Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Hollywood continues to be bereft of ideas

by Jackrabbit Slim
News comes today that two more films based on bad television shows are in the works: Welcome Back, Kotter, this time starring Ice Cube (this time, will the Sweathogs be packing heat?) and Dallas, starring John Travolta as J.R., also starring Owen Wilson, Shirley MacLaine, and Jennifer Lopez. Those are two movies I'll never see.


Blogger Nick said...

Dallas? You're kidding me. At least it will be interesting to see how they handle it. Farce, satire, homage, straight drama?

3/14/2006 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger LesterG said...

Hopefully Kotter's success will lead to a big-budget remake of "Head of the Class" with Busta Rhymes in for Howard Hessman.

How the hell the "Dallas" producers landed Wilson & Lopez?

3/14/2006 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Dallas? You're kidding me.

Your astonishment amuses me. Whereas my reaction to this news is wonder that Dallas wasn't turned into a movie ten years ago, your reaction indicates a lack of cynicism that is really quite touching.

3/14/2006 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

I think this is good news. Kotter was a product of the seventies and Dallas was a product of the eighties. These shows simply will not translate. They will be horrible failures which will result in fewer old TV show makeovers and more original stories/book adaptations.

Of course, Mann's Miami Vice might come along and turn us all to the "TV show adaptations can be good if they are done well." Not all of them have been terrible.

Hm, scratch that actually. They pretty much have all been terrible, the only good ones I could think of were the Brady Bunch and Adam's Family movies, and those were too long ago to really count.

If Dallas was made in the vein of those films, it could be pretty damn funny. There is a lot to make fun of there. Oh wait...Lopez is in it, definitely not seeing it.

3/14/2006 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

The Fugitive was a TV show, and that movie was great. It was also a long time ago, however.

But, hey, long ago or not, it stands as a testament that it can be done.

3/14/2006 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger LesterG said...

Racking my brain, I can only come up with four (not counting sequels) solid television-to-movie translations: The Fugitive, The Addams Family, The Naked Gun and The Brady Bunch.

Am I forgetting any?

3/14/2006 03:43:00 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Is true, Brian. I let my guard down for a moment and should've seen this one coming.

My astonishment has mostly to do with how the hell they think they're going to treat it.

Casting Owen Wilson suggests some kind of witty homage, but I've been wracking my brains trying to come up with a reason someone would want to watch a witty Dallas remake with Travolta and J-Lo.

When people go and watch this on opening day, will they all collectively be thinking 'This is so stupid that I definitely got to watch this'?

Still, wasn't much point with the original either, except as some kind symbol for the vacuous consumption and greed of the eighties. Guess that explains why the studio heads thought it was worth remaking.

3/14/2006 04:14:00 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

And who wants to bet that, considering Primary Colors, Travolta will have to field questions on whether or not his JR is partly inspired by a certain grey-haired Texan who acts more stupid than he actually is?

3/14/2006 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger Professor Wagstaff said...

The thing about 'Welcome Back Kotter' is that it was a pretty ordinary show, that probably got by on catchphrases as much as anything.

Watching it for the first time a few years ago, not only was I struck that it was fairly unfunny, but how poorly directed and 'stagey' it looked. With stagey acting to boot.

3/15/2006 02:26:00 AM  
Blogger Alex Stroup said...

I'm all for a Head of the Class movie adaptation as long as they bring back Khrystyne Haje (the redhead) to reprise her role. I don't care if she would be 40 years old. She was the closest I came to a celebrity crush when I was a tweener.

As for tv to movie adaptations I think The Fugitive and the first Addams Family may be the only true quality efforts. Though I did enjoy the first Mission Impossible movie and Maverick. Though I'll watch James Garner in pretty much anything (even My Fellow Americans) so I'm biased on that one.

If you count Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home then I'd add those to the list.

3/15/2006 05:44:00 AM  
Blogger Colin said...

Well, there's also "Serenity," which was an excellent big screen version of "Firefly."

3/15/2006 06:32:00 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

bring back Khrystyne Haje (the redhead) to reprise her role. I don't care if she would be 40 years old. She was the closest I came to a celebrity crush when I was a tweener.

You mean this chick?

3/15/2006 07:09:00 AM  
Blogger jaydro said...

Hey, wait a minute, I think we're getting off-track here in our comparisons. Either that or you're going to make me bring up the 1966 Batman as a movie that stayed true to its TV show origins.... ;-) And don't forget The X Files: Fight the Future.

Movies that have the same creative team and actors as the TV show they're adapting seem like a whole different category from the total remakes that usually take place more than a decade after the original with new actors and a new creative team--and usually suck. Miami Vice may be somewhat unique because of Michael Mann....

3/15/2006 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

The X-Files movie sucked. Although by that time the show had long grown tiresome to me anyway, so I probably wasn't in the most charitable mood.

