Copycat Movies - Which One Was Better?

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  • The Official List (I've seen both movies and have little doubt they qualify):
  • DANTE'S PEAK and VOLCANO
  • DEEP IMPACT and ARMAGEDDON [I've changed my mind about which of these is better - I used to favor Armageddon - and, as you can read below, I managed to browbeat Jim into changing his originally correct assessment. I apologize, Jim, unreservedly. I'm usually right, but that time I was wrong :-]
  • ENTRAPMENT and THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR
  • A BUG'S LIFE and ANTZ [Thanks to jenhowel]
  • THE TRUMAN SHOW and EDtv [Thanks to UncRoger]
  • TOMBSTONE and WYATT EARP [Thanks to kgreenbe]
  • DR STRANGELOVE and FAIL SAFE [Thanks to Zomno]
  • MISSION TO MARS and RED PLANET [Thanks to Jim]
  • SCARY MOVIE and SHRIEK [a.k.a. SHRIEK IF YOU KNOW WHAT I DID LAST FRIDAY 13th]
  • ROBIN HOOD, PRINCE OF THIEVES and ROBIN HOOD
  • DAYLIGHT and DAYBREAK [a.k.a. RAPID TRANSIT]
  • FULL METAL JACKET and PLATOON [Thanks to BuckGS71]
  • THE OTHERS and THE SIXTH SENSE
  • TWISTER and TORNADO [Thanks to dgeiser13]
  • DARK CITY and THE MATRIX
  • SHALLOW GRAVE and A SIMPLE PLAN [Thanks to Jim]
  • ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE and BICENTENNIAL MAN
  • JAWS and ORCA
  • AUSTIN POWERS and UNDERCOVER BROTHER
  • BEN HUR and GLADIATOR Think about it. The plots are quite similar.
  • DESTINATION MOON and ROCKETSHIP X-M (both 1950)
  • The I Have My Doubts List (I've seen both movies but have significant doubts):
  • MIMIC and THE RELIC [According to Jim]
  • SAVING PRIVATE RYAN and THE THIN RED LINE
  • A KNIGHT'S TALE and MOULIN ROUGE [According to UncRoger]
  • WONDER BOYS and FINDING FORRESTER [Thanks to Jim]
  • THE INNOCENTS and THE OTHERS [According to Rushmore]
  • The Unofficial List (I have not seen one or both):
  • LEVIATHAN and DEEP STAR SIX [Thanks to bufdet and kgreenbe]
  • 1492: CONQUEST OF PARADISE and CHRISTOPHER COLOMBUS: THE DISCOVERY [Thanks to bufdet]
  • END OF DAYS and STIGMATA [Thanks to bufdet]
  • WITHOUT LIMITS and PREFONTAINE [Thanks to kgreenbe and bufdet]
  • STARSHIP TROOPERS and WING COMMANDER [Thanks to kgreenbe]
  • 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU and SHE'S ALL THAT [Thanks to bufdet]
  • BRING IT ON and BUT I'M A CHEERLEADER [Thanks to jenhowel]
  • BASIC INSTINCT and BODY OF EVIDENCE [Thanks to BuckGS71]
  • DANGEROUS LIASONS and VALMONT [Thanks to dgeiser13]
  • DAY ONE and FAT MAN AND LITTLE BOY [Both 1989, both about The Manhattan Project]
Author Comments: 

The first listed of each pair is judged to be the better.

I expect this list to keep growing, seeing that we keep discovering copycat pairs, and copycatism now seems to be rampant in moviemaking.

Suggestions welcome.

I'm not very interested in getting into the question of who copied whom, only the question of which movie of a pair is the better.

What about A BUG'S LIFE and ANTZ?
My vote goes to A Bug's Life, by the way.

Sound of bertie slapping himself on the forehead. No, not swatting a mosquito, but asking himself how he could forget the Great insect ANimation Tussle [GiANT]. He agrees with you, by the way.

Jim, bertie's found a BUG! The new version's put him into third-person mode. [Chuckle..."found a bug"...oh, that bertie is so droll...]

ANTZ!!!

definitely think A Bug's Life was better than Antz

My votes: Dante's Peak, Deep Impact (squeaked by - both were pretty bad), and A Bug's Life. I haven't seen Entrapment (which was lousy by all accounts), and I didn't care for The Thomas Crown Affair.

I'll have to think of what else I can come up with.

No, no, no, Jim! ENTRAPMENT wasn't lousy, just absurdly cast - Sean Connery's getting a bit long in the tooth to play romantic leads. Other than that it was engaging and had an exciting action climax - mind you, the romantic climax was disappointing, but that was only appropriate, I thought.

DANTE'S PEAK had excellent fx - did you see it on the big screen? But DEEP IMPACT? - surely you jest! - ARMAGEDDON is one of the most underrated movies of recent times. Much more entertaining (watched in no-brainer mode) than DI. "Daddy..."...surf's up, daddy...

Okay, I'll have to check out Entrapment. Expect to be thoroughly chastised if it's as bad as everybody-but-you says it is.

