DID YOU READ

The Worst TV-to-Movie Adaptations

Last Airbender

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Starting in the 1980s, the perpetually idea-starved hacks of Hollywood decided that there was easy money to be made in taking classic TV shows and giving them big-screen follow-ups. While some of these were awesome (The Brady Bunch, for example), others really stunk. With Entourage earning less-than-stellar reviews, here are 10 TV-to-movie adaptations that should have stuck to the small screen.

10. Fat Albert

Bill Cosby has done enough to tarnish his once-great legacy all by himself, but this deeply bizarre 2004 adaptation of his classic cartoon certainly didn’t help. SNL’s Kenan Thompson is the big guy in a bizarre metafictional tale where the animated characters jump out of the TV, become flesh and blood, and then meet their creator.


9. Mr. Magoo

There’s a special place in hell for movies that take beloved cartoons and wrench them into the awful world of live-action. Leslie Nielsen’s turn as nearsighted codger Mr. Magoo in the 1997 adaptation was grating and corny, and the flick was pulled from theaters after just two painful weeks.


8. The Avengers

No, not the Joss Whedon superhero juggernaut – this was a lamentable 1998 action flick based on a trend-setting British spy show. Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman star as John Steed and Emma Peel, who have to battle a plot to control the weather. Universal didn’t allow press screenings and the film was cut from 115 minutes to 87, creating an incoherent mess.


7. The Mod Squad

Multiracial teen crime show The Mod Squad was considered pretty progressive when it debuted in 1968, but by 1999 it was nothing more than a footnote. So of course MGM snatched up the rights for a reboot, and the result was a flick that was both boring and regressive. With a 4% Rotten Tomatoes rating, the world seems to agree with us.


6. McHale’s Navy

1997 was the nadir of the TV-to-movie phenomenon, with even relatively obscure properties like McHale’s Navy getting the treatment. The big-screen version starred Tom Arnold in the lead role, which should be a giant flashing warning sign right there. An awful script and a waste of Ernest Borgnine made this one a huge flop.

5. The Gong Show Movie

Probably the only game show that got a big-screen spinoff, The Gong Show Movie follows host Chuck Barris through a week of his life, contending with the talentless lunatics that made his ’70s variety show a success. The flick is an incoherent, unwatchable mess notable only for Jaye P. Morgan’s bare breast and a guy blowing out a candle with his farts.


4. Dudley Do-Right

Brendan Fraser starred as the titular Mountie in this awful adaptation of the Jay Ward cartoon classic, with Sarah Jessica Parker at a career low point as romantic interest Nell. The relentless slapstick and clumsy performances made this film pretty much unwatchable, and it only made back a fraction of its $70 million budget.


3. Wild Wild West

The 1965 Wild Wild West TV show was a fun melding of the dying Western genre with the new hotness of espionage thrillers, but the 1999 movie version starring Will Smith was a moribund, plodding, unfunny affair. A little bit of trivia: the giant robot spider was originally supposed to be the antagonist for producer Jon Peters’ failed Superman film.


2. Car 54, Where Are You?

Originally intended to be a musical comedy but released to theaters with all the songs cut out, this disastrous take on the ’60s sitcom sat on the studio shelf for four years after being filmed. Co-star Rosie O’Donnell has publicly asked people to never watch the movie.


1. The Last Airbender

M. Night Shyamalan pissed off legion of devotees with his live-action adaptation of the popular Nickelodeon cartoon. Whether it was casting white people for Asian roles or pushing eye-straining 3D effects, the movie is considered to be one of the worst of all time. Needless to say, we won’t be getting a sequel.

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Grow TFU

Adulting Like You Mean It

Commuters makes its debut on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Jared Warner, Nick Ciavarella, and Tim Dean were once a part of Murderfist, a group of comedy writers, actors, producers, parents, and reluctant adults. Together with InstaMiniSeries’s Nikki Borges, they’re making their IFC Comedy Crib debut with the refreshingly-honest and joyfully-hilarious Commuters. The webseries follows thirtysomethings Harris and Olivia as they brave the waters of true adulthood, and it’s right on point.

Jared, Nick, Nikki and Tim were kind enough to answer a few questions about Commuters for us. Here’s a snippet of that conversation…

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IFC: How would you describe Commuters to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Nick: Two 30-somethings leave the Brooklyn life behind, and move to the New Jersey suburbs in a forced attempt to “grow up.” But they soon find out they’ve got a long way to go to get to where they want to be.

IFC: How would you describe Commuters to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jared: It’s a show about how f*cking stupid people who think they are smart can be.

IFC: What’s your origin story? When did you all meet and how long have you been working together?

Jared: Nick, Tim, and I were all in the sketch group Murderfist since, what, like 2004? God. Anyway, Tim and Nick left the group to pursue other frivolous things, like children and careers, but we all enjoyed writing together and kept at it. We were always more interested in storytelling than sketch comedy lends itself to, which led to our webseries Jared Posts A Personal. That was a show about being in your 20s and embracing the chaos of being young in the city. Commuters is the counterpoint, i guess. Our director Adam worked at Borders (~THE PAST!!~) with Tim, came out to a Murderfist show once, and we’ve kept him imprisoned ever since.

