Ask 411 Movies for 11.30.09: I Know How Many Questions This Column Answered Last Week!
This week from YouTube we celebrate the arrival of cough and cold season with a Vicks 44 commercial featuring Oddjob.
Q: Bring back Remote Control! Leonard, use your “Hollywood pull” to make it happen.
-The Great Capt. Smooth
A: Brother, if I had any Hollywood pull you would quit your job and spend all day at home watching all the crazy shit I’d be putting on TV. I’ve got five words for you: “Robbie Kenievel Arbor Day Spectacular.”
I think you would have to update “Remote Control” a lot to bring it back, but it wouldn’t be impossible. A modern version actually could work on MTV or Comedy Central, especially with game shows undergoing a bit of a daytime resurgence. So sign me up to host. “Lenny wasn’t like the other kids.”
Q: Hey again, Leonard. Great Column, as always.
My kids watch a lot of cartoons on TV. There are way too many crappy ones (like Dora and Diego), but there are some decent ones too (although some of them seem to be aimed at adults too). One in particular is Back at the Barnyard, which is based on a movie (Barnyard – starring Kevin James). Back to the Barnyard, however, stars Chris Hardwick as the main cow (Otis) and, in my opinion, is WAY superior to the movie. I was wondering what you thought of the show (and Hardwick, who has carved himself a nice little niche after his initial success with his early TV show ‘Singled Out”. . And, as a follow up, what you thought in general about TV shows that came from movies (aside from MASH which we can all agree was a great success).
A: I took my niece to see Barnyard in theaters and she didn’t really like it, so she doesn’t watch the cartoon. I only see cartoons through my three nieces, so I can’t say I’ve seen the follow-up series. Oddly, they like the Madagascar movies, but hate “The Penguins of Madagascar” cartoon. Honestly, the only cartoon they watch on a regular basis that I like is “Spongebob Squarepants” and sometimes I can convince them to watch the superhero cartoons like “Brave and the Bold” and “the Batman.”
Chris Hardwick, 38, was born in Louisville, Ky., His father is pro-bowler Billy Hardwick. Chris studied philosophy at UCLA and graduated in 1993. Hardwick was a DJ on KROQ in the mid-nineties and has made a few movie and TV show appearances. He’s a writer for “Back at the Barnyard,” “Web Soup” and “Wired Magazine.” Through that he’s the host of “Web Soup” on G4 and “Wired Science” on PBS. Along with voicing Otis, he also does Green Arrow on “The Batman” and Glowface in “The X’s.” He’s part of the comedy duo Hard ‘n Phirm with Mike Phirman and often opens for “Talk Soup” host Joel McHale.
I think he’s likable and funny enough, but nothing of his work has ever really stood out for me. C’mon, on “Singled Out” you weren’t paying attention to him. But, hey, if you can carve out a niche for yourself anywhere in Hollywood, good for you.
As for TV shows based on movies, by a rule most fail with “MASH” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” being rare successful examples. I think those are two shows that benefited by landing quality actors that made characters their own, without doing just imitations. They also found a lot more stories to tell within the world that a two hour film can just touch upon. If you look at a short-lived series like “Uncle Buck” for instance you see that star Kevin Meaney is trying to do a John Candy impression for the most part and the series is your basic sitcom hoping that the using the name of the film would pick up viewers. Below theme sounds like Ronnie Milsap.
Q: Just to add to the list of hot mature actresses, gotta go w/ Diane Lane. She gave a reason for every man to watch a Richard Gere movie w/ Unfaithful
A: C’mon, there are a lot of manly Richard Gere movies. Like…uh…The Jackal and….uh….No Mercy….and….eh…did I mention The Jackal? Here’s a hot photo of Diane Lane.
Q: Totally agree with Elizabeth Hurley and Diane Lane. I’d have to throw Halle Berry in there as well though. WTF?!?! Mary Louise Parker looks just like Michael Jackson in that pic.
A: I pulled that photo out of the 411 archives and thought that Parker looked like Michael Jackson after posing it. I think we should blame the photographer on that one. And yes, we have an archive of hot chick photos. That’s where this one of Halle Berry came from.
Q: AJ Gray has a pic up of Lori Loughlin (of Full House) that I think qualifies her with the other MILFs you listed.
