You are Franchise Man. It’s March 27, 1993. Every day is harder than the last, but it’s your job and you love it. You wake up bright and early for an 8:30am showing of Curse of the Fly on Cinemax, which gives you just enough time to catch the 11am airing of The Ewok Adventure on Disney. You stretch your legs and crack your back as you wait the hour for the 2pm showing of Airport 1975 on TBS. You’ve seen it before so you skip the last half hour to hit up Cocoon: The Return on Showtime and follow that up with The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, and Xtro II: The Second Encounter. The big boss congratulates you for another job well done. You get home and flip your personal TV to channel 11 for a 2am showing of Citizen Kane. It is your secret shame. This is a day in the life of Franchise Man. Fin.
To recap, an old man drops a snow globe and whispers “Rosebud.” … no wait, sorry, wrong movie. The Cocoon gang (and Gutes) are back, Jack! And boy, are they missing Earth. Turns out that going off to live for eternity as glowing aliens has some drawbacks (namely, it’s super weird). So when the aliens have to return to Earth to try one last time to rescue their friends, our favorite geezers come along for the ride. Bernie is quite happy to see them and foregoes committing suicide to pal around with his old friends (fun!). But things go a little sideways when they are all super weird old people and Bernie is like “stop being so weird.” Mix in the fact that Ben’s grandson is a super weenie in need of a father figure, Joe’s cancer returns at the same time that his wife gets hit by a car and needs his special lifeforce to survive (geez), and Art and Alma find out they’re pregnant (at their age!) and things are getting rough. Not to mention that a local research facility has stumbled upon a cocoon and taken it to study. Gutes and the gang decide on a rescue and Art, Ben, Kitty, the Gutes, and Ben’s weenie grandson head on in. While in there they are caught by a researcher, but she is also dismayed by the treatment of the alien and lets them go. They return to the Gutes’ boat and everyone prepares to leave, except that Ben and his family decide to stay behind too. After the aliens depart, the Gutes is kinda sad because he wanted to have alien sex with Kitty, but then he meets the scientist who helped them out and realizes that she is the woman that Kitty told him he would fall in love with. So he’s happy to have regular ol’ human sex with this one. THE END.
Oh boy. Oh deary Cocoon: The Return. I can’t even say, ‘what have you become?’ The truth is that Cocoon was always weird. It is just wild to have a film where a bunch of old people swim with some cocoons, feel super spry, and proceed through a series of montages where they totally sex up their wives real good. That’s pretty much 70% of the original film. Already weird. The sequel triples down on that concept while adding in a bunch of fluff. There is a beach scene that is so offputting that it should have resulted in an X rating. Then half the film is them doing mundane Earth stuff (e.g. Ben teaching his grandson how to hit a single) and being like “boy I miss this.” Sure… but did we have to see it? The real problem is that I wasn’t a big fan of the first film… so the objectively worse and totally redundant sequel was not for me. One positive note: I thought Elaine Stritch was good in this one. Made up for the Bernie character being reduced to a series of inexplicable impression gags. So my conclusion: give me more Cocoon. I am Franchise Guy.
Hot Take Clam Bake! This whole thing is bullshit. They have never, across two films, explained any rationale why this group of randos got to go into space to live forever. They aren’t even particularly good or nice people. The aliens should have found a bunch of better people to take with them. Speaking of that, why didn’t any of the other old people that went away in the first film return to Earth for this little excursion? What makes these jokesters so special? That’s my hot take: this film should have been about the aliens returning the old people to Earth cause they realized that they made a big mistake and then the old people have to make amends with everyone they left behind who now also hate them. Hot Take Temperature: Body Heat.
‘Ello everyone! A bunch of aliens decide to grant the gift of eternal life to … a bunch of really old people? Brutal choice. Let’s go!
- I’ll hop back onto effectively Jamie’s Hot Take: It is absurd that the aliens are like “these morons who botched our operation because they got into a fight in their old folks home and killed one of our friends … yeah, let’s go with them as far as granting eternal life.” Like … a few guys in the Navy maybe? I guess they have some life experience? But they aren’t like hey, maybe we should snag a scientist and junk. It’s insane!
- Also locks? Ever heard of them?
- Oh sorry, this isn’t the place to complain about the original surprising hit from the era of “The Old Guys Still Got It!” that brought us smash hits like Grumpy Old Men. I’ll say, the film is pleasant enough, but I really find it interesting that people were enjoying a bunch of old actors in a, frankly, not very funny sci-fi comedy. It would have been remembered like Batteries Not Included if they didn’t make the sequel.
- The sequel finds The Gutes grimly selling garbage in Florida (living the life…) and for no reason a bunch of old people remembering that literally being on the verge of death was nice I guess. It is already an absurd premise.
- But what do you expect from this era? They would make a film that is basically like “remember Don Ameche? It’s him but aliens.” and people were falling all over themselves to give them money. What could they do?
- So as I said, the premise, which is basically just “Hey remember how it took us a thousand years to come and get our friends last time? Well, turns out it only takes us like five years to get here, so we’re back, oh and we have to get them again.”
- Add in a basketball scene to replace the original’s dance scene.
- And add in a love interest for the Gutes that isn’t an alium.
- The end, you have your movie. Everyone complains a lot, and the guy who literally almost kills himself at the beginning of this film decides not to, but he still doesn’t go with them. Dumb.
- The acting is … it isn’t good. Honestly, it wasn’t that good in the first, but the novelty has worn off and the writing is so lazy the house of cards falls down (where have I experienced this before … oh yeah, Grumpier Old Men. What an era!)
- They still don’t explain how The Gutes got out of his 30 counts of negligent homicide. THEY HAD A FUNERAL. He’s the last person to see all of them. It was his boat they were on (which is now gone). He says something to the effect of “Oh man, I got in a lot of trouble for that.” You mean like the 20 years in prison you should have been sentenced to? Then six of these people come back, one of them dies, and three of them stay? How are they explaining that? Where are the 24 friends you were with? Cuba?! Legit, it is a giant plot hole that is maybe okay to forget about for a one off nonsense film, but they don’t even really try and lampshade it for the second one. It is a bit nuts.
- Some hilarious Product Placement (What?) like Quaker Oats which is front and center in a cooking scene early in the film. Definitely Setting as a Character (Where?) for Florida. I think that’s it. Definite BMT film, what an odd film.
Alright, well, go check out Cocoon: The Protector of the Gem in the quiz. Cheerios,