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Old 03-12-2020, 09:12 PM
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"How did anyone think that was a good idea?"


TV shows and movies are made by a large number of people collaborating, so there are usually some checks and balances on really bad ideas percolating to the big or little screen. What are some of the things done in TV and Movies that you can't believe they managed to think were a good idea? I'm not talking about things like replacing an actor because the original one left or things that were just executed badly, I'm looking for things that are so bad it seems like everyone would realize it would flop but for some reason it happened anyway.

For example, one of the attempted spinoffs from the Babylon 5 TV show Legend Of The Rangers came up with a really bizarre-looking idea for a fire control on a spaceship, where the gunner would be suspended in midair and would control the guns by punching and kicking at enemy ships. It was a weird, goofy-looking, grossly impractical setup, and I just don't see how anyone thought hovering kung fu spareship fighting complete with screaming was going to come off looking good to an audience, even back in the early 2000s. Here's a clip of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZapAjjTDbh4 , digging up this clip for another thread is what prompted me to post this one.
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Old 03-13-2020, 03:22 AM
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My Mother The Car. Probably the most inconceivable, absurd, POS to ever sail across the public airwaves
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Old 03-13-2020, 08:32 AM
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Most SNL movies, simply because most SNL skits can't be spun out into a full film and still remain amusing, and that should be obvious. For every Blues Brothers there's an It's Pat, for every Coneheads there's a Night at the Roxbury, for every Wayne's World there's a The Ladies Man or Stuart Saves His Family. And Blues Brothers 2000 was sad for reasons unrelated to it being an SNL movie.
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Old 03-13-2020, 08:53 AM
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Counterpoint: Sharknado
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Old 03-13-2020, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Pantastic View Post
TV shows and movies are made by a large number of people collaborating, so there are usually some checks and balances on really bad ideas percolating to the big or little screen. What are some of the things done in TV and Movies that you can't believe they managed to think were a good idea? I'm not talking about things like replacing an actor because the original one left or things that were just executed badly, I'm looking for things that are so bad it seems like everyone would realize it would flop but for some reason it happened anyway.

For example, one of the attempted spinoffs from the Babylon 5 TV show Legend Of The Rangers came up with a really bizarre-looking idea for a fire control on a spaceship, where the gunner would be suspended in midair and would control the guns by punching and kicking at enemy ships. It was a weird, goofy-looking, grossly impractical setup, and I just don't see how anyone thought hovering kung fu spareship fighting complete with screaming was going to come off looking good to an audience, even back in the early 2000s. Here's a clip of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZapAjjTDbh4 , digging up this clip for another thread is what prompted me to post this one.
For every show that makes it on the air, there are literally hundreds of pilots that are written, cast, and filmed, and don't make it.

I think some times the decision makers are not thinking in terms of what they like, but in terms of what they imagine some strawman audience would like. Much of the TV industry at the top is coastal urban educated upper-middle class people making shows for the rest of America, so you can imagine there is often a disconnect.

But as to your example of the marionette kung-fu fighter, well, that is just one aspect of show rather than the whole story. I can only imagine a late night creative session going off the rails - "What if they have a cat with laser beam eyes? Or OR OR a guy (giggle) who hangs by wires and uses kung fu moves to fight spaceships! THAT WOULD BE AWESOME! No, really guys. We have to do that!"
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Old 03-13-2020, 09:24 AM
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Counterpoint: Sharknado
See, that is what makes it hard. If quality was the only indicator of success, this would be a lot easier.
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Old 03-13-2020, 09:32 AM
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Old 03-13-2020, 10:29 AM
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The Madonna Guy Ritchie remake of Swept Away. The original is about a rich lady and a sailor who get marooned on an island and he beats and rapes her until she falls in love with him. It is probably one of the most sexist movies ever made, and is only thought of as a classic because it is supposed to be an allegory of marxist class conflict.
How they thought a remake would be appropriate after the fall of the USSR and the introduction of feminism is mystifying.
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Old 03-13-2020, 10:36 AM
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See, that is what makes it hard. If quality was the only indicator of success, this would be a lot easier.
Exactly. For every George Lucas ca. 1976 there's an Ed Wood ca. 1958.
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Old 03-13-2020, 10:41 AM
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Here's a clip of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZapAjjTDbh4 , digging up this clip for another thread is what prompted me to post this one.
Jesus that was painful
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Old 03-13-2020, 10:53 AM
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Most SNL movies, simply because most SNL skits can't be spun out into a full film and still remain amusing, and that should be obvious. For every Blues Brothers there's an It's Pat, for every Coneheads there's a Night at the Roxbury, for every Wayne's World there's a The Ladies Man or Stuart Saves His Family. And Blues Brothers 2000 was sad for reasons unrelated to it being an SNL movie.
FYI Stuart Saves His Family is another exception: it was directed by Harold Ramis, who also did Groundhog Day and Caddyshack. It's worth your attention. It has heart and depth behind the comedy.
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Old 03-13-2020, 10:55 AM
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How about a remake of "What Women Want" told from the other side?

