Under The Gun is continuing our efforts to bring you more original and engaging content with 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.
Finding the right chemistry between actors on screen cannot be an easy task. Every so often, however, people work so well together that they appear together in movies more than just a couple times. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, but one of my favorite acting duos of all time has to be Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder.
Throughout the 70s and 80s these two appeared in a handful of great comedies together. One that frequently gets overlooked is See No Evil, Hear No Evil. Sure, it was not their funniest movie, but it had a great concept. Wilder was a deaf man and Pryor was blind. The two end up getting framed for a murder and must track down the real killers (one of whom is Kevin Spacey) to prove their innocence. So we have a blind man and a deaf man trying to solve a murder in New York City. Wilder and Pryor work together by combining their resources (Wilder can see what Pryor cannot and Pryor can hear what Wilder cannot) and eventually take down the bad guys, but not before a bunch of hilarious hijinks ensue.
Despite a funny cast and premise this film falls flat. It was released in 1989, which is a time when movies just got green lit because why not, let’s all go do some coke. By this point in time people were over the novelty of Willy Wonka being friends with that black comedian that caught himself on fire while doing drugs, but the movie studio was not aware of this. Instead of focusing on writing a solid comedy we got See No Evil, Hear No Evil which is a mediocre (at best) comedy relying on star power that was fading. The central idea of the film is still gold, though, and I think it deserves a remake.
Originally I thought that a good choice for casting would be Kevin Hart and Jason Bateman. The more I thought about it the more I realized that this movie would be even funnier if they were not just blind and deaf, but also old. It has been a few years since we have seen a great “old people doing funny things” movie and that is a bummer. The elderly are always falling for scams (GRANDMA PLEASE QUIT SENDING MONEY TO NIGERIA) so it does not seem too far-fetched that they could also get framed for murder. With this in mind I think the leading roles in the See No Evil, Hear No Evil remake should go to Alan Arkin and John Witherspoon. Arkin is a perfect choice for a comedy involving seniors (he does a great old guy in everything he has been in for the last decade) and John Witherspoon would compliment Arkin’s cheerful demeanor with a great deal of grump and sass.
As for a director I would love to see Sean Anders take a crack at a movie not based around a relationship or family. His other movies (Sex Drive, Hot Tub Time Machine, That’s My Boy) are great comedies with awesome character interaction. This will fit perfectly for a movie about two old guys that have to rely on each other not just to get around but also to get themselves out of trouble. Also, with Anders you know there will be some great laughs and solid pacing, both of which are essential for keeping this remake from going the way of the original.
Despite all its flaws See No Evil, Hear No Evil had a great concept. The idea of a blind guy and a deaf guy working together to prove their innocence in a murder is hilarious, and it is even more funny if you make them old too. With the right cast and director this forgotten movie could be born again and achieve something few remakes can: being better than the original.