The Beverly Hillbillies Preview

Huge decision for us this week. After painting ourselves into a corner with our last Chain Reaction film Hot To Trot, we are attempting to move ourselves into position for the final 2017 cycle of the year. Getting from a 1988 Bobcat Goldthwait vehicle to a major motion picture of today is nothing to be trifled with so we’ve been mapping out our course for months. Unfortunately this means our path is gonna get a little kooky. That’s right! We’re watching The Beverly Hillbillies. Moving through Dabney Coleman we are able to make it to this long forgotten film adaptation of the classic television show about a bunch of hillbillies who strike it rich and move to Cali… hilarity ensues and fish may or may not be taken from their aquatic homes. With that we make our first step to glory. Let’s go!

The Beverly Hillbillies (1993) – BMeTric: 56.7

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(It has settled quite nicely into its 50-60 place and, while its rating is quite low, it is showing regression to the mean. Which probably means it is bad, but not amazingly and interestingly bad. And that is less votes than I expected, but in retrospect I’m not sure why I expected more from a movie remake of a show from the 1960s. It is a not very popular, poorly rated film.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Big-screen rehash of the corny 1960s TV series, with the backwoods Clampett clan striking oil and moving to Beverly Hills, where they’re prey for sharpie Schneider and his girlfriend (Thompson). The actors are ernest and enjoyable, but the script (by four writers – count’em – four) is more lamebrained than the sitcom ever was, with smarmy sex jokes thrown in for good measure. Even worse, director Spheeris doesn’t know how to stage a gag.

(Oh Leonard, my sweet summer child. Four writers is nothing in today’s bad movies, if I recall The Mummy has something like six screenwriters, as does White Chicks. That is also just credited writers, although I’m sure Leonard accounts for that. I could go for some inappropriately placed sex jokes in what is ostensibly a kid’s movie. Plus poorly directed gags … I think I’m in! At least it doesn’t sound boring.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sy0tjb-Gjqw

(Oof. Just a tad bit too much slow motion for my comedy. I’m liking the early Rob Schneider though. I remember this coming out and the grandmother getting knocked off of the car by the tree limb. Not funny, actually terrifying seeing it now, but it was vivid in my mind. It feels like a cast summary with “from the director of Wayne’s World” stuck in there, so that isn’t great. It probably means it has no plot.)

Directors – Penelope Spheeris – (Known For: Wayne’s World; Suburbia; Future BMT: Senseless; Black Sheep; The Little Rascals; The Kid & I; BMT: The Beverly Hillbillies; Notes: Was the daughter of a carnival strongman, and travelled around the country as a child. She primarily now helps with her daughter Anna Fox’s music-themes films.)

Writers – Paul Henning (television series) – (Known For: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels; Lover Come Back; BMT: The Beverly Hillbillies; Notes: Creator of The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, and Green Acres in a sort of Henning Extended Universe (HEU). The series had multiple crossover episodes. His daughter starred in Petticoat Junction and appeared in five episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies, that is how common the crossovers were.)

Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal (story & screenplay) – (Known For: Planet of the Apes; The Sorcerer’s Apprentice; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Mighty Joe; The Jewel of the Nile; The Legend of Billie Jean; Flicka; Future BMT: Desperate Hours; Mercury Rising; The Concierge; Mona Lisa Smile; BMT: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; The Beverly Hillbillies; Notes: Hey, we know these guys! A writing team on the very recent BMT Superman IV. I believe in that preview I said I didn’t discover much about them, but I do appreciate they made the second best original cast Star Trek movie (in my opinion, I could give or take the whales personally).)

Jim Fisher and Jim Staahl (screenplay) – (BMT: The Beverly Hillbillies; Notes: Residents of Second City Theater and writers for SCTV, they have had pretty illustrious careers in comedy television. Staahl is also an actor, including appearing in five episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm.)

