Thursday, January 07, 2010

Nothing Gold Can Stay...Out of Coppola's Meddling Hands

I watched "The Outsiders: The Complete Novel" tonight on DVD. I hadn't seen "The Outsiders" in its entirety since I saw it in a theater when I was 13 in 1983. I remember riding the bus home with friends after the movie, and we couldn't stop making fun of it, especially the "DO IT FOR JOHNNY!!!" moment. We were yelling that at passing cars at the top of our lungs. Of course, we also kind of loved the movie because it was full of cute, shirtless boys, but for the most part we knew it just wasn't that good.

So when I heard that this new version included additional scenes, and had removed the incredibly overwrought score and replaced it with rock songs from the era the movie is set, I was intrigued, and added it to my Netflix queue. Of course, that was a few years ago, and it only now reached the top of my queue.

I usually take issue with directors going back and futzing with their movies. I hated everything George Lucas shoved into or changed in the original "Star Wars" trilogy (except for the removal of the Ewoks song at the end of "Jedi"), and just thought the added stuff in "Apocalypse Now Redux" was boring. Coppola also managed to mangle a beautiful opening in the DVD release of "One From the Heart" by turning a seamless long shot into a series of shorter cuts. Lame!

BUT! I think this version of "The Outsiders" is a whole hell of a lot better than the original. I never understood why the movie had such sappy music, and thought the Stevie Wonder theme song was entirely out of place. Alas, the Stevie Wonder song is still there, but most of the music has been replaced by a more rockabilly score, and a lot of rock and roll songs, the majority by Elvis. I think the original score combined with the sometimes mediocre acting just managed to make some scenes hopelessly maudlin, and others downright comedic.

Now, that doesn't mean this version is perfect. No change in music could cover-up Matt Dillon's scene-chewing, and some of the added scenes, like the moments in the courtroom, would have benefited from no music at all; and the ending is still as silly as ever. But I think this is definitely the version anyone who wants to rewatch the movie, or see it for the first time, should seek out.

As a side note, I couldn't watch the movie, and Johnny's "I ain't gonna walk again" scene and not immediately be reminded of the infamous Stanley Kubrick audition tape by Mr. Brian Atene. Here it is again, in case you've forgotten.


Good Day Mr. Kubrick

I checked to see if Mr. Atene had posted any videos of his own recently (he was online for awhile, and then seemed to disappear again). Indeed, he has. I won't post them, as they're kind of long, but you can see them on his channel here. Sounds like he had a tough 2009, but in one of his videos, he mentions that he did a retake of the Kubrick audition that is supposed to air on a cable show soon, and I'm really hoping it's "Tosh.0." For those unfamiliar with that show, every week the incredibly annoying and sarcastic host gives a Web celebrity a chance at redemption by...well, here's an example.

Tosh.0
Web Redemption - Home Shopping Fail
www.comedycentral.com
Web Redemption2 Girls, 1 Cup ReactionDemi Moore Picture


If anyone deserves a Web redemption, it's Brian Atene.

AND! In an attempt to bring this whole thing full circle, I think "The Outsiders: The Complete Novel," is an excellent example of a movie redemption.

1 comment:

Chuck said...

Oh man, it's still solid gold. DOCTOR SAYS I BROKE MAH BACK!