There are so many BMT films that we watched as kids that we never picked up because we sat there thinking, “But we watched that so many times before, that’ll skew our perception.” Darn tootin’! That’s kind of the point. Do we see what made these beloved films BMT qualifiers? Or do we vehemently disagree with their unjust BMT characterization? When Ace Ventura; When Nature Calls came out I think it might have been the funniest movie of all time… check that Billy Madison was the funniest movie of all time, but this was in the upper echelon of funny films. My favorite part? The rhino, duh. Nothing says “a nine-year-old will find this hilarious” more than a completely naked grown man squeezing himself out of the butt of a rhino. Now that I’m a completely naked grown man myself, I’m most anticipating the Monopoly Guy scene. One of the craziest things is the guy who played the Monopoly Guy in this film also played a skinny guy in the film Buddy. So that’s two films he’s in where a gorilla has sex with a human… or am I misremembering the film Buddy?
To recap, Ace Ventura is back, Jack! But this time he’s sad. He lost a raccoon and now has devoted his life to meditation in Tibet. When a representative from the nation of Nibia shows up asking for Ace’s help, the monks at the monastery are thrilled to get rid of him. His task is simple: get back the sacred Great White Bat that has been put up as the dowry for an important wedding between the hostile Wachootoo tribe and the peaceful Wachati tribe. Without it there will be war. Ace is grossed out by the bat, but agrees anyway. In Nibia he is informed of several unsavory suspects by the consul Cadby. He follows numerous leads, but nothing comes of them (other than getting pooped out of a mechanical rhino). When he gets tranquilized it appears to point to the Wachootoo tribe itself, but when he goes to investigate he is put through a series of trials which ultimately proves the innocence of the Wachootoo and instead points to a couple of poachers. This ends up leading to the discovery that the Cadby himself has arranged for war in pursuit of control of the guano trade in the region. Ace confronts Cadby and is able to recover the bat, leaving the consul in the loving grips of a randy gorilla. Ace saves the day, but ultimately earns the ire of the Wachootoo for having (unbeknownst to the viewer) deflowered the bride. THE END.
I still think this film is pretty gosh darn funny. Rewatching the first film along with this, though, does put into perspective just how recently comedy was not just playing with fire, but literally on fire with homophobia, transphobia, and racism. The Ace Ventura films unfortunately have plots that center directly on these stereotypes, so it’s hard to get around. It is something you would have to grapple right off the bat on rewatch. But speaking outside of those terms, I’ve always considered the second film much funnier than the first. It was written with Carrey’s Ace character fully realized. This is certainly true. Way, way funnier. Ace is a cartoon character in a real world in the first film. In the second it’s Ace’s world and we’re living in it. Unfortunately, this also means that almost nothing makes sense. The plot is ludicrously bad, just bopping from joke to joke and eventually “resolving” with a whimper. This doesn’t make it less funny, it just means the second is just not as good of a film as the first… you know, if you were looking for that kind of thing in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls.
Hot Take Clam Bake! Ace Ventura was obviously killed at the end of this film. Just listen to the plot of Ace Ventura Jr.: “Ace Ventura Jr. is the son of eccentric ‘pet detective’ Ace Ventura, who had disappeared when he was a baby, and is attempting to follow in his footsteps, much to the chagrin of his mother, Melissa, who repeatedly tries to dissuade him from doing so.” First of all, he disappeared when he was a baby. Maybe when he entered a monastery, got wrapped up in a mystery in Africa, and was killed? Maybe that’s when he disappeared? Also, he had a baby with Melissa from the first film. So clearly the birth happened prior to the events of this film. So I better not see Ace Ventura 3 on the horizon unless it’s called Ace Ventura: Ghost Pet Detective. Hot Take Temperature: Miami Beach.
‘Ello everyone! How dare you. HOW DAAAAAAAAAAAAARE YOU. Let’s go!
Sometimes you look into the mirror at your clamshell VHS tape of Hook and whisper “Who am I?” and you realize that those movies you liked as a child are actually bad.
C’mon son, you know that day ain’t today. Ace Ventura is hilarious. Get that thought out of your dirty mind this second!
But sure … both films are a mishmash of misogyny, and homophobia, and transphobia, and oh boy is this film racist but like … it’s Ace Ventura, right?
But like … is it morally wrong to show this film to, say, a 10-year-old? The answer I think is yes. They need more context that doesn’t get clouded by a grown man talking out of his butt (objectively hilarious to a 10-year-old). It is on that Revenge of the Nerds level where you would turn to your child and be like “alright … well I forgot about this, but this part is actually rape and this main nerd should be in prison. The sequel should be Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Prison.” It is on the correct side of Soul Man, but on the wrong side of Revenge (only because you could edit Revenge of the Nerds to eliminate the Nerds’ horrible sex crimes).
Alright, enough of the moral quandary, let’s put that to the side and talk about both movies since I forced my wife to watch them with me because she had (gasp!) never seen either.
Verdict: Jim Carry was a whirlwind. A force of nature. The first movie could barely contain him. There is a script online, and for the most part it matches with the movie that was eventually shot, except that it has none of the Jim Carrey-ness of the eventual films. And reading it you can tell it would have been a pretty lackluster comedy without Carrey’s out of this world performance. My guess is that it never is actually made if not for Carrey signing on. Some producer somewhere knew that the script called for a crazy central performance and they nailed it.
The second embraces the character and feels like it sets up to portray the character well, but then gets waylaid by setting it in Africa which immediately causes issues. They really shouldn’t have gone abroad for the first sequel. They should have gone to Hollywood or New York and just amped up Ace Ventura, but kept the more grounded (less fictional) aspects brought in by setting it in a fictional colonized African country.
Fictional Location Alert (Where?) for the country of Nibia, and given the animals probably supposed to be down near South Africa. Not really but kind of a MacGuffin (Why?) for the Great White Bat. And Worst Twist (How?) for the obvious reveal that the white colonial monster is, well, a monster and is trying to set off a tribal war to consolidate power and exploit the resources of the region. I think this is closest to BMT, only because it is pretty funny, but also bad which makes for a pretty entertaining (if fraught) rewatch.
