Cover Songs and Cover Films
I found this link about the 10 best cover albums on Flavorwire. I though about how often people complain about movie remakes. Some people get bent out of shape about remakes of classic films, but rarely, if ever, do you hear people complain about cover songs. You might hear the original song and the cover version being compared — eg. “the guitar work on Madonna’s original of “Burning Up” shreds over Greg Ginns guitar playing on the Ciccone Youth version” — but with film remake discussion the tone can sound as if vandals are desecrating a holy shrine.
It’d be interesting to see cover versions of films – we all know the storyline, but to see how it would be interpreted by a different creative team or perhaps in another culture. In a sense this is the essence of a remake – it’s the cover version of the original film being played by a different “band” – a better, lesser, or just different band. What does this tell us about the story they are both based on? First of all that it’s compelling enough to do a new version of it. Isn’t this in a sense what’s also happening when a book is turned into a film. It may not be as clear a lineage since the format of media is making a huge leap, but the essential story and characters are the same.
I was really surprised when I saw the David Fincher remake of “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” because it was not nearly as violent and grunge-y as I’d expected having seen the original film first. I didn’t really know what to expect when I saw the original version as I knew nothing about the film, the book, or even what genre it was when I went and I was completely surprised that it was in fact a violent film. But the Fincher version seemed really glossy from the opening credits and this somehow made the treatment less violent and less gory. Was it actually less graphic? I’d need to revisit the original to really compare. But Fincher is an accomplished enough director with such a distinct style and vision. It’s not as striking a cover as say DEVO covering “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” – they’ve done it in their own distinct style, but stayed very true to the emotion and theme of the song while uncovering an great new take on frustration in their version – a darkly comic twist which serves to enhance it well. Is it better? I wouldn’t say that because the two are so different and the one would not exist without the other. The DEVO version is enhanced by being able to build upon and uncover more of the original song. It wouldn’t be the same if you hadn’t heard the original Rolling Stones version.
What if filmmakers embraced the cover film?
How about a movie cover of REPO MAN by P.T. Anderson, a cover of SWEETIE by Todd Haynes, ERASERHEAD by Miranda July, ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST by Andrea Arnold, ALL THAT JAZZ by Nicolaus Refn Winding, “Kramer v. Kramer” by Asghar Farhadi, TAXI DRIVER by Gaspar Noe, SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS by Michelle MacLaren, and a cover of DO THE RIGHT THING by Lee Daniels?
What are some movies you’d like to see covered and who’d direct?