Oscar Preview

“This is your original sin,” Mikey says, staring daggers at Jamie and Patrick. “You have to pick it up,” he continues, “pick it up so I can finally end this.” It would seem the chase has finally driven Mikey mad. Jamie and Patrick rack their brains. If they don’t pick it up Mikey will surely shoot them anyways. Perhaps their only chance is to hope their lightning quick reflexes can turn the tables on him at the last moment. Sweat drips down their abs as they reach for the Dongle. Suddenly the door bursts open and Kyle and the past bad movie twins rush in. “Not so fast!” screams Kyle. Mikey seems momentarily flummoxed. “But… but the Gram told me you were in Greece!” he cries in disbelief. Kyle shrugs slyly. “Greece is for the birds,” he says, trying out a new catchphrase where he declared various things are “for the birds.” This further flummoxes Mikey. With a double flummox in place Jamie and Patrick see their chance and grab for the Dongle. But just as they grasp it in their hands they realize that it’s not just two hands on the Dongle… it’s four! Jamie and Patrick stare at their past selves simultaneously in possession of the Dongle. They turn to look at Mikey, whose eyes widen in horror. Kyle, realizing that maybe the Dongle is decidedly not for the birds, quickly grabs for the Dongle as well just as the world disappears in a flash of brilliant white. Rubbing his eyes, Kyle looks around. He is now alone in the apartment, Mikey having been disintegrated by the temporal paradox experienced by the Dongle and the twins… gone. He looks down at the Dongle in his hand and knows they are still alive… somewhere… somewhen? That’s right! We are transitioning to the climactic penultimate cycle of the year with the recent tradition of running a Bring a Friend cycle. This year it’ll be films set in the past paired with nonqualifying films set in the future. Get ready for some postapocalyptic bullshit. To start we are going for a classic Sly Stallone vehicle, Oscar, paired with Arena, a very fun looking alien boxing movie. Let’s go!

Oscar (1991) – BMeTric: 17.2; Notability: 47

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 23.2%; Notability: top 4.8%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 5.0%; Higher BMeT: Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, Cool as Ice, Problem Child 2, Critters 3, Child’s Play 3, Nothing But Trouble, Suburban Commando, Return to the Blue Lagoon, Mannequin: On the Move, Kickboxer 2: The Road Back, Double Impact, King Ralph, Zandalee, Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time, Hudson Hawk, V.I. Warshawski, House Party 2, The Butcher’s Wife, Curly Sue, Drop Dead Fred, and 38 more; Higher Notability: Hook, Hudson Hawk, Mobsters, Switch, Rock-A-Doodle, Flight of the Intruder, Life Stinks, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, Out for Justice, The Marrying Man, Necessary Roughness, The Five Heartbeats; Lower RT: Return to the Blue Lagoon, Critters 3, The Super, Run, Cool as Ice, Another You, Mobsters, All I Want for Christmas, Problem Child 2, The Marrying Man, Strictly Business, Drop Dead Fred; Notes: The IMDb rating of 6.5 is crazy high. The European Remake cycle has been wild with some of these. For a 1991 comedy the notability is pretty high.

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Stallone is surprisingly enjoyable in a comic change-of-pace, playing 1930s gangster Angelo “Snaps” Provolone, who’s trying to go straight, despite the domestic and financial chaos that surrounds him. Farcical comedy, complete with mistaken identities and slamming doors, offers showcases for Palminteri as Snaps’ henchman, Curry as a priggish speech teacher, Bracken as a stuttering stoolie, and Shearer and Ferrero as the Finuccis but never quite takes wing. Based on a French play, filmed before in 1967 with Louis de Funes.

(Surprisingly solid review by Leonard. Although, I suppose it isn’t that surprising once you consider that Maltin is a sucker for old Hollywood in many regards. It does seem like something he would ultimately appreciate.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbfVZBsgC4s/ 

(Huh, kind of an odd trailer. Since that is only one of three or four plots floating around in this film. The actual plot is that Snaps is trying to go straight, but everything in his life (on this particular day) seems to be trying to stop him from doing so. His daughter’s potential marriage is just one of those things.)

DirectorsJohn Landis – ( Known For: National Lampoon’s Animal House; The Blues Brothers; Coming to America; Trading Places; An American Werewolf in London; Three Amigos!; Twilight Zone: The Movie; The Kentucky Fried Movie; Blues Brothers 2000; Amazon Women on the Moon; Into the Night; Burke and Hare; Schlock; Susan’s Plan; Future BMT: Spies Like Us; Innocent Blood; The Stupids; BMT: Beverly Hills Cop III; Oscar; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director in 1992 for Oscar; in 1995 for Beverly Hills Cop III; and in 1997 for The Stupids; Notes: He won an Emmy for Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project. Probably, sadly, most notable for directing the segment of The Twilight Zone Movie where several people were killed in a helicopter stunt.)