Read about the long lost sequel to When Nature Calls in the quiz, Cheerios,
Oh, shikaka! Here’s the thing. I’m terrified of bats, but I found myself in a cave just chockablock with ‘em! Needless to say I freaked out, ran out, and smashed my head on a rock. It isn’t a huge deal, but I do have a stage 3 concussion and can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls?
Pop Quiz Hot Shot!
1) The Cliffhanger parody start is a classic. But what animal was he saving?
2) Well, that was an easy one. Nibia needs Ace’s help though! What is the crime that is about to spark war between the two tribes?
3) Ultimately Ace uncovers two clues which eventually lead him to the culprit. The first is a false clue. But what was the second?
4) Name the four challenges Ace has to overcome in the warlike tribe’s village.
5) What happens to the villain ultimately?
Bonus Question: The last we see of Ace he’s running for his life. We know what he’s running from. But where is he running to?
Jamie and Patrick look around the dance hall in downtown Lebanon, Kansas. People are dosadoing and promenading all the while staring in confusion at their jorts and leather vests. “Remind us again why we’re here? I thought we were gonna feel the rhythm take hold of our hearts… dance for our lives… what a feeling,” Jamie says, annoyed. Michael nods, “Yes, beep boop, The Dudikoffs want you to reconnect with the people. A beautiful artistic experimental dance is one thing. A people-pleasing, flashy dance is another. Time works differently in the catacombs. Beep boop.” Before embarking they had reassembled Michael, but not all the kinks were worked out yet. Jamie leans in close to Patrick’s ear to whisper something even Michael’s robot ears couldn’t hear. “Let’s blow this joint. Why not just go back to NYC and finish the Platonic Solids Series?” Patrick tended to agree. His neck had been itching for the feel of his cable knit sweater. Just as they turn to leave, though, an announcement rings out over the sound system. “Ladies and gentleman, start your engines because our special guest is here to show you how it’s done. ‘It’ is comedy. ‘It’ is sex appeal. ‘It’ is close-up magic. ‘He’ is three time Teen Choice Award nominee, one time People’s Choice Nominee, and current host of smash hit America is Very Good… Kevin James!” The crowd goes bananas. Kevin James emerges from a nearby restroom, grabs a microphone, and alerts all the attendees of the event that they should not go in there, implying that he destroyed the toilet. The crowd is laughing so hard that several of them faint. Jamie and Patrick turn around to find Kevin James staring directly at them from the stage mouthing the words “fuck you, Bad Movie Twins.” That’s right! Every once in a while you have to pick up a classic and this is one of those times. Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls was a smash hit, both financially and in our hearts. Let’s go!
StreetCreditReport.com –BMeTric: top 21.6%; Notability: top 12.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 16.3%; Higher BMeT: Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace, Vampire in Brooklyn, Fair Game, Showgirls, Jury Duty, Batman Forever, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Congo, Theodore Rex, The Babysitter, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, A Kid in King Arthur’s Court, Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh, Judge Dredd, Nine Months, The Scarlet Letter, Johnny Mnemonic, Virtuosity, and 34 more; Higher Notability: Batman Forever, Congo, Judge Dredd, Cutthroat Island, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, Virtuosity, Showgirls, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Four Rooms, Money Train, Panther, Jefferson in Paris, Jade, Assassins, Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead, Hackers, Canadian Bacon, Just Cause, Nine Months, Dangerous Minds, and 10 more; Lower RT: The Big Green, Jury Duty, National Lampoon’s Senior Trip, Theodore Rex, Delta of Venus, Born to Be Wild, The Walking Dead, Top Dog, A Kid in King Arthur’s Court, The Hunted, It Takes Two, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, Bushwhacked, Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, Fair Game, Canadian Bacon, Vampire in Brooklyn, The Scarlet Letter, Four Rooms, and 18 more; Notes: A bit higher notability than I would have expected (given the somewhat limited cast). When are we watching Under Siege 2?
Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – Sloppy assemblage of gags (with most of the good ones near the beginning) ostensibly about Ace’s anti-p.c. hijinks with battling African tribes while trying to locate a rare white bat. Clever opening spoof of Cliffhanger and a funny sight gag involving asparagus; otherwise, more of the same.
(Pretty much nails it. He gave the first 2 stars as well which I think is fair. Basically there the complaint was Carrey wouldn’t and couldn’t stop. That is very fair. The first is almost bursting at the seams trying to contain Carrey within a script not written for him. This one I think at least is written to accommodate his outlandish behavior.)
(The trailer is pretty good because it tells you almost nothing about the story. The only issue I could have is displaying two of the more solid jokes (the asparagus gag, and the spears in the legs). Solid overall. I remember this trailer so vividly for the music.)
Directors – Steve Oedekerk – ( Future BMT: Barnyard; Kung Pow: Enter the Fist; Nothing to Lose; BMT: Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls; Notes: Wait … nominated for an Oscar? That’s right, he was nominated for Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius in 2002. Some might recognize him as the star of Kung Pow: Enter the First.)
Writers – Jack Bernstein – ( Known For: Ace Ventura: Pet Detective; BMT: Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls; Notes: Mostly a television producing including 70 episodes of Royal Pains.)
Steve Oedekerk – ( Known For: Bruce Almighty; Cowboys & Aliens; The Nutty Professor; Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius; High Strung; Future BMT: Evan Almighty; Patch Adams; Barnyard; Kung Pow: Enter the Fist; Nothing to Lose; BMT: Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls; Notes: He really lived off of that Jimmy Neutron gig for a while. Over 50 episodes of the television series, and then 20 more of a spinoff.)
Actors – Jim Carrey – ( Known For: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; The Truman Show; Sonic the Hedgehog 2; The Bad Batch; Sonic the Hedgehog; The Mask; Liar Liar; Dumb and Dumber; Ace Ventura: Pet Detective; Bruce Almighty; A Series of Unfortunate Events; Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues; Me, Myself & Irene; Horton Hears a Who!; The Cable Guy; How the Grinch Stole Christmas; Yes Man; Peggy Sue Got Married; Earth Girls Are Easy; The Dead Pool; Future BMT: Kick-Ass 2; Dumb and Dumber To; Fun with Dick and Jane; Once Bitten; The Incredible Burt Wonderstone; Pink Cadillac; BMT: Batman Forever; The Number 23; Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls; Notes: I looked this up after, but he really never had a big downturn in his career as I had thought. Only somewhat recently did he take some time off before getting the Robotnik role in Sonic.)