Yeah, I did see Dante's Peak on the big screen. IIRC, Volcano generally got better reviews, which baffled me. DP at least had some tension, while V was pretty darn relaxing. And Tommy Lee Jones, who I normally like, mailed that one in (but how could he not; we're not really talking Shakespeare here).

As for the Deep Impact thing, I am not saying I liked it. Just that I'm forced to give it the edge over Armageddon. I was probably in the wrong mood when I saw it, because normally I can suspend my disbelief pretty darn high, but I just couldn't do it for Armageddon. I couldn't get past, "They're going to send these guys into space?!" Once I had to believe it was harder to learn how to use that drill than to become an astronaut, they kinda lost me. Must have been feeling particularly picky. I did like the scene where they were all making their list of demands, though. Okay, Armaggedon was more fun, for sure, but I don't think it was better. Now what the hell does that mean?

Jim, I just know I shouldn't try to brainify a no-brainer pure entertainment movie, but...astronaut-wise, the guys were just passengers; all they had to learn was how to use their spacesuits (do their drilling in spacesuits) which is what we see them training for - we don't see them training to be pilots.

What the hell does it mean? It means that unless you think DI is a has-brainer movie, and so should be judged by different criteria, ARMAGEDDON is the better movie.

Okay, you win. Armageddon was better. I was just being crotchety.

Okay, I hate to admit this, but I may be the only human on the face of this earth that hated Armageddon. I swear, the last two hours of the movie were so annoying! It was like I was sitting there looking at my watch every 10 minutes saying "okay, it's time for something else to go wrong." By the end of the movie, I was hoping that ALL of them would be stuck on that asteroid when they detonated.

Sorry, it was a two hour movie. So I guess that would mean I found the entire movie annoying...which really is not entirely inaccurate. I meant to say I found the last 45 minutes or so to be particularly irritating.

Yeah, lots of stuff went wrong, didn't it. And yet they triumphed. Could that have been the movie's message? Of course, such a message is more effective if the events in the movie are at all credible. (ARMAGEDDON and APOLLO 13 would make an interesting double bill, don't you think? Mind you, I'm not suggesting they're a copycat pair.) And so, given that few of the events in the movie are credible, maybe the real message was, "Folks, if a Big Rock like this ever does come our way, we're screwed." - if a no-brainer, pure entertainment movie can be said to have a message.

Cheer up! My wife and I hated the film so much that we switched it off with 20 minutes remaining.

As far as I am concerned, if you want to make a terrible film that will make a buttload of moolah, hire Jerry Bruckheimer (I probably didn't spell his last name correctly, but he is not worth my time looking it up). I hated Con-Air even more.

(Using his best Bowie imitation): "Oh no, you're not alone!"

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I could have sworn I posted this already, but I don't see it here, so I'll try again (a bug? i hope not) . . .

I agree with your Bruckheimer assessment, although I must admit that I thought The Rock was a ton of fun (much better than Con Air).

How 'bout Relic vs. Mimic? Not very challenging, though . . . Mimic was actually quite good, while Relic was quite boring.

I assume, to qualify for this list, the movie pairs have to have release dates that are in fairly close proximity?

You've brought to light a difficulty with this list: you have to have seen both movies, and one of them might be real excrement. I've seen MIMIC, and I concur with your opinion - quite good: some really spine-tingling moments. Now, in order to assess this pair, I'm going to have to watch RELIC, which you've made sound less than inviting.

And, yes, no more than a year apart I should think. Damn! - now I'm going to have to check release dates.

I think you can safely take my word for it that Relic is a waste of time and money. Just put an "according to Jim" parenthetical note after the list item. :) I checked, and both came out in 1997.

Too bad the rule isn't no more than two years apart. Lake Placid and Anaconda are practically the same movie, except that Lake Placid was mediocre, while Anaconda was worse-than-mediocre.

Watched LAKE PLACID last evening and quite enjoyed it. It helps if you accept it early-on as a comedy with a few gory thrills. Dialogue-wise, I could have done without the obviously designed to shock foul language, e.g., having a former Golden Girl emit some of the worst. But on the whole I'd say it was a little better than mediocre. "We trapped it with our chopper..." Its sense of humour puts it streets ahead of the Big Snake Movie.

Agreed - much better than Anaconda. But I'd have to say that the dialog is the only thing that saved it from being a waste of time. For me, it was thrill-less, which is a fatal flaw in a thriller. But you're right - go in thinking "comedy" and you'll be much happier.

Here's one . . . Godzilla 1 vs. The Lost World 2.

Ah, Jim...'fraid we don't always agree. TLW might have been disappointing as a follow-up to JP, but it was still better than (oh my)GODZILLA. The only memorable scene was when the old guy goes fishing on the jetty and catches the Big Lizard - and that scene was borrowed from JAWS. And, anyway, what's your evidence for saying this is a copycat pair?

Just the "big lizard rampaging through New York" scenes. But those are probably coincidental rather than copycatish. Actually, as far as intent is concerned, Godzilla was probably planned to one-up Jurassic Park (it didn't , of course), to that might make more sense as a comparision. But The Lost World is closer chronologically, I think.

