by Matt Sills
With the success of 21 Jump Street this past weekend, you know the studio executives are running around trying to figure out what former TV show is going to be the next box office surprise. Why are they bothering? I've done the work for them. I spent all weekend down in the VHS room here at the Movietimes.com offices watching every TV show ever created (or at least enough so I could write this article). Here are the shows that I think would make awesome movies:
Yes, I know it's already been a movie, but remember, the TV show and the movie are two different entities. Other than Buffy and a few minor characters, there are no similarities between the two. I'll also remind you that the movie was not very good. It had its moments, but the film didn't really hit the right tone. It wanted to be a comedy, then a horror film, then a teen drama, and it never really hit any of the right notes on any of those fronts. Joss Whedon, writer of the film and creator of the show, has distanced himself from the film since its release, stating that it never really fit his vision. The show, on the other hand, is all Whedon, and that's why I want a movie based on the television show. The show could switch seamlessly from comedy to horror to drama, with incredibly witty dialogue and well thought out characters. The end of the show, with Buffy and the rest of the newly christened Slayers standing at the edge of a pit that used to be Sunnydale, is the perfect jumping off point. What happened to Buffy? Is she living on the beach raising a child and kicking vampire butt? I'd love to know, and the big screen would be the perfect place to find out.
21 Jump Street showed you can turn a mostly dramatic series into a comedy and have it work. I feel CHiPs could have the same crossover appeal. Let's face it, other than the infrequent high speed chase over Southern California freeways, the highway patrol isn't the most exciting or sexy of law enforcement groups. Yet CHiPs took this group and tried to make them the police, fire department, paramedics, and all-around adventurers all at once. Frank "Ponch" Poncherello and John Baker might be chasing down gang members in one scene, surfing in the next, dancing at a disco at the next, and pulling a woman from a burning car in the next. It was incredibly over the top dramatic and comedic all in the same episode. Let's also not forget the freeze frame laughter of each cast member at the end, which is still being imitated to this day. In the right hands, this could be comedy gold. A few years ago, there were rumors that Wilmer Valderama was hired to play Ponch in a possible big screen adaptation. Luckily, that seems to have fallen through, because I'm going to give the studios a free casting hint here: Jon Hamm and Javier Bardem. Seriously, think about how awesome that would be.
If there was a TV show that was made to be turned into a movie, it's this. It's a show that's old enough to have that nostalgia factor for those that remember it, but a premise that will bring in kids who weren't even born back when it first aired in 1981. Let me remind you of how awesome the premise of this show was. Ralph Hinkley, high school special ed teacher, encounters an alien race, who bequeath him with a suit that gives him special powers. Unfortunately, he loses the instructions. With the help of his divorce lawyer/girlfriend Pam and FBI agent Bill Maxwell, he sets out to save the world while trying to harness the power of this suit he can't really control. What made this show great is exactly what would make the movie great: regular guy becomes a super hero, but doesn't know how to control the powers he has. It's got comedy, drama, and a little bit of romance. It could be everything Hancock wanted and failed to be. There have been rumors for years the show might actually find its way into the movies, but so far, nothing. Come on, studios, time to get this off the ground.
I asked my friends the question, "What television show would you like to see turned into a movie," and for some strange reason, this show, this horrible sitcom, was chosen. UNANIMOUSLY. That's right, every single person I talked to wanted to see a Full House movie. Why? I have no idea. I hated that show, and I can't see how this sitcom would translate well into a feature length film. Well, maybe if North Korean terrorists posing as the Beach Boys kidnap Uncle Jesse, and Danny, Uncle Joey, DJ, Stephanie and Michelle sneak into Pyongyang as a US hockey team to save him. And Kimmy Gibler turns out to be a spy working for the Impossible Missions force whose cunning and smarts save the day. And Candace Cameron's husband, hockey player Pavel Bure, makes a cameo appearance, along with all of the living members of the 1980 US Men's Olympic hockey team and an appearance by Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt. And the film is actually shot in North Korea with the entire cast constantly under the threat of being arrested. And the Olsen twins appear onscreen at the same time but are both playing Michelle as one three year old girl. THAT movie would be cool. OK, I'm sold. Someone in Hollywood needs to get on that now!