Ian McNeice – ( Known For: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; Valkyrie; Top Secret!; From Hell; No Escape; Valmont; Oliver Twist; Grizzly II: Revenge; A Life Less Ordinary; 84 Charing Cross Road; The Russia House; The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain; The Man Who Invented Christmas; Blackball; Personal Services; The Body; Funny Bones; The Cherry Orchard; The Fourth Angel; Whoops Apocalypse; Future BMT: The Black Dahlia; White Noise; The Beautician and the Beast; Year of the Comet; BMT: Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls; Around the World in 80 Days; Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason; Town & Country; Notes: Oddly his three children live in Africa, but this doesn’t seem to be connected to this movie somehow.)
Simon Callow – ( Known For: Amadeus; Notting Hill; A Room with a View; Four Weddings and a Funeral; Shakespeare in Love; James and the Giant Peach; Maurice; Howards End; Postcards from the Edge; Victoria & Abdul; Mindhorn; Arn: The Knight Templar; No Man’s Land; Viceroy’s House; Late Bloomers; Thunderpants; Blue Iguana; Hampstead; Bright Young Things; The Man Who Invented Christmas; Future BMT: The Phantom of the Opera; Street Fighter; BMT: Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls; Notes: Apparently he is an Orson Welles expert and biography.)
Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $108,385,533 (Worldwide: $212,385,533)
(I mean that is huge. I think Carrey was at a weird point in his career where this was his first sequel. Because he didn’t really do another one until the Dumb and Dumber sequel many years later.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 21% (6/28): Nature Calls in this Ace Ventura sequel, and it’s answered by the law of diminishing returns.
(Many of the complaints appear to be that Carrey is meaner in this film than the first, which I also think is correct. Again, the original was written without a solid grasp of the character who was written more as a zany take on noir detectives in general. In this they were grasping around trying to decide who this character was actually supposed to be.)
NY Times Short Review: Pet detective and sacred white bat. Sloppy, cheerfully gross sequel.
(It’s a classic. If the Ace Ventura 2 poster was a criminal that I was describing to a sketch artist it would have been caught in ten minutes. It’s not perfect or really artistic in any way, but nice font and that outfit is absolutely outrageous. B-)
Tagline(s) – New Animals. New Adventures. Same Hair (C-)
(Was the hair what everyone remembered most vividly from the first film? I guess maybe, although I never thought of it that way. This is a nicely constructed tagline, but boy is it lame.)
Keyword(s) – wisdom
Top 10: The Dark Knight (2008), Inception (2010), Forrest Gump (1994), The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), Batman Begins (2005), Inglourious Basterds (2009), The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Future BMT: 88.5 Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (2003), 84.0 Prom Night (2008), 83.5 Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World (2011), 82.2 You Got Served (2004), 80.0 Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience (2009), 79.6 Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000), 78.8 Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (2011), 77.5 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009), 77.2 Superhero Movie (2008), 72.2 Bewitched (2005), 71.4 The Animal (2001), 69.3 College Road Trip (2008), 68.9 Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen (2004), 68.4 Poltergeist (2015), 68.2 Yogi Bear (2010), 67.6 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), 65.6 The Haunting of Molly Hartley (2008), 65.5 Halloween Ends (2022), 65.3 Fat Albert (2004), 65.0 Scary Movie 4 (2006)
BMT: Batman & Robin (1997), The Emoji Movie (2017), The Last Airbender (2010), Fifty Shades of Grey (2015), The Cat in the Hat (2003), Crossroads (2002), Norbit (2007), From Justin to Kelly (2003), The Master of Disguise (2002), Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000), xXx: State of the Union (2005), Sex and the City 2 (2010), Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021), Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007), Fifty Shades Freed (2018), The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009), Little Man (2006), Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (2015), Taxi (2004), Freddy Got Fingered (2001), I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998), Zoolander 2 (2016), Kangaroo Jack (2003), Are We Done Yet? (2007), Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach (1988), The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011), The Boy Next Door (2015), Wild Wild West (1999), Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000), Year One (2009), Are We There Yet? (2005), Big Momma’s House 2 (2006), Marmaduke (2010), The Roommate (2011), Tammy (2014), Abduction (2011), Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous (2005), A Good Day to Die Hard (2013), Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), New York Minute (2004), Hot Pursuit (2015), Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009), Big Momma’s House (2000), An American Haunting (2005), …
Best Options (Comedy): 88.5 Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (2003), 83.5 Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World (2011), 79.6 Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000), 78.8 Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (2011), 77.5 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009), 77.2 Superhero Movie (2008), 72.2 Bewitched (2005), 71.4 The Animal (2001), 69.3 College Road Trip (2008), 68.9 Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen (2004), 68.2 Yogi Bear (2010), 67.6 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), 65.3 Fat Albert (2004), 65.0 Scary Movie 4 (2006), 63.7 The Dukes of Hazzard (2005), 62.2 Madea Goes to Jail (2009), 61.5 Scooby-Doo (2002), 60.8 Like a Boss (2020), 60.8 Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007), 60.6 Meet Dave (2008), 60.4 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip (2015), 58.7 Scary Movie 2 (2001), 57.5 Maid in Manhattan (2002), 57.2 The Wedding Planner (2001), 56.9 Hanging Up (2000), 56.8 Land of the Lost (2009), 55.3 The Back-up Plan (2010), 55.0 Evan Almighty (2007), 54.5 The Smurfs 2 (2013), 54.0 The Smurfs (2011), 53.9 Annie (2014), 53.1 Aloha (2015), 52.6 Just My Luck (2006), 52.1 Loser (2000), 52.0 Malibu’s Most Wanted (2003), 51.7 View from the Top (2003), 51.5 Scary Movie 3 (2003), 51.4 Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), 51.0 Little Fockers (2010), 50.9 Couples Retreat (2009), 50.7 Racing Stripes (2005), 50.6 Eight Crazy Nights (2002), …
(Yeah there are too many really to list. Originally we were going to do Dumb and Dumberer but then we botched it. But Ace Ventura 2 is secretly amazing so I’m not too worked up about it.)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 14) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Jim Carrey is No. 1 billed in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls and No. 1 billed in The Number 23, which also stars Virginia Madsen (No. 2 billed) who is in Firewall (No. 3 billed) which also stars Harrison Ford (No. 1 billed) who is in Hollywood Homicide (No. 1 billed) which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => (1 + 1) + (2 + 3) + (1 + 1) + (2 + 3) = 14. There is no shorter path at the moment.
