Psycho '98 opened to poor reviews, though not as harsh as those of Van Sant's five-years-earlier Tom Robbins adaptation,Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. While that fiasco has been largely forgotten, the Psycho remake's infamy continues to grow. I know from conversations with friends and movie fans on the Internet that the topic brings forth a violent bitterness normally reserved for discussion of Star Wars prequels. As recently as this year,Entertainment Weekly readers named it the No. 1 worst movie remake.But they're wrong. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that Van Sant's Psycho works, but it absolutely is misunderstood. People look at it as a normal commercial movie with normal commercial motives. This is not Michael Bay's production company, Platinum Dunes, buying up Friday the 13th and The AmityvilleHorror as brand names to repackage for today's youth. This is an independent, outsider director, based in Portland, finding unexpected Hollywood success and using that window of opportunity to perform an experiment that 1) nobody else would be likely to do and 2) could only really be done with studio resources.
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