Cocoon: The Return Preview

“This is not good,” Jamie says as they eye the sign that reads “Dudikoff Center for Bad Movie Rehabilitation.” It was their only choice after being confronted with Scott Bakula and their friends and family. Scott explained how he actually wasn’t killed by a demon monster like they thought. “It was all part of my own bad movie addiction, same with pretending to be your father. I’m sorry. But here… this is what saved me. What can save you, too,” he said before handing them a brochure for the Dudikoff Center. They had agreed. Good Movie Twins and Citizen Kane would have to go on hold while they do what needs to be done. When they walk into the center, though, they are surprised to find that they have one task before going to their first meeting: watch Citizen Kane. They smile. Maybe this will work out after all. They head to their room and fire up the DVD player, but just as they get to the part where some old fuddy duddy drops a snow globe like a dope they hear a crack on the glass of their window. They hear it again and head over to check out what’s going on. Far below in them in the courtyard is none other than Steve Guttenberg. “Yo Gutes, what you doing here?” Jamie calls down to him. “Same as you,” he says shrugging, “I heard you were here and I got something to show you.” Jamie begins to turn from the window and Patrick grabs his arm. “We don’t have time to do this,” he hisses, “we are here to watch CK and get back to business.” But Jamie yanks his arm away. “It’s the Gutes,” he says in disgust, “he’s back… and he needs our help.” That’s right! We’re watching Cocoon: The Return, the sequel to the surprise Ron Howard hit. The Gutes is back, Jack and palling around with a bunch of aliens and old people. Not sure which is scarier, heeeyyyyy-oooooo. Let’s go!

Cocoon: The Return (1988) – BMeTric: 44.7; Notability: 50 – BMeTric: top 4.4%; Notability: top 2.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 14.4%; Higher BMeT: Caddyshack II, Mac and Me, Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach, Poltergeist III, Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, Johnny Be Good, Alien from L.A., Arthur 2: On the Rocks, My Stepmother Is an Alien, Big Top Pee-wee, Red Scorpion; Higher Notability: Sunset, High Spirits, Big Top Pee-wee, Caddyshack II, My Stepmother Is an Alien; Lower RT: Two Moon Junction, Johnny Be Good, Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach, Fresh Horses, Return of the Killer Tomatoes!, Watchers, Illegally Yours, Hot to Trot, Caddyshack II, Return of the Living Dead II, Mac and Me, Cocktail, Dead Heat, Vibes, Arthur 2: On the Rocks, The Prince of Pennsylvania, The Seventh Sign, 976-EVIL, The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking, Poltergeist III, and 15 more; Notes: That is a nice notability I must say. Still a long way to go with 1988 according to the BMeTric though. – 2.5 stars – At the end of “Cocoon,” some senior citizens were lifted into the sky by a beam of light from a hovering spacecraft and taken to live on a planet where nobody ever got tired, and nobody ever grew old. Now they are back on Earth. Why did they return from their other-worldly paradise? It is too easy to give the cynical answer – because they were needed for the sequel – but I am afraid the movie comes up with no better justification.

(Ha! Sounds about right. The first film doesn’t really bother answering a bunch of questions as well, so making a sequel might have been a bit of an own goal at times. How is Guttenberg not in jail for example … he killed like 30 old people (the authorities would be absolutely convinced of this).)

Trailer –

(BASKETBALL SCENE ALERT. Add it to the spreadsheet boys. But also, what is up with the trailer. The picture was changing ratio a bunch and was also rounded corners like it was a projector image or something. Odd stuff.)

DirectorsDaniel Petrie – ( Known For: Lifeguard; Six Pack; A Raisin in the Sun; Fort Apache the Bronx; Lassie; Resurrection; The Betsy; Rocket Gibraltar; The Bay Boy; Buster and Billie; Square Dance; The Neptune Factor; The Idol; Stolen Hours; The Spy with a Cold Nose; The Bramble Bush; The Main Attraction; The Assistant; BMT: Cocoon: The Return; Notes: Nominated for 9 Emmys and won 3, all for like specials or children’s programs and stuff. His son is a famous screenwriter, he wrote Beverly Hills Cop.)

WritersDavid Saperstein – ( Known For: Cocoon; Beyond the Stars; A Killing Affair; BMT: Cocoon: The Return; Notes: A holdover from Cocoon. He also maybe wrote the TMNT Coming Out of Their Shell Tour? A little unclear, he was involved.)

Stephen McPherson – ( BMT: Cocoon: The Return; Notes: Mostly a TV writer, including an episode of the Poltergeist: The Legacy television series.)

