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Kickstarter

8 Short-Lived TV Shows That Should Use Crowd Funding To Make a Movie

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Kickstarter

Five years after its cancellation, the TV series Veronica Mars still has a loyal and thriving fan base—despite the fact that it aired for just three seasons on lower tier TV networks UPN and The CW. Need proof? Look no further than the Kickstarter campaign for a film adaptation of the series, which raised $1 million in under 5 hours. UPDATE: As of 8:56 pm, the Kickstarter had met its $2 million goal. Looks like the show's fans will finally be getting that long-discussed Veronica Mars movie! Here are eight other short-lived cult TV shows that might want to consider using crowd funding to make a feature film.

1. Pushing Daisies (2007 – 2009; ABC)

Television producer Bryan Fuller created something special with Pushing Daisies. The self-described “forensic fairy tale” was too fantastical for TV viewers, but too kooky and strange for moviegoers. The story of a pie maker named Ned who could bring people back to life with one touch pleased some, but bewildered others. The TV series was so full of imagination and style that people are still demanding more stories that take place in this wonky world.

2. Sports Night (1998 – 2000; ABC)

Before Aaron Sorkin delivered the hit TV series The West Wing and penned the Academy Award winning The Social Network, he created a work-based comedy about people who ran a 24-hour sports cable network. Sports Night had a hard time finding an audience because it didn’t cater enough to sports fans or TV viewers. After 15 years, Sports Night still has its fans, and keeps gaining new ones as new people are being introduced to Sorkin’s work.

3. Jericho (2006 – 2008; CBS)

CBS is not known for its genre TV offerings, but the network saw something it liked in this Stephen Chbosky-created TV series. Taking place in the fictional Kansas town of Jericho, the post-apocalyptic TV series followed characters cutoff from the rest of the world after nuclear fallout during an attack from an unknown enemy. The series was canceled after one season, but fan outcry brought Jericho back for a second season when fans sent CBS angry letters and emails. Jericho was canceled again, but found new life in comic books and graphic novels. Why not make a crowd-funded movie?

4. Get A Life (1990 – 1992; FOX)

Actor Chris Elliott played the childlike and immature Chris Peterson, a 30-year-old paperboy who still lived with his parents. Get A Life was too weird, offbeat, and surreal for its time, but benefited from its collection of rising-star writers including Bob Odenkirk and Charlie Kaufman. The TV series gained a cult following who demanded the series be made available on DVD in 2012.

5. Party Down (2009 – 2010; Starz)

“Are we having fun yet?” Television writer and producer Rob Thomas followed up Veronica Mars with Party Down in 2009. The series followed a group of struggling actors and writers in Hollywood, as they took up part-time jobs at a catering company to supplement their income. Party Down elevated actors Jane Lynch, Adam Scott, Martin Starr, and Lizzy Caplan into the mainstream pop culture ether. A Party Down movie has been discussed; maybe now it will actually happen. 

6. My So-Called Life (1994 – 1995; ABC)

Created by screenwriter Winnie Holzman, My So-Called Life was one of the first TV dramas to portray teenage angst and high school life in a realistic and serious way. The key to the TV series’ success were the breakout performances of its exceptional cast, which included Claire Danes, Devon Gummersall, A.J. Langer, Wilson Cruz, and Jared Leto. If My So-Called Life were to be brought back as a movie, it could surround the lives of the adult Angela Chase and Jordan Catalano.

7. Freaks and Geeks (1999 – 2000; NBC)

Following in the footsteps of My So-Called Life, Freaks and Geeks took a realistic look at high school burnouts and awkward sci-fi fans in the early 80s. It only lasted for one season, but it made a big impression on television and movies, as we know it today. Freaks and Geeks also launched the careers of directors Judd Apatow and Paul Feig, as well as actors James Franco, Jason Segel, and Seth Rogen. Since they're all good friends to this day, making a movie about these characters—provided they could get the funding—would probably be an easy decision. 

8. Firefly (2002; FOX)

While Firefly had already spun off a movie adaptation with Serenity in 2005, fans of the short-lived TV series wanted more. There were plans to make Serenity the first part of a Firefly trilogy, but its lukewarm box office tempered any plans for a sequel movie. Director Joss Whedon gained clout in Hollywood with the success of The Avengers, so it always seems like Serenity 2 could be just around the corner (though at a panel for his next film, Much Ado About Nothing, at SXSW, the director made it clear no one at the studios has shown an interest, and there are currently no plans to make another movie). A Kickstarter campaign to fully fund the would-be project could seal the deal to make the movie happen—and please Browncoats across the ‘verse.

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Art
Get Crazy With the Official Bob Ross Coloring Book
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If you watched Bob Ross's classic series The Joy of Painting for hours on end but didn’t come away a terribly capable artist, you can still enjoy replicating the amazing public television personality’s work. You can now pretend you’re painting along with the late, great PBS star using a brand-new adult coloring book based on his art.

The Bob Ross Coloring Book (Universe) is the first authorized coloring book based on Ross’s artistic archive. Ross, who would have turned 75 later this year, was all about giving his fans the confidence to pursue art even without extensive training. “There’s an artist hidden at the bottom of every single one of us,” the gentle genius said. So what better way to honor his memory than to relax with his coloring book?

Here’s a sneak peek of some of the Ross landscapes you can recreate, all while flipping through some of his best quotes and timeless tidbits of wisdom.

An black-and-white outline of a Bob ross painting of a mountain valley

A black-and-white outline of a Bob Ross painting shows a house nestled among trees.

