Remake after Remake after Remake after…How Far Will They Go?

Just this month, the movie, “Ben Hur”, came out. I’m sure it’s a great movie, but, I have to ask, why do they keep making remakes of movies whose original or last version was great in it’s own right? It seems more and more remakes are coming out. There was even a plan for a remake of “Gone With the Wind”, often touted as the greatest picture ever made.

Is it because they want to make a greater version? Well, in my opinion, I think it depends.

With Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, the original, made in 1938, was OK for the time but was soon found to be lacking, and, if you see both the 1938 and 1951 versions, you’ll see the difference. So, in that case, I do agree a remake was in order, and the 1951 remake, with Alistair Sims playing Scrooge, it certainly filled the bill. But, they should have stopped right there. But no, a remake was made again over 30 years later and, while it was seen as being good in it’s own right, the 1951 version, in my opinion, has a certain essence to it that I believe can never be matched. Same with “Gone With the Wind”. So while a movie might need a do over, I do think that there’s a point where it’s done exactly right and literally takes on a character that cannot be duplicated with further remakes. It’s reached it’s peak, in a way.

I imagine, when plans for a remake are floated, some producers and directors do bring this up. So, why do a remake? Well, oftentimes technological advances allow for scenes to be shot in ways that look more realistic or believable, or, depending on the mood of audiences at the time, they may want to add things, such as more grittiness, graphic scenes, historical accuracy, or aspects of a character’s life that weren’t shown in a previous version. And I do find this understandable to an extent, particularly where an expansion of a character’s life experiences are concerned, or technological advances in filming are made. Technical advances certainly helped the 1951 version of “A Christmas Carol” stand head and shoulders over the 1938 version.

Then sometimes, it’s probably that a new generation of movie makers really likes a particular movie and story, but they want to tweak it in their own way, and since they can’t go back in time to tweak the original as it was being made, they have to make a new version.

As for myself, there have been some remakes I’ve seen, such as “True Grit”, which I found to be about as good as the original. But for the most part, I tend to not really go for remakes without a compelling reason. I tend to want to see new stories, and it just seems at times that they are few and far between. But then there will be a number of movies with new stories that come out within a short time frame and I’ll resume going to the movies. To each his own, I guess.

Happy movie watching!

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Portland and L.A. – What’s Different: Summer

Well, it’s summer now, and so I thought it would be interesting to look at how summer is different between L.A. and Portland. While there may be the fewer differences between summer in L.A. and in Portland than in other seasons in each city, there still are differences.

For those of you who live outside the West Coast, there is a general dry season on the West Coast during summer and residents can count on less rain at this time than in other seasons, but the similarity ends there. The main differences is in the duration and amount of rain in each given month of the dry season and it’s effects.

In L.A., the rain generally shuts off for June through mid October, and sometimes shuts off as early as March and sometimes doesn’t start again till late December! In those rare instances when rain falls here in July, August, or September, it is usually from a straying of part of a monsoonal system coming from further east or a broken up hurricane from Mexico.

Also, the grass can turn golden brown as early as late March and last through the start of November, hence the term, “The Golden State”.

Hollywood Sign at 20x zoom. 6/24/2012

Hollywood Sign at 20x zoom. 6/24/2012

In Portland, the rain doesn’t really shut off but does lessen significantly from mid June through mid September, and you can see a decent rainstorm even in July, the driest month. And the grass usually doesn’t start turning gold until July, and, if it’s a rainy summer or one where the lesser amount of rain is fairly evenly distributed, the grass won’t turn as brown or gold. However, if there’s what would be considered a drought for the area, the grass will turn gold for the summer, though it still won’t be as prominent as in California due to the extensive tree cover, which keeps the area looking far more green than L.A., even in drier years.

But, in exposed areas, the golden grass will show if you look for it. This was the case in the summer of 2015.

Views from Marina Drive at west end of PDX Airport. 9/3/2012

Views from Marina Drive at west end of PDX Airport. 9/3/2012

In terms of temperature, L.A. is definitely warmer than Portland, and, the topography can mean large differences in temperature between locations just a few miles apart. West Hollywood and Encino, in the San Fernando Valley, are just separated by about 4 or 5 miles. Yet, in the summer, it can be 80 degrees in West Hollywood and 95 degrees in Encino on the same day! And Santa Monica on the ocean about 8 miles away, may be at 70 degrees at the same time! Then, there are the area’s infamous Santa Ana winds, which can come at almost any time of year, but when they come in September, they often bring the area’s hottest temperatures, well over 100 degrees, and can last over a week!

In Portland, temperatures tend to be cooler overall and, while one can see triple digit temps here, there are fewer instances and heat waves are of shorter duration than those in L.A. Oftentimes, the major heat waves in the Portland area are caused by the area’s East Wind, which can also occur at any time of year, but only in summer does it act like a Santa Ana and bring excessive heat.

Also, there is less difference in temperatures around the Portland area and it’s suburbs. Hillsboro, in the western part of the Portland area, tends to be the warmest, but it is not much hotter in summer than the downtown area or the other suburbs and it is usually rare for a difference or more than 8 degrees.

Finally, there’s the length of daylight, especially in June. There’s not a real large difference in the time of sunrise, but, in the evening, there’s a large difference in the time of sunset. In L.A., it gets dark by about 8:30pm, while in Portland, there’s still plenty of light at 9:30pm and you can still see a little light in the sky at 10pm!

So, here you have summer in L.A. and Portland. Wherever you are, in Portland, L.A., or anywhere else, do enjoy your summer!

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