Streampix Watch: From Little Screen to Big: Eight Movies Based on TV Shows

Robert De Niro in "The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle.” (Universal Pictures)

With news of an “Entourage” movie ready to start filming, as soon as Adrian Grenier, Kevin Dillon and Jerry Ferraro sign on the dotted line, that is, and a Kickstarter-funded “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (a TV show originally made from a movie)—as well as previously successful TV shows-turned films like “Mission: Impossible,”  “Sex and the City,” “Star Trek” and “21 Jump Street”—we turn our attention to other motion pictures based on television series, all available on Streampix.

Here’s a list of eight TV shows which were made into feature films currently streaming for your viewing pleasure:

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle”: This 2000 feature took the world of Jay Ward’s famed animated Moose and Squirrel into live action, with Robert De Niro as “Fearless Leader,” Jason Alexander and Rene Russo as Russian spies Boris and Natasha, and, well, Rocky and Bullwinkle as their cartoon selves, the former voiced by squeaky June Foray, who did the honors on the TV show. The $76 million movie (which grossed a disappointing $35 million despite some decent reviews, including a three-star one from the late Roger Ebert) pulled out all the stops, with cameos by Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg and a cast that also included Piper Perabo, Randy Quaid, Janeane Garofalo, Carl Reiner, Jonathan Winters, John Goodman, “SNL” star Kenan Thompson, David Alan Grier, Don “Father Guido Sarducci” Novello, roastmaster Jeffrey Ross and Firesign Theater’s Phil Proctor. [Watch here]

Blues Brothers 2000”: The sequel to the original John Landis 1980 comedy starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd as itinerant bluesman Jake and Elwood, which itself was based on the famed skit originated on “Saturday Night Live,” with John Goodman attempting to fill the shoes of the late Belushi as Elwood’s new sidekick.  The movie, also directed by Landis, was dedicated to Belushi as well as Cab Calloway and John Candy, all three of which starred in the first movie and passed away before the second.  In fact, I still own the promotional Ray-Bans given away at the premiere. The film’s plot might have been skimpy, but the musical cast was anything but, with performances from a long list of superstars, many of whom are no longer with us, including James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, B.B. King, Steve Cropper, Donald “Duck” Dunn, Sam Moore, Eddie Floyd, Erykah Badu, Gary U.S.  Bonds, Eric Clapton, Clarence Clemons, Bo Diddley, Isaac Hayes, Dr. John, Jonny Lang, Junior Wells, Billy Preston, Lou Rawls, Koko Taylor, Travis Tritt, Steve Winwood and Paul Shaffer, among many others. [Watch here]

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Dudley Do-Right”: This 1999 feature was based on the animated cartoon about a square-jawed Canadian Mountie which was part of “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle” TV show. Brendan Fraser played the titular good guy, constantly on the search for the evil-doing (and aptly named) Snidely Whiplash (Alfred Molina), with Sara Jessica Parker as his beloved Nell and Monty Python’s Eric Idle co-starring. The $70 million film grossed a paltry $9 million, but is still worth a look-see for fans of the original, of which I am one. [Watch here]

Leave It to Beaver”: This 1997 motion picture reboot of one of TV’s most memorable ‘50s-‘60s sitcoms stars Christopher McDonald and Janine Turner as Ward and June Cleaver, with Cameron Finley playing the title role. The movie was written by TV veteran Brian Levant (“Mork and Mindy,” “Happy Days”), who also went on to give the likes of “The Flintstones” and “Scooby Doo” the big screen treatment. If you want to compare it with the original, see episodes of the original “Leave it to Beaver,” also on Streampix. [Watch here]

McHale’s Navy”: This 1997 version of the TV show (which ran on ABC from 1962-’66) features Tom Arnold in the original Ernest Borgnine title role, with Tim Curry as the “world’s second-best terrorist.” Borgnine himself gets a cameo, surrounded by a surprisingly robust cast featuring Dean Stockwell, David Alan Grier and Debra Messing.  The original sitcom, based on a one-shot drama, “Seven Against the Sea,” which was part of the 1962 “Alcoa Presents” series, about soldiers hiding out in the Pacific during World War II, also starred Tim Conway and Joe Flynn as McHale’s shipmates. [Watch here]

Sgt.Bilko”: Steve Martin takes the role of the legendary comic Phil Silvers in the hilarious ‘50s sitcom about life on an army base in this feature based on the TV series, “The Phil Silvers Show,” previously known as “You’ll Never Get Rich,” which won three consecutive Emmys for Best Comedy Series in its 1955-’59 run. The 1996 movie version also stars Dan Akroyd and the late Phil Harman. [Watch here]

Traffic”: This acclaimed 2000 crime drama about drug smuggling and addiction was directed by recent Emmy winner Steve Soderbergh (“Behind the Candelabra), an adaptation of the British Channel 4 TV series “Traffik.” The movie was nominated for Best Picture, winning four Oscars, including Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Benicio Del Toro), Best Adapted Screenplay (Stephen Gaghan) and Best Editing.  The film’s gripping episodic style was revolutionary, with a superb cast headed by Michael Douglas, Don Cheaedle, Dennis Quaid, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Del Toro. [Watch here]

Twilight Zone: The Movie”: This 1983 anthology film, based on the famed Rod Serling TV show, featured individual segments directed by John Landis, Steven Spielberg, Joe Dante and George Miller, with three homages to original episodes (including “Kick the Can,” “It’s  a Good Life” and “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”) and one brand-new one. Today, the ill-fated movie is probably best-known for the on-set helicopter accident which took the life of Vic Morrow and two child actors while filming the one new episode, Landis’ “Time Out.” Other stars include Albert Brooks and Dan Aykroyd in a suitably creepy prologue and John Lithgow, playing the William Shatner role in the memorable final segment about being the only passenger to see a creature on the wing of a plane. [Watch here]



The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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