And it's okay that we don't always agree - how boring otherwise. :)

Sure, Godzilla only had a couple memorable scenes, but The Lost World didn't have any. Okay, there was that RV hanging off the cliff scene in TLW, but any thrill that contained was ruined by how loooong it dragged on.

Besides, Godzilla had Jean Reno and Hank Azaria, while TLW had . . . Uhhh . . . Criminy, I can't remember a single human being! Sure, Broderick was miscast in Godzilla, but at least I remember he was in it! And I kinda liked having the anti-Stallone cast in such a role.

Finally, of every character in both movies, CGI or human, the only one I came close to having any empathy for was The Big G herself.

Dang! Who was in TLW!? Sure, I could check the IMDb, but I'm finding it remarkable how forgettable everyone was!

Oh! Right! Jeff Goldblum! Jean Reno wins that match-up, hands down.

I think my preference for JP and TLW over GODZILLA was confirmed by the fact that they are sf while it is sci-fi ... if you take my meaning.

Yeah. The dinosaur movies at least attemped scientific plausibility (if that's your meaning).

Jim, I recently watched TLW for the second time, and I have to say it's well worth a second chance. There's lots of subtle humor and in-jokes, and a strong performance from Pete Postlethwaite [some name, huh?] as the would-be big game hunter. And the fx are even more impressive than JP's, considering the variety of terrains involved.

Rachel says she liked Thomas Crown better than Entrapment, and I think I have to agree, for sheer intenseness and all. However, as much as I like Rene Russo, and even Pierce Brosnan, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sean Connery are both incredibly sexy. (No, Sean Connery is not to old to be hot.)

I think Bug's Life was better than Antz, but both didn't quite live up to standards set by Toy Story.

It was the intenseness of the Brosnan/Russo capering that put me off it. Instead of making me think "Wow! sophisticated lust!" it just made me laugh. The Connery/Zeta-Jones romance didn't make me laugh, just think "This casting is a mistake." What saved it from being disastrous was that it's intensity wasn't emphasized. ENTRAPMENT told a more intriguing story, too.

I'm going to have to agree with bertie here. We just saw Entrapment, and we both preferred it to The Thomas Crowne Affair. Brosnan and Russo were just too smug to be enjoyable, and their romance really didn't work for either of us. And I think this is where TTCA failed: it focused on their rather uninteresting romance rather that focusing on thievery. Entrapment, on the other hand, focused on the stealing rather than the romanace, which was a better choice, especially with all the "Connery is too old" complaints (agreed, but is there really that big a difference between him and Catherine Zeta-Jones's real-life fiance, Michael Douglas (yes, actually, there is--I just checked--14 years difference, to be precise (still, Connery may be 70, but he played a 60-year-old, which made his character only four years older than Michael Douglas (so I only sort-of agree (and the role did call for a worldly experienced thief, not some young hothead))))).

How about EDtv (March 1999) and the Truman Show (June 1998)? So far, I think the Truman Show is better, but as of now, EDtv isn't as stupid as it looked in the ads. 8^)

Haven't seen EDtv yet, but I know where I can get it. I'll get back to you, 'cos I need to have seen both movies of a pair before I put them on the list. [And, yes, I have seen THE RELIC since the above discussion with Jim, but don't tell on me.]

Btw, the video store I frequent doesn't have that musical 1776 - I'll have to go farther afield, but will keep looking.

Well, EDtv wasn't too bad, but I thought the Truman Show was a much better movie. Rachel, on the other hand, liked EDtv better -- The Truman Show was too sad, she said.

UncRoger, I just watched EDtv and it was a really tough call to say whether it was better than THE TRUMAN SHOW. I've placed EDtv first, but, unlike the other pairs on the list, this placing does not imply any very definite difference in preference - both movies have their own virtues. For example, TTS is philosophically deeper and more original (whereas EDtv plays for laughs and tells what is basically a familiar romantic story), and EDtv is more realistic (whereas TTS is more than a little science-fictional). I'm into philosophy and science fiction, so you'd think I'd prefer TTS - well, as I said, it was a very tough call. I liked both about equally well - so you can consider them as continuously switching places on the list.

If this were a "which was more enjoyable" list, I'd agree that it would be hard to pick between EdTV and The Truman Show. But since this is a "which was better" list (in all it's loaded termfulness), I really think The Truman Show has to get the nod. I thought it was close to perfect, in fact. Funny, sad, and surprising. And I didn't know how it was going to end until it was over. Of course, it ain't my list.

I would wholeheartedly agree that "The Truman Show" is a highly superior film to "EdTV," which really is a shameless ripoff. TTS is a very well-written film, very underrated, and a perfect forum for Jim Carrey to demonstrate his acting talents. While he did an exceptional acting job as Andy Kaufmann (his impersonation is uncanny), he really excels in films such as this one and "Liar Liar." It takes true talent to play someone who is human, with occasional bouts of silliness. Not to say that he isn't good at just being silly, which he is, but I think he can be truly taken seriously with ambitious and sensitive works such as TTS. It is a marvelous film and worthy of all accolades it receives. How refreshing to create something so unique, beautiful, and so void of cliches.

