Hollywood execs can be so narrow-minded. They’re always taking those crusty classics and ”contemporizing” them (see William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, the Jane Austen-inspired Clueless, and most recently, Ethan Hawke as a downtown slacker in Great Expectations). But why doesn’t Tinseltown ever move time’s arrow the other way? Why don’t some scribes take our current crop of classics and plop them into centuries past? Herewith some humble suggestions:
— THE BARRISTER (a.k.a. The Rainmaker) An idealistic young solicitor (Leonardo DiCaprio) defends a boy with a bad case of consumption. If he loses the case, he’ll go to debtor’s prison. If he wins, he’ll take down a powerful blacksmith syndicate.
— BRIGHT CANDLES, BIG HAMLET (a.k.a. Bright Lights, Big City) You do a lot of snuff. You fritter away your time at the tavern. You do some more of the ”Austrian Sneezing Powder!” You are Matt Damon as the tormented 18th-century narrator.
— PITCHING WOO IN THE BURG (a.k.a. Sex in the City) Kate Winslet stars in this steamy portrait of the mating rituals in Victorian London. Big dowries! Dance cards! Ungloved hands!
— COLONIAL PSYCHO (a.k.a. American Psycho) A successful New Amsterdam barrel merchant (Daniel Day-Lewis) has an ink-dark side. He slays wenches, evades constables, and wears designer breeches.
— INFINITE JESTER (a.k.a. Infinite Jest) This court jester from Louis XIV’s palace (Jim Carrey) does such a good Richelieu impression, it’s lethal. Footnote: Louis XIV was a royal pain in the ass.
— THE HOT BAILIWICK (a.k.a. The Hot Zone) Follow our intrepid 14th-century apothecary (Michael Douglas) as he battles the Black Plague with the latest leeches and cutting-edge potions.