Supergirl Preview

“You best move out of the way, Michael,” Jamie says, limbering up for a classic Twin Tussle. He shakes his arms out wildly and does a few splits to loosen up his hips. Meanwhile Patrick just stands there like a statue, the smirk frozen on his face, eyes glazed over like doll’s eyes. He has withdrawn deep within himself, a meditative state that he enters just before he engages in great violence. Michael attempts to play peacekeeper. He recognizes the danger that these two opposing forces represent. Great kinetic energy coming into contact with immense potential energy. Like a lit match and a stick of dynamite. “Gentlemen, please, can’t you see we are on the same side. You have been chosen for a great responsibility and no matter how much you want to pretend you are a couple of cowboys, a couple of wild cards, a couple of rock and roll detectives, you know in your hearts that you are Jamie and Patrick, in search of something bigger than the next bad movie that comes across your path.” Michael steps between them, his voice now shaking with emotion. “You are meant to find this treasure and learn a great truth about yourselves. A great truth that you can bring out into the world. A great truth that you have been heading towards ever since you started this story. The story of the bad movie twins, which is no longer the story of the bad movie twins. It’s just your story… together.” Jamie stares at Michael in astonishment and begins to nod his head. “Yeah,” he begins, “yeah, that’s real dumb. I’m not doing that.” He turns back to Patrick, still frozen in place. “Prepare to meet my two friends,” Jamie says, kissing his fists, “Supergirl and The Punisher.” That’s right! We are venturing back into the superhero world with the last Superman movie we have to do. Supergirl! What’s that? It’s not the last Superman film we have to do? That can’t be right. Haven’t we already done a thousand of them? Anyway, we are pairing that with the Dolph Lundgren vehicle The Punisher, which much like the Fantastic Four film we watched appears to be some kind of financial scheme. Let’s go!

Supergirl (1984) – BMeTric: 72.1; Notability: 60 – BMeTric: top 0.0%; Notability: top 0.4%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 4.1%; Higher Notability: Cannonball Run II; Lower RT: Bolero, The Hills Have Eyes Part II, Reckless, Thief of Hearts, Exterminator 2, Until September, Crackers, Ghoulies, Blame It on Rio; Notes: Pretty insane stuff there. 50+ Notability in 1985. 70+ BMeTric, which is exceedingly rare. Highest BMeTric of 1984, and we saw the higher Notability too. I love it when we can hit some of these big boys. – 2.0 stars – The appearance of “Supergirl,” so soon after “Superman III,” is an indication that the producers of the “Superman” movies have forgotten, if they ever consciously knew it, the real secret of the movies. We do not go to “Superman” and “Supergirl” movies to laugh condescendingly at the characters (which is what the writers, directors, and even some of the actors have started to do). We go to recapture some of the lost innocence of the whole notion of superheroes. The gift of Christopher Reeve, in his best scenes and when the filmmakers allow it, is to play Superman without laughing, to take him seriously so that we can have some innocent escapist fun. Helen Slater has the same gift, but is given even less chance to exercise it in “Supergirl,” and the result is an unhappy, unfunny, unexciting movie. Why even go to the trouble of making a movie that feels like it’s laughing at itself?

(Uh oh Roger Ebert … you must be rolling in your grave. Because there is nary an action film today which isn’t quite often turned into a (pretty bad) action comedy. And I suppose the two notable exceptions in recent memory in Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water ended up working. So maybe Ebert was onto something there.)

Trailer –

(Wowza the voice at the end sounds awful. Silly shit though. Looks like it could be fun just by virtue of being so silly … although I also know that the film is over 2 hours which is absurd.)

DirectorsJeannot Szwarc – ( Known For: Jaws 2; Somewhere in Time; Bug; Enigma; Extreme Close-Up; Hercule & Sherlock; The Sun Sisters; Honor Bound; La vengeance d’une blonde; BMT: Supergirl; Santa Claus: The Movie; Notes: Born in France, raised in Argentina. Got Jaws 2 because of an episode of Night Gallery he directed.)

WritersDavid Odell – ( Known For: The Dark Crystal; Cry Uncle; Dealing: Or the Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues; Running Scared; Foreplay; Future BMT: Nate and Hayes; BMT: Masters of the Universe; Supergirl; Notes: Obviously a big Muppets guy given that he wrote The Dark Crystal. Woman an Emmy for The Muppet Show.)

ActorsHelen Slater – ( Known For: City Slickers; The Legend of Billie Jean; The Secret of My Success; Ruthless People; Lassie; The Steal; No Way Back; Happy Together; Seeing Other People; The Curse of Downers Grove; A House in the Hills; Sticky Fingers; Betrayal of the Dove; Beautiful Wave; Echo Park; BMT: Supergirl; Notes: Ended up acting in the recent Supergirl television series. Mostly television work over the years including a starring turn in The Lying Game.)

Faye Dunaway – ( Known For: Bonnie and Clyde; Chinatown; Network; The Handmaid’s Tale; The Thomas Crown Affair; The Towering Inferno; Three Days of the Condor; The Rules of Attraction; The Three Musketeers; The Man Who Drew God; The Thomas Crown Affair; Mommie Dearest; Little Big Man; Don Juan DeMarco; The Two Jakes; The Case for Christ; The Arrangement; Barfly; Arizona Dream; Inconceivable; Future BMT: The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc; Dunston Checks In; The Temp; BMT: Supergirl; The Bye Bye Man; The Chamber; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress in 1982 for Mommie Dearest, and Tarzan the Ape Man; Winner for Worst Supporting Actress for The Temp in 1994; Nominee for Worst Actress in 1981 for The First Deadly Sin; in 1984 for The Wicked Lady; and in 1985 for Supergirl; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress in 1997 for Dunston Checks In, and The Chamber; and in 1998 for Albino Alligator; and Nominee for Worst Actress of the Decade in 1990 for Mommie Dearest, Supergirl, The First Deadly Sin, and The Wicked Lady; Notes: Won the Oscar for Network in addition to being nominated two other times (Chinatown and Bonnie and Clyde). Has always done film over the years, although her last major film was probably the BMT classic The Bye Bye Man.)

Peter O’Toole – ( Known For: Troy; Ratatouille; Caligula; Stardust; Lawrence of Arabia; The Last Emperor; Casino Royale; The Lion in Winter; The Bible: In the Beginning…; How to Steal a Million; Becket; What’s New Pussycat; The Stunt Man; FairyTale: A True Story; My Favorite Year; The Ruling Class; Zulu Dawn; Man of La Mancha; Bright Young Things; Venus; Future BMT: King Ralph; One Night with the King; High Spirits; Club Paradise; For Greater Glory: The True Story of Cristiada; Creator; The Nutcracker Prince; BMT: Supergirl; Phantoms; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor for Supergirl in 1985; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Club Paradise in 1987; Notes: Died in 2013. Famously nominated for 8 Oscars without winning one, including for Lawrence of Arabia (his first nomination). Was awards an honorary Oscar in 2003.)

Budget/Gross – $35 million / Domestic: $14,296,438 (Worldwide: $14,296,438)

(That is no good. I suppose they really did think they were going to get the full Superman haul with the spinoff. Didn’t work out.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (3/36): The effects are cheesy and Supergirl’s wide-eyed, cheery heroine simply isn’t interesting to watch for an hour and a half.

(Awwww. But yeah, that seems quite bad. Want to hear something odd? The New York Times was marking this film with a star up until maybe 1996. So prior to that they were basically recommending the film. So an apparently rare recommend from them for the film.)

New York Times Short Review: Pale supercousin to you-know-who. Flashy, colorful fun.

Poster – Super 18-year-old

(I don’t mind it, although I feel like they felt like they were being super smart by having her fly around the statue of liberty. From one super girl to another or something, which kinda tells you everything you need to know about the movie. A little old fashioned, but has some depth and font and artistry. B-.)

Tagline(s) – Her first great adventure. (D)

(Oh sweet summer child. Outside of the somewhat amusing irony, this is too generic to count for much.)

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), 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), 54.2 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), 46.4 Zapped! (1982), 45.8 Sidekicks (1992)

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: The Dream Child (1989), Cool World (1992), Poltergeist III (1988), 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), Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986), Crocodile Dundee II (1988), Hudson Hawk (1991), Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment (1985), Navy Seals (1990), Critters 2: The Main Course (1988), Hot to Trot (1988), Rambo III (1988), Terminal Velocity (1994), Meatballs Part II (1984), Cobra (1986), Ernest Goes to Jail (1990), Man Trouble (1992), 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 (superhero): 72.1 Supergirl (1984), 41.6 Sheena (1984)

(I had to add it into the superhero option since Supergirl and Citizen Kane only played on the same date (that I could find) on March 15, 1986 which wasn’t in my original 90s exclusive set. Sheena is a weird option. And obviously The Punisher (1989) works, but it doesn’t qualify, it came out in too few theaters.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Peter O’Toole is No. 3 billed in Supergirl and No. 2 billed in Phantoms, which also stars Ben Affleck (No. 1 billed) who is in Pearl Harbor (No. 1 billed) which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => (3 + 2) + (1 + 1) + (3 + 3) = 13. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – The film’s opening credits cost almost $1 million to shoot.

Marc McClure (Jimmy Olsen) is the only actor to reprise his role from any of the “Superman” films.

Almost 85% of the film was shot on giant sound stages at Pinewood Studios.

The original script had Supergirl trying to rescue Superman, who had fallen ill due to Selena’s magic.

The film was intended to be the first in a series. Its lack of box-office success ended those plans.

Helen Slater had to train three hours a day for three months to do the outdoor flying sequences, where she was suspended by wires from a 200-foot tower crane.

The film was completed by Warner Brothers. After Superman III (1983) had underperformed, the studio decided not to release it. Tri-Star Pictures, a subsidiary of Sony Pictures, picked it up, and cut it from 126 minutes to 105. That being said, the original 126 minute cut was used for foreign theatrical releases, dubbed the International cut. Warner eventually regained full rights to the film and finally released it on DVD in 2006 in its international cut.

Peter Cook would later complain of Faye Dunaway’s diva behavior on this film and her constant lack of punctuality resulting in delays. At one point the producers even considered replacing her with Anjelica Huston or Jane Fonda.

John Williams’s theme for Superman (1978) appears briefly in Jerry Goldsmith’s score.

Brooke Shields was the first choice for the role of Supergirl, but was turned down because of her 6’0″ height.

Film debut of Helen Slater. Many years later, Slater would later appear in three episodes of Smallville (2001), playing Lara, the Kryptonian mother of Kal-El/Clark Kent, and then get a recurring role in Supergirl (2015) as Supergirl’s adoptive mother, Eliza Danvers.

Dolly Parton was offered $7 million to take the role of Selena, but she turned it down, claiming that she couldn’t play a witch, no matter how much money was offered. Jane Fonda and Goldie Hawn also turned the role down.

The scenes in which the monster tractor destroys the town took 22 consecutive days to shoot.

With a total domestic gross of $14 million, this movie made the least money of all the films in the Superman series, just behind Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) which made $15 million.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Peter O’Toole, 1985)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Faye Dunaway, 1985)


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