Julia Child has been dead for five years, but this past weekend the PBS star was resurrected. Her biopic, JULIE & JULIA, took second place at the box office, a feat that is even more impressive when you consider the filmmakers watered down the interesting tale of Child’s life with the inane exploits of some shitty blogger (pot, kettle, black).
The fact that Hollywood was able to turn a PBS star who looks like a tranny version of Herman Munster into box office gold is sure to get noticed, and if there’s one thing Hollywood likes to do, it’s run an idea into the ground.
Since it’s only a matter of time before some desperate studio green lights a similar film, we here at Screen Junkies have compiled a list of the top five PBS personalities who deserve a movie. All we’re asking for in return is a producer credit and 10% of the domestic gross (and 20% of the international).
Shows: Rick Steves’s Europe
Bio: A squirrelly looking fellow who could pass for Bill Gates’s younger brother, Rick Steves came to prominence after writing a successful series of travel books entitled “Europe Through the Back Door” (“Europe Through the Poop Shoot” was deemed too controversial).
After the success of his books, Rick started producing his own European travel videos and giving them to PBS for free. Next thing you know, his show was picked up nationally, and Rick became a full fledged PBS star, just like this guy.
Fun Fact: Rick Steves is an advocate for the legalization of marijuana. This makes sense since the bulk of his viewers are simply too high to find the remote.
Dramatic License: The screenwriter could include a Midnight Express-esque subplot about Rick’s ill-fated attempt to smuggle a pound of hashish out of Turkey in his colon.
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Pullman
Shows: This Old House, Bob Vila’s Home Again
Bio: A native of Miami, FL, Bob Vila received a degree in journalism from the University of Florida in 1969. I’m assuming that at some point between then and 1979 Vila became involved in home restoration and repair, but I can’t be certain because Wikipedia doesn’t friggen say.
In 1979 Vila was hired to host “This Old House.” With his denim shirts and sexy beard, Vila turned a simple home-improvement show into a mega-hit…by PBS standards. More importantly, This Old House helped pave the way for later shows like “Flip This House” (not to be confused with the wildly original “Flip That House“), which inspired countless Americans to try their hand at house flipping. Basically, Bob Vila single-handily caused the housing bubble which lead to the greatest economic disaster since the Great Depression. Thanks, Bob.
Fun Fact: Bob Vila is a Cuban American, which means he’s probably a no-good commie.
Dramatic License: The screenwriter could include a Midnight Express-esque subplot about Bob’s ill-fated attempt to smuggle a pound of hashish out of Cuba in his colon.
Joe Mantegna, Michael Gross
Show: The Frugal Gourmet
Bio: Host of the popular PBS show “The Frugal Gourmet” (1988 -1997), Jeff Smith was a man of many contradictions. By “contradictions” I mean he was accused of sexually assaulting young men. As such, a movie about his life has “Oscar” written all over it.
Some saw Smith as a “genius” of food and food culture, whose generosity endured him to millions. Others saw him as a petty tyrant and a mediocre cook. But most importantly, at least seven men (six former employees and a hitch hiker) viewed him as sexual predator, a claim that was all the more shocking since Smith was an ordained minister (unless you‘re Catholic, in which case this is par for the course).
Smith admitted nothing and settled out of court, but as a result of the scandal his career died. Then he died too. The end.
Fun Fact: Smith was featured in the music video for Cake’s “Love You Madly.”
Another fun fact: Smith allegedly used to bang teenage boys.
Dramatic License: The screenwriter could include a scene showcasing a wild pool party at actor Jeffrey Jones’s house.
Richard Dreyfuss, Michael Hogan
Shows: Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood
Bio: Some people tend to mock Fred Rogers for, among other things, his simplistic nature and his penchant for wearing sweaters. Well, those people should be shot in the face. Mr. Rogers is a god damned American hero, and “Mr. Rogers‘ Neighborhood” is tied with “Sesame Street” for the title of Greatest Children’s Show of all time,. If you don’t agree, screw you, neighbor.
Need proof about how great Mr. Rogers was? We‘ve got it. Back in the 1970’s, a young Michael Keaton worked as a production assistant for Mr. Rogers, and appeared in a few episodes of the show. Do you understand the gravity of the sentence you just read? Mr. Rogers trained Batman, for Christ’s sake! Think about that! Batman!
Need another reason? Fine. In 1979, when VCRs were a new technology, many media companies tried to sue VCR manufacturers for copyright infringement. The Supreme Court considered the testimony of Fred Rogers when deciding the case:
"I am opposed to people being programmed by others. My whole approach in broadcasting has always been "You are an important person just the way you are. You can make healthy decisions." Maybe I’m going on too long, but I just feel that anything that allows a person to be more active in the control of his or her life, in a healthy way, is important."
I’m not sure if downloading thirty-five hours of Brazilian fart porn is “healthy,” but I know that if it weren’t for Fred Rogers’ testimony on behalf of VCRs, I wouldn’t be able to do it. Thanks, Fred.
Fun Fact: Although Mr. Rogers was an ordained minister, he did not bang kids.
Dramatic License: There is a story (probably apocryphal) about an incident where Mr. Rogers’ car was stolen and returned a few days later after the thieves realized it belonged to him. The screen writer should include this story in the script, but rather than having the thieves return the car, Mr. Rogers should track them down and kill them with his bare hands.
Steve Buscemi, Ving Rhames
Shows: Star Hustler, Star Gazer
Bio: Jack Horkheimer is a man that no one in their right mind would even consider letting into their home. But every week PBS beams him into the living rooms of millions of people. That’s what we love about PBS; they just don’t give a f*ck!
Horkheimer is the executive director of the Miami Space Transit Planetarium, which is no doubt a popular hangout for Miami teenagers. His show is billed as “the world’s first and only weekly television series on naked-eye astronomy.” We’re assuming that “naked eye astronomy” is code for “looking at naked women through their bedroom windows.”
With unsettling music, early 80’s special effects, and Horkheimer’s mustache, Star Gazer is truly a site to behold. Whenever it’s on, we can’t look away, which is probably why the show has lasted since 1976.
So here’s to you, Jack Horkheimer. We sincerely hope to see you on the big screen. “Keep looking up”…women’s skirts on your hidden toilet cam.
Fun Fact: The show was renamed because fans searching for “Star Hustler” on the internet were more often than not finding themselves at Hustler Magazine’s website.
Dramatic License: The screenwriter could include a Midnight Express-esque subplot about Horkheimer’s ill fated attempt to smuggle a pound of hashish in Uranus.
Rip Taylor, Ron Jeremy
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Holy f*ck. A f*cking LEGO™ movie.