Bringing the Ypsilanti community through the fine art of sweding

Inspired by Michael Gondry’s film Be Kind Rewind, I mentioned to a few friends and neighbors recently that I’d like to explore the possibility of rallying our community to the task of sweding a film. (To “swede” a film, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, means to recreate a famous movie with amateur actors, using limited resources and technology.) The people that I was with seemed to like the idea quite a bit, and we sat around for the following hour or so, debating which film we should seek to recreate. As I recall, there were quite a few good ideas. Someone, I seem to remember, was adamant that we should pick a film that has musical numbers. (If I’m not mistaken, he suggested either Xanadu or Saturday Night Fever.) Someone else was advocating for horror. I lobbied on behalf of Mel Brooks’ satirical Western comedy Blazing Saddles, which I thought would not only be fun to do, but would also give us an excuse to build a fake town on the desolate plot of Ypsilanti real estate known as Water Street. (As you’ll recall, the good guys in Blazing Saddles build a fake town on a barren piece of land, in hopes of diverting the henchmen of the sinister Hedley Lamarr.) The horses might present a bit of a problem, as would the decidedly non-PC tone, and the fact that the fourth wall completely dissolves in the final reel, during which the actors from the fictional old West are propelled onto the set of an extravagant musical being shot on a Warner Bros soundstage, but I think it would be an interesting project to undertake together, as a community. (Who knows, we might even come to like one another in the process.)

And I’m sure there are better ideas than Blazing Saddles. I just threw it out because I thought that the rapid comedic pacing would make it fun, and I know that it would have a built-in audience. If you can think of something that would be better, though, please leave a comment… Films that would would make use of local landmarks, and the regional resources we have to work with, would be especially welcome. (How about shooting a remake of Deliverance, Apocalypse Now or The River Wild on the mighty Huron, for instance?)

Here, if you’re unfamiliar with the beauty that is sweding, is Star Wars Uncut, a complete scene-for-scene remake of the classic sci-fi film Star Wars.

[note: If we do Deliverance, I’d rather have the Jon Voight part than the Ned Beatty part.]

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  1. Kristin
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 2:39 am | Permalink

    I’m in.

  2. MarkH
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    I’d recommend something where the people involved get to smoke a lot of weed.

    Maybe something like “Up In Smoke” or “27 Dresses”.

  3. x
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Taxi Driver.

    Thank God for the rain which has helped wash away the garbage and trash off the sidewalks. I’m workin’ long hours now, six in the afternoon to six in the morning. Sometimes even eight in the morning, six days a week. Sometimes seven days a week. It’s a long hustle but it keeps me real busy. I can take in three, three fifty a week. Sometimes even more when I do it off the meter. All the animals come out at night – whores, skunk pussies, buggers, queens, fairies, dopers, junkies, sick, venal. Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets. I go all over.

  4. Lynne
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    That sounds fun

  5. Edward
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    It might be fun to swede a documentary that focuses on a specific town, like Errol Morris’s film “Vernon, Florida”.,_Florida_%28film%29

  6. Posted August 23, 2012 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    We just saw that movie about a month ago, and found the website for the festival:

    I was trying to talk Boyfriend Ken into sweding the Exorcist, but then I saw that it had already been done. Nevertheless, I’m really good at flopping around and yelling stuff :)

  7. anonymous
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Blazing Saddles would be great, but, as you mention, this scene would be nearly impossible to pull off in a way that even remotely approached the original. I would, however, like to see Thom Elliott in the role of Dom DeLuise.

  8. Tommy
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Love Blazing Saddles but most scenes would be considered too racist to ‘play’ in these times. Funny how this could work in 1974, but could never get filmed in 2012.

    Loved this dialogue:

    Bart: Are we awake?
    Jim: We’re not sure. Are we…black?
    Bart: Yes we are.
    Jim: Then we’re awake. But we’re very puzzled.


    Bart: What’s your name?
    Jim: My name’s Jim, but most people call me…[long pause] Jim.


    Bart: Well Jim, since you are my guest and I am your host, what are your pleasures. What do you like to do?
    Jim: Oh, I don’t know. Play chess…[long pause] Screw.
    Bart: Well let’s play chess.


  9. dirtgrain
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    “Little bastard shot me in the ass.” I think of that now and then when I’m teaching.

  10. Posted August 23, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Let me know and I’ll work to get some good horses for it! Where de white women at?!

  11. Eel
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    What about scene for scene remake of an episode of the Jersey Shore?

  12. Knox
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Is Bash Boulder still around? If so, he’d make a great Mongo.

  13. koosh
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    the word sweding sounds dirty. maybe ypsilanti should swede some porn.

  14. Posted August 24, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    If we do choose to do Deliverance, could someone write some musical numbers, and could we work in some of the characters from Blazing Saddles?

  15. dirtgrain
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    Army of Darkness would be fun. Or the Peewee Herman movie.

  16. Posted August 24, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    I would pay admission to see you remake “Forbidden Zone.” Just so you know.

  17. Brad
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    “Easy Rider”

  18. Amy Morgan
    Posted August 25, 2012 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    I remember this conversation. We are SO in.

  19. Posted August 25, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    If we can get Black Jake to play the kid who plays the banjo, I think Deliverance might be our best bet, in that it’s a pretty straightforward story, set mostly in nature, without too many characters. Casting the Burt Reynolds role might be a bit tricky, as I don’t know that we have anyone around here that cocky, but I think the rest would be doable. As for working in a musical number, perhaps the entire cast could do something that we could tack on the end of the film, kind of like how the cast of Something About Mary did Build Me Up Buttercup at the end.

  20. maria cotera
    Posted August 25, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Poseidon Adventure
    Towering Inferno

  21. (not the same) Bob
    Posted August 25, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    “Be Kind Rewind” is one of our favorite movies!! We were just talking about it the other night. Not enough off-beat and strangely sweet movies in the world. If your film goes into pre-production let us know. There are several teens in town we know of that are engaged in acting and film making and they may be interested as well in contributing.

    In keeping with the original film, perhaps someone could claim that Phylis Diller lived in their house and started her comedic career with backyard stand up routines.

  22. waylon
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    I hear someone has some time on his hands now that the Shadow Art Fair has been put to rest.

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