In honor of this week’s release of 21 Jumpstreet, I thought it would be interesting to look at the TV-to-Film adaptations that got it right. Here are my Top 10 (in order):
10. THE NAKED GUN: FROM THE FILES OF POLICE SQUAD!
When I see films like Epic Movie or Date Movie, I can’t help but think how dumb they are. Most spoof movies are just plain stupid. Yet, for some reason, The Naked Gun just works. Sure, the humor can be simple, juvenile and even crude but, for anyone that grew up in the 80s, this film is essential viewing. It also features Leslie Nielsen, the man who is to spoof movies what Charlie Chaplin was to silent films. Not only is he great whenever he stars in one of these films but these films feature him at the top of his game.
9. WAYNE’S WORLD.
Another staple for kids of the 80s. I think younger people will always remember Mike Myers as Austin Powers but it all started with Wayne. I don’t even think I can articulate just how huge Wayne and his partner Garth were in the early 90s. They get bonus points for taking a recurring five minute SNL sketch and turning it into an awesome two hour comedy. Mike Myers may be notorious for recycling his gags but in Wayne’s World it was all fresh because it all started here.
This film should’ve have sucked (something that was compensated for in the sequel). The idea of adapting a toy/ cartoon into a feature length movie is just silly… especially when they’re robots with lips. The fact is, though, this film was pretty damn good and really entertaining. I don’t think Shia Lebouf gets enough credit for being a viable star and Michael Bay even deserves a little credit for directing what could be the strongest story he’s ever put on screen.
This one is a bit of a cheat. It totally fits the criteria for the list but the film is essentially just an elongated version of the show. Still, it has to make the list because the films are just so damn funny. Arguably, the best theater experience I have ever had. The communal laughter was contagious and non-stop. Love it or hate it, you can’t help but be fixated on the antics of this Motley Crew of dirty pranksters. R.I.P. Ryan Dunn.
Remember five or six years ago when everybody LOVED Mel Gibson? Me neither. A shame to because the guy was one hell of a movie star. I think this film isn’t really mentioned when discussing the best Gibson films but might be one of his best. It’s certainly the most underrated in his filmography. A great combination of both action and humor, you can’t help to succumb to Maverick’s charms… even if you do so hesitantly. After all, he is a hustler, baby!
In full disclosure, after seeing the preview for this film, I thought it was going to suck. Bradley Cooper firing at drones while falling in a parachuting tank certainly didn’t help. Neither did a UFC fighter, Quentin “Rampage” Jackson, stepping into the Mr. T role of B.A. Baracus. Damnit if the film wasn’t just fun top to bottom though. Regardless of what you think of the film choices Joe Carnahan chooses to make (I happen to dig them) the guy makes damn entertaining films that make for a great time at the cinema. This film is well written, well cast and fun to watch!
I want to put this one higher but I just cannot… apologies. Serenity was my introduction to Joss Whedon who I now adore. This film is what all TV adaptations should aspire to be. After seeing the film, I went back and watched the source material. Firefly was a good show, arguably more Cowboys and Aliens than Cowboys & Aliens, finding a way to fuse a western sensibility into a kick ass Sci-Fi film. Where it succeeds is where X-Files did not. In that it encapsulates and wraps up the story pursued in the show and leaves the audience feeling complete. It also features one of my favorite movie characters of all time: Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds.
3. MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE.
I’d actually put three of the four MI films in this spot (Damn you, John Woo!). How do you not get excited when that fuse is lit and you hear that MI theme start to play. Having one of the biggest stars in the world (Tom Cruise) to anchor your franchise to doesn’t hurt either. After the fourth installment in the franchise, I’ve never felt more optimistic that we may even get a couple more great films out of MI. Not to mention, one key to this franchise’s success that deserves mentioning is the way they constantly bring in new creative talent to keep the films feeling new and fresh. Got to love that!
2. THE FUGITIVE.
You know the best thing about this movie? You never have to buy it because it is on cable ALL THE TIME! That’s a good thing. Everybody loves Harrison Ford and you can’t help but love him even more as Dr. Richard Kimble, a man falsely accused of killing his wife and seeking the elusive one armed man. Ford is arguably better at playing the reluctant hero than he is a certifiable bad ass (a la Han Solo and Indiana Jones). This film also wins for featuring Tommy Lee Jones at his Tommy Lee Jones-iest. It could be argued that this is the best TV-to-Film adaptation of all time but I have to give that to…
1. STAR TREK (2009).
I don’t think I’ve watched a film more since 2009 (The Dark Knight included). It is easily my favorite Blu-Ray purchase and a comfort movie for me. Whenever I get bored, I just pop it in and find myself entertained. It takes the top spot for a couple of reasons. For one, I am NOT a Star Trek fan. I am a devout Star Wars guy (cuz, you know, you have to be one or the other). Despite that, the film won me over and peaked my interest in the source material. Second, it features the most creative way I’ve seen to reboot or re-imagine a franchise. I won’t spoil it for you if you haven’t seen it. I’ll just say that the writers find a way to keep the existing mythology intact while managing to go back and retell the story of the crew of Starship Enterprise all over again with no constraints.
Remember, we here at Man, I Love Films don’t do definitive lists. We do our favorites and we want to hear yours. So, make sure and tell us about them in the comments section below.