The Lincoln/Kennedy theory when applied to movies and TV.

Posted: July 17, 2011 by ryanlecocq in Off-topic

Anybody know where we could get a nice quiet drink on Unification Day?

If you’ve been to college for even the briefest time, you’ve probably heard the Lincoln/Kennedy conspiracy theory.  Somebody in one of your classes who wasn’t that clever, but thought they were, found a website that lists the million and one similarities between the two presidents and their assassinations.  The huge gaping hole that I always point out is that half of these rely on Oswald having killed Kennedy.  I’m not even going to bother with these myself, I’ll take a direct quote from the FBI’s own reexamination of the Kennedy assassination:  “Although Oswald very likely intended to kill John Kennedy when he entered the building, it is highly unlikely that he fired any of the fatal shots.”

That entirely aside, the concept is sound and far more entertaining when applied to Hollywood.  Another good name for this article would have been “Movies that are the unknown prototypes for other movies.”  Except Firefly, Bones and Columbo are shows, so anyway.  Oh and I won’t even address directly that Ferngully and Avatar are the same movie.  Dead Horse.

Alien Resurrection/Firefly

This one is pretty obvious as both share screenwriter Joss Whedon.  Obvious but hidden in plain sight as you’ll never hear a Browncoat crack a joke about the greatest Sci-Fi show’s bastard brother.  I’m hoping you don’t need to actually watch either of these for the first time and you can just call this up from memory.  Alien Rez is based around a crew of ‘Space Pirates’ who bear more than a passing resemblance to the crew of a certain mid-bulk transport named Serenity.  You’ve got Michael Wincott doing the poor man’s Mal, Sigourney Weaver stretching really, really far to be River Tam before Joss really had the concept ironed out.  Those two links actually describe everything that went wrong with this movie.  Not enough budget, directed by some nobody who took a half-baked Joss Whedon concept and ran with it.  Oh and it’s an Aliens movie.  Firefly is the fully developed butterfly.  One thing the original does have that is really tough to knock is Ron Perlman.  Don’t get me wrong, Adam Baldwin is Jane.  Ron Perlman on the other hand is Ron Perlman and I can’t honestly say which would be better.  When watching this movie, it’s not hard though to close your eyes and hear an acoustic guitar playing and feel that magic that is Firefly, if only just the smallest bit.

Conan the Destroyer/The Chronicles of Riddick

This one hurts, because the prequels to these are two of my favorite flicks and it really proves that Hollywood just plain never learns.  Arnold Schwarzenegger and Vin Diesel were muscle guys with a surprising amount of actual brains who make their break with a scifi/fantasty movie.  Both Conan the Barbarian and Pitch Black are incredible muscleman adventure flicks and surprisingly good films.  Both also have sequels that are so incredibly bad, fans still try to find ways to defend them or explain their existence.  The long and short of this comparison is somehow either David Twohy tried to break the Arnold mold by exactly copying something that didn’t work OR, like James Cameron with Ferngully/Avatar he accidentally re-wrote an existing movie and was the last to realize it.  There are so many links it’s ridiculous.  He’s the last of his kind.  A prophecy says he’ll f*ck things up for the bad guys.  Lame sidekicks galore.  He has a thing for a chick that is waaaay too young for him until something happens to her and the movie doesn’t care.  At the end, he does something random, sits down on a throne and is proclaimed king.  D’oh!

Columbo/Bones

This one is no accident.  Hollywood has only been trying to make another Columbo for 30 years.  They got a little closer in the last decade, but it wasn’t until Bones that they even came close.  Peter Faulk was the weird detective guy.  He didn’t even need to mention his creepy glass eye (though he did in one episode), he just behaved strangely and it carried the show.  Hollywood has tried and they have tried, but they could not make this magic again.  Some of the best examples are shows like CSI and Psych.  With Grisham on CSI, they tried to give him a weird hobby and unconventional methods that somehow solve the crimes.  Psych uses the “main character is smarter than everyone else” concept Columbo mastered.  Even House owes more that a little to Columbo (and the rest to Doogie Houser).  With Bones, they finally realized that you just need to keep it simple and make them socially awkward and maybe a little nuts, but in a totally functional, smarter than everybody kind of way.  Then they cut off all the fat (yes, Columbo does have some bits that could have been improved, sorry).  Make him a her and make her pretty attractive, while still very odd.  Take Walter Koenig and make him her actual partner, make him badass and take the romantic tension wholesale from Firefly.  Put in a healthy dose of “every episode based on last month’s big headline” and you have Columbo 2.0 aka Bones.

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