Deadly Pranks – April Fool’s Day (2008)

It’s time again for Catie Rhodes and me to break down another cinematic original and its remake.  Sticking with our usual ways, Catie reviews the original and I take on the remake.  This month we tackle the holiday horror film, April Fool’s Day.

Usually, I include Catie’s summary that applies to both films.  But this time, I tweaked it just a bit:

One year after an April Fool’s prank goes horribly wrong, a group of friends realize the joke is on them when they start to die one by one…

For once, I didn’t actually request to cover the remake.  I know;  I know.  No one believes me… but it’s true.  Since I had already seen both films, I let Catie choose which one she wanted to review before turning in any requests.  And with her decision to cover the original, I ran out and found a cheap copy of the remake… considering I couldn’t find it on cable, On Demand, or Amazon streaming.  I had only watched the 2008 film once, and while I sort of remembered it, I couldn’t recall enough of the movie for the sake of this post.  And that, my friends, should have been my first clue as to just how good this version was/is.  Can anyone hear my sarcasm through my writing?

Anyway…

While the young cast in the 1986 film was rather popular at the time, April Fool’s Day (2008) cast primarily unknown actors at the time (at least to the general viewing audience) with only a few familiar faces.  However, today, quite a few of these folks are very recognizable…

Taylor Cole (CSI: Miami and The Event)
Josh Henderson (the incredibly sexy John Ross Ewing from TNT’s new Dallas)
Scout Taylor-Compton (The Rob Zombie remakes of Halloween)
Joe Egender (Alcatraz and American Horror Story: Asylum)

Yes, that’s Josh Henderson in the middle sans shirt.

It’s not surprising that the others in the film haven’t skyrocketed to success just yet, but that’s not to say we won’t see any of them in successful projects in the future—right?  I’m not trying to hate on any of the actors in this movie, I’m just implying that this job probably didn’t do them any favors.

The 2008 film isn’t so much a remake, just another telling of April Fool’s pranks between friends and foes with the slasher/horror element.  The original is so much more suspenseful than this flick, and the fact that the viewers really can’t connect with or care for any of these characters doesn’t help.  At least not for me.

April Fool’s Day (2008) might just be one of the more recent films that fall into the campy category—and I usually only use this word to describe older films in the horror genre.  Not only that, but Catie mentioned the scary music as one of the clichéd elements in the original… well, the music in the “remake,” and I say that loosely… that’s why it’s in quotes, is almost goofy at certain points in the film.  There aren’t any “grisly, cringeworthy murders” like in the 1986 version, and there are no “cheap scares that make you jump.”  Really, the only horror clichés that exist in both films are the partying teenagers, and in the 2008 flick, I’m not sure they’re technically teens… let’s go with young adults.

At least the film has pretty people…

I normally love slashers, especially when centered around a particular holiday; and while I have now seen this twice and actually own the DVD, I can’t find much to say about it that’s positive.  Well, other than the eye candy… and the fact that I’m quite certain the role of Blaine Cartier was great on the resume for Josh Henderson when he auditioned for the part of John Ross Ewing.  The Cartiers are “The Kennedys of the Carolinas” and being wealthy, privileged, and entitled doesn’t even begin to describe these kids… just like Mr. Ewing.

So, in closing, I’d like to quote the character of Wilford (the butler): “Oh, my.”

I’m not getting those ninety minutes back.  If you want to watch a movie called April Fool’s Day, go for the original.  Hands down.

What do you think?  Have you seen either the original or the remake of April Fool’s Day?  If you’ve seen both, which do you prefer and why?  If you haven’t, do you want to?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Remember to stop by Catie’s blog discussing the original if you haven’t already.

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – The Return of Dallas and That Ewing Family

The days are flying by and before we know it, 2013 will be here and we’ll all be left wondering where the time has gone.  With all of the madness expected to surround us these next few days, Amber West and I have decided to revisit a few of our older Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday reviews instead of tackling anything new.

Today, we’re each selecting one TV show that has us on the edge of our seats waiting for the 2013 premiere.  The series I chose returns in January, and as if the entire first season’s reboot didn’t already leave us excited for more, the season finale sure did!  The twists and turns of this series kept the original’s legacy intact, and I can’t wait to see what the writers have in store for us in season two.

But not only that… recently we lost one of the beloved cast members, a man who entertained television audiences for years with his portrayals of I Dream of Jeanie’s Major Tony Nelson and Dallas’ J.R. Ewing.  I watched both programs, but to me, Mr. Hagman will always be J.R.  Larry Hagman didn’t just act out the role of the rich and conniving J.R. Ewing… he is and forever will be J.R. Ewing.

Shooting for season two had already commenced before he passed, and immediately the writers all returned to Dallas to get back to work.  They now have the difficult task of properly writing one of the greatest TV icons of all-time out of a series.  They promised to make Mr. Hagman proud, and I can’t wait to see what they’ve written for him.  He deserves nothing but the best.

*****

One of the most anticipated programs this year is the continued story of the duel between the members of the Ewing family.  And after only two-hours, the new Dallas does not disappoint!

TNT has successfully revived the popular soap opera that ran from the late ‘70s to the early ‘90s, even mirrored the original opening as best they could.

