Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Motel Management Recommends...

The Addams Family (the original television series)

They're creepy and they're kooky, mysterious and spooky, they're all together ooky, and you can't write a an article about them without saying that stuff first. Sorry. Anyways, yeah, gotta recommend you check this one out for the Halloween season, guys. There are 3 volumes on DVD, and they make up the whole show, though you also can buy the whole show in one set, which would have been nice, but when I found volume 1 cheap at Wal-Mart recently, I had to pick it up. I just couldn't wait. I was in the mood for some Addams Family. This is, of course, the original, black and white TV show from the 1960's. Now, a lot of you might prefer The Munsters. The shows basically ran at the same time. However, well, it's hard for me to pick a fave, but this show is certainly just as good as the Munsters, so why not just enjoy both, huh? I always did. I grew up with afternoon reruns of this stuff, and it certainly was a big influence on me. Then, the Addams Family movies came out in the 90's, I eventually developed a major Christina Ricci/Wednesday crush, and I also LOVED the animated series that followed the Ricci films. I'm a big Addams Family fan, I guess you could say, and did you know it is all based on a comic strip by the late Charles Addams? Somewhere, I've got a big book of those comics that I picked up during my Ricci obsession. Good stuff. Anyways, if you don't know it, this show is about a family that is strange in a goth sort of way. They're not all out monsters like the Munsters, and yet, they are probably far less "normal". Definitely the "darker" of the two families, yet they're very cheerful and happy to be such. They're just... different, and we love 'em that way. Yeah, most of the episodes are about people coming to see them and getting freaked out, but they're still really funny! John Astin's performance as patriarch Gomez is particularly great! And little Wednesday there, Lisa Loring, boy, did she turn into a knockout in the reunion Halloween special, "Halloween with the New Addams Family". Too bad that's not on DVD! Luckily, there IS a Halloween special in this volume one set. I can't say much about the other two volumes. This is all I have for now, but it's great to have on while you're working on your costume or doing whatever else you have to do this month. Highly recommended!

Oh, heck, might as well talk about the movies too! 

As I said, I was quite a fanatic for these films. I had all the merchandise and watched them several times in theaters, and I watched the cartoon series religiously too (incidentally, the 60's show also had a cartoon series; Never seen that one, but there IS a DVD available of it that I need to get sometime). The plots weren't anything spectacular. In both films, someone greedy is trying to steal the Addams fortune. This would happen with the old show too. The Addamses happen to be pretty well off. In the first film (starring Anjelica Huston, the late Raul Julia, and Christopher Lloyd), the scheme is to use an imposter of Uncle Fester to infiltrate the Addams home and find the secret vault. In the second film, Uncle Fester marries a black widow style murderess, the type who marries wealthy men and bumps them off for the money. The second film also has a subplot of Wednesday and Puglsey at summer camp, where Wednesday gets her first boyfriend, and there's a new baby in the Addams house too, little Pubert (interesting note, that was the original name Pugsley was going to have, but it was considered inappropriate at the time). All in all though, the main plots are nothing special, but this doesn't matter much. They are just enough to allow the showcasing of the real entertainment, the weirdness of the Addams Family! However, the writing is so good, and the acting as well, that these films do a great job at showing how even a tired plot like someone trying to steal the Addams' fortune can seem totally excellent! You won't be bored for a moment during these movies, which are visually gorgeous too, with fantastic music as well. Both are highly recommended. Lots of laughs, great performances, and fascinating visuals. This is a pair for the ol' DVD collection (hope they come to Blu-Ray soon), and definitely ones you'll want to watch plenty around the holiday season. Highly recommended!

As an added note, don't bother with the recent porn parody version. Very disappointing, ha. Look, porn parody people, just use Lexi Belle for all the characters I like, okay? If you can't get her, ask me for another suggestion. There are 4 or 5 other great ones. You probably wouldn't get much out of the Saban direct-to video-sequel to theses films, "Addams Family Reunion", either. Still, it stars Tim Curry, so might be worth a single viewing. I saw it once and don't really remember it. I might have to rewatch it, since I think I do have it around somewhere still. However, if you were a fan of the live action show from the 90's (I forget which cable network it was on, Family Channel maybe?), you may like Addams Family Reunion. Some of the actors (the kids for example) were the same. I never watched that show either, probably because I wasn't happy with the Wednesday in it as a choice to follow Ricci. However, the feature films and the original TV show have my highest recommendation! (nope, haven't seen the Broadway show yet; maybe it'll go on tour)  



  1. I have to admit, I am one of those that prefers The Munsters, but both shows are great 60s monster fun! I probably enjoy the Addams Family movies even more than the show. It was definitely better than most tv show movies are!

  2. John Astin was so amazing on the TV show as Gomez though, and he reprised the role in the 90's Saturday morning cartoon, when he must have been in his 60's at least, yet he sounded younger than ever! I just watched a couple of episodes last night.

    As for TV-based movies though, there ARE some really good ones out there. The Brady Bunch took an interesting and hilarious approach, as did Starsky and Hutch. And I could probably name some fantastic ones if I took the time to look up titles to remind me. Even Beverly Hillbillies was really underrated. Probably Lost in Space too, though I haven't seen that one in a while (need to get it, and Hillbillies too). And it may have helped the Addams Family that the movie was based as much on the original New Yorker comics as on the TV show, maybe even a little bit more.