Notes – When driving to the consulate for the first time, Jim Carrey forgot his lines, so instead started singing the theme from the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Both actors stayed in character and the director loved it so they kept it in.
According to Simon Callow, Jim Carrey didn’t really want to make the film, which made on-set experiences awkward.
According to Jeff Daniels, Jim Carrey had explained to him the reasons why he didn’t like the sequel much. He disliked the whole “Ace is afraid of bats” angle, as he found it to be cheap, and even fought with the director about changing the script so that Ace was merely allergic to bats. Carrey was also very nervous about the film’s depiction of the native characters, and that people might take offense to them. He’s even surprised the film hasn’t been outright banned.
Jim Carrey spent a lot of time off sick, which affected the contract of actor Simon Callow. Callow’s contract had actually expired before he could finish filming his scenes. Despite this, he wasn’t paid overtime as Carrey’s illness was regarded as an “Act of God” in the contract. Which Carrey himself claims as “unfair”. Since Callow already had other commitments in London, the producers suggest he flew back regularly in first-class, as the contract had stated. It wasn’t until later that Callow found out that the producers were deducting the cost of his plane tickets from his overall salary. In his words he “finished up working almost for nothing”.
Despite Jim Carrey only doing this movie due to contractual obligation, the studio attempted to get him interested in doing another Ace Ventura movie several times throughout the years to which he declined.
Jim Carrey was paid $15 million to reprise the part of Ace Ventura, exactly half of the film’s $30 million budget. It was actually the film’s writer and Carrey’s friend Steve Oedekerk who suggested he’d negotiate with Morgan Creek Productions for this. Conveniently, Oedekerk himself became the film’s director, who then finalized this decision.
Up until Dumb and Dumber To (2014), this was the only sequel to a Jim Carrey film to actually feature Carrey, Likewise none of the actors with the exception of Carrey return from the first film.
Jim Carrey said that after doing this movie he realized he could not spend his entire life doing Ace Ventura movies. Writer/director Steve Oedekerk felt the same way, and also moved onto other projects.
The language used by the Wachootoo chief and in Ouda’s Wachootoo translation is isiXhosa, an Nguni language spoken in South Africa. IsiXhosa is the native language of Nelson Mandela and Miriam Makeba a.k.a. Mama Africa. The Xhosa people (amaXhosa) make up the second largest ethnic group in South Africa after their close relatives the Zulus (amaZulu).
We’re back, Jack! Cause we get to flashback to September 1st, 1994. A birthday so sweet that they just had to get Citizen Kane going early. Settle in at 11am on AMC for that CKane action. But rest up cause you better believe that they are taking The Adventures of Ford Fairlane primetime. Channel 11 at 8pm they are giving you the rock and roll detective. The FCC must have been going wild. Phones ringing off the hook at Andrew Dice Clay’s antics. We try to change the channel but the birthday boy says no. It’s his birthday and he’ll laugh at ADC if he pleases. Everyone is so jazzed by the experience that they collapse in exhaustion. Unbeknownst to them Jamie and Patrick sneak downstairs and find to their delight The Sketch Artist starring Jeff Fahey (1am on TMC), thus beginning their Fahey-aissance. An aissance that continues to this day. So, thank you The Adventures of Ford Fairlane. Thank you.
To recap, Andrew Dice Clay is the coolest cat in town. He is bedding ladies left and right. He is meeting with musicians and producers and everyone under the sun. We come to find that despite nabbing baddies on the regular, he’s not making any money because the musicians hiring him are paying him in eccentric gifts like koalas. We also find that he has a secretary that loves him and he loves her, but he’s gotta keep up his persona. Anyway, he gets a call from a friend who is now a shock jock about a job. When he goes there the dude wants to find a girl, Zuzu Petals, and is being real shady about it. ADC agrees to the gig, but just minutes later the guy is murdered. He gets a couple clues from the radio stations and the next morning is approached by a rich lady, Connie Sutton, who also wants to find Zuzu. He starts to collect a series of CDs, but not musical CDs, rather those newfangled computer doohickeys, you dig? He also figures out that Zuzu is associated with the lead singer of The Black Plague, who recently died on stage. While investigating he is almost killed numerous times by a hitman and is almost blown up. Ultimately they end up confronting the head of a music studio, Wayne Newton, who reveals his big plan was to bootleg the CDs of his company to make money off both the legitimate and black market. No prob telling Ford, because he’s about to die. Or is he? He’s not, because he escapes and is able to crack the final clue and get the last disc. This is all revealed and he wins the day, gets the girl, adopts a kid to be their son, and wins a billion dollars. No seriously, that’s how it ends. THE END.
Sometimes films are listed as having a “cult following” and I’m not sure I understand it. Either because the film is well known and probably not “cult,” or that it is objectively horrendous and shouldn’t have a “following.” I fully expected that to be the case here. The film is notorious. For all I had known this was a misogynistic pile of garbage and Andrew Dice Clay was king of the Mt. Garbage. Guess what? It wasn’t. I actually can kinda see how this is a cult film. It is weird in a specifically early 90’s Hudson Hawk kind of way and ADC is actually not half bad. You can see the natural charisma that briefly made him a comic star. The film mostly suffers from some poor performances (looking at you Robert Englund) and an inane plot complete with a laughable CD-ROM MacGuffin. Overall, though, it was way better than I thought it would be. Huh… I did not expect this.
Hot Take Clam Bake! It’s a classic, ladies and gentlemen. You know what I’m going to say: the end of this film didn’t happen and Ford Fairlane was actually shot and killed. It’s just the final firing of his dumb synapses. Think about the ending: Ford saves the day by tricking the bad guy in the most obvious way. Straight out of a movie type of stuff. Then he goes off and confesses his love for his secretary and they set off to live happily ever after. But not before grabbing a cute tyke to be their adoptive son and stopping briefly for Ford to win a billion dollars in a radio giveaway. We end with an image of them living happily on a yacht. You can tell they weren’t thinking Ford Fairlane 2. Why? Cause there never was going to be a Ford Fairlane 2… cause he’s dead. Hot Take Temperature: The Last Seduction.
