Spoiler alert: Neither of these films looks all that great…but both have Ron F#^&ING Swanson (aka Nick Offerman) in them. Interest level jumps a solid 20% based on that alone.
It’s that time again for TGITDNMAR, which (obviously) stands for Thank God It’s The Day New Movies Are Released.
I can’t think of a ton of examples off the top of my head, so it’s entirely possible that I’m talking out of my ass, but what in the hell is the deal with turning TV dramas into action comedies? Is it just a demographics thing, ensuring that the “male 13-25″ group shows up to see something that they weren’t aware of when the show in question originally aired? For Jump (full disclosure: a show I was aware of but never cared about), the base concept of cops posing as high schoolers seems to have been lifted but little else.
But how often does this tactic end well? There aren’t many that would argue that Starsky & Hutch is some great cinematic treasure. Land of the Lost wouldn’t be called a great TV show by many, but the adaptation was atrocious. (What’s the deal, Ferrell?) Is it so hard to take something seriously? Hasn’t history shown that doing so results in the better films?Michael Mann’s Miami Vice might have had its share of issues, but it did almost the opposite, taking a cheesy action drama and making it even more serious than its source material. The Fugitive played with a straight face and was fantastic, even going so far as to winning Tommy Lee Jones an Oscar. Mission: Impossible took a straightforward spy show and turned it into four (and counting) straightforward spy movies.
But you go ahead, 21 Jump Street. Go ahead and assume that just because John Q. Depp was young and a DeLuise was involved that the film version should be a hokey comedy starring a notoriously bad actor and the formerly-fat-kid-that’s-fat-again. Best of luck to you…you’re gonna need it.
Dylan’s Chance of Viewing (in the theater): 41%
What I mean is, Machete came down from the heavens to us – er, the trailer, that is. The Grindhouse faux trailer for Machete was two minutes of brilliance: a 70s-tinged wannabe Mexploitation flick starring the baddest ass of badass Mexican-Americans, Danny Trejo, filled out with a roster of lovable B-movie stars like Jeff Fahey, Cheech Marin and Steven Seagal. It had many (myself included) drooling for a feature that might never come.
And then it did. Be careful what you wish for and all that.
Honestly, I’m exaggerating. The feature Machete was not bad for what it is, and I know several people who loved it (and I’d probably watch it right now if I were in front of a TV and it came on – on an uncensored station, of course). But the expectations were so high for it – and the concept so thin, really – that the feature couldn’t do it, or us, justice. It was bound to fail, on those terms, from the start. Like the Star Wars prequels.
Now, I’m not sure who was really demanding something like Casa de me Padre, but it feels the same nonetheless. Watch the trailer and you can’t help but respect the chutzpah it takes to make a multimillion-dollar budgeted film starring Will Ferrell…in all Spanish…and attempt to wide release it. It, too, is destined to fail, and yet that’s what makes it so compelling.
Dylan’s Chance of Viewing (in the theater): 50%