Yes, THE TRUMAN SHOW vs EDtv raises the old question: should movies be purely for entertainment or is there also a place for serious movies that get into important issues. And I suppose a version of the question can be asked about comedian-actors: should they stick to being funny or can they occasionally get serious.
For myself, there is naturally a place for serious, even philosophical, movies. But I have to admit, when it comes to good comedians, I hate it when they get serious - and I abhor it when they get sentimental. Please God JC won't get sentimental.

I too liked them both, but I agree with Jim that The Truman Show is a better movie. Still, I can definitely see your point -- on the one hand, I'm a little too old to get off on some of the low-brow gags in EDtv, but on the other, The Truman Show very nearly made it onto my list of movies I'll never see. Nevertheless, I definitely enjoyed them both.

Well, I guess I'd better go with the flow - as they used to say - which I can do without wussing out to badly, since, as I said, whichever comes first makes no never mind to me.

Saw it despite my dire warnings, huh? Figured if I didn't love The Ghost in the Darkness then my estimation of The Relic couldn't be worth much? So what did you think? Are you going to remove the "according to Jim" line?

EdTV was better than reviews suggested, but I thought The Truman Show was truly wonderful (and it gets my vote).

To be both Frank and Ernest, Jim, I don't see how you thought the two were a copycat pair - they don't have all that much in common. However, TR does fit another of my lists, and I have entered it there. You knw which list, don't you?

Both science fiction, a lot of the action takes place in dim lighting, they came out almost on top of each other (if I recall correctly - at the very least they both came out in 1997), both involve people getting preyed on by supernatural creatures, sometimes in an underground (basement/subway) setting, and both feature urban settings. Sure, the plots were different (in that Mimic had one), but the general similarities combined with the close proximity of their release dates led me to label them "copycats."

Since you didn't answer the first time, I grow suspicious . . . How'd you like The Relic?

Well, you know I have a soft spot for That Plot, so I probably liked it a little better than you. You have to give the writers credit for finding a novel way of isolating their characters with their monster.
The fiery demise of the monster stays with me. Not bad fx there.

You make a good argument for a case of copycatism, but somehow I'm still not convinced. I'll leave them on the list, but I'll also leave the 'according to Jim'.

Jim, something you said in your argument just registered with me: 'supernatural creatures'. You are mistaken in the case of MIMIC (don't you remeber that it's a 'science gone haywire' story?), but the monster in TR is in sort of a grey area: though there is an attempt at a scientific rationale, as I recall: genetic analysis and such. If it is supernatural, I'll have to remove it from that other list. But MIMIC's monster is emphatically not supernatural.

Ah yes. I should have said "extra-natural" or something. What I meant was, "creatures you wouldn't find in real life (for now :)."

. . . and yeah, I do know which list. :)

Would Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Urban Legend, and all the other teen horrors fit into this list. Of course, we all know that Scream was the best of all these, but I would have a tough time choosing between IKWYDLS and UL. Neither had any redeeming qualities.

Hmm...[pretends to be deep in thought]...no pair of this sort spring to my mind as an obvious copycat pair...though I'll be very surprised if you're not hot on the trail here. Haven't seen UL, and before I rented it (to verify its copycattery for myself) I'd need a more definite claim from you that they (IKWYDLS and UL) are a copycat pair. Are you making such a claim?

In any case, thanks for the idea. Maybe someone else can think of a 'teen horror' copycat pair. Little help, guys?

I can't say the two were the same storyline, but they definitely jumped on the teen horror success of Scream. I don't think you should waste your time with UL. It stunk.

What about Tombstone and Wyatt Earp. I must admit that I've never sat through a whole screening of WE, but I loved Tombstone, especially Val Kilmer.

I've just been sitting here shaking my head and wondering why I, or jim, or sk, didn't think of this pair already. Excellent contribution!

Uh huh, Kilmer's 'Doc' Holliday is probably the best thing he's ever done. I have sat through WE, and when it comes to the showdown Russell/Kilmer beat Costner/Quaid hands down.

In 1989, there were 3 underwater thriller movies that went from worst to best in order of release date: Deep Star Six (horrible), Leviathan (poor), The Abyss (great). Also, in 1992, there were 2 Columbus movies: "1492: Conquest of Paradise" and "Christopher Columbus: The Discovery." I did not see either, but 1492 seemed better. Last year sort of had a copycat theme with the Millenium being the end-of-the-world; both Stigmata and End of Days were bad though. This year looks like the year of the She's All That/American Pie rehashes, and they all look awful.

You stole my thunder! I was going to mention the underwater horrors and CC movies today. I'm not sure The Abyss was actually in the same mold as the other two (I believe it was more about alien contact than a horror flick), but L and DSS definitely have that copycat flavor.

Here's another one I found. I haven't seen either, so I can't really comment. They were both based on the life of 1970s runner Steve Prefontaine. One was called, oddly enough, Prefontaine and the other was Without Limits. I was a little perplexed as to why so many movies were popping up about this guy so I've asked people who were old enough to remember the 1972 olympics what his deal was. No one really seems to remember him. If anyone can tell me why this guy suddenly spawned so much interest, I'd love to hear it.

