REASONABLE REMAKES: The Graduate

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Under The Gun is continuing our efforts to bring you more original and engaging content this week with the continued deubut of our latest feature, REASONABLE REMAKES. Written by film-nerd Justin Proper, this column aims to highlight Hollywood’s forgotten gems and spark debate.

You see, we’ve grown tired of Hollywood rehashing ideas we’re old enough to remember. Why remake something the majority of the planet still remembers and loves deeply when there are tons of films that deserve a chance to be as great as modern technology and skill can make them? If you agree, this column is for you.

If you have any suggestions for films or topics you’d like to see covered on REASONABLE REMAKES, please send an email titled “remakes” to utgjames@gmail.com.

If I was to ask you to say the first thing that came to your mind when I said “Mrs. Robinson,” what would your answer be? I’m guessing for the majority of the people my age (20-something) the answer would be, “That song that was in American Pie, right?” This is one major reason I think that The Graduate should be re-made.

For those of you who don’t know the plot of The Graduate, let me first say how much your lack of knowledge of classic cinema upsets the movie gods. I have it on good authority that those gods are the vengeful type and wouldn’t advise skipping on the classics from now on. Anyways, The Graduate is about a man named Ben Braddock (played by Dustin Hoffman) who is seduced by his one of his parent’s friends (Mrs. Robinson, played by Anne Bancroft). They bang each other for a while in a hotel, but Ben eventually falls in love with Mrs. Robinson’s daughter Elaine (played by Katherine Ross). Of course things go wrong as a result and the movie ends (*Spoiler alert*) with Ben going to a church and stopping Elaine’s wedding to some douchebag. Sound familiar? Wait until you see the movie poster:

How many times have you seen that shot? Even if you’ve never pickup up the film at the video store (or RedBox for the younger crowd), you’ve undoubtedly seen this image multiple times. Also, you may not know if, but two of the film’s biggest scenes have been parodied more times than Jigsaw created puzzles for the Saw franchise. Doubt me? Look at the two following clips and see if either look familiar:

So why should this movie be remade if it has already been parodied a million times? I think the answer to that lies in what a masterpiece it could be, not just what a masterpiece it already is. This movie just screams “indie” to me. Everything about it is ripe for a modern indie tale drenched in a soundtrack featuring Death Cab For Cutie and The Shins.

The minute I realized what a great remake this could be came during an amazing scene where Ben is shown walking from his pool at his house, opens a door and he’s in the hotel, then it shows him on the bed and pulls back to reveal he’s back in to his house. This perfect sequence of time passing is an indie staple, and damn fine filmmaking.

I’d like to take a minute to point out that the entire soundtrack was done by Simon and Garfunkel, (“Mrs. Robinson,” one of their biggest hits, was made for this movie) and thats just fine, except there’s only 3 songs in the movie. The third act is practically all Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme on repeat. WE GET IT, YOU LIKE SPICES! It’s irritating and could be completely fixed with an update.

Speaking of fixing things that didn’t quite work out, there are at least two shots in this movie that are so close to mind-blowing, but aren’t because they didn’t have the technology to do it right. The slow rack focus on the reveal of the affair to Elaine and the zoom through the fountain at Berkley are so close…but just a bit off. We have the ability to make those shots as amazing as they should be now (not that it should be a shot by shot remake).

I can hear you yelling out “Who would dare tackle such a project?!” and I have an answer for you: Will Gluck. “Will Gluck? WILL GLUCK?!?! WHO THE HELL IS WILL GLUCK?!?!?” I know, I know, calm down, I’ll save you lazy bastards from opening a new tab and IMDB-ing him. He directed Easy A and Friends With Benefits. I think he’s got just the perfect mix of romantic drama and comedy expertise that this remake would need. Both of his previous films were met with positive reviews, and further, even I found them to be delightful. I think he deserves a chance for something of this magnitude and I’m confident he wouldn’t screw it up.