IFC: What was the genesis of Commuters?

Tim: Jared had an idea for a series about the more realistic, less romantic aspects of being in a serious relationship.  I moved out of the city to the suburbs and Nick got engaged out in LA.   We sort of combined all of those facets and Commuters was the end result.

IFC: How would Harris describe Olivia?

Jared: Olivia is the smartest, coolest, hottest person in the world, and Harris can’t believe he gets to be with her, even though she does overreact to everything and has no chill. Like seriously, ease up. It doesn’t always have to be ‘a thing.’

IFC: How would Olivia describe Harris?

Nikki:  Harris is smart, confident with a dry sense of humor but he’s also kind of a major chicken shit…. Kind of like if Han Solo and Barney Rubble had a baby.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Nikki:  I think this is the most accurate portrayal of what a modern relationship looks like. Expectations for what your life is ‘supposed to look like’ are confusing and often a let down but when you’re married to your best friend, it’s going to be ok because you will always find a way to make each other laugh.

IFC: Is the exciting life of NYC twentysomethings a sweet dream from which we all must awake, or is it a nightmare that we don’t realize is happening until it’s over?

Tim: Now that i’ve spent time living in the suburbs, helping to raise a two year old, y’all city folk have no fucking clue how great you’ve got it.

Nikki: I think of it similar to how I think about college. There’s a time and age for it to be glorious but no one wants to hang out with that 7th year senior. Luckily, NYC is so multifaceted that you can still have an exciting life here but it doesn’t have to be just what the twentysomethings are doing (thank god).

Jared: New York City is a garbage fire.

See the whole season of Commuters right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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C'mon Fellas

A Man Mansplains To Men

Why Baroness von Sketch Show is a must-see.

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Mansplaining is when a man takes it upon himself to explain something to a woman that she already knows. It happens a lot, but it’s not going to happen here. Ladies, go ahead and skip to the end of this post to watch a free episode of IFC’s latest addition, Baroness von Sketch Show.

However, if you’re a man, you might actually benefit from a good mansplanation. So take a knee, lean in, and absorb the following wisdom.

No Dicks

Baroness von Sketch Show is made entirely by women, therefore this show isn’t focused on men. Can you believe it? I know what you’re thinking: how will we know when to laugh if the jokes aren’t viewed through the dusty lens of the patriarchy? Where are the thinly veiled penis jokes? Am I a bad person? In order: you will, nowhere, and yes.

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Huge Balls

Did you know that there’s more to life than poop jokes, sex jokes, body part jokes? I mean, those things are all really good things, natch, and totally edgy. But Baroness von Sketch Show does something even edgier. It holds up a brutal funhouse mirror to our everyday life. This is a bulls**t world we made, fellas.

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Oh Canada

After you watch the Canadian powerhouses of Baroness von Sketch Show and think to yourself “Dear god, this is so real” and “I’ve gotta talk about this,” do yourself a favor and think a-boot your options: Refrain from sharing your sage wisdom with any woman anywhere (believe us, she gets it). Instead, tell a fellow bro and get the mansplaining out of your system while also spreading the word about a great show.

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Dudes, that’s the deal.
Women, start reading again here:


Check out the preview episode of Baroness von Sketch Show and watch the series premiere August 2 on IFC.

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Happy Tears

Binge Don’t Cringe

Catch up on episodes of Documentary Now! and Portlandia.

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Photo Credit: GIFs via GIPHY

A brain can only take so much.

Every five minutes, all day, every day, ludicrously stressful headlines push our mental limits as we struggle to adapt to a reality that seems increasingly less real. What’s a mind to do when simple denial just isn’t good enough anymore?

Radical suggestion: repeal and replace. And by that we mean take all the bad news that keeps you up at night, press pause, and substitute it with some genuine (not nervous, for a change) laughter. Here are some of the issues on our mind.

Gender Inequality

Feminist bookstore owners by day, still feminist bookstore owners by night, Toni and Candace show the male gaze who’s boss. Learn about their origin story (SPOILER: there’s an epic dance battle) and see what happens when their own brand of empowerment gets out of hand.

Healthcare

From Candace’s heart attack to the rise of the rawvolution, this Portlandia episode proves that healthcare is vital.

Peaceful Protests

Too many online petitions, too little time? Get WOKE with Fred and Carrie when they learn how to protest.

What Could Have Been

Can’t say the name “Clinton” without bursting into tears? Documentary Now!’s masterfully political “The Bunker” sheds a cozy new light on the house that Bill and Hill built. Just pretend you don’t know how the story really ends.

Fake News

A healthy way to break the high-drama news cycle is to switch over to “Dronez”, which has all the thrills of ubiquitous adventure journalism without any of the customary depression.

The more you watch, the better you feel. So get started on past episodes of Documentary Now! and Portlandia right now at IFC.com and the IFC app.

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