Film and TV

Candyland, and other childhood pastimes Hollywood has ruined

Here's how the screenwriters of the upcoming Hollywood adaptation of Candyland -- the candy-themed board game for children who do not know how to read -- describe it: "We envision it as Lord of the Rings, but set in a world of candy."

That is an actual quote.

It seems too awful to be true, but it is in fact true -- and considering Hollywood's past output, it's not even that surprising. Board game adaptations are somewhat new territory, sure -- Battleship and RISK! are apparently also in the works, so brace yourself for that -- but in the meantime, there is literally no other cultural corner of your childhood that Hollywood has not lured into its van with candy and raped. Let's take a look.

Cartoons Anything involving Hanna-Barbera is really best left in the past when we were too young to understand how half-assed and shitty any of their cartoons were, so that we can have our hazy memories of Grape Ape and reflect fondly back upon those Saturday mornings of stasis and sugar-overload. Sadly, Hollywood has insisted on dragging out nearly every conceivable relic of that crappy animated past and turning each one into a horrifying live-action miscarriage of all that is wholesome -- Dan Aykroyd's acme of career humiliation as the voice of Yogi Bear in alarming CG? Check. Freddie Prinze, Jr. with a blonde mop-top and ascot? Absolutely. And let's not forget John Goodman's truly sad appearance in the 1994 adaptation of the Flintstones, whose most notable achievement is that it manages to be worse than the porno inspired by it. Toys Michael Bay's excess-drenched interpretation of Transformers is obviously the most egregious example of this, and granted, it could also fall under the category of "cartoons" -- speaking of which, looking back, it's not as if Hasbro's ingenious tactic of producing a cartoon that was essentially a 20-minute commercial for a tie-in product that had other commercials in it deserves anything less crass. Still, I can remember a time when the memory of the '80s incarnation of Transformers had faded far enough into the ether that we could recall its "robots in disguise" theme song with nostalgia -- now, it will be forever associated with Michael Fucking Bay and his bizarre fixation with robot genitals. And there have been others -- say, G.I. Joe, another example of Hasbro selling out childhoods that were already sold out but unbeknownst to the children involved. Hasbro's monopoly (get it?) is about to end, though: Mattel is reportedly looking to get in on the action, too, so look out to have Barbie ruined for you sometime soon, girls. Books How could you possibly ruin the works of an author as beloved and enduring as Dr. Seuss? Well, the hideous spectre of Jim Carrey wearing a Santa suit and no pants as the Grinch who Stole Christmas is an excellent place to start. And if that's not chilling enough, try Mike Myers's turn as the Cat in the Hat, where he looks like a fucking serial killer! It can be done well, of course -- look no further than Spike Jonez's Where the Wild things Are -- but where the best ones retain the essential sweetness of the original books, the large part of the writhing mass of these retains only the characters and rudimentary plot points of the original and turns it into the same dreck Hollywood only has to give half a shit about because kids don't know the difference, right? Movies That's right: Not even Hollywood is safe from Hollywood. Because when one thing proves a success, Hollywood just can't keep from coming back to the coffers and half-assing it all the way to another payload. Probably the saddest time this ever happened was everStar Wars-related thing that came out after Return of the Jedi -- it's like George Lucas was an uncle we loved when we were kids but then traumatized by when he molested us as adults. But hey, while we're not smothering what was once a great series by shoveling turds over it, why not remake some other stuff that does not need to be remade -- and also, hey, why not make it worse? Karate Kid remake, anyone?

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Jef Otte
Contact: Jef Otte