‘Ello everyone! Once upon a time there was a man named Andrew Dice Clay who wasn’t funny and yet he got a movie made starring him as basically his comedy schtick. The early 90s were wild. Let’s go!
Is my brain dying? Because I didn’t think Andrew Dice Clay, as an actor, was half bad in this movie. I guess that is basically what happens when you cast someone as themself in a film while simultaneously “themself” actually is an act they’ve been putting on for years.
I also thought the core of the film was basically an okay idea. That makes sense right? It is based on a series of short stories that ran in the trades back in the day. So the concept of a PI who investigates Rock n’ Roll crimes and is himself a failed Rock n’ Roller is a pretty cool concept.
Alright, I think that’s it for all the good stuff in the film (and even that is borderline).
The jokes aren’t funny, and it is blatantly obvious why people make fun of Andrew Dice Clay on the reg even though he hasn’t been any kind of famous for about three decades. It is a joke layered upon a joke at this point. I guess it wouldn’t have been as obvious at that point that his homophobic and misogynistic character wouldn’t fly, but even at the time I think it was mostly shock value. Which I suppose makes it somewhat poetic that one of the people his character is existentially associated with is a shock jock. That was what he was right? A shock comic. I guess those still exist, although to a smaller degree. I couldn’t really name a comedian who’s managed to make a whole mainstream career from shock recently. Jeselnik seems like one of the last, but who knows, I’m not exactly plugged into that world at this point in my life. It does feel like “shock” comics are mostly a right-wing thing at this point.
From top to bottom the acting in the film is pretty rough.
And overall the storyline is ultra-confusing. It is basically like … a financial coverup by Wayne Newton? And he kills a bunch of people who figure it out. And it involves three discs which have to all be put into a special computer together for it to work? Maybe? Destroy the computer Wayne, ever think of that?
And my god, Wayne Newton looks bizarre in this film. I couldn’t figure out who he was for quite a while. He looked like he had late-stage CharlesBronson-itis with his big puffy face. No offense.
I mean, it has an A+ Product Placement (What?) for a Ford Fairlane, which they got into trouble for lying about actually blowing up (since it is apparently quite rare, enthusiasts were not amused by them joking around about destroying one). Definitely a Setting as a Character (Where?) for the music industry of Los Angeles. I do love an actual MacGuffin (Why?) for the set of three discs they don’t know anything about for 90% of the film. I think this is a BMT film, it is very very weird, but strangely entertaining, and very 90s.
Read about the sequel The Adventures of Ford Fairlane: Social Security in the Quiz. Cheerios,
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,
Oh man, so get this. I found some aliums in a pool house and then while feeling all young and spry I did a double back flip off the diving board and really Louganis’d it. Now I have a massive concussion (but I still won the gold! I think. I don’t remember). Do you remember what happened in Cocoon: The Return?
Pop Quiz Hot Shot!
1) Oh snap the aliums are back Jack. Well, what is The Gutes doing (besides presumably evading the authorities for his 30 counts of negligent homicide)?
2) And why are the aliums back?
3) But uh oh, the aliums have a new problem! What is it?
4) So six of them come back. How many go back with the aliums? And why do some of them go and some of them stay?
5) Well then, what is their grand plan for saving their allium friend?
“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
StreetCreditReport.com –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.
RogerEbert.com – 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).)
(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.)
Directors – Daniel 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.)
Writers – David 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.)
Actors – Don 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.)
(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.
Caaaallliiiffffooooorrrrnnniiiaaaaa. Appropriate as I write this post from that very state. I too was inexorably drawn by the power of video games. Yet when I got here I realized it was never about being a super video game wizard (although certainly a perk), but rather, as Vinny D would say, fambly. *Sniff* It’s beautiful. It’s all somewhat ironic too as the phrase “Caaaalllliiiiffffoooooorrrrnniiiaaaa,” is probably second only to “I love my power glove. It’s so bad” as the quote from the film that has lived on in infamy. Yet California is barely in the film. We get a heaping dose of Utah and then really spend some QT with the GF in Nevada. From there it is like they teleport to Universal Studios. If you grew up with this film you must have imagined California was just a giant theme park where kids grumble about the unfairness of having to battle each other in hotly anticipated video game releases. But California isn’t like that… it isn’t like that at all. I do the research so you don’t have to.
To recap, Jimmy Woods is a boy who is struggling with the death of his twin sister. He barely speaks and spends his time either building elaborate architectural creations or attempting to walk to Caaallliiifffooorrrnnniaaaaa. His stepdad is naturally a horrible caricature dead set on locking the kid away, but Jimmy’s brother Corey won’t have any of that. He grabs Jimmy and sets out for Caaaallliiffffooorrrnnniiiaaa. Their parents are horrified. The dad sets out with their older son in search, while the mom hires an equally horrible caricature of a private investigator to get them back. This leads to numerous clashes between the two all while Corey and Jimmy attempt to find their way out of Utah. Stumbling upon Haley, a girl trying to get home to Reno, they realize that Jimmy is a video game wizard. His natural talents earn them money hustling locals at arcade machines while also pointing them towards the big video game championships in Caaalllliifffooorrrnniiiaa. Why? Because if Jimmy wins the big championship even a horrible caricature of a stepdad couldn’t convince anyone to lock him up. They run into all kinds of trouble, including a local video game legend named Luke who gives them a taste of the Power Glove (it’s so bad) and exactly what the competition at the championships will be like. When they finally arrive in Reno they are able to do a little training and scrape together the funds for the final push to Caaallliiifffooorrnniaaa. At the championships all the worlds collide as they witness Jimmy rise to the finals and ultimately grab the crown. Everyone agrees he can’t be locked up and on the way home they see a roadside dinosaur attraction that the family went to before. Stopping there they realize this is where Jimmy has been aiming the whole time and the wizard is able to finally heal. THE END.
