Aside from simply loving movies of all genres and eras, I’ve always felt there was a really good reason to fill out my personal watched list: to catch every single joke on The Simpsons. From the beginning, The Simpsons referenced and parodied tons of film classics, but if you haven’t seen them, those allusions go right over your head. Familiarity with the original is similarly satisfying when viewing remakes. During a summer when it seems that Hollywood has no ideas of its own and every movie is a rehashing of something else, its easy to see remakes in a bad light. But for every affront to a brilliant original (Ahem, Disturbia, a hopeless re-imagining of Alfred Hitchcock’s flawless Rear Window), there are a few pairs of which the original and reinterpretation are surprising and unique.

Woody Allen took frequent inspiration from cerebral European directors like Ingmar Bergman and Federico Fellini and twisted them into his own quirky, self deprecating romps. The epic samurai films of Japanese director Akira Kurosawa were perfect to adapt into the Western genre by pioneers like Sergio Leone and John Sturges. So, as blockbuster season bombards you with lackluster remakes, think about looking back to some tried-and-truly satisfying classics and their masterful homages.

Smiles of A Summer Night, 1955- Ingmar Bergman
A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy, 1982- Woody Allen

8 1/2, 1963- Federico Fellini
Stardust Memories, 1980- Woody Allen

Yojimbo, 1961- Akira Kurosawa
A Fistful of Dollars, 1964- Sergio Leone

The Seven Samurai, 1954- Akira Kurosawa
The Magnificent Seven, 1960- John Sturges


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