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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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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

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

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

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

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

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

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.