    Now, another subgenre that doesn't get much love at all (except sometimes in terms of profits) is the classic cartoons turned live-action/CGI type of movie. I'll have to get into recommending some of these sometime. It seems like a lot of people write these films off unfairly without even seeing them, because they saw one or two they didn't like, or they just don't like CGI or the concept of live-action cartoons in general. Plus, it seems like so many people these days will hate a movie completely just because of one scene or some other, singular aspect. I prefer to weight every films pluses and minuses rather than to hate an entire film because of one issue I had with it (though, I admit, sometimes one scene CAN spoil everything).

  3. Funny, I was actually watching The Munsters last night (on Netflix)! :)

    Yes, I agree the Brady Bunch movies are exceptional as well. I say it's surprising because with campy shows like this you could see them not getting proper treatment, just the studio phoning it in to make a quick buck by slapping the name of a show on a movie, like The Honeymooners. I'm always glad when you can actually tell a real fan wrote the script.

    And I have to say I am one of those who does not care for most of the CGI/live action remakes. From the ones I have seen (Alvin & Garfield esp) they really lack the feeling of the original content and seem to be aimed more at building a new audience than appealing to the old one. I didn't even bother to watch The Smurfs because it looked so godawful! Yogi Bear is one I haven't seen yet, but from the previews actually seemed in keeping with the original. So, I'm not completely closed-minded, as there will always be pleasant surprises. :)

    1. Yogi Bear is definitely among the best of those. It has some awkward moments, but they have more to do with the human characters(on their own) being a bit too cheesy sometimes, ha. In truth, Ranger Smith should have been more of a hard-ass, ha. I have to disagree about Alvin and the Chipmunks though. The first particularly. I know it wasn't much like the 80's show, but I thought it did a good job capturing the original concept (with some aspects of the 80's show too). More of a back to basics kinda thing, and I really enjoyed everything about it. The sequel was not very good. I enjoy it because it has the Chipettes, but as a story it was pretty weak. They tried to make that one more like the 80's show, of course, but the Chipmunks should not have been starting school in High School, so that was problem number one right there, ha. Dave was barely in it, also, and the plot was mostly just about bringing the Chipettes into the picture, yet too similar to the first in that way, and Alvin was pretty annoying in it throughout. I suppose most people think the third film is the worst. I actually think that in some ways it is better than the second (once you get past the girls' dance-off early in the film. It reminds me a lot of the 80's show. The plot is contrived, sure, but that's the way those shows were a lot of the time, ha. It was very nostalgic for me because of that, ha.

      Garfield was kind of a mess, but I still thought they captured a lot of the feeling for both that one and the first and last Chipmunks films as well. The plot of Garfield, and especially the villain, reminded me of something straight out of a Garfield TV special or the TV series. Even the sequel to some degree did, and I find them both very enjoyable as a longtime Garfield fan. The parts I took issue with (and this is amazing that this happened, since Jim Davis was heavily involved (in the first one at least) were all the character mess ups in regards to Garfield's animal friends and the human characters' personalities. Not making Jon enough of a dork was a huge issue. I thought the casting was fan with the humans. Of course, I LOVE Jennifer Love Hewitt, but she was not playing Liz. Liz is kind of a..., anyway, Jon, was good I thought, EXCEPT for not being a bad-dressing idiot, ha. Where was that side of him? They made big sacrifices just to give these characters a romance, and THAT was not cool. As for the animal friends, it was Nermal and Arlene that bugged me. Basically, Nermal didn't act like himself at all, and Arlene looked like an adult version of what Nermal should have looked like (but a kitten). With Jim Davis on the job, I don't know how all these screw ups happened. They must have paid him A LOT. Funny thing was, I remember he never allowed Arlene to be on the animated series because he wanted to make sure she was done correctly... He obviously is not that much of a stickler these days. Still, I did think these films had the feeling of the originals, just that they had major issues here and there. Something like Scooby Doo (which I still enjoy some aspects of) was much further off. And I LOVE the Flintstones movies, but their problems were a few casting issues that made no sense at all. I can sum that up quick: Rosie O'Donnell? And, HOW OLD were Pebbles and Bamm Bamm supposed to be? As for the Rock Vegas prequel, I just didn't love Wilma (nothing against the actress, but I just didn't see her as Wilma), but overall I enjoy that movie even more than the first. Anyway, ha, I suppose I have said all this before and will be retyping it all again when I do some recommendations of this nature.

    2. I really wanna checkout other TV shows made into movies to see what other really good ones I can find. As I've said before though, I am less finicky, it appears, since I remember seeing the Honeymooners and finding it to be a pretty decent remake too, ha. The most recent ones I recall seeing though, are, of course, Dark Shadows, and also Bewitched, because I think I only bought that one last year maybe (should have just held out for a Blu-Ray). Bewitched was a good example of doing it wrong. I loved SOME of the casting. Though I really like Will Ferrel and I could see him playing his own take on Darren, it is a bit too different from what I would want as a fan (I'd prefer Jim Carrey or maybe Crispin Glover?). I think they might have written the film the way they did just to suit having Will Ferrel in the lead, but this is a film in which I think not making a straightforward interpretation was a big mistake. It is still interesting though, and it has its moments, but just as Dark Shadows was a bad Dark Shadows movie, Bewitched was a bad Bewitched movie. Both are entertaining though (but Dark Shadows is moreso; it's a Tim Burton movie, after all, and it at least is not about making a Dark Shadows movie, ha).