A black-and-white outline of a Bob Ross painting shows a farm scene.

And remember, even if you color outside the lines, it’s still a work of art. As Ross said, “We don’t make mistakes. We just have happy accidents.”

You can find The Bob Ross Coloring Book for about $14 on Amazon. Oh, and if you need even more Ross in your life, there’s now a Bob Ross wall calendar, too.

All images courtesy of Rizzoli.

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entertainment
8 Movies That Almost Starred Keanu Reeves
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He may not have the natural ease of Al Pacino, the classical training of Anthony Hopkins, the timeless cool of Jack Nicholson, or the raw versatility of Gary Oldman, but Keanu Reeves has been around long enough to have worked alongside each of those actors. Yet instead of Oscar nods, the actor whose first name means “cool breeze over the mountains” in Hawaiian has a handful of Razzie nominations.

While critical acclaim has mostly eluded Reeves during his 30-plus years in Hollywood, his movies have made nearly $2 billion at the box office. Whether because of his own choosiness or the decisions of studio powers-that-be, that tally could be much, much higher. To celebrate The Chosen One’s 53rd birthday, here are eight movies that almost starred Keanu Reeves.

1. X-MEN (2000)

In Hollywood’s version of the X-Men universe, Hugh Jackman is the definitive Wolverine. But Jackman himself was a last-minute replacement (for Dougray Scott) and other, bigger (in 2000) names were considered for the hirsute superhero—including Reeves. Ultimately, it was the studio that decided to go in a different direction, much to Reeves’ disappointment. “I always wanted to play Wolverine,” the actor told Moviefone in 2014. “But I didn't get that. And they have a great Wolverine now. I always wanted to play The Dark Knight. But I didn't get that one. They've had some great Batmans. So now I'm just enjoying them as an audience.”

2. PLATOON (1986)

For an action star, Reeves isn’t a huge fan of violence, which is why he passed on playing the lead in Oliver Stone’s Oscar-winning Vietnam classic. “Keanu turned it down because of the violence,” Stone told Entertainment Weekly in 2011. “He didn’t want to do violence.”

3. THE FLY II (1989)

Few people would likely mistake Reeves for the son of Jeff Goldblum, but producers were anxious to see him play the next generation of Goldblum’s insectile role in the sequel to The Fly. But Reeves wasn’t having any of it. Why? Simple: “I didn't like the script,” he told Movieline in 1990.

4. SPEED 2: CRUISE CONTROL (1997)

Speaking of sequels (and bad scripts): Reeves was ready to reprise his role as Jack Traven in Jan de Bont’s second go at the series … then he read it. “When I was offered Speed 2, Jan came to Chicago and so did Sandra, and they said, ‘You’ve got to do this,’” Reeves recalled to The Telegraph. “And I said, 'I read the script and I can’t. It’s called Speed, and it’s on a cruise ship.” (He's got a point.)

Even when the studio dangled a $12 million paycheck in front of him, Reeves said no. “I told [William Mechanic, then-head of Fox], ‘If I do this film, I will not come back up. You guys will send me to the bottom of the ocean and I will not make it back up again.’ I really felt like I was fighting for my life.”

5. HEAT (1995)

Reeves’ refusal to cave on Speed 2 didn’t sit well in Hollywood circles. And it didn't help that he also passed on playing Chris Shiherlis (Val Kilmer’s role) in Michael Mann’s Heat in order to spend a month playing Hamlet at Canada’s Manitoba Theatre Centre. From that point on, Reeves told The Telegraph that it’s been a struggle for him to book any studio movies. “That’s a good old Hollywood story! That was a whole, 'Hey, kid, this is what happens in Hollywood: I said no to the number two and I never worked with the studio again!’”

6. BOWFINGER (1999)

By the time Frank Oz’s Bowfinger rolled around, Eddie Murphy was pretty much the go-to guy for any dual role part, but the movie wasn’t always intended to play that way. Steve Martin, who both starred in and wrote the movie, had actually penned the part of Kit Ramsey for Reeves (whom he had worked with a decade earlier in Parenthood).

“When Steve gave me the script for Bowfinger, it wasn't written for Eddie Murphy,” producer Brian Grazer explained. “It was written for a white action star. It was written for Keanu Reeves, literally. I said, 'Why does it have to be an action star?' He said, 'That's the joke.' I said: 'What if it were Eddie Murphy, and Eddie Murphy played two characters? That could be really funny.' He said: 'You know, that'd be great—that'd be brilliant. Let's do that.' He processed it in about a minute, and he made a creative sea change.”

7. WATCHMEN (2009)

A year before Zack Snyder’s Watchmen hit theaters, Reeves confirmed to MTV what many had speculated: that he had turned down the chance to play Dr. Manhattan in the highly anticipated adaptation. But it wasn’t because of lack of interest on Reeves’ part; it just “didn't work out.” Still, he made it as far as a set visit: “They were shooting in Vancouver while we were filming so I went over to the set to say, 'hi.' They showed me some stuff and it looks amazing! I can’t wait. It’s going to be so killer, man!”

8. TROPIC THUNDER (2008)

By the time Ben Stiller’s Tropic Thunder made its way into theaters in the summer of 2008, the meta-comedy had been more than a decade in the making. So it’s understandable that the final product veered from Stiller’s original plan for the film, which included Reeves playing the role of Tugg Speedman (Stiller’s eventual part). Initially, Stiller had planned to cast himself as smarmy agent Rick Peck (Matthew McConaughey picked up the slack).

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