Kevin: While the current award season is showcasing original and high-quality films such as “Moonlight,” “Manchester by the Sea,” and “La La Land,” Hollywood made sure to remind us of the warmed-over garbage it normally produces by releasing trailers for the upcoming movie versions of “CHiPs” and “Baywatch” this week. Both projects seem to be justifying their existence by making fun of their schlocky TV source material, a concept so novel it’s only been previously done by the “Brady Bunch Movie,” “The Green Hornet,” “21 Jump Street” and about 37 other remakes. It’s also pointless, since as anyone who remembers both shows can tell you, no “comedic” version could be funnier than the straight-faced originals.
Before CJ gives his rundown of both new trailers, let’s start with a quick recap of the two TV “classics” that are about to get the big-screen treatment in the coming months. First up is “CHiPs,” the 1977-1983 NBC series starring Erik Estrada, Larry Wilcox, Robert “Father of Chris” Pine, and in later seasons the former Bruce Jenner as California Highway Patrol officers who in any given episode would deal with untold vehicular mayhem, inappropriately ask out any witness who happened to be attractive, and take down colorful bad guys including – in one memorable two-parter – Jim Brown and Fred “The Hammer” Williamson as unlikely roller-skating boardwalk bandits. Even if you never watched the show there is no way you’ve never heard its awesome opening theme:
I watched more episodes of “CHiPs” as a kid than I can remember, and my main takeaway from the show was that California’s highways were “Road Warrior”-esque deathtraps containing some of the worst drivers in human history, whose modus operandi when seeing a crash in front of them would be to either hit the gas and drive right into it, or pull violently off to the side right over a cliff. Take a look at what the average highway cop had to deal with on a daily basis according to “ChiPs.”
1) Any time you saw a semi-trailer labeled “Explosives,” you knew someone was going to be driving through it:
2) Here we have the classic “car gets roof ripped off by semi-trailer” move, while the police appear to be just as horrible drivers as the civilians:
3) Another truck labeled “Explosives,” but this time TWO different cars drive through it going different directions:
4) I have no idea what this idiot was doing but I feel like this accident could have been easily avoided:
5) As in the second clip, another female patrol officer (perhaps the show was trying to tell us something) proving dangerous behind the wheel, including throwing her hands in front of her face rather than, you know, using them to steer the car:
6) Finally, a driver looks like she is actually going to avoid the typical “CHiPs” plunge of death. Until ….:
As you can see, using the brakes was never an option for the drivers of California, who on average were more dangerous driving sober than your average person after 30 whiskey shots. Unfortunately such brilliance could not be sustained, with Larry Wilcox inexplicably leaving and the show focusing more on Erik Estrada, with a new opening credits that made it appear that his Officer Poncherello led a more exciting life in his off hours than the Dos Equis “Most Interesting Man in the World”:
When “CHiPs” left the air in 1983, a void was left in the landscape of unabashedly cheesy TV, one that would only be filled several years later by a certain artistic visionary …
Running from 1989-2001, David Hasselhoff’s “Baywatch” revolved around a group of lifeguards who, like the characters on “CHiPs,” dealt with the typical challenges of their job as well as occasionally fighting a giant killer eel. For a show known for its gratuitous slow-mo jiggle shots, as you can see from the second season opening credits it was surprisingly light on female cast members early on:
Something Hasselhoff obviously remedied by the eighth season:
But while much has already been written about “Baywatch,” I instead wanted to briefly highlight another of Hasselhoff’s passion projects, one that turned into quietly the most bizarre show on TV: the spinoff “Baywatch Nights.”
The original premise for “Baywatch Nights” involved Hasselhoff’s lifeguard character Mitch Buchannon setting up a detective agency inside a nightclub owned by Lou Rawls. But when the ratings did not live up to expectations, Hasselhoff looked to revamp the series by ripping off another hit show at the time. Since that show was “The X-Files,” this is what “Baywatch Nights” became in its second and last season:
Now instead of run-of-the-mill kidnapping and extortion cases, Mitch was spending his nights fighting honest to goodness vampires and zombies. So according to the world of “Baywatch,” Mitch could spend the previous night fighting a werewolf, then show up at the beach the next day to perform his lifeguarding duties, and somehow never mention any of this to his coworkers. “Baywatch” is easy pickings for parody, but if Hollywood was really creative we’d be seeing The Rock fighting Dracula in a movie version of “Baywatch Nights” instead.