WritersClaude Magnier – ( Known For: Oscar; Jo; Where Were You When the Lights Went Out?; Oskar; BMT: Oscar; Notes: A playwright, he wrote the play which both the French original and this are based on.)

Michael Barrie – ( Known For: Bad Boys; Amazon Women on the Moon; …All the Marbles; BMT: Oscar; Notes: The writing partner with Mulholland. He is not in the film though.)

Jim Mulholland – ( Known For: Bad Boys; Amazon Women on the Moon; …All the Marbles; BMT: Oscar; Notes: He actually plays the titular Oscar who is only seen for a moment at the end of the film. He has 20 Emmy nominations, for The Tonight Show and The Late Show. Amazingly, they never won.)

ActorsSylvester Stallone – ( Known For: The Suicide Squad; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2; Rocky; The Expendables; First Blood; Cliffhanger; The Expendables 2; Creed; Rocky III; Cop Land; Creed II; Escape Plan; Spy Kids 3: Game Over; Rocky Balboa; Death Race 2000; Eye See You; Rocky II; The Lords of Flatbush; Antz; Escape Plan 2: Hades; Future BMT: Rocky IV; Staying Alive; Rocky V; Assassins; Ratchet & Clank; BMT: The Expendables 3; Rambo; Rambo: Last Blood; Rambo: First Blood Part II; Demolition Man; Cobra; Over the Top; Tango & Cash; Rambo III; The Specialist; Judge Dredd; Daylight; Oscar; Lock Up; Driven; Get Carter; Zookeeper; Grudge Match; Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Rhinestone; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director, and Worst Actor for Rocky IV in 1986; Winner for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Actor for Rambo: First Blood Part II in 1986; Winner for Worst Actor in 1985 for Rhinestone; in 1989 for Rambo III; and in 1993 for Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Winner for Worst Supporting Actor for Spy Kids 3: Game Over in 2004; Winner for Worst Screen Couple in 1995 for Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, and The Specialist; Winner for Worst Actor of the Decade in 1990 for Cobra, Cobra, Lock Up, Lock Up, Over the Top, Over the Top, Rambo III, Rambo III, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rhinestone, Rocky IV, and Tango & Cash; Nominee for Worst Director for The Expendables in 2011; Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 1985 for Rhinestone; in 1986 for Rocky IV; in 1987 for Cobra; in 1989 for Rambo III; in 1991 for Rocky V; in 1994 for Cliffhanger; in 2002 for Driven; and in 2020 for Rambo: Last Blood; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1987 for Cobra; in 1988 for Over the Top; in 1990 for Lock Up, and Tango & Cash; in 1991 for Rocky V; in 1992 for Oscar; in 1995 for The Specialist; in 1996 for Assassins, and Judge Dredd; in 1997 for Daylight; in 2001 for Get Carter; in 2014 for Bullet to the Head, Escape Plan, and Grudge Match; and in 2020 for Rambo: Last Blood; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Driven in 2002; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn in 1999; and Nominee for Worst Screen Combo for Rambo: Last Blood in 2020; Notes: He has a television show coming out, which I think is crazy. Tulsa King.)

Ornella Muti – ( Known For: Flash Gordon; The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things; To Rome with Love; Appassionata; The Last Woman; Storie di ordinaria follia; Oasis of Fear; Swann in Love; La stanza del vescovo; Romanzo popolare; The Girl from Trieste; Hotel; Death of a Corrupt Man; Madly in Love; Il bisbetico domato; La moglie più bella; First Love; Magical Nights; Love & Money; Viva Italia!; Future BMT: Once Upon a Crime…; BMT: Oscar; Notes: Italian. She was voted the most beautiful woman in the world in 1994 in a poll.)

Peter Riegert – ( Known For: National Lampoon’s Animal House; The Mask; Traffic; We Bought a Zoo; Local Hero; Pie in the Sky; American Pastoral; At Middleton; Crossing Delancey; A Shock to the System; A Man in Love; Movie Madness; Infinity; Americathon; Coldblooded; Passed Away; Passion of Mind; That’s Adequate; The Object of Beauty; Chilly Scenes of Winter; BMT: Oscar; Notes: Was nominated for an Oscar for a short film By Courier, and for an Emmy for Barbarians at the Gate. Still working, a recent notable role in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.)

Budget/Gross – $35 million / Domestic: $23,562,716 (Worldwide: $23,562,716)

(Yeah, this is considered a catastrophic bomb for a reason. That is a very bad performance indeed. I’m a bit surprised they didn’t release the film into France and Italy though. I think they could have gotten a bit from both places. This is very French humor at the time.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 12% (2/17)

(Oh, I get to make a consensus: Stallone isn’t funny. That’s the be all and end all of the reviews on that page really.)