Elizabeth Bradley – ( BMT: Cocoon: The Return; Notes: Did a bunch of stuff on television around the time, like script supervision. Also wrote a TV Movie with McPherson called Secrets of the Bermuda Triangle.)

ActorsDon Ameche – ( Known For: Trading Places; Coming to America; Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey; Cocoon; Harry and the Hendersons; Heaven Can Wait; Midnight; Sleep, My Love; Things Change; Love Is News; The Boatniks; In Old Chicago; Wing and a Prayer; Picture Mommy Dead; Slightly French; Alexander’s Ragtime Band; The Story of Alexander Graham Bell; Moon Over Miami; Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came; The Three Musketeers; Future BMT: Corrina, Corrina; Folks!; BMT: Oscar; Cocoon: The Return; Notes: Don Ameche won the Oscar for Supporting Actor for Cocoon … won. Not nominated. He won it. He’s also famous for Trading Places, as the voice of Shadow in Homeward Bound, and in the past for Heaven Can Wait.)

Wilford Brimley – ( Known For: The Thing; Cocoon; The Firm; The Natural; True Grit; Hard Target; Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins; In & Out; Tender Mercies; My Fellow Americans; The China Syndrome; 10 to Midnight; Absence of Malice; Last of the Dogmen; Brubaker; The Hotel New Hampshire; High Road to China; Lawman; The Electric Horseman; Borderline; Future BMT: Harry & Son; BMT: Did You Hear About the Morgans?; Cocoon: The Return; Notes: He was very notably much younger than the rest of the Cocoon cast. He is probably most famous, oddly, for the Liberty Medical commercials he did for years.)

Courteney Cox – ( Known For: Scream VI; Scream; Scream; Scream 4; Scream 2; Scream 3; Ace Ventura: Pet Detective; The Tripper; Mothers and Daughters; Down Twisted; The Runner; The Shrink Is In; November; Commandments; Blue Desert; Shaking the Tree; Future BMT: The Longest Yard; Bedtime Stories; Zoom; Barnyard; Mr. Destiny; The Opposite Sex and How to Live with Them; BMT: Masters of the Universe; 3000 Miles to Graceland; Cocoon: The Return; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for 3000 Miles to Graceland in 2002; Notes: Kind of insane but she was nominated for one Emmy ever … for the Friends: Reunion Special. She was never nominated for Friends. The rest of the cast were all nominated at least once, although Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer both once each fairly late into the run.)

Budget/Gross – $17.5 million / Domestic: $18,924,919 (Worldwide: $25,024,919)

(Given the budget that is maybe not at bad as I would expect. I guess I would have figured it would have had a higher cast cost.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 31% (4/13)

(Ah sweet I get to make a consensus: Lacking a raison d’etre, Cocoon: The Return mostly just feels like the first one done again for no reason.)

NY Times Short Review: Disappointing Sequel. 

Poster – Old People & Aliens 2: Even Older

(I wish they didn’t have the pictures at the bottom. It’s kinda nice otherwise. Good colors and artistic. Given some credit to the font since they carry over the linked O’s from the first film. Not bad. B+.)

Tagline(s) – This holiday season, journey to the most wonderful place in the universe… home. (B-)

(Like the poster they need to knock off the front of this one and then it would be way better. With that tacked on it’s lamer and too long. I think I would have really liked it if that wasn’t there so it still gets a decent grade.)

Keyword(s) – Citizen Kane

Top 10: The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Goodfellas (1990), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983), The Terminator (1984), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), Full Metal Jacket (1987), Aliens (1986), Groundhog Day (1993)

Future BMT: 75.0 Look Who’s Talking Now (1993), 71.9 Teen Wolf Too (1987), 64.2 Poltergeist III (1988), 61.0 Pet Sematary II (1992), 59.6 Suburban Commando (1991), 58.5 Rocky V (1990), 56.4 The Karate Kid Part III (1989), 55.6 Ringmaster (1998), 54.1 Who’s That Girl (1987), 53.2 Made in America (1993), 52.4 Blank Check (1994), 51.5 The Pest (1997), 50.5 Getting Even with Dad (1994), 50.0 Smokey and the Bandit II (1980), 49.9 3 Ninjas (1992), 49.1 My Girl 2 (1994), 48.3 My Stepmother Is an Alien (1988), 47.9 Three Men and a Little Lady (1990), 46.7 House Party 3 (1994), 46.3 Zapped! (1982)

