1) the superb Simon Pegg/Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) sitcom SPACED is finally getting a US DVD release. No word yet on whether music has been changed, but either way this is fantastic news. Quite possibly the greatest nerd sitcom ever will now be available to lesser geeks everywhere. (And by 'lesser' I simply mean unable to acquire/play DVDs from outside of the US easily. Us uber-geeks already own it on DVD due to thoughtful geek girlfriends.)
By now everyone knows there's a new "Knightrider" series coming, and most know that they've picked a Ford Mustang to 'play' KITT. Without getting too into detail, I think both of these ideas are terrible. Generally I'm against any remake on principle, but I'm willing to take a peek at your remake provided enough of the things that need to stay the same are, in fact, the same, and enough of the things that need to be different are, in fact, different.
If someone held a gun to my head and said that I have to create a new "Knightrider," as well as WATCH it when it's done, here's what I'd do:
KITT would not be different. In fact, I'd use one of the same '82 Trans-Ams. I wouldn't even wax it.
KITT would not be waxed up because he's been in storage for twenty years in a warehouse somewhere.
KITT would not be terribly happy about having been left alone in storage.
KITT would not be terribly SANE after having been left alone in storage.
Young upstart new 'driver' for KITT is a young Shia LeBouf-type
FLAG Industries has gone evil since KITT has been in storage, and has become a Blackwater-esque mercenary outfit helping the dictatorship government oppress/scare the masses into compliance, while fighting against terrorist attacks. (Did I mention this was set in the modern day?)
KITTs anger and craziness helps enable him to be used in attacks to bring down FLAG.
David Hasselhoff reprises his role as Michael Knight, except that Knight is now President. Evil President. He is not seen very much, usually on television. (So as to allow Hasselhoff's understandably busy touring schedule.)
Shia LeBouf's people are behind some of these so-called- terror attacks, and live largely off the grid so as to move about without dealing with the new inter-state travel cards all citizens must carry. They drive armored muscle cars. Running on biodiesel that they manufacture themselves.
Because life under this new regime is so bad, the economy has faltered considerably, meaning that much of the roadways around the country has fallen under disrepair, leaving only major through-ways maintained enough for travel. It is these roads that citizens use, presenting their ID cards so as to keep tabs on who is in what state at any given time. Our heroes do not use these roads.
There are other bands of less-civic-minded folk that just try to rob and pillage anyone daring enough to avoid the gov't roads. It is largely these people that our heroes concern themselves with from episode to episode; the A story is generally surrounding our heroes' efforts to help the little guy (like in the original show) while the B story often deals with the overall scheme of bringing down FLAG. Sometimes these bad guys have ties to FLAG which bring us closer to bringing them down.
KITT might actually be KARR, yet completely unaware of the fact.
A coworker asked me the other day if the film I've been calling "Will Smiff Is Legend" is based on something else. I explained that it was a book, which then spawned two different movie adaptations: "The Last Man on Earth" and "The Omega Man." This new version has an interesting pedigree, in that it was once going to be an Arnold Schwarzeneggar remake of "The Omega Man" until that fell through, and ALSO once an "I Am Legend" until THAT fell through as well. Then they got some of the people involved with both to kind of work together on this final version incorporating the good bits from each.
I'm not quite sure what to make of "Will Smiff Is Legend." On the one hand, all the shots I've seen of it look fantastic and I know Will is a great actor who -- provided the script calls for it -- will be able to pull off the 'grizzled, lonely, and angry' that encompasses the story. On the other hand, though, I keep picturing him with a sideways gun saying "aww HELL no" while bustin' caps into zompires from his motorcycle in slow motion. Call me equal parts excited and reluctant. (Also, is it even going to HAVE zompires? Remember in Jonathan Coulton's fantastic song RE: Your Brains, how the guy's zombified coworkers try to plead with him to come out because all they want to do is eat him? That's straight out of "I Am Legend," except the zombies in question were kind of a halfway-point between zombie and vampire; they rise from the grave and eat brains, but can be staked through the heart to kill them. Plus they're smart.)
On the subject of prior film adaptations, I highly, HIGHLY recommend the 1964 Vincent Price version entitled "The Last Man on Earth." It's a truly great film that I think does a good job of capturing the mood of the book while adding a few new things as well. The new ending they came up with is probably one of my favorite endings of all time, which leads me to believe "Will Smiff Is Legend" will not use it ;) On the plus side, the film is now in the Public Domain, meaning you can download it off the internet with impunity. If instantaneous blocky streaming flash video is your thing it can be found here on Google Video. If nicer quality -- and therefore a longer, more complicated download process -- is more your thing, it can be found here on The Pirate Bay without any fear of legal repercussions because this film was allowed to fall out of copyright like copyright law intended. Yay for properly functioning copyright law.