The Wizard is a funny little movie. The production quality is like an episode of 90210. I use that comparison only because, like in The Wizard, it’s one or the few times that I’ve seen a boom mic drop into frame in the wild. It also cuts forward so fast (even cutting the score midsequence sometimes) that you wonder what kind of editing magic was happening. You add in the unintentional comedy of the Power Glove, a truly insane product placement back story, and some incredible acting choices in the video game competition and you have a minor classic on your hands. I found it interesting that the reviews at the time were very critical of this being an exploitative knockoff of Rain Man and Tommy (but for kids!) but I guess I wonder… is that really a bad thing? Speaking of…
Hot Take Clam Bake! Are we sure making knockoffs of classic films for kids is really a bad thing? Like should I be worried about the artistic purity of a Casablanca knockoff set in a high school? Give it to me. I will eat up any and all high school versions of whatever classic film you give me. High school films are great, coming-of-age stories are great. They don’t make enough of them really. I dare you to watch She’s All That and come away thinking anything other than “that movie was all that and a bag of potato chips. Give me more potato chip movies so I can munch ‘em all up.” The fact that The Wizard is a knockoff of Rain Man and/or Tommy is dope. Hot Take Temperature: Bulgarian Carrot.
‘Ello everyone! Caaaaaaaaalifoooooooooornia. That’s right, after suffering that traumatic event of witnessing The Wizard (and the raw power of the Power Glove, it’s so bad), I have an insatiable need to go to Universal Studios. Let’s go!
I watched this film a ton when I was younger. As usual I make no apologies. I like this movie. It is pure nostalgia. I don’t care though, what a silly nonsense movie this is. I would watch it again right now.
But boy howdy, do I agree with Roger Ebert: are we sure we should be watching a film in which two (and eventually three) literal children are hitchhiking their way across three states (and like multiple deserts right?) to get to … I mean, initially they just want to get to California, whatever that means. Eventually they decide that they’ve got a video game prodigy on their hands and they are going to make the money their families need to heal (or whatever) at the maybe first ever Video Game Championships in Universal Studios, Lunacy. And even being a little older than I was watching this film most of the time (let’s say like 11?) it is harrowing watching children narrowly avoid dying on highways and junk. What a weird movie.
The one two punch of product placement for both The Power Glove (and explicitly Super Mario 3) and Universal Studios is also something else.
The stories from wikipedia are fun. Like how the director was told to shoot EVERYTHING in the script. And he’s like “but … then the movie will be three hours. It’ll be a huge waste of money since we’ll have to throw it all out”. But the producers were just like “do it.” So he did … and they cut it down and wasted a boatload of time and money. But that probably is why the film ends up all cut to shit in the end is that huge swaths of boring filler garbage was eventually cut out. Release the Universal Cut you cowards! I want to watch The Wizard as a 3 hour epic.
Still to this day I tell random people that I love my Power Glove, and how bad it is. This film has a very weird cult following, but it is also amazing.
How does the kid know where to find the secret flute in an unreleased game? Well, maybe because it was already released in Japan months prior? Naw, that can’t be it because then Haley would have been excited instead of angry since they would have been able to know the tricks of the game by calling the hotline in Reno. So since they definitely didn’t know the trick the answer must be … magic I guess? I don’t see how anyone finds that flute the first time you play the game organically. No matter how much of a savant you are, that seems to be pushing it.
Obviously an incredible Product Placement (What?) for Nintendo, Super Mario 3, The Power Glove, and Universal Studios. Truly awesome. A great Road Trip Film (Where?) for the kids going from Utah through Nevada to California. A subtle yet I think real MacGuffin (Why?) for Caaaaaaaalifornia as no one really knows why they are going there, and yet it is the central driving force for the film.
Read all about the 35 years in the making sequel The Wizard 2 in the Quiz. Cheerios,
Oh boy. So I was battling this kid, when he pulled out a Power Glove! I couldn’t believe it. It was so bad. It was so bad, in fact, that I immediately got amnesia and couldn’t remember anything afterwards. Only the Power Glove. Nothing else. Do you remember what happened in The Wizard?
Pop Quiz Hot Shot!
1) Oh man, Fred Savage’s family’s been split up! And his brother is basically non-verbal due to PTSD. What happened to him?
2) Well Freddy is going to help his brother out. His brother wants to go to one place. What is that place and (as we will eventually find out) why?
3) But before they figure that out, they end up finding out that Jimmy’s a video game Wizard for real. So they are off to hustle random adults in rest stop restaurants and then eventually to the video game championships. Where is it?
4) On the way they meet Haley, a street smart girl who is on her way home. Where does she live, and what (not very appropriate for children) game is she incredible at.
5) At the championship Jimmy ultimately prevails in playing what game by finding what ultra secret?
Bonus Question: It is 20 years in the future. Where are all out Wizard friends?
Jamie and Patrick walk the streets of New York City. “We need rulez,” Patrick says, pounding his fist into his gloved hand and pulling his coat tight against the winter chill. No matter how many crisp, cool Bud Lights they drink they keep arriving back at the standard 9 rulez of BMT. Jamie stops and pulls out the laminated BMT rule card they carry around. Number 1 was “Full Body Burns = Rad.” He considers this rule but can’t find fault with it. “They are rad,” he mumbles, disappointed. Suddenly Patrick has an idea. He takes out a marker and uses it to cross out Rule #1 in order to write “CGI.” Jamie frowns, but has to admit that pretty much everything great now has lots of CGI. “So you’re saying we just have to come up with equal but opposite rulez for GMT. OK. Well what’s rule number 2?” Jamie asks, hoping this one works out better. Patrick looks at the card again, “Uh, let’s see. Rule #2 – Settings = Awesome” Now they’re both frowning. Settings are awesome. Who doesn’t like a big time film set at Christmas, New Years, or the Fourth of July? Who wouldn’t want to watch a Hawaii vacation, a glamorous Hollywood night, or a crazy time in the Big Ap… suddenly they stop. They look around at winter in NYC. The cold skyscrapers. The slushy streetz. The salt strewn sidewalks. “Too gritty,” Patrick says. “Too grand,” Jamie agrees. “We need to get out of this dump. Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Patrick asks. Jamie nods his head and croons, “Delaware,” extending the word for real effect. With that they cross off Rule #2 and replace it with “Settings = Boring.” Patrick puts on a pair of real cool sunglasses and smirks, “That’s wizard.” That’s right! We’re not heading to Delaware, we’re heading to Caaallliiifffoorrrnniiiaaa for a viewing of the cult classic (at least in our cult) The Wizard. Starring Fred Savage (but let’s be real, mostly Super Mario Bros 3) this was a staple of our childhood. It’s time to revisit it and see what all the hubbub was about. I’m sure it’s wizard. Let’s go!