Miami Vice will be interesting. It's hard to believe that Michael Mann could make a bad film. If he can pull it off with a movie based on an '80s show AND starring Colin Farrell, I'll really be impressed.

3/15/2006 09:52:00 AM  
Blogger LesterG said...

I'm sure that reading about the behind-the-scenes drama on "Miami Vice" is going to end up being far more interesting than the actual film.

Vanity Fair, the Times, etc are undoubtedly sharpening their knives already.

3/15/2006 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger Colin said...

Is the general consensus that Colin Farrell is a bad actor? Like most actors, he certainly has made some bad films (hello Alexander) and given some bad performances (Alexander again, S.W.A.T., American Outlaws). However, I think he’s done a lot of solid work as well.

Obviously, Tigerland was his breakthrough, and I think most people agree that he did a really good job in that. He was barely in Minority Report, but I think that his scenes with Cruise were pretty good. I think Phone Booth might just be his best performance as he starts out all cocky swagger and then sees his world fall apart around him.

I didn’t see Veronica Guerin or Intermission, but the reviews seem to indicate that he was very good in small roles, and I think he was just about the only good part of Daredevil. I also saw him in The New World and thought that he acquitted himself nicely, and he seems to be getting decent reviews for his work in Ask the Dust. He was also great in a guest appearance on Scrubs.

And yet, most people have a bad reaction when his name comes out. Is this because of his public persona? Is it because most people think that most of the time he does a bad job acting? Or is it basically that Alexander overwhelms everything else he’s done?

3/15/2006 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger Jackrabbit Slim said...

I think it's probably a mixture of public persona and Alexander. The entertainment media love a guy who's extreme like Farrell so they can tear him down. I thought he was quite good in Phone Booth, as well.

3/15/2006 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

I don't know if it's consensus or not, just speaking for myself. But since you asked, and since I'm only too happy to grind this axe, I'll go to the filmography for the evolution of my feelings about him:

Tigerland: Didn't see because of the Schumacher Rule.

Minority Report: I remember him being in this, but don't remember his performance at all. So first impression was not overly negative.

Phone Booth: Again, the Schumacher Rule takes effect. And I'm happy to skip it, because it seems stupid.

The Recruit: Awful, both him and the film. But Pacino was awful too, so maybe not Farrell's fault.

Alexander: Dear God. I think Colin Farrell just ruined Oliver Stone's career. Just like he ruined Pacino's.

Saturday Night Live: Kinda funny, actually. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt next time.

New World trailer: So much for the benefit of the doubt.

The New World: Movie not as bad as I thought from the trailer, but Farrell is somehow even worse. He just seems false in every move he makes, somehow managing to play overwrought while still seeming bored.

Miami Vice trailer: Uh-oh.

Ask the Dust trailer: Uh-oh.

What's amazing to me is that he still gets roles with top directors. I just don't understand it. Joaquin Phoenix, too.

3/15/2006 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger Colin said...

Well, I guess we have very different tastes in actors. I like Phoenix quite a bit. I definitely think he dserved his nomination for playing Johnny Cash.

Overall, though, I would actually say that his best performance was in "Buffalo Soldiers," which was sort of like "Stripes" on crack, literally. Unfortunately, almost no one saw that film, but I'd highly recommend it (although, probably not if you dislike Phoenix).

I would say that a quality both Farrell and Phoenix share is that they are very uncomfortable people. They always seem anxious and a bit uncertain. When they play a character that is supposed to be anxious, they do a really good job. When they play a more straightforward hero (i.e. Alexander), it doesn't work out so well.

3/15/2006 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Count Olaf said...

My favorite Joaquin Phoenix role will forever be his take as Claire Danes' boyfriend in U-Turn. Dressed like Johnny Cash to boot! Runnin' after Sean Penn: "I'm callin' you out!"

And I agree with the Phone Booth & Minority Report Colin Farrell positives. Other than that, he doesn't seem likable to me in person.

3/15/2006 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

I always feel like I can see the performance with them. They just don't seem capable of breaking down the wall between them and their characters. They're always at a distance, always externalizing, always "acting".

3/15/2006 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger Jackrabbit Slim said...

I saw Buffalo Soldiers! I read the loved the book, but it never came to a theater near me, but I caught up with it on DVD. Pretty solid work by everyone involved, although I recall it ruffled some feathers because it exposed some truths about what our soldiers are up to.

3/15/2006 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger jaydro said...

When I said Miami Vice might be unique because of Michael Mann, I didn't mean it necessarily because of Michael Mann's filmmaking prowess, but because he was the guy behind the TV show. It's pretty weird to have something like that, twenty years later. I keep thinking, what if Robert Altman made a Bonanza movie, but he was just the director of several episodes, not the big wheel.

I've liked Colin Farrell from the beginning, but I've avoided some of his bad movies. I used to hate Joaquin Phoenix, but his Johnny Cash has won me over.

3/15/2006 12:52:00 PM  

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