Without Limits was a very good movie with Donald Sutherland, Billy Crudup, and Monica Potter It not only tells you about Prefontaine, but shows you the inception of a famous athletic shoe company. I have not seen Prefontaine.

Wow! Thanks for the wealth of new ideas. Of this lot, I've seen only THE ABYSS and 1492.

There's nothing like a drop or two of new blood to liven things up. You and kgreenbe have inspired me to allow a new sort of entry to the list, namely the 'unofficial' entry. Such entries will become official provided I get around to seeing the movies and agree that they fit.

While I have your attention, would you guys, both you and kgreenbe, care to help me choose the ten best entries in this list? I'd be much obliged. You are both very welcome to contribute challenges to that list too.

I'm not sure Entrapment and The Thomas Crown Affair fit, even though they are very similar, because The Thomas Crown Affair is a remake.

TCA was actually originally made in 1968 with Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. They changed the plot a lot for the new version. In the original, Thomas Crown robbed banks instead of art. There is a major difference in the ending of the two movies also, but I won't spoil it for those that might want to see either or both. I think it's an interesting commentary on what people want to see now versus in the late 60s.

Thanks, but I was well aware that TTCA was a remake. I don't think that disqualifies, because copycattery was still possible, remake or not.

Yes, come to think of it, it would make an interesting project (if one had the time): doing a comparison study of the original and the remake, and theorizing on the social implications of the plot changes. I'd love to read it. Why don't you do it? ;-)

Here's another possibility -- Starship Troopers and Wing Commander. They were both along that "only good looking young people will be allowed to fight in space wars in the future" line.

Forgot to log in for that last one.

Listen, guys, I've got to get to work (= my job) now. Haven't made the additions to the list yet but will this evening. See ya later.

I think Starship Troopers and Wing Commander as copycats are a horrible match. I've seen them both and I don't see the comparison.

Another possible entry for 1999 is She's All That vs. 10 Things I Hate About You. Both movies were about high school, people from different social classes dating, and money being exchanged with the boy attempting to take the un-hip girl to the prom. Personally, I liked 10 Things and its Taming of the Shrew storyline. I disliked She's All That especially the supporting characters, the choreographed prom dance, and the hacky sack soliloquey. Awful!

How about "Entrapment" and "Mission Impossible?"

I already have a copycat for ENTRAPMENT (THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR) which I think fits better than MI, but I'm open to persuasion if you'd care to give me reasons why I should make the three movies a copycat triple.

I'm not certain about SPR and TTRL - that they are a genuine copycat pair, or that SPR is the better of the two. What do you guys think?

Well, here's my picks...

Dante's Peak over Volcano. Armageddon and Deep Impact tied. They both sucked. Thomas Crown Affair over Entrapment. A Bug's Life over Antz
Mimic over The Relic. The Truman Show over EDtv
Tombstone over Wyatt Earp. Leviathan over Deep Star Six. Stigmata over End of Days. Starship Troopers over Wing Commander. She's All That over 10 Things. Saving Private Ryan over The Thin Red Line.

Thanks for your opinions - especially since they mostly agree with mine. I assume you read the discussion above on ENTRAPMENT versus THOMAS CROWN - care to give your reasons for preferring TC?

I have to reiterate my strong preference for ARMAGEDDON over DEEP IMPACT. I find ARMAGEDDON quite entertaining (I own a copy and have watched it several times) - despite it's being over-the-top and incredible. DE (seen twice)is dull by comparison.

Volcano (close)
Deep Impact (Armageddon bores after 15 minutes and continues for hours)
The Thomas Crown Affair (close; both flawed)
A Bug's Life (great film)
Mimic (under-rated, though not great)
EDtv (better script; Truman - good idea over-blown)
Wyatt Earp (close; both nothing to cheer)
Leviathan and Deep Star Six (both too close to terrible to call)
1492 (1492 beautiful and boring while Christopher simply mind-numbingly boring and truly awful)
Stigmata (close; both bad)
Without Limits (easily)
Starship Troopers (easily)
10 Things (close; neither very good)
Saving (great, though Thin Red Line also good)

And thanks for your opinions, even though many of them conflict with mine. I could forgive you your lapses of taste :) if you could suggest a new copycat pair for the list.

Dr. Strangelove and Fail-Safe is another example of such a pair.

Oh YES! You're right. Thanks and kisses. [Note to self: why didn't you think of these, you dolt?!] And FAIL SAFE is an excellent movie, but what could possibly outclass DR S.? Harldly anything.

While I haven't seen Red Planet, I'm sure it and Mission to Mars belong here. Which was better might be a tough call. M2M was not good (not even close) and the reviews for RP are pretty damning.

I've seen both, and if I must choose I'd say Red Planet is the better of the two. M2M was just about the only movie I really wanted to walk out on (and I saw it for free!). The flag planting scene and the alien with one single tear were just way too much and completely spoiled what started out being an interesting movie. The structure of RP is similar, and there are some really hokey elements, but at no point did I want to vomit, like in M2M. And the science involved in RP at least had some semblance of credibility.

But that's just my humble opinion. Anyone else who's seen both, please let me know what you thought.