The Wizard (1989) – BMeTric: 27.2; Notability: 22
StreetCreditReport.com –BMeTric: top 12.8%; Notability: top 21.6%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 18.3%; Higher BMeT: Police Academy 6: City Under Siege, Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, Wild Orchid, Cyborg, The Karate Kid Part III, The Fly II, No Holds Barred, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Cutting Class, Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland, DeepStar Six, Pink Cadillac, The Toxic Avenger Part II, Shocker, The Punisher, The January Man, The Horror Show, Leviathan, and 12 more; Higher Notability: Tango & Cash, Troop Beverly Hills, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Fletch Lives, Harlem Nights, Leviathan, Listen to Me, Lock Up, Pink Cadillac, Family Business, Police Academy 6: City Under Siege, Millennium, Three Fugitives, Dead Bang, Let It Ride, Renegades, Slaves of New York, The Karate Kid Part III, and 34 more; Lower RT: Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects, Police Academy 6: City Under Siege, Worth Winning, The Toxic Avenger Part II, The Horror Show, Stepfather II: Make Room for Daddy, Night Game, Second Sight, Wired, Dream a Little Dream, No Holds Barred, Rooftops, Wild Orchid, She’s Out of Control, Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, Millennium, Chattahoochee, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland, The Blood of Heroes, and 23 more; Notes: I mean, those scores look right for a not-so-bad masterpiece right? For a film where I knew at the end I would say “sure me I liked it.”
RogerEbert.com – 1.0 stars – “The Wizard” is one of those movies that provokes the Hey, Wait a Minute Syndrome – you know, the kind where you keep saying things like, “Hey, wait a minute. How could a 9-year-old boy walk miles along a desert highway without being noticed?” Or “Wait a minute. Do you mean to say a trucker wouldn’t even stop if he saw two little kids coasting down an interstate highway on a skateboard?” Or “Wait a minute. Do businessmen on their lunch hours really gamble on video games with little kids?” Or “Wait a minute. Could three little kids (for their ranks have swelled by now) really make it from Utah to Los Angeles without anything terrible happening to them?” But wait a minute. I know, I know, “The Wizard” is only a silly Christmas kiddie movie, and we aren’t supposed to ask questions like that. But we must. In an age when child abduction is the subject of half the TV docudramas and all of the milk cartons, how are we supposed to blind ourselves to the central fact of this movie, which is that a 13-year-old boy and his 9-year-old brother, accompanied part of the way by a 13-year-old girl, manage to walk, hitchhike and con themselves all the way from Utah to the National Video Game Championships in L.A.? The movie is filled with shots of these little kids walking down highways, and hitching rides, and walking into bars and video parlors and Reno gambling casinos, and there wasn’t a moment when I didn’t question the sanity of the film and fear for their safety. It was only after the three kids arrived safely at the championships that I began to question the ethics of the film, which is, among other things, a thinly disguised commercial for Nintendo video games and the Universal studio tour.
(Honestly, Roger Ebert nailing it. This film reads much much much differently as an adult than as a child. Much like Dutch, you see the penultimate scene in that film and think about the kid walking along a highway and think that Dutch is a psycho. This is the same. As a kid it seems like magical nonsense. As an adult it is a harrowing tale of three children almost getting killed on the highways of America. And yeah … it is all under the guise of a commercial specifically for Super Mario Bros. 3.)
(A touch of romance? Kids’ films are so weird. And this one especially. It is a real trip, traveling a thousand miles across the country is just very stress inducing. And then this trailer being maybe the first real life footage of Super Mario 3 people saw? Wowza.)
Directors – Todd Holland – ( Future BMT: Krippendorf’s Tribe; Firehouse Dog; BMT: The Wizard; Notes: Mostly a television director. He created and wrote Wonderfalls, including directing 5 episodes.)
Writers – David Chisholm – ( BMT: The Wizard; Notes: Wrote a show called Over My Dead body which has 51 votes on IMDb … dare me to watch all of it? I’ll make a podcast about it. Mostly wrote TV movies.)
Actors – Fred Savage – ( Known For: The Princess Bride; Austin Powers in Goldmember; The Rules of Attraction; Little Monsters; The Boy Who Could Fly; Vice Versa; The Last Run; Future BMT: Super Troopers 2; BMT: The Wizard; Welcome to Mooseport; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Daddy Day Camp in 2008; Notes: Was nominated for two Emmys for The Wonder Years. Does a ton of television directing now. Too bad we can’t watch Little Monsters for BMT. Only 9 reviews though so … maybe someday.)
Luke Edwards – ( Known For: American Pie 2; The Super; Malicious; Mother’s Boys; Guilty by Suspicion; A Beginner’s Guide to Snuff; Future BMT: Newsies; Jeepers Creepers 2; Little Big League; BMT: The Wizard; Notes: Still acts a ton on television. Including an episode of NCIS, noice.)
Jenny Lewis – ( Known For: Bolt; Pleasantville; Don’s Plum; Foxfire; Big Girls Don’t Cry… They Get Even; Little Boy Blue; Trading Hearts; Future BMT: Troop Beverly Hills; BMT: The Wizard; Notes: A genuine rock star, she was lead vocals for the band Rilo Kiley and even apparently did some backup vocals for The Postal Service.)
Budget/Gross – $6 million / Domestic: $14,278,900 (Worldwide: $14,278,900)
(Actually, that’s fine. A $6 million dollar commercial and certainly they got their money’s worth. And guess what? Super Mario Bros. 3? Huge game. So yet more proof that The Wizard was indeed wizard.)
(Hell yeah. I love my Wizard poster. It’s so bad. That’s so bad, in fact, that its come back around and is now an A. Too much nonsense to really comment on. Besides Mario are the other video game images from games? What game is that snake from? A+ font work. When I’m teaching my poster analysis class this will be the font example.)