I present "What Men Want."

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7634968/
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Old 03-13-2020, 11:14 AM
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In 1993, ABC gave Paula Poundstone her own variety show. It aired on Saturday nights (mistake 1.) Unfortunately, I can't find a clip of it, so you'll have to settle for this review of Epsiode 2.

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Originally Posted by Variety
Show’s looniness hits its peak as Poundstone, in the studio, interviews via satellite four economists who are riding spinning cups at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk and who shout out answers to her questions such as “Should the government regulate private business?” (Lest things even approach seriousness, a barbershop quartet sings as they also ride the spinning cups.)

As a Halloween treat, Sam Donaldson reads from Maurice Sendak. (“I don’t know how we tricked Sam Donaldson into this,” Poundstone later wonders.)
There was no Episode 3.

Last edited by Kent Clark; 03-13-2020 at 11:14 AM.
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Old 03-13-2020, 11:22 AM
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Who Greenlighted Hogan's Heros?
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Old 03-13-2020, 11:31 AM
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My Mother The Car. Probably the most inconceivable, absurd, POS to ever sail across the public airwaves
You say this because you're not Canadian and never saw The Trouble With Tracy.
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Old 03-13-2020, 11:50 AM
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In 1993, ABC gave Paula Poundstone her own variety show. It aired on Saturday nights (mistake 1.)
I saw the first episode, which was very uneven. The problem most of the show was ad-libbed, which meant a lot just fell flat.
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Old 03-13-2020, 12:05 PM
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My Mother The Car. Probably the most inconceivable, absurd, POS to ever sail across the public airwaves
I haven't actually seen an episode of My Mother the Car, but just as counterpoint was the premise really that much more absurd than say Mr. Ed, or Bewitched?
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Old 03-13-2020, 12:13 PM
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Who Greenlighted Hogan's Heros?
Well, since it's (mostly) based on "Stalag-17", an Academy Award winning picture, based on a successful Broadway play, that was proposed as a TV series a few years earlier, it makes a bit more sense. The translation to comedy certainly stands out as an interesting choice.
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Old 03-13-2020, 12:14 PM
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Missed the edit window, but for my nomination, I pick The Greatest American Hero. Years ago there was a bit of a revival in interest in the show, and one of the cable networks (maybe SyFy?) ran a marathon of all the episodes. I tuned in to a few thinking it might be fun in a kitschy, "so bad it's good" kind of way. It wasn't. It basically just felt like a bad 1980s cop show that happened to include a superhero.
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Old 03-13-2020, 12:51 PM
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FYI Stuart Saves His Family is another exception: it was directed by Harold Ramis, who also did Groundhog Day and Caddyshack. It's worth your attention. It has heart and depth behind the comedy.
And there was a whole SNL skit "selling" a book full of Caddyshack quotes so you could pretend you'd seen it.

I'll check it out.
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Old 03-13-2020, 12:56 PM
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Wow was that punching-lasers-in-space clip from the OP ridiculous. I'm surprised that's not a GIF meme to signify nonsensical flailing at big problems.
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Old 03-13-2020, 12:57 PM
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You say this because you're not Canadian and never saw The Trouble With Tracy.
Neither compare to the stupidity of a sitcom with Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun as main characters. Their neighbors are a Jewish couple!!!!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heil_Honey_I%27m_Home!

