Open Letter to Steven Spielberg and Will Smith by Chris Nash


RE: this.

Dear Mr. Smith and Mr. Spielberg,

We all love Oldboy. Oldboy is a great film. In an age of fantastic and unique Asian films that are, for lack of a better term, culturally untranslatable for the masses (I couldn’t see an American version of Battle Heater working out), Oldboy stands out as a body of work which has crossed continents and clearly impressed everyone who has seen it. I mean, it’s a Korean film about imprisonment and incestuous revenge with an amazing hammer fight and it’s #116 on the IMDB top 250. That’s tough to pull off.

And all of that tells us one thing: it’s a great film. As redundant as this may sound, it’s the most perfect telling of Oldboy that could possibly be filmed. And it’s cool. It’s a fucking cool movie.
Don’t get me wrong, I think both of you are cool. Mr. Spielberg, you have made incredibly cool movies in the past and are nothing short of awe-inspiring in what you can achieve. Mr. Smith, you gave my generation their own Cosby Show. And Men In Black. But the fact is, you’re not the same kind of cool as Oldboy.

Jimmy Stewart was cool. Humphrey Bogart was cool. But they weren’t cool the same way Richard Widmark was cool. Richard Widmark was FUCKING COOL. And the difference between the two is something both of you need to realize: when it comes to cool, Stewart and Bogart (you two) took a side, whereas Widmark (Oldboy) floated in the middle.

I could easily see Chan-wook Park (Oldboy’s director) making a “Will Smith-like” or “Spielbergesque” movie, because it’s obvious to me that he can easily hop from genre to genre without making an indelible footprint. But you two have cast your footprints. You thrive in your footprints. And we don’t mind – we want to see you do your thing. But Oldboy isn’t your thing. You’ve been standing in the same spot too long. Mud has dried on your boots. And all you’re going to do by leaving your footprints is track dirt all over the house. In all seriousness, Widmark wasn’t afraid to push an old woman down the stairs and laugh at it. When’s the last time either of you considered it?

And before you two start telling yourselves, “don’t worry, even if our version of Oldboy doesn’t work out, it isn’t going to ruin the original,” let me tell you right now: you’re wrong. And Mr. Spielberg, you have proven my very point this summer in one fell swoop titled Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Whether you’d like to admit it or not, you’ve ruined your entire franchise with that film. I can’t watch any of them the same way knowing that one day Indiana is going on an alien adventure. That film has actually made its predecessors worse by proximity. And to commit that same crime with Oldboy would be an unforgivable defamation of art on par with drawing lipstick marks on the cock of Michelangelo’s David.

Don’t remake Oldboy. Nobody’s going to think you’re cool. Stop drawing on David’s dick. He’s trying to kill a giant.


Posted on November 21, 2008 by | Old Stuff | 7 Comments »| Tags: , , , ,

7 Responses »


  2. I agree with this a hundredfold. Goddamn what a cool movie.

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