An Alf Movie?: 5 Crazy Ideas for Movie Remakes

Remember Alf? He's back! Not in pog form, though, the furry alien from Melmac that dominated sit com universe of the late 80s is supposedly coming to the silver screen. Over 20 years since Alf first aired, it's hard to explain just how huge he was at his prime. The television series was one of many odd high concept shows that proliferated in that time period, like Small Wonder and Silver Spoons, but Alf was king of them all. The story of a lost alien living with a typical suburban family seemed to strike a chord with the TV viewers of America. Perhaps it was something in Alf's back story — he was a refugee to Earth, his planet destroyed in a cataclysmic nuclear accident — that spoke to a nation just entering the final days of the cold war and coming to terms with so many decades of a nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union. In one of his earliest episodes, Alf even contacted the president to warn him about the folly of nuclear war. Who would have thought that the only thing standing between us and complete nuclear destruction would be the heart-felt pleas of a single fuzzy puppet? (I have a friend who likes to credit Big Country's Peace in Our Time with ending the cold war, but I ascribe to the puppet view of history myself.) Okay, so in reality, Alf didn't actually save us from nuclear armageddon (That we know of, at least). He was just a goofy sit com character who told obnoxious jokes and ate cats. Pretty risque for the time! can you imagine someone who eats people's pets becoming a big star today? In any event, it's still odd to think that studios believe there's enough interest in Alf to warrant a feature movie. Sure, those of us who grew up with Alf will probably go to see his big screen debut out of nostalgia, but will he appeal to today's kids? Word is that the new Alf won't be a mangy puppet like his predecessor, but a slick CGI construct. That might encourage younger audiences to suspend their disbelief a little easier. Hollywood is fond of reimagining old sitcoms, cartoons, and video games as movies. Some seem like they should be a natural fit — Land of the Lost might have been an obscure series, but the idea of a lost world populated by dinosaurs is ripe for the big budget treatment. Others just leave you scratching your head, like Car 54, Where Are You? Why did anyone think that this TV show deserved a movie? Is there a vocal population of Car 54 fans out there that we're somehow missing? Regardless of our thoughts on the matter, Hollywood will continue to take this track for the foreseeable future. Remakes are more bankable than original stories — a pre-existing property will already have a legion of fans who can be counted on to shell out money for tickets. We've already seen movies based on Scooby Doo, The Smurfs, He-Man, Leave it to Beaver and so many other shows…what could be next? Here are my picks for what I'd like to see made into films:

[image:blog_post:14765]1) The Far Side — Another great relic of the late 80s, The Far Side helped revolutionize the comics page by popularizing the one-panel strip and by constantly pushing the envelope on acceptable humor. Surprisingly, there actually HAS been a Far Side movie. It was called "Tales from the Far Side" and aired as a Halloween special in 1994. But we're still hoping for a live action movie, because it would be interesting to see who they'd cast to play Larson's distinctive beehived, horn-rimmed glasses wearing characters. And what about all those cows and dinosaurs? A creative and resourceful director could have a lot of fun with this source material.

[image:blog_post:14766]2) Lidsville — We've already seen a Land of the Lost movie, so why not bring Sid and Marty Kroft's most psychedelic series of all to life again? This show about a world of giant talking hats — yes, hats — probably frightened more children than any other show on TV. In fact, considering how many people would watch this just out of disbelief, it's atrnge to think no one i nHollywood's jumped on it yet! The only question is who could possibly replace the immortal Charles Nelson Reilly?

[image:blog_post:14767]3) Dinosaucers — The late 80s was the heyday of high concept TV cartoons like Bravestarr (Cowboys in space!) and Pirates of Dark Water (Pirates in space!), but this surprisingly silly series about dinosaurs from space takes the cake. Even knowing the premise, viewers were unprepared for just how outlandish Dinosaucers could get. Both heroes and villains were completely unprepared for life on Earth and most of the series revolved around having them misinterpret television commercials. (In one episode, the villains became convinced that GI Joe action figures were real weapons after watching a TV ad.)