“But what about casting?” you ask, and I have a great plan for that too. Ben Braddock should be played by Joseph Gordon Levitt. JGL has that indie cred, and isn’t too gorgeous to play someone with a bit of a social neuroses. He played an awkward teenager before in 3rd Rock From The Sun, so I really think this role is within his talent. Mrs. Robinson should be played by Marisa Tomei. She’s the perfect age, totally hot, will go nude, and can definitely act. If you saw her in Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead you know where I’m coming from. I’m still torn on Elaine Robinson. I’m thinking someone with an Ellen Paige or Mila Kunis vibe. You know what, audition them both. As for Ben’s dad I’m thinking Thomas Lennon, he wears a weird mustache very well. And lastly Mr. Robinson should be played by Dustin Hoffman. I don’t need to tell you why.

There you have it. The Graduate and why it should be remade. If you disagree I’d love to hear why, so leave me a comment or hit me up on the twitters (that’s what the hip kids do these days yeah?). I’m off to go watch some more ancient movies you’ve never heard of to bring you next weeks article. Anyone have an old VHS player laying around?

Written by: Justin Proper

What do you think of this idea? Could a modern version of The Graduate work and if so, would it be a hit with these people behind it? Comment below and let us know!

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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  • Marr E

    I agree it should be remade too. The dream of being with an older women still exists these days and this movie would make millions!

  • JP

    Thanks!

  • Hear Hear! Thou i think JGL might be a bit too old for the role, even if he still looks rather young these days (bastard) i’d go for Michael Cera, i think he could pull off the famous line the best, he’s perfect at awkward one liners.

  • JP

    He was definitely up there in my choices, I just didn’t want it to get lumped in with all the other Cera movies. Love the dude, but this is too serious a movie for him I think. 

  • Nick Dean

    The graduate is one of my all time favorite classic movies. I dont think anyone could do it justice, anyone. However, I would watch it if they remade it. Only so I can be that guy who references and says, that didnt happen in the original. Like those annoying movie goers who read the book then watch the movie and tell you how off it is. I vote this down, however I would be up for a re-make of Harold and Maude. 

  • Nick Dean

    Michael Cera should not be allowed anywhere near a classic like this. In fact, he should stop making movies in general. 

  • The story of the Graduate is so timeless the film would transcend time, So I say remake it.  But I don’t want to see it made with a current spin on it.  The last movie I saw, (It had Marisa Tomei in it-good call on casting her,) had a preview for the remake of Footloose.  In my opinion how can you make a film about dancing being outlawed, a VW Bug, a cowboy learning to dance and standing up to a city council and have it set in this day and age and make sense?  Put a urban spin on it I guess, the film is going to be junk.  As long on the graduate doesn’t include “crunk music” I think it would do well, just look how popular milf porn is.

  • enigmaDAEDAL

    You have a good point. However, your choice of indie bands and the casting of Elaine seems off to me. Sure, you should use some of that indie feeling, but I can definitely see those decisions being a turnoff. I don’t need to hear the stereotypical Death Cab songs played over his emotional torment, and I can’t stand to see Ellen Page re-cast as another rough but likable girl ala Juno.

    Then again, the good bits about going indie are definitely recognizable. The actual cinematography would compliment the story, and the focus on the characters and their interactions would keep it from being just another Hollywood remake full of camp.

  • JP

    Oh come on man, you know “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” would just kill it. I hate Death Cab but that song gets me every time. 

  •  he’s good at playing the awkward “don’t know where i am in life” kind of character, that’s about it, but he’s good at it. not asking him to play Hamlet here. i wasn’t much of a fan of his till i saw Scott Pilgrim, but that was a really good movie. which brings another actor to mind, Jason Schwartzman.

  • enigmaDAEDAL

    That’s the problem. That song is amazing, not just as a Death Cab song, but as a genuine piece of  art in music. But I feel like using it would be trying too hard to give the film “indie cred,” and would alienate people who actually enjoy indie while allowing people who don’t to say “Yeah, I watch indie” because we all have a little hipster in us.

  • enigmaDAEDAL

    His rep was ruined with “Year One.” No doubt he could pull it off, but marketing would be a bitch.

  • Adam

    SOLID cast choice for the remake!!! Mila kunis+marisa tomei to play the robinson’s with Dustin hoffman! Wow! Amazing how close to the original misses robinson she is!!!