On the 4th day of Festivus, TV gave to me
It had to be bad movies, because I couldn't think of four TV shows that have been made into good movies. The bar was set pretty high with The Brady Bunch Movie when they decided to go full-on campy. Sure, there have been some decent efforts like Starsky & Hutch and the dark and brooding Miami Vice. But this is the time for my inner Grinch to let loose and call out the bad ones, and there are a lot of them. It's too bad I can't take the TV Squad crystal ball and write about the ones still in the pipeline, like Wilder Valderrama in the CHiPs movie, or 2008's The A-Team movie. I pity the fool who tries to displace Mr. T.
Since the TV show adaptations were a bit thin this year (and I have a love/hate thing with Miami Vice. Love Michael Mann, hated the flick ... so I've decided that those cancel each other out for me, leaving a neutral effort on the floor), we're going back through the annals of the past few years and singling out some stinkers.
1) The Avengers: This TV series really knocked my socks off when I used to watch reruns (hey, I ain't that old) after school. It was like tossing James Bond and Tom Swift into a spin cycle together to see what would come out. Gadgets, swords inside of canes, megalomaniac mad scientist villains ... and Emma Peel wearing leather. This series really hit like lightning on all cylinders when Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg hooked up as John Steed and Emma Peel. However, things sadly went south when this movie was released. Ralph Fiennes plays an almost vapid John Steed, and Uma Thurman just couldn't get the playful tone of Emma Peel down. But that doesn't hold a candle to Sean Connery as Sir August de Wynter. He chewed up scenery left and right, leaving nothing untouched in his wake. Check out the boardroom scene where the baddies are dressed up as gigantic teddy bears. This movie makes me hope it fell through a dimensional rift from another universe, and that this was some other 'mirror' version of Connery.
2) Bewitched: This is one of those TV shows that you'll usually see when idly flipping channels, and you'll find yourself stopping and watching to see if you can remember the plot of the episode. It's a lucky bonus day if it's a new one you haven't seen. Elizabeth Montgomery and Dick York (please don't mention Dick Sargeant ... he doesn't count as a Darrin) really nailed the whole "my significant other has magic powers" storyline a full year before I Dream of Jeannie blinked into existence. Can you dislike Elizabeth Montgomery? I don't think it's possible. Sadly, the nose-wiggling magic didn't translate to the big screen, and the Bewitched movie is a great example of why Hollywood shouldn't meddle with a classic. Even the casting of Will Ferrell and Nicole Kidman couldn't save this one. Although Steve Carell's performance as Uncle Arthur is a rare treat, you'll almost believe Paul Lynde is alive again.
3) Aeon Flux: When MTV used to air Liquid Television, which showcased experimental and offbeat animation, Aeon Flux was one of the mainstays. 15 years later, it still remains one of the trippiest shows I've ever seen, animated or not. It had a deep, pervasive storyline, interesting characters, and very little dialogue. Aeon was one tough chick who could pull off moves that those guys in The Matrix could only dream about. While Aeon Flux hardly clocks in as an epic series, in just 16 episodes they had established a unique look, world, characters, morality, and history. However, once Hollywood got ahold of it, they managed to stomp all of that out and you're left with what's basically a vehicle for Charlize Theron in a nifty little black outfit. Aeon Flux isn't what you would call the most animated leading lady (pun intended), but the pen & ink version is a lot more appealing than the flesh & blood one.
4) The Dukes of Hazzard: File this one under painful. This is one of those movies that if you end up seeing, you'll wants those 90 minutes of your life back ... yet they are nowhere to be found. The Dukes of Hazzard isn't a complicated story: three cousins (Bo, Luke, and Daisy), Uncle Jesse, evil Boss Hogg, and Hogg's underling Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane. The boys run moonshine (ostensibly) and get chased by the Sheriff. Repeat ad nauseum for each episode of the show. However, John Schneider and Tom Wopat made it fun. They made us believe they were actually red-blooded good ol' boys makin' their way the only way they know how. Boss Hogg should probably go down in the TV Hall of Fame as one of the best villains on the tube, he was so deliciously bad. Hollywood couldn't resist the pull of Hazzard, and put the petal to the metal in getting this version out. Stifler as Bo Duke? Johnny Knoxville as the more level-headed Luke Duke? It's just too easy to go after Jessica Simpson as Daisy Duke. Let's just say that Catherine Bach could eat her for breakfast. The only thing good about the movie was the car, and that's keeping in mind that Burt Reynolds and Willie Nelson were in this thing. I hope they got paid in cash and not with copies of the DVD.
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