Reviewer Highlight: Sylvester Stallone isn’t completely without a sense of humor (he showed a comic instinct in Rocky), but the last place he belongs is at the center of a classically structured farce – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

Poster – Sklogster

(This is a very funny poster. Artistic in an old timey way. It also doesn’t make a lot of sense. They make it seem like the film is a race against time. But not really… it just happens to be the day of a big meeting for “Snaps” Provolone. Font is meh, but overall aesthetic is good. B-.)

Tagline(s) – In crime and comedy, timing is everything. (C)

 Gangster “Snaps” Provolone has until noon to become an honest man. (D-)

(I feel like they were almost there with a timing is everything riff. It would have been better if it was just that, really. But adding more words they take away some of the punch. The second is bad. Like that’s just a phrase about what the movie is about (kind of)… like would appear in the Leonard Maltin book or something.)

Keyword(s) – European Remake

Top 10: 12 Monkeys (1995), The Italian Job (2003), Insomnia (2002), Scent of a Woman (1992), Clash of the Titans (2010), Some Like It Hot (1959), Vanilla Sky (2001), True Lies (1994), Dawn of the Dead (2004), The Tourist (2010)

Future BMT: 54.5 Eye of the Beholder (1999), 54.0 Downhill (2020), 49.2 The Omen (2006), 44.8 Catch That Kid (2004), 43.1 Diabolique (1996), 43.0 Village of the Damned (1995), 41.8 I Think I Love My Wife (2007), 41.2 Clash of the Titans (2010), 41.2 Mixed Nuts (1994), 39.8 Intersection (1994)

BMT: The Wicker Man (2006), Taxi (2004), The Haunting (1999), Get Carter (2000), Jungle 2 Jungle (1997), Pathfinder (2007), Fathers’ Day (1997), Nine Months (1995), The Big Wedding (2013), Brick Mansions (2014), Sleepless (2017), The Blue Lagoon (1980), School for Scoundrels (2006), Original Sin (2001), Blame It on Rio (1984), The Loft (2014), Oscar (1991), Vanilla Sky (2001), Wicker Park (2004)

Best Options (past): 21.7 The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking (1988), 17.2 Oscar (1991), 15.6 Jakob the Liar (1999), 8.9 The Thirteenth Floor (1999)

(Obviously the transition is going to be a tough ask, and yet there were four movies which were remakes of European films and also set in the past? I think The Thirteenth Floor might be a tough one though, I think it is only like “virtually” in the past or something.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 9) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Sylvester Stallone is No. 1 billed in Oscar and No. 1 billed in The Expendables 3, which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (No. 1 billed) which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (1 + 1) + (2 + 1) + (3 + 1) = 9. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 8.

Notes – At the AFI Life Achievement Award in 1991 which went to Kirk Douglas, Sylvester Stallone in his tribute to Douglas recalled the filming of the scene where he hits Stallone in the face. After a swing and miss, Stallone jokingly told Douglas to slap him hard. “Let me have your best”, whereupon Douglas proceeded to beat Stallone silly. Stallone said “I learned the hard way: never spar with Spartacus.”

One night, after filming wrapped, a fire destroyed several sets, many of the actors’ trailers (among them Tim Curry’s), all of the costumes, and twenty-one valuable vintage cars. Production was halted for two weeks while they were remaking all of the costumes. A Universal security guard hired to guard the cars later admitted to setting the fire.

Appearing as the title character Oscar, this is Jim Mulholland’s only movie.

In the early 1980s, this movie was originally proposed as another project for director John Landis and John Belushi, who was pencilled in for the Angelo “Snaps” Provolone role. The project was abandoned once Belushi died, but resuscitated later, this time with Sylvester Stallone in the lead.

This movie was based on the 1958 French play “Oscar” by Claude Magnier.

Kirk Douglas and Sylvester Stallone had only appeared in one movie together previously, and it had not been a happy experience. Douglas had started out as Colonel Trautman in First Blood (1982), but quit after a dispute over whether Rambo should live or die at the end. It was not an amicable departure.

The name of the horse on which one of Snaps’ henchmen places a bet is High Hat, the name of the horse ridden by Harpo Marx in A Day at the Races (1937).

When Anthony Rossano C.P.A. (Vincent Spano) first appears at Angelo “Snaps” Provolone’s (Sylvester Stallone’s) door, Aldo (Peter Riegert) says “it’s Little Anthony” he looks behind him “and his Imperial”. Little Anthony and the Imperials was a rock band in the 1950s.

Snaps and his men quip that they were last in Chicago on Valentine’s Day, most likely referring to the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre.

The poster is an homage to the iconic scene from Safety Last! (1923).

The film takes place in 1931.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Sylvester Stallone, 1992)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Marisa Tomei, 1992)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (John Landis, 1992)

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