This week's release 21 Jump Street, thankfully, falls into the latter category. The big screen adaptation of the popular '80s cop show starring Johnny Depp is fast-paced, funny and even has a little heart. (And yes, Depp has a great cameo.) Stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum play well off of each other as the sensitive nerd and dumb beefcake, respectively.
As in the series, our two heroes are undercover cops based out of a run-down church on Jump Street. This time around, they get sent back to high school to infiltrate a deadly drug ring. This triggers major anxiety for Hill's character, since high school was no picnic for nerds in his day. Tatum's character, on the other hand, goes into the operation expecting to be big man on campus again.
Of course, once they get to school they realize everything has changed. This leads into one of the funniest scenes in the movie as they try to identify the new social order among today's teens who embrace nerdiness and doing good, as opposed to the nonchalant badasses and jocks who ruled the schoolyard when they were teens.
Hill is funny, charming and endearingly vulnerable as the nerd who gets a second chance at popularity. Tatum fills his jock role adeptly. (Although I must say -- I feel like I'm missing something when it comes to him. He just seems so generic. But I digress.)
It's refreshing to see an '80s remake actually done well. Which got us to thinking about other '80s TV shows we'd like to see on the big screen. (Done well, that is. No phoned-in cash grabs like The A-Team.)
1. Golden Girls. The original cast is irreplaceable, so no remake could even hope to be as good as the original. However, it's a solid concept that could translate into a pretty decent movie. Besides, we really could use some more flicks about women over 40. And not the plastic-Barbie-Demi Moore kind of women over 40. I'm thinking something funny, outrageous and even a little sexy, a la It's Complicated meets Grandma's Boy. Shirley Jones (The Partridge Family) would be great as sexpot Blanche.
2. ALF. Paul the stoner extraterrestrial was great, but as far as sassy aliens go, there's no topping ALF. I'm envisioning an action-comedy with ALF on a quest to rescue Rhonda, his Melmackian girlfriend, from some evil Area 51-types holding her captive for experiments. ALF's Willy-style nerdy best friend accompanies him on his journey.
3. Doogie Howser. It ain't easy being a child prodigy. The big screen adaptation could follow Doogie's quest to have some semblance of a normal teenage life. I'm thinking an Apatow-style dramatic comedy with heart.
4. Who's the Boss? I'm surprised this hasn't already been remade. After all, who doesn't like the idea of having a hunky housekeeper who becomes so-much-more? I'm envisioning a rom-com starring Mark Ruffalo and Drew Barrymore.
5. Perfect Strangers. We've seen the fish-out-of-water/free-spirit-loosens-up-uptight-businessman thing done time and again in movies. But there's something special about Larry and Balki that just might be worth revisiting on the big screen. Maybe Horrible Bosses co-stars Jason Bateman and Charlie Day could reunite as the uptight businessman and wacky distant cousin.
Any '80s TV shows you'd like to see made into movies?