This post was written in July of last year, but my theory came up in conversation recently, so I figured I'd dredge it back up for those who didn't see it back then. I've reworked bits of it so that I sound a bit more coherent.
Know that crappy Jimmy Fallon/Drew Barrymore movie Fever Pitch? The one that got lots and lots of free advertising by having to "change the ending of the movie" to coincide with the Red Sox unexpectedly winning the World Series? Well, all that noise about having to quickly fix the movie is all a sham, possibly going as far as involving the rigging of the World Series itself. I haven't quite been able to put together all the pieces, but there are quite a few interesting elements involved.
During the weeks before the movie came out, I saw all the actors on show after show, talking about how amazing it was that the Red Sox actually won, how no one expected it, and how they had to actually change the ending of the movie. A huge deal was made out of this. "We were glad they won, but we had to hurry to come up with a new ending," and other things like that were said. It was almost as if they were going out of their way to make a big deal out of it -- almost too big a deal.
The first reason this didn't wash with me was that I happen to know the movie is a remake. I have seen the original, which happens to be a really excellent movie. Like in the remake, the main character is a man obsessed with his favorite team -- Arsenal, another real-life team that had not won a championship in forever -- and eventually has to choose between the woman he loves and his lifelong obsession with a failed team. The climax of the movie takes place during Arsenal's monumental real-life 1989 victory, a victory which he is now able to share with the woman he loves.
The big obvious question is: if you are going to remake a movie about a man who is obsessed with a losing team that has a completely unexpected victory at the climax, why on earth would you have the team not win in your new version? The claim that they had to "hurry to come up with a new ending" is preposterous. The "new" ending is now the same as the original movie's ending -- not to mention the fact that the book the original movie was based on ended exactly the same way as well. Nowhere was it mentioned that this movie had previously been made. Article after article about the the effect the Sox victory had on the production, but not one thing acknowledging that it wasn't an original screenplay. This was practically a cover-up.
Now lets move on to Stephen King. In his "back page" column in Entertainment Weekly, he reported the same story about how his friends the Farrelly Brothers had to hurriedly rewrite, re shoot and re cut the ending in record time because of the Red Sox win. He then also mentioned that thankfully his cameo didn't get cut out. Yes, Stephen King is in the movie. One of the the things I find most interesting about King is that he is a huge fan of movies and books. He watches and reads everything, frequently acknowledging that films are remakes in his EW commentary. There's simply no way that he hadn't either read the book or seen the original movie, yet he still helped spread the idea that they "came up with a new ending," completely omitting the detail that it was a remake. Why would he do this? Because he was in on it, that's why.
At the same time Fever Pitch was coming out, Stephen King had a book out about being a life-long Red Sox fan -- one that would have had little interest if the Red Sox had not actually surprised everyone by winning, but instead sold tons and tons of copies due to all the people who just had their obsessions validated. He just happened to pick the only year in history that his book would have made crap-loads of money. (Of course I mean other than the normal crap-loads of money he makes when he publishes anything.)
So in addition to Stephen King and 20th Century Fox, who else would profit from advance knowledge of the Red Sox winning the series? Wait a second, did I just say Fox?? Fox had the broadcast rights for the World Series at the time, and stood to make tons and tons of money by stretching out the series to 7 games, having the Red Sox finally pull it out. The Fox connection also came in handy while shooting the movie at the games. They actually couldn't shoot during the game due to league rules, but the camera operators at Fox would occasionally point the HD cameras at where Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore were sitting. It was then no problem to acquire that HD footage to splice into the movie during editing, thus nicely side-stepping the league's "no filming" policy. The scene where Drew and Jimmy ran out on the field was against rules as well. They didn't have permission, and according to Drew, they were trying to bribe security into letting them go out until they finally just ran past security onto the field. Of course the Fox camera operators were there to catch it in all its High-Def glory.
Not even going into possible mafia ties and illegal gambling facilities and bookies, there were quite a few people who stood to make quite a bundle off of this. I don't necessarily think that Fox faked the World Series just to promote their movie, but they definitely took advantage of it. To me, the questions still remaining are: who set it up, and who all was in on it? As someone who doesn't follow baseball, I don't know if there were any fishy calls that could point to crooked officials, or whether or not the Yankees would have to be in on it as well.
Even without all the information, it seems pretty clear to me that something funny went on.
This is where I got tired of copying and pasting and searching for merchandise. The CBS site alone has tons and tons of this crap, not to mention all the merch available for the spinoff shows such as CSI: Miami, CSI: New York, CSI: Lancaster (Amish Country) and the upcoming CSI: Acadamy (think a mashup between Saved By the Bell and CSI) OK, so I made up CSI: Lancaster, but I bet that would be alot more watchable than any of the existing CSIs.