John Lyttle on cinema

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Indy Lifestyle Online
It's funny how you can get fond of trash. I don't think I ever smiled once at The Beverly Hillbillies - no, not even when Grannie was being feisty and the laughtrack worked overtime - so the appalling screen version shouldn't seem a sacrilege. Not the way the forthcoming live action movie of The Flintstones is a sacrilege (38 writers and one joke: how is this possible?)

Yet if you're a TV generation baby, both films grate on the nerves. Whatever your fondness for individual series and eagerness to perhaps see them translated into movies, your childhood is still being lazily raided. The cynicism is staggering. Hey, let's not think of plot, let's just get an option on a proven property with great demographics.

The energy and art has gone into the deal, not the product. The producers of the Clampett saga were so confident we'd buy the goods, that they didn't even bother casting from the A or B lists. I mean, Cloris Leachman and Jim Varney, p-l-e-a-s-e. . .

Who needs front rank stars when it's the characters/stereotypes that are important? Besides, the lack of big names didn't hurt The Addams Family, did it? No, it didn't - but then The Addams Family not only ensured that its actors resembled the original templates, it ensured that Anjelica Huston and Raul Julia could act.

But then standards are always better at the beginning of a cycle, before the formula is set and greed displaces playfulness. Batman exceeded its camp brief and The Addams Family had genuine moments of subversion. They weren't content to be just television. The Beverly Hillbillies and The Flintstones are content - no, proud - to be less.

(Photograph omitted)

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