Comic Book Curious

Top 5 Movies Based on TV Shows

July 20, 2021

Hollywood is always looking to other mediums for new movie ideas from adapting the most recent bestselling novel to filming a popular Broadway hit. Many movies have sought to give the big screen treatment to popular small screen shows. Sometimes these turn out disastrously (who really thought The Beverly Hillbillies should be a film?) but let’s look at 5 times it really did work.

5. The Addams Family (1991)

Director: Barry Sonennfeld

This is an interesting one because it’s a property that started as a comic strip then became a TV show; it’s also been a cartoon in both film and TV and is soon to be a live action Netflix series. But we’re talking about the live action film version from the ‘90’s that perfectly captured the offbeat and gothic charm of the ghoulish family. Every character is perfectly cast and the cinematography and set design are stupendous. The film proved popular enough to spawn a sequel, Addams Family Values that saw similar box office success.

4. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

Director: Guy Ritchie

The original 60’s spy series was the American answer to James Bond and presented a US/Soviet joint agency and the two mismatched spies who spend their days saving the world. The unique thing about this adaptation is that it keeps the time period and style of the series. Leaving things deep in the Cold War allows for a hip, fun visual style plus a very frosty relationship between the two central characters. Guy Ritchie’s visual flourishes and sense of humor make this stand out from the grimmer, more realistic spy-fare that had been dominating the market for so long.

3. The Brady Bunch Movie (1995)

Director: Betty Thomas

This is one of the most inventive adaptations of a series, moving the Bradys just as we remember them (flower patterns, bell bottoms, and all) into the 1990s. The culture clash of the sunny, old fashioned sitcom naiveté of the family colliding with the gritty real world depiction of 90s Los Angeles leads to a nonstop parade of hilarious jokes. The dead-on recreation of the show’s sets and costumes mixed with the totally straight faced performances of the very game cast really sell the cartoonish conceit of the film.

2. 21 Jump Street (2012)

Directors: Phil Lord & Chris Miller

One of the hippest shows of the 1980’s became one of the funniest movies of the 2010s. Taking the premise of undercover cops infiltrating a high school becomes a hilarious commentary on the lingering scars of teenage years. The lead characters played by Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill find that times have definitely changed since they were in high school as star athlete Tatum is now considered a loser and nerdy Hill is seen as the cool guy. Filled with crass humor and legitimately exciting action sequences this became a real crowd pleaser that spawned an equally popular sequel.

1. Mission: Impossible (1996)

Director: Brian De Palma

When it comes to movies based on television shows, some have been successful but none have had the absolutely massive financial and cultural impact of the Mission: Impossible franchise. With the 7th film in the series set to release next summer, it all started here. Tom Cruise stars as international superspy Ethan Hunt who must clear his name after he is framed for the murder of his team. This movie lays out many of the hallmarks audiences will come to associate with the franchise, hidden identities, unpredictable betrayals, and mind blowing stunts. A rare series that seems to get better with each film proves the longevity and popularity of the show it’s based on is absolutely timeless.

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