Hi buddy ~ I've finally seen them both, and while I really didn't like Mission to Mars , I thought Red Planet made it look like Alien or Empire Strikes Back. I think I probably feel the same way about RP as you feel about M2M. :-)

On the bright side, it sounds like we agree that both were pretty bad. It would be interesting to turn this list into a poll, and figure out what the best/worst "pair" of movies is. I know where my vote would go.

Hey Jim! I read your review, and your points are unarguable. As a matter of fact, since I can't really remember M2M anymore, your review is swaying me in your direction. I would agree completely except that I still remember too clearly the urge to vomit in M2M. Acually, what I think did me in is that I expected more from that film. I went into RP with lower expectations, and thus was not as disappointed.

Thanks for revisiting this issue. I too would be interested to see which are the favorites on this list.

I'm betting "best pair" comes down to Truman Show/EdTV, Saving Private Ryan/Thin Red Line, and Dr. Strangelove/Fail Safe. Unfortunately I haven't seen Saving Private Ryan, The Thin Red Line, or Fail Safe, so I'm not qualified to judge.

So Jim, why isn't there a Turn This List Into A Poll button up there next to the Clone button? Tsk, tsk! Sloppy programming. :-)

:-) So I could have two buttons: "Clone" and "Mutate". And I could introduce all kinds of genetic errors when somebody makes a clone of a clone, or mutates a clone of a mutation.

Jim, I didn't mind M2M. It was fairly realistic (well, realistic compared with most sf movies) and that's a big plus in my book. Haven't seen RP yet, but looking forward. Was RP based on the book by Robert Heinlein (author of STARSHIP TROOPERS)? To answer my own question: apparently not, I just checked with IMDb. Gaaaa!!! Val Kilmer's in it. Oh well. Maybe he'll say "I'll be your huckleberry."

Hey, I just noticed Red Planet is listed first with my name after it from my "haven't seen it but can't imagine it was worse than Mission to Mars" comment. It was. Could you switch 'em around? (or see for yourself how awful it was (you're going to disagree with me, aren't you :-))

Though their plots are rather dissimilar, there's an alarming spate of cheerleader themed movies (But I'm a Cheerleader, Bring it On, Sugar and Spice) working their way onto the big screen/video in the last year. I've seen the first two, and would narrowly give my preference to Bring it On.

Also, though they are separated by some time, there's Beautiful on the way which promises to once again Drop Dead Gorgeous shed light on the pageant industry. Don't get me wrong, I loved Drop Dead Gorgeous, but more?

Jen, cheerleader movies aren't a big priority with me, not since DEBBIE DOES DALLAS. Nor beauty pageant movies, but I may catch DROP DEAD GORGEOUS one of these days, since Miss Dazzling Smile, a.ka. Denise Richards, is in it.

I am wondering if one could add Raiders of the Lost Ark and King Solomon's Mines to this list? If Indiana Jones isn't the side clone of Alan Quartermain, then the Flinstones aren't a takeoff on the Honeymooner's (but that would have to be a different list.) Not that Raiders isn't a superior film--it is.

M'Lord, what I had in mind for this list was pairs of movies that have very similar themes and were released within a year of each other. The earliest version of KSM came out decades before ROTLA. So, while I agree that there is probably a strong influence here, the time gap is much too wide.

Attention: kgreenbe. What do you think of SCARY MOVIE and SHRIEK! as a copycat pair? I ask because of your comments here about teen slasher movies. Interesting that it's the send-ups of such movies that have provided the copycat pair.

The British ROBIN HOOD, released the same year as Kevin Costner's RH:POT, is not a bad movie. Its production design is probably more authentic, and it features an...interesting...performance by Uma Thurman as Maid Marian, but its action scenes are rather clumsily done.

If you thought Sly Stallone's DAYLIGHT was bad, be sure to miss the cheap rip-off DAYBREAK, made a few years later but very decidedly a case of blatant copycatism.

Hey Bertie, how about these two films:
FULL METAL JACKET vs. PLATOON

I remember back in '86-'87 this rash of Vietnam-era films (you can also include the under-appreciated HAMBURGER HILL to this list as well). I'm not suggesting FMJ is better than PLATOON or vice-versa, but they're both terrific anti-war films that show the absurdity of that war from the soldier's point of view.

I'll buy it. Thanks.

I'm a big Kubrick fan, so FMJ gets pride of place.

FMJ is dated the year after PLATOON, but Kubrick was a notoriously slow film-maker, so it's likely he started his project well before Stone started his (I haven't researched this, so I may be talking baloney here).

According to the new documentary on the life and works of Stanley Kubrick, he did start production work on FMJ sometime in 1980. I recall reading an interview with Oliver Stone around the time Platoon came out where he mentioned he came up with the idea sometime in the mid-70's. You ought to check out the Kubrick documentary, which is excellent and extremely insightful, which I believe is included in the new Kubrick DVD collection (assuming you have a DVD player).

Just thought of a new one, after recalling a conversation I had recently with my wife about one of these films:

BASIC INSTINCT and BODY OF EVIDENCE

Same premise: two very beautiful, creative, highly over-sexed women who may or may not be murderers (Sharon Stone: death by icepick; Madonna, death by sexually-induced heart attack), and the on-the-edge law enforcement agent (Michael Douglas, detective; Willem Dafoe, lawyer) who suspects them but can't resist their attraction.