[image:blog_post:14768]4) Laff-A-Lympics — Hanna Barbera properties like Yogi Bear and The Flintstones have already become inexplicable live action movies, so why not go all the way? Laff-A-Lympics brought the entire Hanna Barbera roster together to compete in a series of faux Olympic games for… well, the reasons were never exactly clear. Did the teams represent different countries? Just what was going on here? It never really mattered, since the series was probably more intended to make sure that second string characters like Wally Gator and Yakky Doodle remained high in the public consciousness. The big question is who could they get to fill in for Dick Dastardly?

[image:blog_post:14769]5) Mr. Belvedere — This comedy about a proper English butler who starts working for a regular American family (possibly because he lost a bet of some kind) was a surprising hit in its day. Now that its competitor Alf is destined for the big screen, could Mr. Belvedere be far behind? There are endless possibilities for weird things to turn into movies. What would you like to see become a movie? On the other hand, what would be the worst idea to become a movie?

6 COMMENTS

  1. I’m with you – I think a movie of “Car 54” has got to be one of the biggest flops… I remember watching the TV show as a kid and thought it was stupid then. The only people it might appeal to are 50+ years old who remember the show, I think, unless they can “cutes-a-fy” it by making it out to be like the popular “Cars” animated movie for kids.

    Many of the popular 1960s and 1970s shows were made into movies; some successfully, others poorly: the Muppet Show, Gilligan’s Island, Charlie’s Angels, Brady Bunch, Get Smart, Bewitched, Batman, Beverly Hillbillies, the Avengers, The Addams Family, Star Trek. I’d love to see “The Andy Griffith Show” on the big screen. There was something sweet and innocent about that era and that show. And “WKRP” from the 1970s was so cool… but I don’t think I’d ever want to see “Green Acres” or “Gomer Pyle” made into a movie!

  2. I don’t know. I am gonna be the old grouch here and say… remakes are boring. Most of them don’t appeal to me too much. Many times I sat and watch the trailer of a remake (ie. batman, gilligan’s island, etc.) and couldn’t wait to see it… then what a disappointment. Just about everytime. Like the comic action remakes, they always have the same stale plot. Sure, there are few awesome graphics here nad there, but I am not too excited about remakes anymore. I do miss the Clint Eastwood westerns or the “They call Me Nobody” Terrence Hill italian spagehatti westerns. Ok. I like westerns and especially those with a hero!

  3. I think remakes are only a big thrill if you happened to grow up with the original, then you might get a kick out of them for nostalgia. But nostalgia only goes so far and when filmmakers rely on it too much instead of including an interesting storyline… then you end up with the boring remakes we’ve been seeing so often. Nothing can compare with those classic Clint westerns, like “High Plains Drifter” or “Pale Rider.” Though my fave western has always been “The Great Silence,” and it’s not even set in the west. It’s funny when you think that the only film that even approaches that great western feel in recent years has been “Rango” and that’s a kids’ cartoon!

  4. Yeah but “Rango” was well done… as an adult you should see it. It spoofs the western genre, but in a very pleasing way. And it has characters that are based on the old western movies from long ago, which is thrilling. I was telling my grand-daughter about who each character represents – down to “The Man With No Name” Clint Eastwood character, a Lee Marvin-type character, Walter Brennan character, a Snake named Jake who is the spitting [no pun intended] image of Lee Van Cleef “Angel Eyes” and, oddly, a scene from “Leaving Las Vegas” has a cameo role. Although animated the movie follows “rules” for westerns like the Standoff Shot – low angle at the cowboy’s hand point of view. And an entertaining villain reminiscent of the 1960s era bad guys.

    I’m with you, Ed, I enjoy Spaghetti Westerns – hence I knew a lot of the characters from this movie!

  5. I was impressed that they had a background rabbit character based on Klaus Kinski’s hunchback character from “For a Few Dollars More”!

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