A: Ah yes, she’s definitely one I forgot. As Uncle Jesse would say, “Lord have mercy.”
Lori Loughlin, 45, was born in Queens. She started print modeling at 12 and was doing national commercials by her late teens. She starred as an aspiring dancer for three years on “Edge of Night” before going into movies, landing some small roles like the daughter of Frankie and Annette in Back to the Beach. She starred on “Full House” from 1988 to 1995 as Danny Tanner’s TV co-host and later married John Stamos’ Jesse. Recently, she co-created and produced the series “Summerland” and plays on “90210.” According to Wikipedia, she was up for the role of Sarah Conner in The Terminator. She’s currently in Old Dogs with John Travolta and Robin Williams.
Q: Have you ever seen the movie “Even Hitler had a Girlfriend”? I think that monstrosity deserves to be mentioned among the worst of all time.
A: Even Hitler Had a Girlfriend was voted the best drive in movie of the year for 1991 by Joe Bob Briggs, so it has to have something going for it. Andren Scott plays an overweight, lonely security guard who obsesses over his health and the fact that he can’t land women. He then starts blowing all his money on hookers and taping the encounters while going a bit daffy in the process. Star Scott never had much of an acting career and was shot to death during a robbery while working at a convenience store in 1994. Unfortunately it’s not out on DVD. Several bands have been inspired by the film title, including the Mr. T Experience.
Q: I have a question. Has any tv-edited version of a movie where things like cursing being replaced and no blood splatter been made commercially available?
A: The 1980 television edit of Halloween was released on limited edition DVD in 1999 and again in 2001 as the extended edition. Twelve minutes of additional scenes were filmed during the making of Halloween II and added to the original so it would achieve a two hour run time on NBC with commercials and minors cuts made by censors.
Q: What are the best movies based on Stephen King’s works?
Stand by Me
A: You named the top three in my book and probably the order I would rank them. I would also say that many of the miniseries are pretty good, because they take the time to fully flesh out and explore King’s often long and character filled novels. The best of the miniseries I would say are “The Stand,” It,” “Salem’s Lot” and “Golden Years.” Of other theatrical films that aren’t bad are The Shining, The Dead Zone, Misery, Dolores Claiborne and Erik Luers of 411 would be miffed if I didn’t mention Cat’s Eye and it’s awesome theme song by Ray Stevens.
Q: On the subject of Bonfire – can you think of any TV show that was a great idea, but had the wrong cast (or at least wrong lead)?
A: “The Paul Lynde Show” from 1972 had a pretty standard plotline. Paul Simms was a lawyer with a wife and two daughters whose life is turned upside down when his eldest daughter brings her new slacker husband home. However, Paul Lynde, stalwart of “The Hollywood Squares,” was more queer then a three dollar bill and not close to believable as a family man or a respectable lawyer.
“The Bradys” from 1990 was just a poor idea for an update. It took the “The Brady Bunch,” the most run of the mill of seventies family sitcoms, and turned it into a family drama akin to CBS’ popular nighttime soaps “Dallas,” “Knots Landing” and “Falcon Crest.” Needless to say, trying to turn the original characters and cast into melodrama of the highest order didn’t really take. Leah Ayers replaced Maureen McCormick as Marcia, who we now know from her recent autobiography was probably strung out on cocaine at the time.
“It Had To Be You” starred Faye Dunaway, the dramatic film star, in a low rent sitcom that lasted only four episodes. Dunaway was a shrewd business woman who falls in love with a handyman played by Robert Urich who is a single father of three boys.
Q: Also on the subject of Bonfire, what are some of the worst movies based on famous books? For me it’s gotta be The Cat in the Hat. That movie is worse than being waterboarded.
A: Blackbeard’s Ghost: Based on a novel by Ben Stahl. The 1968 Disney film stars a working for Scotch Peter Ustinov as the title character, who was kept trapped in a bed warmer. He’s released by track coach Steve Walker (Dean Jones). Only Walker can see and hear the ghost. Blackbeard must perform a good deed in order to pass to the other side. So what is that good deed? He bets a wad of money on Walker’s terrible track team with a gangster in order to earn mortgage money to save the inn ran by descendants of his crew. It’s a basic twist of Disney’s old The Absent Minded Professor with all the same outdated special effects.
