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, a couple in real life, get together on the big screen.
There’s really no point where “Overboard” (1987) makes sense. Joanna acts like Cinderella’s meanest step-sister. Dean’s plan essentially relies on everyone else in town being complete idiots. There’s not much reason for Annie to fall in love with Dean except he’s there. The film’s ending pivots entirely on a supporting character going insane. And none of it matters. This movie glides over it all on a cloud of charm and wish-fulfillment, telling us that rich people are miserable and money isn’t necessary for happiness but it’s still nice to have. “Overboard” (1987) must frustrate any failed filmmaker who watches it because there are so many ways it could have gone wrong but it all goes right, thanks to an impenetrable alchemy of good intentions, movie star charisma, and audience indulgence.
It's sad that a kid reading a comic book is now as dated an image as somebody using a rotary phone.
It’s hard to believe anyone ever thought remaking it would be a good idea. What are the chances of catching the same lightning in a new bottle? Well, God bless our broken immigration system for one thing because they decided to produce a new version aimed at the Latino market and what could have been a regrettable knockoff of a forgettable old film turned out to be as close to the Platonic ideal of a remake as we’ll likely ever see.
“Overboard” (2018) is about Kate Sullivan (Anna Faris), a single mom with three kids and two jobs who is studying to be a nurse. One day she’s called to clean the carpets on the yacht of Leonardo Montenegro (Eugenio Derbez), the wastrel scion of a fabulously wealthy Mexican construction magnate, and the same story unfolds as in 1987. And when I say “the same story,” I don’t mean it’s similar or in the same spirit. I mean this is almost a scene-for-scene duplicate of the original motion picture. But unlike Gus Van Sant’s “Psycho” (1998), which remains one of the most inexplicable creative endeavors in cinema, or the execrable “Cabin Fever” remake in 2016, the miracle workers behind “Overboard” (2018) managed to not only reproduce but improve upon the original in almost every way.
Let's be honest. You could combine these two together and they still wouldn't be as pretty as Kurt Russell.
And I only say “almost” because Anna Faris, bless her, doesn’t hold a candle to either Russell or Hawn. Eugenio Derbez is outstanding but every time Faris is on screen, you’re left wondering when the real female star of the movie is going to show up.
“Overboard” (2018) is not merely more consistently funny than the original. It doesn’t simply make Kate and Leonardo more like real people having a real, if exceedingly bizarre, relationship. It addresses every criticism and fixes every problem that anyone could ever have with “Overboard” (1987).
1. Joanna is such an abusive monster that it’s hard to care about her redemption. Leonardo is a much more likeable man-child that you root to see grow up.
2. The whole “exploit someone with amnesia” thing isn’t actually Kate’s idea, which makes her seem less creepy, and she desperately needs the help.
3. Even with no memory, Leonardo remains a playboy who is happy to jump Kate’s bones, which defuses the whole rapey undercurrent of the story.
4. While Annie just sort of magically improves things by her presences in Dean’s family, we see a lot more of how Leonardo contributes to elevating the quality of life for Kate and her three daughters. The movie is a little too “woke” to focus that much on Leonardo as a traditional masculine father and presents him more as a help-mate, but we clearly see how two parents can be better than one even if one of them is a kidnapped amnesiac.
Wait... the romantic comedy star is on the LEFT and the wacky sidekick is on the RIGHT? Was it opposite day in Hollywood when they cast this movie?
5. The redemption story is so much more affecting and well-thought out. Annie is not much more than Joanna learning not to be horrible. Leonardo not only learns the value of work and how to value others, he learns how to value himself.
6. The subplot of why the rich amnesiac remains undiscovered in a small Oregon town is vastly better developed and executed in the remake.
7. While Annie is isolated in the original, Leonardo gets to have his own story where he joins a construction crew and bonds with the other workers. There’s a great scene about the anxiety of modern men where Leonardo complains that he doesn’t think Kate appreciates him and he feels like nothing more than a paycheck, to which the other workers respond “Welcome to the club, buddy!”
8. The remake also recognizes that Annie never really has to choose whether or not she wants to be Joanna again and fixes that with a great twist in the big scene at the end.
Neither “Overboard” was an overwhelming success at the box office, which was more appropriate for the original with the level of competition at movie theaters in 1987. But “Overboard” will legitimately be one of the better new movies you can see in 2018. It wins this Throwdown in a unanimous decision and provides us all with hope that Hollywood can still make good films that don’t insult our intelligence or taste. Maybe they just need more monkeys and more typewriters.
"Who validates social conservative criticisms of the 21st century dissolution of the nuclear family? THIS GUY!"
Written by Leslie Dixon.
Directed by Garry Marshall.
Starring Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Edward Hermann, Katherine Helmond, Mike Hagerty, Roddy McDowall, Jared Rushton, Jeffrey Wiseman, Brian Price, Jamie Wild, Frank Campanella, and Harvey Miller.
Written by Bob Fisher, Rob Greenberg, and Leslie Dixon. Movies with more than one writer usually suck and this is definitely the exception that proves the rule.
Directed by Rob Greenberg.
Starring Eugenio Derbez, Anna Faris, Eva Longoria, John Hannah, Swoosie Kurtz, Mel Rodriguez, Josh Segarra, Hannah Nordberg, Alyvia Alyn Lind, Payton Lepinsky, Fernando Lujan, Ceclia Suarez, Marian Trevino, Jesus Ochoa, Omar Chaparro, and Adrian Uribe.
Is it sad that the best compliment I can give this thing is it makes me wish for an "Overboard" TV series?
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