What do you think?

Sounds plausible to me, but I can't recall having seen BODY OF EVIDENCE (neither Madonna nor Dafoe appeal to me much), so I'll have to make this an 'unofficial' listing.

Thanks for your contributions.

Uh-oh, thought of another one there, Bertie old friend: How about...

PLAY MISTY FOR ME (1972) and FATAL ATTRACTION (1987)

Premise: Two men find themselves in what they think will be nothing more than just a one-night stand, but quickly learn that the women they just had a little tryst with harbor some real deep emotion problems and can't come to terms with being rejected. They're both very good films, but I'll have to go with "Misty" as the better of the two.

Bucky, old pal, you've resurrected a problem I've discussed here before with Jim (see early postings above). It's the question of how far apart in time two movies can be and be counted as a copycat pair. I say above that they should have release dates no more than a year apart. Now I admit that I've relaxed that rule a little for some of the entries, but a distance of 15 years is too much of a stretch. I really appreciate your efforts in coming up with new candidates for this list, and I hope you'll continue to do so, but I have to rule this pair out.

Point well taken, Bertie, and thank you kindly for your encouragement. When my fertile little mind does come up with another copycat film (although I think we've got all the bases covered here), I shall be sure to post them here.

How about Moulin Rouge and A Knight's Tale? Different stories, but both used anachronistic music in telling the story. I think for that Moulin Rouge did a little better, but A Knight's Tale was definitely the better movie.

UncRoger! I'm simultaneously overjoyed to see you put in an appearance, and crushed that said appearance features you proclaiming A Knight's Tale superior to Moulin Rouge!.

I had to pick my jaw up off the keyboard so I could type this message. :-)

I was just thinking this morning that who I am today is completely different than who I was two years ago. (If you're curious, it was the end of the world and a new beginning, mostly, that kept me away.)

Anyway, I only made it halfway through Moulin Rouge, mostly because the story was fairly predictable and looked to be rather depressing. I'm sure I'll finish it eventually. (We got it as a gift.) I thought the opening was actually pretty cool, all surrealistic and all -- I like that -- but it got kind of tiring after a while. A Knight's Tale, however, was the simple, upbeat, good-guy-gets-the-girl kind of movie that I like. (Remember?)

As far as the use of modern music and mannerisms, I definitely felt that Moulin Rouge did the better job; I would have like to have seen more in A Knight's Tale.

Sincere condolences. I know how it feels to lose your Dad (19 September 2000, myocardial infarction, aged 81).

Sincere congratulations also. Can't say I know how that feels.

Ah yes, I do remember now. :-) Somehow I didn't think Moulin Rouge! would fall into the same category, but I can see where it's possible.

I'm so sorry to hear your Dad died. You have my deepest sympathies. But I'm so happy for you for the birth of your son! Congratulations to you and your wife! I do hope we see more of you, but I can't think of a better reason for staying away than parenthood.

Let's compare these movies: both use anachronistic music, both play fast and loose with historical accuracy. Let's contrast these movies. One is a musical, the other is not; one aspires to be a work of art, the other does not; one is worth the while of mature movie-goers, the other is not. That's my opinion, and, yes, I have seen both movies - I just didn't want to admit to having seen AKT, which is why you won't find it on my Recently Seen Movies lists.

Use of anachronistic music is not sufficient similarity to qualify for this list.

Sorry to give your suggestion such a cold-seeming response, but would you respect me if I wasn't honest about it?

I submit Finding Forrester and Good Will Hunting for this list (I can't remember how close in release date the movies have to be to qualify). I vote for FF as the better of the two.

Jim, sorry for ignoring you yesterday, but after the roller-coaster ride of reading and responding to UncRoger's posts I was wrung out and just didn't feel like tackling another difficult one.

FF and GWH are similar in more ways than one. You seem pretty confident about them as candidates for this list, and I'm not flatly rejecting them, but I need more convincing.

Whilst pondering these two (both of which I've seen), it occurred to me that FF also has some similarities to WONDER BOYS. Seen that one?

Wonder Boys! Interesting that that one never even crossed my mind. But now that you mention it, it's ("that that", "it it's" - the number of times that that has happened so far in this post is remarkable. Now that I've said it, it probably won't happen again. Again, it's unlikely) very similar to Finding Forrester. Perhaps more similar than Good Will Hunting. GWH was more about Will's growth and not so much his teachers, while both FF and WB had more balance in the student/teacher relationship. I liked GWH, but I preferred both WB and FF (*possibly* giving WB a slight edge over FF). I'm convinced - I like WB and FF as a copycat pair better than GWH/FF.

Twister (1996) and Tornado (1996) are almost assuredly Copycat Films but the latter appears to have been a Made For TV movie so I don't know if that counts.

Sure, I'll include made-for-tv movies. And from what I read of IMDb's plot summary of TORNADO, there can be little doubt that someone has copycatted.

Are you going to add Tornado and Twister? Pretty, please?

So what makes a match Unofficial?

