Wednesday, 16 June 2010

The Meanest Yard

Two birds with one stone here. A film and it's modern remake.

The Longest Yard, (Or Mean Machine in England,) was made in 1974. 36 years on and it is still a very funny film.

Burt Reynolds/Adam Sandler is Paul Crewe, an ex American Footballer, sent to prison for violently abusing his wife, escaping the cops in an amusing fasion, ditching the car in a body of water then beating up a couple of policemen. In prison, The Warden (Eddie Albert/James Cromwell) convinces him to start a football team to face the guards semi-pro team. With help from Caretaker (James Hampton/ Chris Rock) and Nate Scarboro (Michael Conrad/Burt Reynolds) he forms a team of big bad convicts to help him beat the guards.

Burt Reynolds was secretly Iron Man under his shirt.

The warden was shocked.

The original first. I have no problems with the acting. The four main characters are all brilliant. Reynolds is sly and witty but also shows some heart at points when with (and at some points without) Caretaker. Speaking of Caretaker, James 'Jim' Hampton was also great as his part but he wasn't quite outgoing enough... Just my thought. Eddie Albert was, personally, the highlight acting wise. He started warm and friendly but became a domineering, power hungry, reputation focused man. Michael Conrand was also fantastic as Nate Scarboro.

What I do have issues with is the pace. It's a good half an hour from the cop chase to when he pieces the team together and even then it's still slow... It drags. When they start picking up crazed murderers and training it gets good. The final 47 minutes are taken up by the final game between the guards and the convicts and it's a pleasure to watch. I also disliked the editing.... How it was nominated for an Oscar I will never know. It looked like someone had done the scene transitions on Movie Maker.

"Hi Paul Crewe... I'm Paul Crewe.... From the past."

Now I'm not normally a fan of remakes but I make an exception in this case. I like most of Adam Sandler's comedy but it does grate a little I suppose. This was the beggining of his transition into more serious films. He provides very little of the humour and does more serious stuff. Chris Rock is funny and has a much stronger personality than James Hampton and I think that's better in a prison, don't you? Burt Renyolds is also a better Nate I think. He's more amusing and he looks stronger, like an ex football player. The supporting cast are equally as funny as the original though the dumb jokes fall flat more. Nelly is awesome as Megget the running back.

Oh the soundtrak is all R 'n' B, some is good.... Some is too much.

There are scenes in both that I really like that aren't in the other or that are better.

1974-The 'Why did you throw that game' scene, the police chase, the ripped shirt in the game.

2005- The try outs, the game plays, the rehearsing in the mud, the final plays (A lot less cliche!)

All in all these are both good films but the remake is certainly one to watch with your mates with some drinks and snacks whereas the original is a Sunday afternoon sort of film... Know what I mean?


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