Christmas with the Kranks: Based on the novel “Skipping Christmas” by John Grisham. Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis play a couple who decide to basically skip Christmas and go on a tropical vacation because their daughter is in the Peace Corp. Neighbors, one played by Dan Aykroyd, protest the Kranks loss of Christmas spirit, but rally to their aide when the daughter decides to come home for Christmas and the Kranks only have a few hours to stage a party and decorate the house. Your pretty standard twist on the Scrooge tale with plenty of slapstick from Allen.
Cobra: Sylvester Stallone’s screenplay is a mix of his ideas to make Beverly Hills Cop a more serious project before he left it and Eddie Murphy picked it up and an adaptation of the novel Fair Game, that was later made into a pretty bad movie under that title. Stallone plays a tough cop who protects a model witness (Brigitte Nielsen), who saw a murder by the Night Slasher. I always saw it as Stallone’s take to reinvent himself as Dirty Harry as Andrew Robinson and Reni Santori from the first film have small parts. Santori plays Cobra’s partner, as he played Harry’s, and Robinson is cast against type as a by the book police captain when he was the killer in Dirty Harry.
Exit to Eden: Based on the Anne Rice novel of the same name. I just have to tell you that Dan Aykroyd and Rosie O’Donnell walking around in leather S&M outfits so you know how bad it is. Although to be fair, that bit was cooked up and added by director Gary Marshall. From the book, Paul Mercurio plays a photographer who finally decides to live out his submissive fantasies by going to an island resort and being dominated by Dana Delaney. According to Wikipedia, this is the only movie Dan Aykroyd regrets making.
Primary Colors: Based on an amateurish novel by journalist Joe Klein, originally published under Anonymous and a thinly veiled account of Bill Clinton’s 1992 Presidential campaign. Stacked with a great cast featuring John Travolta, Emma Thompson, Billy Bob Thornton, Kathy Bates, Maura Tierney and Diane Ladd; all phone it in playing caricatures of those around the Clintons. Only Larry Hagman as Travolta’s chief rival for the party nomination gives a solid, earnest performance.
Q: Hopefully you haven’t covered this already but what about The Brothers Solomon as an underrated movie?
I finally got around to watching The Brothers Solomon. Will Arnett and Will Forte star as brothers who hire Kristen Wiig to have a baby for them to keep their father, Lee Majors, who is in a coma hanging on. I don’t like these types of stupid comedies, because nobody is that stupid in real life. The level of stupidity and social awkwardness displayed by the brothers is just grating and annoying instead of being funny. They try to explain it with their upbringing, but I don’t think they got enough into that to fully explain why they’re as positive and dumb as they are. It’s like they were just trying to pay lip service to some sort of explanation as to why they act the way they do when really no reason is going to make sense.
It’s also a movie that thinks if you do something repeadetly or long enough it’s funny, but you eventually cross a line. The first couple uses of “St. Elmo’s Fire” was really funny, but when they played it for the umpteenth time I wanted to put my hand through a window. The only bit I really liked was the sky banner, because that played out just long enough that it was funny, stopped being funny, then came back around to being funny again. I would say it was also pretty clichéd as it hit all the notes you expect a movie like that to hit. The brothers have to have a falling out at some point. Wiig’s Janine also has to leave the pair, why also learning to love them for who they are. And either Tara (Malin Ackerman) falls for John or John sees her for the stuck up bitch she is and moves on. To a degree it feels like they’re poking fun at these conventions, but it’s just not winking enough to be funny.
Q: Hey man!I know u like your horror films,well what your opinon on the movie “I know how many runs your scored last summer”.
A: I also watched I Know How Many Runs You Scored Last Summer. Set in Australia, a kid is left disfigured by bullies after a cricket game and returns 20 years later to exact his revenge on the bullies with cricket themed murders. I thought it was your pretty standard low budget horror flick with cheesy special effects and gratuitous nudity, but the movie knew that and that always helps. It was tongue in cheek in parts, but not enough to really get it over like Evil Dead. I would say I was actually pretty bored with it. The twist doesn’t make sense, but I kind of saw it coming having seen so many bad horror films and knowing how things come together.
I got a late email from Nate, so look for it next week my friend.
“You kids every been to a casino? Have you ever seen Casino?”