Last edited by dorvann; 03-13-2020 at 12:57 PM.
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Old 03-13-2020, 01:01 PM
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I haven't actually seen an episode of My Mother the Car, but just as counterpoint was the premise really that much more absurd than say Mr. Ed, or Bewitched?
Plenty of absurdity going around back then wasn't there?. We can add The Flying Nun to the mix too.
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Old 03-13-2020, 01:42 PM
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Missed the edit window, but for my nomination, I pick The Greatest American Hero. Years ago there was a bit of a revival in interest in the show, and one of the cable networks (maybe SyFy?) ran a marathon of all the episodes. I tuned in to a few thinking it might be fun in a kitschy, "so bad it's good" kind of way. It wasn't. It basically just felt like a bad 1980s cop show that happened to include a superhero.
I doubt 44 episodes would be concidered a "flop." (And I wouldn't concider GAH "bad" so much as "good.")
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Old 03-13-2020, 01:55 PM
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I doubt 44 episodes would be concidered a "flop." (And I wouldn't concider GAH "bad" so much as "good.")
Yeah, it seems like it'd be horrible, but the personalities of Ralph* and Agent Maxwell* saved it. Robert Culp was so self-important as he chewed a lot of scenery. Perfect for a great just-over-the-top FBI agent.




*WHY the hell do I remember these things, and not important stuff?
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Old 03-13-2020, 02:01 PM
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Anything by Lars von Trier.
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Old 03-13-2020, 02:07 PM
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My Mother The Car. Probably the most inconceivable, absurd, POS to ever sail across the public airwaves
Ironically, Jerry Van Dyke turned down Gilligan because he thought the island was too strange.
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Old 03-13-2020, 02:19 PM
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Neither compare to the stupidity of a sitcom with Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun as main characters. Their neighbors are a Jewish couple!!!!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heil_Honey_I%27m_Home!

But then you also have JoJo Rabbit and The Producers.

Or a movie like Tropic Thunder where 90% of it is Robert Downy Jr in blackface.



A lot of ideas seem like they should be stupid or offensive or at least simply unfunny, but for some reason they end up working.
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Old 03-13-2020, 02:29 PM
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But then you also have JoJo Rabbit and The Producers.
And Look Who's Back.
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Old 03-13-2020, 02:31 PM
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Cop Rock?

The show only lasted 11 episodes and the cast broke the fourth wall in the final episode to sing with the crew.
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Old 03-13-2020, 02:47 PM
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Cop Rock?

The show only lasted 11 episodes and the cast broke the fourth wall in the final episode to sing with the crew.
This - painful to watch even for a moment
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Old 03-13-2020, 03:17 PM
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My Mother The Car. Probably the most inconceivable, absurd, POS to ever sail across the public airwaves
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I haven't actually seen an episode of My Mother the Car, but just as counterpoint was the premise really that much more absurd than say Mr. Ed, or Bewitched?
Well, there's absurd and absurd. When My Mother the Car debuted, one TV critic commented the joke wasn't the show's premise but the fact a show with that premise was green-lit by a major TV network thereby making it one joke less than a one-joke show. Amazingly, many of the writers for My Mother the Car went on to create and write some of best-regarded shows of the 70s and 80s like Barney Miller and Mary Tyler Moore (e.g., James L. Brooks got his start on the show).

Anyway, I've said this before but, from the hindsight of more than 50 years, one can't avoid thinking drugs were behind the show's production, placement on NBC's schedule, and popularity among a small cult of viewers during its run. The premise of "My Mother the Car" seems like the product of an LSD trip, its approval by the networks suggests a decision made after too many martinis, and the fact enough people watched it to keep it alive for one season suggests there was already a segment of the viewing public that liked to watch TV while "herbally enhanced."
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Old 03-13-2020, 03:22 PM
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This - painful to watch even for a moment
I must disagree. I loved Cop Rock from the first episode and I still miss it a little.
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Old 03-13-2020, 03:28 PM
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The Secret Life of Desmond Pfeiffer. A sitcom about a Black butler of Abraham Lincoln who was the one who ran the White House. Lincoln was shown as an absolute dolt. Everyone hated it.
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Old 03-13-2020, 04:14 PM
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Or a movie like Tropic Thunder where 90% of it is Robert Downy Jr in blackface.
He’s not in blackface, he’s a dude playing the dude, disguised as another dude!!


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Well, since it's (mostly) based on "Stalag-17", an Academy Award winning picture, based on a successful Broadway play, that was proposed as a TV series a few years earlier, it makes a bit more sense. The translation to comedy certainly stands out as an interesting choice.

The writers of Stalag 17 sued the producers of Hogan’s Heroes for infringement and lost. You and I may feel one was based on the other but a judge disagreed.
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Old 03-13-2020, 04:18 PM
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The Secret Life of Desmond Pfeiffer. A sitcom about a Black butler of Abraham Lincoln who was the one who ran the White House. Lincoln was shown as an absolute dolt. Everyone hated it.
That show's show's premise was only the second reason why I hated it. My main objection was it was an unauthorized and badly executed knock-off of Blackadder the Third. I think even if the show had held on for a little longer, it would've been sued out of existence by Ben Elton and Richard Curtis.
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Old 03-13-2020, 04:50 PM
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The writers of Stalag 17 sued the producers of Hogan’s Heroes for infringement and lost. You and I may feel one was based on the other but a judge disagreed.
I'm aware of the lawsuit.

But it was based on Stalag 17.
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Old 03-13-2020, 04:54 PM
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That show's show's premise was only the second reason why I hated it. My main objection was it was an unauthorized and badly executed knock-off of Blackadder the Third. I think even if the show had held on for a little longer, it would've been sued out of existence by Ben Elton and Richard Curtis.

The idea that you can just take a successful English show and convert it to an American show while keeping only the jokes, sometimes completely misses the point.
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Old 03-13-2020, 05:03 PM
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Just thought of a classic: Theodore Rex. (Link is to the whole movie, if you dare watch it.)
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Old 03-13-2020, 05:36 PM
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I must disagree. I loved Cop Rock from the first episode and I still miss it a little.
Same here. Some of the songs were very touching. I'm wondering if network pressure killed it more.
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Old 03-13-2020, 06:15 PM
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Missed the edit window, but for my nomination, I pick The Greatest American Hero. Years ago there was a bit of a revival in interest in the show, and one of the cable networks (maybe SyFy?) ran a marathon of all the episodes. I tuned in to a few thinking it might be fun in a kitschy, "so bad it's good" kind of way. It wasn't. It basically just felt like a bad 1980s cop show that happened to include a superhero.
Small aside: back when that show was on the air I happened to sit near the star, William Katt, on an airplane flight. Damn but he was full of himself. He was sitting next to an attractive young woman and he would not stop talking at her, bragging about how he was a glamorous actor. All I could think was "dude, not sure you have that much to brag about. Also, you're sitting coach, which kind of suggests you aren't as famous and wealthy as you're trying to present yourself."
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Old 03-13-2020, 06:23 PM
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Cavemen, a short-lived sitcom featuring the GEICO Cavemen.
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Old 03-13-2020, 06:45 PM
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Small aside: back when that show was on the air I happened to sit near the star, William Katt, on an airplane flight. Damn but he was full of himself. He was sitting next to an attractive young woman and he would not stop talking at her, bragging about how he was a glamorous actor. All I could think was "dude, not sure you have that much to brag about. Also, you're sitting coach, which kind of suggests you aren't as famous and wealthy as you're trying to present yourself."
Scary that he thought he could pull it off with that haircut sitting on his head.

And hey! I like My Mother the Car.. Check out an episode or two on YouTube and judge for yourself. (Avery Schreiber is always fun to watch)
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Old 03-13-2020, 08:18 PM
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Sextette, a sex farce about a woman who is irresistable to men played by...
a 84 year old Mae West.
Pink Lady, a variety show from 1980. Let's count the errors here
--Variety shows are virtually DOA and hoplessly unhip by this time
--Lead artists are virtually unknown in the U.S.
--The director hates the show
--And oh yeah, the lead artists don't speak English. At all.
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Old 03-13-2020, 08:42 PM
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The idea that you can just take a successful English show and convert it to an American show while keeping only the jokes, sometimes completely misses the point.
Coupling was a comedy written by Steven Moffat that ran for 4 series and 28 episodes in Britain. There are several entertaining and innovative episodes.

NBC thought it would be great to Americanize the show, shorten the scripts and censor the jokes. Coupling lasted barely a month.
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Old 03-13-2020, 09:50 PM
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Here's a clip of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZapAjjTDbh4 , digging up this clip for another thread is what prompted me to post this one.
In all fairness, that scene would probably look pretty cool if it were in an anime with a decent budget and art direction.

Also in all fairness, the Aegis defense system developed for the US Navy since the 1970s is capable of automatically tracking at least 100 targets simultaneously, and automatically engaging an unstated but "multiple" number of targets.

The hovering Kung Fu VR gunner is capable, by my count, of firing at no more than four targets at once. Five if you work in head-banging. Perhaps six, if you work in vigorous butt-shaking.
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Old 03-14-2020, 02:16 AM
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In all fairness, that scene would probably look pretty cool if it were in an anime with a decent budget and art direction.

Also in all fairness, the Aegis defense system developed for the US Navy since the 1970s is capable of automatically tracking at least 100 targets simultaneously, and automatically engaging an unstated but "multiple" number of targets.

The hovering Kung Fu VR gunner is capable, by my count, of firing at no more than four targets at once. Five if you work in head-banging. Perhaps six, if you work in vigorous butt-shaking.
Seven if the gunner was a male
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Old 03-14-2020, 02:32 AM
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I'd nominate "Tammy and the T-Rex" since someone else mentioned Theodore Rex.

It's a simple but effective premise done many times before, a hjgh school student literally bullied to death comes back to life and gets vengeance on his killers. The elephant in the room though is for whatever reason the writers thought the hook that would make this different is introducing a mad scientist (Bernie from Weekend At Bernies) who uses the dead student's brain (Paul Walker) to implant into his T-Rex robot for literally no reason stated in the film. So now a robot T-Rex with Paul Walkers brain decides to both get revenge on his killers and also get with his high school sweetheart (Denise Richards) as well. Not only is the story entirely bizarre and nonsensical, it has GIGANTIC tonal shifts, for example in one scene the T-Rex literally trips some bullies with his comically oversized foot. Then in the immediate aftermath decides to squish the bullies underneath his feet in a scene not played for laughs at all. There's scenes with Denise Richards and her gay friend doing all sorts of wacky things to hide the fact they're taking care of a giant dinosaur in their backyard, only to have scenes where the T-Rex gorily dismembers people like something out of the Carnosaurs movies. These shifts were so jarring they wound up significantly cutting down the gore and marketing it as a PG-13 wacky teen comedy as opposed to the R rated blood soaked horror film it had originally been intended as. They actually re-released the original R rated cut a few months ago, and seeing the original actual gore makes the opposing comedy bits even more shocking.
  #49  
Old 03-14-2020, 04:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by installLSC View Post
Sextette, a sex farce about a woman who is irresistable to men played by...
a 84 year old Mae West.
I attended the premier showing of that with a date in San Francisco. Apparently Mae West in her later years became something of a campy cult thing among the gay community, which is what most of the audience was I think.

Mae West herself appeared on stage in person for that. Accompanied by six hulking buff oiled body builders. She and they walked out on stage, she waved to the audience and said hello while the body builders all stood around flexing their muscles. Then she walked off. That was the whole appearance. One may suppose that most of the audience were more interested in seeing the body builders. Both in the movie and on stage, Miss West was heavily, massively, profoundly, almost grotesquely, made-up.

I don't recall the movie itself being particularly bad or good. Just utterly forgettable.
  #50  
Old 03-14-2020, 04:21 AM
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Doctor Dolittle, the 1998 movie starring Eddie Murphy as Dr. Dolittle.

All I really remember from the movie is that it was a compendium of toilet humor and butt jokes. The Wikipedia article for the movie says it was "received warmly by audiences who praised its humor and thematic profundity. It has become a cult classic in recent years due to Murphy's performance, despite receiving mixed reviews from film critics upon release." Sorry, I don't see that.

I thought it stank because it was just a bunch of crude humor. It had essentially no connection whatsoever with the Doctor Dolittle of the Hugh Lofting books, beyond being a doctor who could talk to animals. The characterization was utterly unrelated to the Doctor of the Lofting stories; the regular cast of the Doctors animals wasn't there (no Polynesia, Jip, Gub-Gub, or any of the others); and it was set on contemporary San Francisco.

Time Magazine agreed with me. In their annual list of "Top Ten (and one worst)" of everything in the year, they gave it the distinction of being the worst movie.
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