Bad Teacher (2011) -vs- Bad Santa (2003)

June 21, 2011 Rebecca Coffindaffer

Good role models are hard to come by — especially once Hollywood gets its hands on them. In the year that Bush gave us Iraq, Hollywood gave us Bad Santa. Now it’s Bad Teacher. What’s next, Naughty Nuns?

Of course, the film industry has been tweaking iconic targets since the Marx Brothers brought their particular brand of chaos to A Night at the Opera. In recent years, they’ve upped the ante. Now, filmmakers are encouraged to slap on an R rating, make sure the kids have to sneak in to watch, and let everyone else enjoy what Tony Cox’s Marcus character in Bad Santa calls, “An adult joke. For us, adults.”

With Santa Claus already trashed by Billy Bob Thornton and company, it was inevitable that someone would find another cherished cultural ideal, the teacher — beacon of knowledge and caring, glamorized in Stand and Deliver, Dead Poets Society and so forth — and put a caustic, foul-mouthed spin on it.

An irreverent, bad Santa vs. an irreverent, bad teacher. Only one can be the worst. […]

True Grit (2010) -vs- True Grit (1969)

December 27, 2010 Mark Sanchez

Apparently, if you need to track down a bad guy in the wild west, your absolute best shot at doing it is to hire a misogynistic one-eyed alcoholic. Whether you watch the old or the new True Grit, that much seems clear.

I’ll admit that something uneasy crept into my life upon learning Rooster Cogburn would live again in a remake of this 1969 crowd pleaser. Drawing from core material about murder and revenge, the film version gave us a smart, spunky girl who recruits John Wayne to the rescue. It won the Duke the Best Actor Oscar (as much for career recognition as his performance). It remains a pleasure to watch. Doesn’t need re-making, right?

Two words. Coen Brothers. Two more words. Jeff Bridges.

The vivid characters and language in the novel written by Charles Portis seem tailor-made for the Coen’s quirky sensibilities. The truth is that this film would never have been re-made except for their passion to do it. And now that they have, honestly, this one is a shoot-out for the ages. […]