By Simon Miraudo
September 7, 2012
Though we're still anxiously waiting for the Arrested Development and Deadwood movies, television lovers can bide their time with Kath and Kimderella, the feature adaptation of the hit Australian show. OK, it's not an apples-to-apples comparison, but it'll do. Join us as we reflect on the ten best films based on TV shows. Sometimes they actually work!
10. The Fugitive
Harrison Ford starred as Dr. Richard Kimble, an innocent man framed by a one-armed gent for the murder of his wife, in a rare adaptation that actually superseded the show (which ran from 1963-1967) in the public consciousness. It was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, earned Tommy Lee Jones an Academy Award, and inspired the Leslie Nielsen "comedy" Wrongfully Accused. So it wasn't all good news.
Before he was the director of the third biggest film of all time, Buffy creator Joss Whedon was famous for delivering cultish favourites that were unceremoniously killed off on account of poor ratings. Serenity was his crack at extending the too-short Firefly saga. Even if it wasn't a big hit, it certainly proved to the folk at Marvel that he was more than capable of directing a special-effects laden spectacular.
Maybe it was just our collective low-expectations, but 21 Jump Street - starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill as narcs undercover in a high school - was one of 2012's biggest critical and commercial hits. The cameos from the original show's stars Johnny Depp, Peter DeLuise, and Holly Robinson Peete were welcome additions. Nothing, however, could have topped the sight of a drugged-out Tatum hurling himself through a gong.
Is nice! Still funny six years later! Right?!
Those six episodes of Police Squad feature some of the most inspired lunacy you'll ever see, and it's a miracle that David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker (ZAZ!) were able to replicate it in the Leslie Nielsen spoof The Naked Gun. We are less enamoured with the sequels.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone are the toast of Broadway thanks to The Book of Mormon. Of course, anyone who had seen their Oscar-nominated South Park movie already knew they were talented song-writers. Bigger, Longer and Uncut is a genuinely rousing, hilarious, intelligent, biting, occasionally heartfelt, and undeniably brilliant musical comedy.
Saturday Night Live is one of history's greatest and most influential TV sketch series, but their cinematic output is a veritable wasteland. That is, except for two shining beacons: Wayne's World and The Blues Brothers. We also have a soft spot for MacGruber and Coneheads.
Has any TV show ended as infuriatingly as David Lynch and Mark Frost's Twin Peaks? Taken, much like protagonist Laura Palmer, well before its time, so many of the enigmatic series' mysteries remained up in the air. When Lynch announced a movie spin-off, Fire Walk With Me, fans hopes were raised, only to be quickly dashed by the final product: an even more mysterious prequel with few answers. Thankfully, that film's reputation has only grown in the twenty years since its debut, with Sheryl Lee's performance as the doomed Laura rightfully regarded as a haunting portrayal of a girl demonised by both supernatural and domestic forces. If only it had more Coop.
Or as we like to call it, Kermit: Origins. A charming "prequel" to The Muppet Show, and one of the most delightful movies ever made. Just try not to tear up when they all start singing The Rainbow Connection...