There’s a moment at the beginning of the “Charlie’s Angels” movie where a dashiki-clad LL Cool J is bemoaning the in-flight movie choice: an adaptation of the William Shatner cop drama, “T.J. Hooker.” It got a big laugh in 2000 and I imagine that a thinly-veiled version of that punchline would provoke a similar reaction today. That’s because most movies adapted from television shows are lazy money-grabs, with a patchy, Frankenstein script that can barely register as entertainment.
This Fourth of July holiday, “The Lone Ranger” finally hits theaters after what feels like two years of trailers and promotions. The film reunites director Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp who have plundered moviegoers for almost 4 billion dollars with their “Pirates of the Caribbean” trilogy. Depp told the New York Times that this reimagining, with its heavy emphasis on his Tonto-bedecked in a taxidermied grackle, gives Hollywood a second chance at righting its history of grunting, xenophobic depictions of Native Americans.
Our own, Ty Burr, suggests that “The Lone Ranger” is less Sergio Leone and more “Wild Wild West,” but since this movie version is finally here, I sat through the torture wheel of “Yogi Bear” and Johnny Knoxville-era “Dukes of Hazzard” to find the 10 best adaptations that have made their way from television to the cinema.