WHAT IS THE PROBLEM here? In the past few years, Hollywood has discovered the bigscreen potential for old TV shows. The “Star Trek” movies brought this issue to the forefront, and it was confirmed with the huge openings of films like “The Addams Family” and “Wayne’s World.” Now, from the on-the-shelf “Car 54, Where Are You?” to the imminent “The Flintstones” to the just-announced “Sgt. Bilko,” there are 20 to 30 such projects planned.
A few dozen projects out of hundreds of possibilities? What is the holdup? It’s time to stop with the TV trickle: Studio exex should cancel everything else in development and concentrate on filming TV shows. Only when everything has been translated to the bigscreen does Hollywood need to fall back on other, less interesting fare like original scripts or adaptations of plays and novels.
TV is rich with possibilities, from all kinds of sources: imagine Louis Gossett Jr. in “Montel Williams — The Movie,” Linda Hunt in “My Little Margie,” or Shelley Winters in the thriller “I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up.”
Well, what are you waiting for? How many more ideas does Reel Life have to give you? Oh, all right, for those development exex who are stumped, here are some helpful hints to get you started. No, no, don’t thank us. Just send cash.
“I Dream of Jeannie”– Director Zalman King’s spicy exploration of the relationship between an astronaut and a voluptuous woman in harem pants who calls him “Master” and is eager to do his bidding. Starring Mickey Rourke, Kim Basinger.
“Victoria’s Oil”– Complex, fascinating medical drama about Victoria Jackson, who helps women who are despondent about their inability to find good makeup. Victoria: Connie Selleca.
“Scooby-Doo: The Motion Picture”– Spectacular, effects-laden adventure about a giant dog who solves a crime in a haunted house. Scooby-Doo: Dolph Lundgren.
“Cagney & Lacey”– Two women cops, working in a roughhouse man’s world, struggle to solve crimes and still retain their femininity. Cagney: Dame Edna Everage. Lacey: Jaye Davidson.
“Psychic Friends Hotline”– David Cronenberg gorefest, with the leaders of two psychic groups battling for control of the planet. Starring Dionne Warwick, LaToya Jackson.
“The Ed Sullivan Show”– Spectacular, effects-laden adventure with Sylvester Stallone as the host of a variety show, solving the mysterious disappearance of Topo Gigio (Joe Pesci).
“Naked City”– Billy Baldwin, finally, fully frontal.
“Taster’s Choice”– After about three years of 30-second foreplay, two neighbors (Rachel Ward, Sam Neill) finally get it on.
“Murder, She Wrote”– Shocking suspense pic about a detective (Tom Cruise) on the trail of a seemingly kind authoress (Angela Lansbury) who commits a ritual murder every week, and gets away with it by always pinning the blame on someone else.
“The Jeffersons”– Movin’ on up to the Eastside, with a few alterations made for the film, in the hopes of appealing to wider demographics. George Jefferson: Steve Martin. Weezie: Dianne Wiest. Florence: Lily Tomlin.
“The People’s Court”– Robert Altman ensemble piece, with more than 60 stars in cameos as themselves, acting out scenes from their various sexual harassment suits, contract disputes, custody proceedings and out-of-court settlements.
“Three’s Company”– Slapstick merriment ensues when an oversexed bachelor moves in with two attractive women, one blonde and one brunette. Starring Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, Soon-Yi Previn.
“The Tonight Show”– Dark backstage melodrama about battles for control of late night. Helen Kushnick: Glenn Close.
“The Brady Bunch”– Warm-hearted comedy, as a battle over use of the bathroom leads Mike and Carol (Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy) to conclude that maybe the kids are old enough to move out on their own. Marcia, Jan, Cindy: Sally Field, Sissy Spacek, Bernadette Peters. Greg, Peter, Bobby: Tom Selleck, Ted Danson, Steve Guttenberg. Alice: k.d. lang.
“Hazel”– Together at last: Macaulay Culkin and David Lynch, in another of the writer-director’s explorations of the dark underside of sunny suburbia. Hazel: Diane Ladd. Mr. B: Charles Grodin.
“Leave It to Beaver”– Sharon Stone in the kind of role that made her famous.
“Lawrence Welk — The Motion Picture”– Spectacular, effects-laden adventure about a bandleader who thwarts a madman’s plans to destroy the world with a giant bubble machine, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger (“I’ll be back — oftah dese commuhcial messages”). Champagne Lady: Linda Hamilton. Bobby & Cissy: Siegfried & Roy.