Tuesday, January 26, 2010


So, "House" creator David Shore & Steve Carell of "The Office" are producing a remake of the classic 70's detective series "The Rockford Files." As a fan of both the show and original star James Garner, you might think that I think that this is a terrible idea. And on one level it is. The original was pitch perfect and completely tied to its era. You had the trailer by the beach, the cool Camaro, the original model answering machine that opened every episode and the cooler than cool James Garner. It wasn't perfect, but boy was it entertaining.

That being said, if Carell and Shore can remember a few important facts, a remake might not be so bad. Here's what needs to happen for it to be good:

  • Jim Rockford is not House. He's not tortured or anti-social. Yeah, he's a little ticked off at being sent to prison for a crime he didn't commit (a theme that producer Stephen J. Canell would exploit a few years later in "The A-Team.") but he's a well adjusted professional doing his job. There are no deep, dark secrets. It's an old-fashioned detective show.
  • Jim Rockford doesn't like guns. He never carried one in the 70's and he sure doesn't need to carry one now.
  • Don't screw around with the theme song. No remixes, no reimagining, no new orchestration or lyrics. Just have the answering machine beep and hit the music.
  • Don't srew around with the car. You can have your General Lee's and your Kitt's and your A-Team vans, for my money the gold camaro was the quintessential cool TV show car.
  • Rockford is cool, so think about that when casting. Sam Rockwell would be a great choice, if you could get him to do TV. If not him, Michael Weatherly from NCIS is practically playing a version of Rockford every week.
  • His dad Rocky is an integral part of the show. You could do a lot worse than throwing a bunch of money at Bruce Campbell to play him.
  • Seriously...if it gets picked up as a series, DON'T SCREW AROUND WITH THE THEME.
So good luck David & Steve (if I can be so bold as to call you that, since we're old pals & all.) Don't mess this up. Make it fun. Make it exciting. And please, please...don't screw around with the theme.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Over The Hill Gang

Since I turn 41 on Saturday (and officially, in the words of a good friend, go from "Old Fart" to "Old #$%&") I thought it would be a good idea to take stock of what I like to call:

  • Shop at Hot Topic, or even walk past the store without looking like a Narc
  • Become a cast member of "Saturday Night Live"
  • Drink like I'm 25
  • Drink like I'm 35 (which is essentially the same thing as 25, but with the added pressure of needing to (a) get home and (b) having to pee every 15 minutes)
  • Dance in public without the aid of alcohol (technically, I've never been able to do that, but now I can blame it on my age rather than being, shall we say, "rhythmically challenged")
  • Use hip-hop slang credibly
  • Drive a sports car without looking like a middle-aged dorknozzle having a mid-life crisis
  • Play a professional sport (although my complete lack of athletic ability could also have something to do with it)
  • Wear a baseball cap backwards in public (see sports car above for why)
  • Die young
On the plus side, my advancing years do afford me some perks that I didn't know about:
  • I can watch shows on CBS unironically
  • My long, rambling boring stories can be seen as age-related rather than simply raging narcissism
  • I can use the phrase "Back in my day...." and really mean it
  • I can wear sweatpants 24/7 and out in public and nobody cares
So it's not all bad. I don't even feel guilty standing on my porch and yelling, "You kids get off my lawn!" while shaking my fist. Being a codger has its advantages.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Welcome To Con Air

Last night I revisited one of my favorite bad movies: the Michael Bay/Nicolas Cage extravaganza "Con Air." Oh Holy Night...this is one fantastic bad movie.

Now, by "bad movie," I don't mean it's not entertaining. I mean a movie that's so over-the-top and committed to it's goofiness that it's ridiculously fun to watch. I'd forgotten how gloriously stupid and funny "Con Air" was. I mean, when Steve Buscemi gives the most subtle performance in a film, you know you're in for a wild ride.

How do I love thee "Con Air?" Let me count the ways...

  • Nicolas Cage with a goofy accent and even goofier mullet
  • John Malkovich spitting and snarling like a rabid labradoodle
  • Not one, but two scenes of people walking away from a fireball in slow motion
  • The constant repetition of John Cusack's character's name (Vince Larkin) as if the audience is going to forget who he is
  • The beginning of director Michael Bay's love of extreme close-ups of sweaty men (a motif that also rears its head in "The Rock" and "Armageddon.")
  • The seizure inducing editing that makes you wonder if Bay's been tested for ADD
  • A climax that has the villain stabbed, thrown through the air, electrocuted and having his head squashed, Wile E. Coyote style.
  • John Cusack being the only action hero to ever help save the day in Huraches.
"Con Air" isn't just your average "turn off your brain" action flick. It's a "drink a bottle of tequila, smoke crack and give yourself a lobotomy with a screwdriver" action flick...and I dearly love it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Greatest Network Ever

One of Time Warner cable's newest offerings is RFD HD. I stumbled across it when I found out it shows "Hee Haw" (my love for which knows no bounds & for which I feel no shame.) But looking over their schedule shows me that RFD HD may be the Greatest Network Ever.

Ostensibly catering to rural viewers, RFD offers country music shows like the aforementioned "Hee Haw," "Pop Goes The Country," & even Nashville Netowrk vets Crook & Chase and Ralph Emery have shows. But where the hay really meets the bailer (to mangle a metaphor) is in their other original programming.

This is a network that gives an hour of prime time to a show about growing soybeans...another to a look at the 2009 cotton crop...not to mention something called "The Big Joe Polka Show.". It's like the farm shows that used to come on before cartoons on Saturday morning, only 24 hours a day.

It's so old school & charming that, while I'm mocking the programming, I admire it's earnestness. Goofy or not, RFD knows its market.