It’s no surprise at the amount of TV shows that have been turned into movies. The impact that nostalgia has on consumers is so important that millions of people will race to buy a $15 dollar ticket just to go see a movie loosely based on a show from 30 years ago. I’m not above it; if someone were to create a Hey Arnold! live action movie next month, I’d be the first to see it – even if Jaden Smith was cast as Arnold.
Sitting on the rights to a show that lasted more than 2 seasons is a gold mine for producers and an easy job for writers. Alvin and the Chipmunks have had 4 movies since 2007; hell, Entourage had a movie 3 years after going off the air. Think about Mission Impossible. The movies are so well known that kids these days don’t know that it was a TV show. Actually I’ll take that back, a lot of adults don’t not know that it was a TV show.
We aren’t far from seeing every TV show we grew up with making their way to the big screen. CSI: The Movie. Malcolm in the Middle: The Movie. Breaking Bad: The Movie. These and many more could be reality very soon. Some might be great, some won’t. Be prepared because some will be so terrible that an entire generation will come to only know of your favorite show as the terrible rendition that someone will have created. How do I know? Because it’s already happened – a lot. Here’s the list of the 12 worst movies based on TV shows.
12. Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle
Charlie’s Angels is a product of a different time, a time when smacking your secretary’s booty was somehow considered encouragement. The show’s concept is pretty sexist, so translating it to the new millennium can lead to significant challenges. Full Throttle, the sequel of the first Charlie’s Angels, failed to handle these challenges and created new ones on top of it all.
Ignoring that the plot was clichéd and the angels were still sexist caricatures of women from the ‘70s, the movie suffered from a laundry list of other issues. Bill Murray (after allegedly coming to blows with both co-star Lucy Liu and director McG) was replaced with Bernie Mac. The hired actors were unable to speak with normal Irish accepts even though their characters were Irish. That’s before mentioning that the wire fighting has never worked; in fact, Guillermo del Toro marks the movie as the death of wire fighting. Pretty much nothing worked right in this movie, yet it’s still somehow much better than the 2011 TV remake.
11. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
I’m not stupid. I know that the Turtles have been making hundreds of millions of dollars and are incredibly popular amongst kids, but these are not the turtles kids deserve. These turtles suck. I’m on board with the new design, but they aren’t funny and they aren’t great ninjas. They are more likely to body slam someone than to use any real martial arts. The writers seemingly tried so hard to appeal to everyone, that the turtles came off dull, and lost the goofiness that the fans love. All that being said, the turtles are salvageable. Some work on the script and the potential of a badass Casey Jones (played by Stephen Amell) could really help this franchise. And hey, at least they aren’t alien turtles like Michael Bay originally planned.
In 2006, Sacha Baron Cohen redefined improv-comedy with the “classic” mockumentary Borat. By 2009 he reminded us that most improv-comedy sucks with his “sequel” starring fellow alumni of Da Ali G Show, Bruno. The movie was filled with unfunny jokes and completely failed when attempting to produce “genuine” reactions to Bruno’s antics.
The most telling difference between the two movies is exemplified by the controversies that Sacha found himself in the middle of. Borat caused lawsuits from almost every one who appeared in the movie because they were so embarrassed by what they said on camera. The movie even allegedly led to Pamela Anderson’s divorce from Kid Rock, so Borat actually achieved his goal. Bruno on the other hand just got Cohen in trouble with Child Services… Turns out getting a couple racist frat bros riled up is funny, making innocent people feel that they need to protect a child is just lame.
9. Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie
There are things many believe to be an “acquired taste.” They are often things like good wine, French cheese, or country music. Tim and Eric are definitely an acquired taste. While the duo have been seen more prominently in other roles lately, the Adult Swim dream team of Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim are generally known for their 15-minute late night, gross-out sketch show, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! The show has tons of fans that revel in the absurd comedy and the myriad of guest stars that it brings on. Because of this, someone decided, “let’s have them make a movie!” Unfortunately, as is the case with wine, cheese, and country music, too much Tim and Eric can lead to headaches and indigestion. There is no amount of star cameos that the duo could fit into 96 minutes to make this movie watchable.
8. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra/Retaliation
Two for one special! When debating which G.I. Joe should make it onto the list I realized that I just loved them both equally. That is to say they were both just bad movies. Some argue that the two are just silly action movies used as a medium to blow stuff up and have ninja fight scenes, and it’s true. That’s why they are on the list. The producers seemed to take less interest in creating an accurate representation of the Joes of old and placed more interest in milking the cash cow for all it was worth. Writers tampered with popular characters from the show to make them sell better as toys, which would have been fine if they didn’t just kill them all off in the sequel. If they were to have just stayed the course and created characters that fans could root for across multiple movies, it would still be a pretty bad movie. But a better bad movie.