If I haven't seen one or both of the pair, the listing is unofficial.

Hi bertie . . . I like the new breakdown on this list, and I generally agree with your rankings. In fact, in your official list, the only pairs I'd flip-flop are Armageddon/Deep Impact, The Others/The Sixth Sense, and Dark City/The Matrix, although they're all somewhat close.

I just saw Shallow Grave and I couldn't help but think of A Simple Plan. What do you think of those two as a copycat pair?

Yes, I've seen these and I think they'll do. There is a four year gap between them, but that isn't too wide (my rule of same or successive year was always going to be too constricting). I would give the British film pride of place, but they're your pair and I'll bow to your opiion if it differs from mine.

I'm with you. I liked 'em both but I preferred Shallow Grave.

1. DP over V : Dante's Peak, reasoning, the lava is more menacing in the prior, that would be the only difference between these big hunks of craptaculacity <---wee hee a new word (the only time in your life when you'll root for the ash. Give me an A. Give me a ... Now go fry Pierce Brosnan's skinny bad kissin' ass.).
2. A vs. DI: You've gotta be joking. One is actually a movie. The other is a very long, expensive, and outrageously annoying commericial. We want more Russian astronaut guy (the only good part).
3. E vs TTCA: Catherine Zeta Jones has an incredible ass but those...er...and other assets are far outweighed by an actual screenplay and a good perf by Rene Russo as well as (wow) Pierce Brosnan.
4. AB'sL vs. Az: The first one.
5. TTS vs. EDtv: Wonderful, sweet film-making with a moral point of view. vs. Dumb ass beer guzzler who gets the girl. Sad sad sad.
6. TS vs. WE: Tombstone fun. Wyatt Earp real boring.
7. Dr. SL vs. FS: Do I even have to answer.
8. MTM vs. RP: Red Planet because I'm a Val Kilmer fanboy.
9. SM vs. S: Scary Movie for no apparent reason.
10. DL vs. DB: No idea.
11: FMJ vs. P: Platoon...better ending.
12. TO vs. TSS: Sixth Sense has more heart.
13. Tw vs. To: Twister for the cow, baby.
14. DC vs. TM: The Matrix had a better ending.
15. SG vs. ASP: Shallow Grave was grimmer and funnier.
16. AI vs. BM: Artificial Intelligence cus it's sweet sour. Bicentenial Man is a painful happiness colonic. It's a feel good anal douche.
17. J vs. O: Hahahahahahahahahahaha. good one.
18. AP vs. UB: Austin for the 60's in jokes. Yet Undercover Brother has the pickled bull testicles. hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

19. Huh.
20. Thin Red Line cus I'm a Malek-tite.
21. Huh.
22. Wonder Boys for every reason you could possibly like a film better than another.

23. Leviathan cus it wasn't about an evil, gigantic, underwater, prehistoric crab. Woops I spoiled the ending...oh yeah and they escape too. er, woops again.
24. I don't care.
25. O Lord! my eye...Oh Lord! the other.
26. Haven't seen, woohoo.
27. I could answer but I shouldn't have to.
28. 10 Things, cus of Heath Ledger.
29. Bring It On, funnier.
30. Basic Instinct cus the sex is better. There I said it.
31. Dangerous Liasons because Valmont stinks.

Thanks for this comprehensive comment - though I fancy I can tell your enthusiasm was beginning to falter just the teeniest bit by the end.

I sometimes neglect my email inbox which is why this reply is late.

It's hard to think of witty comments on a consistant basis. My brain isn't the wild thing it was at the age of 18.

T'ho

:?)

The Innocents & The Others

They are sooo much alike, others stole everything!! hehe

Okay, they're on the list, but in all honesty I had to put them in the 'I Have My Doubts' section.

I'm not sure about "stealing" everything... they're both based on the Henry James novella "The Turn of the Screw". So yeah, there'd be some plot similarities, seeing as how they come from the same source material.

Badlands & True Romance

Haven't seen True Romance, just looked it up at IMDb, and ZOWIE! what a cast! On my 'to see' list.

what about terminator and robocop?

Thanks for the suggestion, but to be honest I don't think they are similar enough to be called copycat movies. They are both about cyborgs, but that's about it.

i don't know... i could say the same for about 60% of the copycats up there... antz and a bugs life, deep impact and armegeddon, full metal jacket and plattoon, so on and so on... i think it's just as much as any of these.

Unnecessary apology accepted! So did you like Deep Impact more upon a revisit, or Armageddon less?

I posted that apology the best part of a year ago. The point of my work on this list yesterday was to add ROCKETSHIP X-M and DESTINATION MOON. Perhaps you were misled by my failure to remove highlighting from several of the entries. Now fixed, I think.

But about DI and A. The latter is very entertaining in a mostly laughable way, but the former is the more serious and respectable movie, both scientifically and psychologically.

Yeah, I thought I'd seen that before, but as I couldn't find where I'd asked you about the change of heart, I figured the worst I'd be doing would be repeating myself.

How is it that these lists, like the filmjunk article, keep forgetting the two Lamada movies from 1990 that were released on the same day, Lambada and The Forbidden Dance?!