Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Billy Bob Thornton Does Bemidji

by Pa Rock
Film Fan

There have been a slew of movies of late that have been ground up into television fare and spit back out for public consumption.  Surprisingly, they aren't all bad.

Movies are all about getting the audience to suspend belief and go with a story, no matter how improbable.  Seeing Hugh Jackman, for instance, star as Curly in a British staged play of Oklahoma (which recently ran on my local PBS affiliate) required a major suspension of belief.  Another staged play made it's way to television last December - one I did not see and would not see.  Pop singer Carrie Underwood played Maria von Trapp in an updated version of The Sound of Music.

Oklahoma, maybe.  But to spend good money remaking The Sound of Music, one of the best movies ever created by Tinsel Town, why that's just Hollywood heresy!   You might as well remake The Wizard of Oz!  Oh, that's been done, too?  Well, excuse me while I just ease on down, ease on down the road!

I've referenced this before, but director Robert Rodriguez, has remade one of his movies into an interesting television series.  From Dusk 'Til Dawn tells the tale of a family of American tourists who are kidnapped by a pair of mobsters and forced to drive them (in their large RV) across the border into Mexico.  The group winds up at a very strange bar out in the Mexican desert where most of the employees and some of the customers are vampires.  The first six or so episodes are fairly good.  Unfortunately, they are being rerun ad nauseam on Rodriguez's television channel,  El Rey.  The main characters are at the bar, the vampires, are showing themselves and doing their thing - what next?   Robert, it's past time to crank out a few more episodes.

The best of the chewed-up movies which have been spit-out as a television series that I have come across is the fairly new FX version of Fargo.  It has maintained all of the dry humor and wit of the movie, and generated some intriguing new story lines.

Fargo is a mere ten episodes along, and I have not seen them all, but the ones I have watched are exceptional.  Billy Bob Thornton is a contract killer whose business brings him out to the Minnesota ice fields around the small town of Bemidji.   Thornton is fiendishly good and obviously enjoys his work.  He is the kind of character that caring people wouldn't mind seeing cut up and run through a wood chipper.  Other stars of this series include Keith Carradine and Colin Hanks.

Of course, it is a two way street, and some television shows have gone onto a short life on the big screen.   Many of the sitcoms from my youth were made into movies:  Car 54, Where Are You?, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Bewitched - just to name a few.

If it makes a few bucks, it must be a cash cow - so milk it for all it's worth!

Now I must sit back and wait patiently until some producer with brains and money suddenly realizes the series potential of The Brass Teapot!

1 comment:

Don said...

Right with ya, Rock. Thornton's magnificent malevolence has held me glued to each episode.