7. Inspector Gadget
This movie was so bad that it couldn’t even make it to an hour and a half. Seriously, its run time is 78 minutes. However the original screening was 110 minutes, but those involved didn’t like it. After test screenings, the production staff cut 32 minutes, or 29%, of the movie. Putting it in perspective, the Joker was in 20% of The Dark Knight and Hannibal Lecter was in 14% of Silence of the Lambs. Imagine producers cutting 30% out of those movies; I’d guess no Oscars would be had. Inspector Gadget suffered from a silly plot and unimpressive visual effects, even for 1999 and has since mostly faded into obscurity.
6. The Adventures Of Rocky & Bullwinkle
If you needed a reminder, Robert De Niro makes a lot of bad movies and this one is possibly the worst. For anyone with no knowledge of American television, Rocky & Bullwinkle is a cartoon from the ‘60s about a flying squirrel and his moose friend who defend their home from villains portrayed as caricatures of Russian spies. During the Cold War there was no one better to portray as villains in kids TV shows.
For a time, Rocky and Bullwinkle were as recognizable as other classic cartoons like Fred Flintstone or Bugs Bunny. In 2000, Robert De Niro decided it was time to bring back the beloved characters with minimal changes. Fans of the show in the ‘60s were happy to see their favorites on the screen, but the 40-year-old nostalgia didn’t resonate with kids and the script just wasn’t funny. However, the movie did succeed by featuring Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell together for one of the last times. While other cartoons from the same era have stayed prominent and made multiple kids movies (even Yogi Bear is getting a sequel), Rocky & Bullwinkle have faded to obscurity partly thanks to this movie.
For a few years, Will Ferrell was so hot. He starred in hit after hit, and pretty much anything he touched was declared gold months before it was even released. During that time, Mr. Ferrell became a necessity in remakes of old shows helping out movies from Starsky and Hutch to Curious George. One of his worst remakes (and arguably worst movies) was 2005’s Bewitched. The movie should have been amazing with talent like Stephen Colbert, Amy Sedaris, and Michael Caine alongside Ferrell, but what we got was a movie about beautiful women casting spells to make unappealing men fall in love with them, for almost two hours. Seriously, Nicole Kidman and Shirley MacLaine both are Oscar winners… How the hell did this movie happen?
4. The Dukes of Hazzard
2005 was a bad year for TV shows turned movies. Much like Bewitched, this movie had so much star power. Besides it being Jessica Simpson’s acting debut, it featured Sean William Scott, Johnny Knoxville, Willie Nelson, and Burt Reynolds in leading roles. However the script wasn’t thought through and the jokes just weren’t funny. Also the movie is about two white dudes in Georgia that drive a car with a confederate flag on the roof. I get that a lot of shows were incredibly racist in the ‘80s, but this was 2005. A quarter century did nothing for the Duke Boys and the movie suffered because of it. Racist men living in the south isn’t cute and mildly incestual talk between Daisy Duke (Simpson) and her cousins is creepy. As much as Charlie’s Angels is from a different time, at least the writers made an attempt to fix the problems; The Dukes of Hazzard didn’t even try.
3. Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Michael Bay just shouldn’t touch things from my childhood. Honestly, watching these movies is exactly like when your buddy in high school got a bunch of fireworks from Mexico and accidentally set the local Olive Garden on fire. It’s kind of awesome – once. After that you never want to see it again and any attempt at it is dumb and immature. I like explosions as much as the next guy, but you can’t just do that for four movies and call it Transformers. I don’t know if Mr. Bay ever saw the show because things really just didn’t blow up that often. Shia LaBeouf became increasingly hard to watch, and Megan Fox left after the second movie so there was very little reason to watch the third at all. Those who did were treated to an even more ridiculous script and lazier performances from the entire cast. Its no wonder that it was entirely recast for the fourth installment; what is a wonder is how a 5th is in production
2. Dragonball Evolution
Screw this movie. ‘Nuff said.
Don’t take a beloved series like Dragonball, change every aspect about it, and expect fans to think of it to be a decent movie. Seriously, you have a very dedicated and niche audience, don’t do it. The creator of the real Dragon Ball, Akira Toriyama, publicly said the the film “ticked [him] off…” It’s poorly made and shares almost no elements from the series outside of character names. The movie would be much better if the writer was to take the word Dragonball out of the title, because then it would have never been made.
1. The Last Airbender
This is as bad as am adaptation can be. As a fan of the original show, personally this movie made me very sad. M. Night Shyamalan took something beautiful and just ruined it, and the worst part is I just can’t understand why. Why would it be a good idea to change the pronunciation of the main character’s name? Why take the comic relief and make him a super depressing a-hole? Why try to fit 20 half-hour long episodes into an hour and a half? Why cast all white people just to try make them look Asian? So many questions, but none of them matter.
This film is so bad that, allegedly, the creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender told cast members of the original show not to go see the movie and pretend that it never happened. Even if you didn’t love the TV show, the grating 3D used in the film, mixed with the lack of action, and ridiculous amounts of exposition given as voice overs is enough to make anyone stop watching. Unlike other movies on the list, The Last Airbender didn’t have to worry about the changing times, or the loss of cast members. Everything was primed for this to work out, the only thing that stood in the way was the pompous and awful decision making of M. Night Shyamalan. This is a far cry from a bad rendition of a TV show, this is just bad.