BMT: Batman & Robin (1997), Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987), Troll 2 (1990), Super Mario Bros. (1993), RoboCop 3 (1993), Grease 2 (1982), Caddyshack II (1988), Bio-Dome (1996), Mac and Me (1988), Anaconda (1997), Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace (1996), Double Team (1997), Fair Game (1995), Leprechaun (1993), Body of Evidence (1992), A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989), Cool World (1992), Wild Orchid (1989), Sliver (1993), Chairman of the Board (1997), Red Sonja (1985), Nothing But Trouble (1991), Ishtar (1987), Toys (1992), Weekend at Bernie’s II (1993), Shanghai Surprise (1986), Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988), Exit to Eden (1994), Fire Down Below (1997), Color of Night (1994), Graveyard Shift (1990), No Holds Barred (1989), The Lawnmower Man (1992), Arthur 2: On the Rocks (1988), Maximum Overdrive (1986), Fire Birds (1990), Cocoon: The Return (1988), Jingle All the Way (1996), Raw Deal (1986), Crocodile Dundee II (1988), Hudson Hawk (1991), Critters 2: The Main Course (1988), Rambo III (1988), Hot to Trot (1988), Terminal Velocity (1994), Meatballs Part II (1984), Cobra (1986), Ernest Goes to Jail (1990), Hard to Kill (1990), Conan the Destroyer (1984), The Golden Child (1986), Another 48 Hrs. (1990), Hard Rain (1998), Under the Cherry Moon (1986), Mannequin (1987), K-9 (1989), Days of Thunder (1990), Blame It on Rio (1984), No Mercy (1986), Senseless (1998), The Wizard (1989), The Marrying Man (1991), Sleeping with the Enemy (1991), The Cannonball Run (1981), Stone Cold (1991), Tango & Cash (1989), Lock Up (1989), The Good Son (1993), 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992), Dangerous Minds (1995), Young Guns II (1990), Event Horizon (1997), Dutch (1991), Police Academy (1984), Road House (1989)

Best Options (Comedy): 75.0 Look Who’s Talking Now (1993), 71.9 Teen Wolf Too (1987), 59.6 Suburban Commando (1991), 55.6 Ringmaster (1998), 54.1 Who’s That Girl (1987), 53.2 Made in America (1993), 52.4 Blank Check (1994), 51.5 The Pest (1997), 50.5 Getting Even with Dad (1994), 50.0 Smokey and the Bandit II (1980), 49.9 3 Ninjas (1992), 49.1 My Girl 2 (1994), 48.3 My Stepmother Is an Alien (1988), 47.9 Three Men and a Little Lady (1990), 46.7 House Party 3 (1994), 46.3 Zapped! (1982), 45.7 Sidekicks (1992), 45.4 Excess Baggage (1997), 44.8 Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), 44.8 Dunston Checks In (1996), 44.6 Cocoon: The Return (1988), 43.8 Pink Cadillac (1989), … (and many more)

(You’d be surprised at how many options we got. Obviously the keyword figure itself it basically limited to the 90s since that is (mostly) the extent to which I got data. Franchise Guy would be happy though, look at all them bad sequels that were playing on television in the 90s.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 18) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Courteney Cox is No. 3 billed in Cocoon: The Return and No. 3 billed in 3000 Miles to Graceland, which also stars Kurt Russell (No. 1 billed) who is in Tango & Cash (No. 2 billed) which also stars Sylvester Stallone (No. 1 billed) who is in The Expendables 3 (No. 1 billed) 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) => (3 + 3) + (1 + 2) + (1 + 1) + (2 + 1) + (3 + 1) = 18. If we were to watch Bedtime Stories we can get the HoE Number down to 16.

Notes – Brian Dennehy is seen at the end of the film, reprising his role as Walter the alien leader. Dennehy agreed to reprise his role from the first film as a favor to his castmates, and accepted no payment for doing so.

Ron Howard refused to have any association with the film, feeling concerned that the whole point of the first film would immediately be squandered.

The entire main cast of Cocoon (1985) returned for this sequel.

Ron Howard passed on directing the film and directed Willow (1988) instead.

This was Jack Gilford’s final film before his death on June 2, 1990 at the age of 81.

Producers Richard D. Zanuck and Lili Fini Zanuck, co-owned the rights to the sequel with 20th Century Fox. Initially opposed to the concept of a second film, they only went ahead with it out of a need to preserve the integrity of the original. As it transpired, Lili, who was very much opposed to doing a sequel, had only nominal interest, as she was busy prepping her own directorial debut, Rush (1991).

The movie David (Barret Oliver) is watching in his room at the beginning of the movie is ‘Breaking Away’ starring Dennis Christopher and Dennis Quaid.

The St. Petersburg Oceanographic Institute facility seen in this film (where the Antarean was kept for observation) is actually the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences Center located on Virginia Key just outside of Miami.

Just as the first film, the cast includes three Oscar winners: Don Ameche, Jessica Tandy, and Maureen Stapleton; and two Oscar nominees: Hume Cronyn and Jack Gilford.


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