Now that I’ve established that there is no way you can improve upon these shows in the modern age, I’ll let CJ give his two cents on the trailers for both new movie remakes:
CJ: The first thing I noticed in this trailer was that Alexandra Daddario costarred, marking the second time in just a few short years that she has appeared alongside The Rock. The previous being the wonderfully horrible “San Andreas,” a movie all of you need to watch in order to see one of the best worst closing moments in movie history (hint: it features an American flag and The Rock saying “we rebuild”).
For the artsy fans of this site, you’ll remember Daddario from the first season of “True Detective,” which leads me to today’s poll question: What was worse for Daddario, having to …
1) Co-star in a movie version of “Baywatch,” which will spend most of its running time scattering forced and awkward racial and dick jokes between shots of mostly naked extras that were there for Zac Efron to give Hep C to, or …
2) Convince an audience that the X-factor missing from her dream life was Woody Harrelson.
If you’re still debating, remember that Woody Harrelson looks like that uncle who definitely – DEFINITELY – rapes.
Quick side note about “San Andreas”: when double-checking the last line in a movie that is solely about earthquakes, one of the first videos that popped up was entitled “15 ‘San Andreas’ Events in Order of Increasing Scientific Inaccuracy.” They got at least 15 things wrong about the earth shaking. I never confirmed the last line and I don’t care to because I love this movie.
Full disclosure: I am also an unabashed fan of The Rock and will see everything he does because his smile makes me feel safe and loved, so he gets a pass. Plus, a part of me believes he picks all these movies because this shit is hilarious to him too.
Zac Efron on the other hand – what is up with this d-bag? He’s that guy in high school who you thought was cool because he always had a weed hookup, except it’s 20 years later and he still downloads pirated movies onto his computer. So why is Hollywood forcing this guy down our throats the last few years as cinema’s next great comedic icon?
My guess is because he can’t pull off anything else. Sure, he’s got the abs, but he’s also 5’6” so he can’t beat anyone up as an action star; he chooses movies like “Baywatch,” so there’s no serious dramas in his future; he’s too handsome for us to believe he has trouble getting ass in a rom-com; and he can’t play a terrifying killer in a horror movie because a swift backhand would stop him in his tracks. In fact, if Zac reads this and wanted to fight, a backhand would STILL stop him in his tracks.
As for the expected Hasselhoff cameo, the only thing I’m hoping for is learning that he helped write his own scene so it was really “true” to the icon that is Mitch Buchannon. Personally, I’d prefer a Michael Newman appearance. (To remember who that guy was, just Google image “Baywatch old guy.” First one that comes up.)
Did you like “21 Jump Street”? Do you like motorcycles? Congrats, you’ll be expected to like “CHiPs,” the movie based on the TV show none of us saw (Kevin – I beg your pardon!) and that people only bring up as part of a punchline.
If you watched this trailer and went, “Ha! That looks funny,” just stab your dick right now. Speaking of dicks, this trailer features them prominently! It’s as if they were trying to make fun of homophobic people but accidentally became uncomfortably homophobic themselves. It’s a shame, because it stars Dax Shepard (also the screenwriter), whom I generally find pretty charming on screen, and Michael Pena, whom everyone said stole the show in “Ant-Man” because he played a dumb, fast-talking Mexican criminal. Wait, was everyone racist?
The only other thing that stood out to me was at the start when the two cops bike through traffic and knock off all the cars’ side mirrors, and then keep going as some cars explode behind them while saying “people could get hurt.” HA! This stood out because it’s always super weird when a movie set in today’s reality features weird moments that just wouldn’t happen in our cities. I don’t know any cops who would blindly drive through traffic damaging cars and then not notice a 10-foot-high fireball going off behind them.
Now I should be fair, as that’s just the trailer. If the full scene develops and it shows one of the cops doubling back to ticket the driver for their mirror damaging their bikes, then we might be onto something. If the driver then protests, leading to one of the cops dragging them out of the car by their hair and beating them mercilessly while screaming “she’s resisting!,” then I take it all back because “CHiPs” should be nominated for Best Documentary.
The point is, everyone go rent “San Andreas” right now.
Kevin: As I have nothing else to add, let’s end this post just like “CHiPs” ended every episode, with the multiple freeze-frame: