Jerry Lewis

By Tony Rizzo
HOLLYWOOD — “Everything old is new again.” Some of us who remember the old things when they were new wonder why they keep bringing them back when they weren’t that good to begin with. Take the news that Paramount Pictures plans to remake six Jerry Lewis films — “The Bellboy,” “Cinderfella,” “The Family Jewels,” “The Errand Boy,” “The Patsy” and “Who’s Minding the Store” — that were panned by most critics, staying afloat because of the loyalty of die-hard Lewis fans. Lewis had his moments of hilarity, but they weren’t as sustained in these films as they were in “The Nutty Professor,” which was remade with Eddie Murphy and even spawned a sequel. And who can they come up with to be the new Jerry Lewis? Eddie Murphy, Jim Carrey and Johnny Depp are too long in the tooth to play the naive, bungling youth that even Jerry Lewis was too old to play originally.

And more remake news … ABC is bringing “Charlie’s Angels” back to TV. The show was originally created as a spin-off for Kate Jackson, who was fourth lead on “The Rookies.” Jaclyn Smith was cast next, then along came a popular model, Farrah Fawcett. I visited the set many times, and the three stars had full-length mirrors on the set to be sure they were perfect for every take. This caused a lot of delays, but paid off when the show became a hit. This “modern take” will at least have the original producer, Leonard Goldberg, and producer of the “Charlie’s Angels” film, Drew Barrymore. The voice of Charlie belonged to “Dynasty” star John Forsythe; it will now belong to “Hart to Hart” star Robert Wagner.

The list of the 10 top-grossing films, worldwide, in 2010 is out, and it may surprise you, as it did me. Six were in 3D, four were animated and four were hero driven or sci-fi. “Toy Story 3,” in 3D, made more than $1.1 billion; followed by “Alice in Wonderland” 3D, $1 billion; “Inception,” $825 million; “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1,” $824 million; “Shrek Forever After,” in 3D, with $740 million; “Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” $693 million; “Iron Man 2,” $582 million; “Despicable Me,” 3D, $540 million; “How to Train Your Dragon,” $495 million; and “Clash of the Titans,” $493 million.

Where are the great films that become classics? Don’t we still enjoy a great story fueled by an incredible performance? This might be why producers don’t buy original scripts and stick to tried and true formulas that have high visibility. Could it be there’s so much drama already in our everyday lives, because of texting and twittering, that we need to hide in darkened theatres to escape to another realm?!

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© 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.