Back in the day, we watched the great sibling rivalry between J.R. and Bobby Ewing.   Whew!  Those two brothers never saw eye to eye…

They still look good, don’t they?

We had J.R. (Larry Hagman), the cut-throat oil-tycoon who would stop at nothing to earn his next riches, and Bobby (Patrick Duffy), the more family oriented and rule-following of Miss Ellie’s boys.  And because of these tendencies, Miss Ellie bequeaths Southfork to Bobby, leaving J.R. with a sour taste in his mouth.

In the new series, J.R.’s wife, Sue Ellen (Linda Gray), has left him.  The Texas courts awarded her all of J.R.’s money, making her one of the most successful women in Dallas (and she may even run for Governor).   Since Bobby lives at and runs Southfork, J.R. has nothing.  These events cause him to fall into a deep depression and someone, we’re assuming Bobby, puts J.R. up in a nice retirement community.

Speaking of Bobby, he’s now married to Ann (Brenda Strong), and is suffering from a recent diagnosis of intestinal cancer.  He decides to sell Southfork—the only requirement being that whoever buys the ranch must continue with Miss Ellie’s wish to not drill on her property.  And like the “Good Ol’ Boy” he is, Bobby settles the deal with a handshake.

The new generation of Ewings…

But what about these younger Ewing boys we keep hearing so much about?  Fast-forward twenty years, and the Ewing family is still going strong, bickering included, only with two new faces: John Ross, played by Josh Henderson, and Christopher, played by Jesse Metcalf.

Let’s start with John Ross…

While secretly drilling on Southfork, John Ross and his girlfriend/business partner (Elena, played by Jordana Brewster) hit oil.  But when Bobby finds out about it, he forbids anyone from drilling on his mamma’s ranch.  This prompts John Ross to act just like his daddy.  After all, “he’s a chip off the old block.”  Lying, cheating, and backstabbing seem to be John Ross’s methods of choice—but does he have what it takes to outplay J.R.?

And then we have Christopher, sweet and idealistic Christopher…

Christopher runs Ewing Alternative Energies where he researches and experiments with methane drilling.  Unfortunately, his work appears to have caused earthquakes off the coast of China, and while he commits to finding a way to protect the people and preserve the methane, John Ross is the first to point out his cousin’s failures.  Skipping his honeymoon with Rebecca (Julie Gonzalo), Christopher decides to change his daddy’s mind about selling Southfork—but will Bobby listen?

See now, “the fun is just beginning.”

I’ve used a few of the opening episodes’ one-liners above in this post, but I’m not done.  The writers and creators have definitely impressed me with some of the dialogue in these first few hours, especially when it comes to describing J.R. Ewing:

“Some people are just too damn mean to die.”
“It’s better to be old than to be the devil.”

Larry Hagman still has it!  There’s nothing quite as mischievous as J.R.’s smile…

RIP, Mr. Hagman

Before we wrap, let’s not forget to mention the soap opera element.  First, we have the business partnerships between John Ross and Elena, Christopher and Elena, and Sue Ellen and Elena.  Surely one if not more of these are going to blow up in their faces, specifically Elena’s.

Let’s stay on the topic of Elena for a second.  Elena is the daughter of the Ewing’s long-time cook and Christopher’s former girlfriend/fiancée.  But when she received a supposed email from Christopher ending their relationship the night before their wedding, she ran away to Mexico and into the waiting arms of John Ross.

Oh, but it doesn’t stop there.  At John Ross’s suggestion, and knowing full well of Christopher and Elena’s past, Rebecca asks Elena to stand up for her at her and Christopher’s wedding.  That’s only the first sign we see that Rebecca may not be as sweet as she appears…  When we meet Rebecca’s brother, we deduce that they have been planning to scam the Ewing family for a few years now—but why?

And what about the sale of Southfork?  Well, Bobby thinks he’s selling to the Del Sol Corporation on the promise that the ranch won’t be developed.  J.R. knows about this sale, but thinks the Del Sol Corporation is going to turn around and sell him the ranch thirty days after the sale closes, making him the rightful owner of Southfork.  But John Ross has an idea all his own—he brings in a fraud to play the part of Marta Del Sol, and unbeknownst to Bobby and J.R., John Ross plans to take the ranch as his own.

Christopher and John Ross see things just as about as clearly as their daddies… not eye to eye with one another.

Dallas is definitely still a soap opera.  But how does it rank?  It’s still early, but I must award TNT’s Dallas with the MacTV rating.  The first two hours were definitely a guilty pleasure, and I personally can’t wait for more.

Bring on the oil fields, cattle ranches, cowboy boots, cowboy hats, and family feuds.  Dallas, we’ve missed you.

*****

I wrote this review after watching only two hours of the new Dallas, and well, let me just say that a TON has happened since.  The final seconds of the season finale left me with my jaw dropped to the floor—I did not see that twist coming!  The writers and creators have definitely done the Dallas fans proud with this reboot, and I can’t wait for more!

Have you watched TNT’s Dallas reboot?  How would you rate it?  Are you Team Bobby and Christopher or J.R. and John Ross?  I’d love to hear from you!

Remember to click over to Amber’s new & improved blog and see what see recommends…

Come back next week when Amber and I choose another of our favorites to share….  Stay tuned!

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV):It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (NyQuil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech

 

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