Tagline(s) – They’re on a cross-country adventure to the world’s greatest video championship. It’s more than a game…it’s the chance of a lifetime. (C)
(Nope. I’ve already stopped reading. Why not just that last sentence. It’s more than a game… it’s the change of a lifetime. That’s good. You ruined it with all those other words.)
Keyword(s) – good
Top 10: Good Will Hunting (1997), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), The Great Gatsby (2013), Hot Fuzz (2007), Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016), The Wizard of Oz (1939), Man on Fire (2004), The Nice Guys (2016)
Future BMT: 67.3 Phat Girlz (2006), 63.2 Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015), 60.6 Like a Boss (2020), 56.2 The Fly II (1989), 51.7 Playing with Fire (2019), 51.6 The Boss (2016), 51.0 Johnny Be Good (1988), 50.6 The Hot Chick (2002), 49.9 Arthur 2: On the Rocks (1988), 48.4 Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), 47.1 Barney’s Great Adventure (1998), 45.1 Fly Me to the Moon 3D (2007), 44.9 Fantastic Four (2005), 40.4 No Good Deed (2014), 39.4 Good Burger (1997), 37.2 The Great Wall (2016), 37.0 Stroker Ace (1983), 36.3 Milk Money (1994), 34.6 Mad Money (2008), 34.3 Mo’ Money (1992)
BMT: Epic Movie (2007), Fantastic Four (2015), The Ridiculous 6 (2015), Cool as Ice (1991), Cool World (1992), A Good Day to Die Hard (2013), Hot Pursuit (2015), One for the Money (2012), Fire Down Below (1997), Air Bud: Golden Receiver (1998), Fire Birds (1990), Good Luck Chuck (2007), Be Cool (2005), Chill Factor (1999), Money Train (1995), Hot to Trot (1988), The Golden Child (1986), Righteous Kill (2008), Sweet Home Alabama (2002), The Wizard (1989), Hunter Killer (2018)
Best Options (Comedy): 67.3 Phat Girlz (2006), 63.2 Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015), 60.6 Like a Boss (2020), 51.7 Playing with Fire (2019), 51.6 The Boss (2016), 51.0 Johnny Be Good (1988), 50.6 The Hot Chick (2002), 49.9 Arthur 2: On the Rocks (1988), 47.1 Barney’s Great Adventure (1998), 39.4 Good Burger (1997), 37.0 Stroker Ace (1983), 36.3 Milk Money (1994), 34.6 Mad Money (2008), 34.3 Mo’ Money (1992), 32.1 Good Deeds (2012), 31.3 The Nude Bomb (1980), 28.8 A Good Man in Africa (1994), 27.1 The Wizard (1989), 24.5 Money Talks (1997), 24.0 Isn’t She Great (2000), 22.3 Hot Pursuit (1987), 21.9 Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995), 21.6 For Love or Money (1993), 19.1 Other People’s Money (1991), 14.3 Hot Rod (2007), 10.6 A Good Year (2006)
(So many good options here, but you best believe we weren’t giving up an opportunity to use the word “wizard” as slang for good. Also, The Wizard is a film I’ve seen four or five times and I kind of unironically love it as a kids’ movie.)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Christian Slater is No. 5 billed in The Wizard and No. 4 billed in Mindhunters, which also stars LL Cool J (No. 3 billed) who is in Rollerball (No. 2 billed) which also stars Chris Klein (No. 1 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => (5 + 4) + (3 + 2) + (1 + 2) = 17. There is no shorter path at the moment.
Notes – The movie has developed a cult following, with movie-themed retro gaming tournaments hosted across the country. Luke Edwards, Fred Savage, and Jenny Lewis have made appearances at these events.
Beau Bridges and Christian Slater both admitted they had little to no interest in video games when they were cast. They played during filming, and became fans.
The dinosaurs in the film are a real-life tourist attraction at what was once the Wheel Inn Restaurant in Cabazon, CA, near Palm Springs. They also appeared in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985) and in the music video for Night Ranger: Sing Me Away (1983).
Participating theaters distributed issues of “Pocket Power,” a pocket-sized version of “Nintendo Power” magazine.
The original pitch for the movie was “The Karate Kid (1984), but with video games.”
The literal translations of some of this film’s foreign language titles include: “Joy Stick Heroes” (Germany), “Sweet Road” (Japan), “The Wizard of Videogames” (Italy and Brazil), “Videokid” (France), “The Champion of Videogames” (Spain), “Gameboy” (Sweden), “Game Over” (Finland), and “The Child Genius” (Canadian French).
When Lucas plays Rad Racer (1987) with his Power Glove, he presses five keys that each play a different musical note. The 5 sequential tones is the famous five-tone musical phrase in a major scale (D’ E’ C’ C G) that the aliens in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) used to communicate with the Earthlings, and vice versa.
Haley finds the Video Armageddon ad in the July 1989 issue of Video Games and Computer Entertainment. The cover story is the US debut of the TurboGrafx-16 by NEC Home Electronics and designed by Hudson Soft. It had been released 2 years earlier in Japan, as the PC Engine, and outsold its competitors there, including the Famicom (the Japanese name of the Nintendo Entertainment System). It was less successful in the US.
The smoking effects on the casserole seen early in the film were done using a technique called “AB Smoke,” in which one chemical is applied to a surface, and another is later applied, which reacts with it, creating the smoke effect.
After several rejections, the producers got permission to shoot in a Reno casino when they let a state official’s kids meet Fred Savage, who was also starring on The Wonder Years (1988) at the time. The state official’s kids were filmed as extras, but according to the special edition Blu-ray commentary, their scenes were cut.
The tour guide at Universal Studios mentioned a movie title Mayhem in Monte Carlo starring Zsa Zsa Gabor and Paul Reubens (as Pee Wee Herman) in the romantic leads. The movie doesn’t exist.
The truck that Spankey is driving when the trucks block the road in front of the P.I. is the same truck used in Over the Top (1987) starring Sylvester Stallone as Hawk. It still has HAWK written on the door.
The structure Jimmy builds with toy blocks in the beginning resembles the Video Armageddon stage at the end of the film.
Even tho he is uncredited Toby maguire first movie appearance extra.