Actors – Diedrich Bader – (Known For: EuroTrip; Napoleon Dynamite; Office Space; Ice Age; Bolt; Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back; Surf’s Up; Recess: School’s Out; Dead & Breakfast; Sassy Pants; Calvin Marshall; Future BMT: Meet the Spartans; Vampires Suck; The Starving Games; Balls of Fury; The Country Bears; BMT: Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous; The Beverly Hillbillies; Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike; Notes: Best known for his part on The Drew Carey show back in the day. Most of his childhood was spent in Paris, up until high school.)

Erika Eleniak – (Known For: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial; The Blob; Under Siege; Future BMT: Bordello of Blood; Chasers; Love Stinks; A Pyromaniac’s Love Story; BMT: The Beverly Hillbillies; Notes: Was a Playboy Playmate in 1989, and performed in the first two seasons of Baywatch. She currently teaches acting in L.A.)

Jim Varney – (Known For: Toy Story; Atlantis: The Lost Empire; Toy Story 2; Ernest Goes to Camp; Daddy and Them; 100 Proof; Future BMT: 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain; Ernest Goes to Jail; Ernest Saves Christmas; Ernest Scared Stupid; Ernest Rides Again; Wilder Napalm; BMT: The Beverly Hillbillies; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst New Star for Ernest Goes to Camp in 1988; Notes: Ernest! I love Jim Varney. He had a crazy smoker’s voice (which you can hear in the Toy Story films), and it is beyond me how he changed his voice so dramatically for Ernest. That character was initially a part of a series of advertisements in Kentucky, and he basically built a career in comedy out of it. Sadly he passed away in 2000 from lung cancer.)

Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $44,029,386 (Worldwide: $57,405,220)

(Meh. That is a pretty svelte budget though, smart. The horrible reception probably saved us from a sequel, and they had far worst television show adaption ideas waiting in the wings anyways … like Car 54 Where Are You?)

#58 for the TV Adaptation (Live Action) genre

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(Right around the new Three Stooges movie (oof) and came out right as the tv adaptation genre was taking off (around the same time as Addams Family Values, the Addams Family probably kicked off the classic tv show adaptation craze to a degree). This is an interesting genre which had its peak prior to the bad movie boom of the early 2000s, this (and not very good slashers) must have filled in the gap between the blockbuster era of the 80s and the 00s bad movie boom right around when all of the smaller production studios were going out of business. Get that cheap IP!)

Rotten Tomatoes – 23% (7/30): No consensus yet.

(Nice, let’s make one: In retrospect this exercise in insensitive stereotyping is shamefully unfunny, … but you might also find yourself enjoying the innocence of the 1960s sensibility in this bad but innocuous television remake. That’s just about all. I should say, I do think Rotten Tomatoes is the best review aggregator around (30 reviews for a movie from 1994? Metacritic doesn’t even have a page for it), but it is kind of weird seeing something like this where literally all of the reviews are from around 2008 and onwards … doesn’t give a great perspective on the actual reception of the film.)

Poster – The Beverly SklogBillies (C-)

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(Dear god, noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!… … … that being said, the spacing is nice and the gold font is well done. Better grade if it didn’t hurt my eyes to look at it. I wonder why blue was chosen as the primary color of this poster.)

Tagline(s) – Upscale neighborhood, Down-home heart. (B-)

(I don’t know what this means. It sounds good. Nice cadence, to the point, and a juxtaposition of up and down. But what is it trying to say? What is meant by down-home… heart?)

Keyword(s) – redneck; Top Ten by BMeTric: 84.1 Piranha 3DD (2012); 78.6 Striptease (1996); 78.5 Torque (2004); 77.4 The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1994); 77.0 Shark Night 3D (2011); 69.1 Postal (2007); 66.8 Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009); 64.5 Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985); 63.1 The Dukes of Hazzard (2005); 60.4 The Final Destination (2009);

(Awesome. I’m digging this list. You got a little comedy, and drama, and action, and horror, and romance. Only missing a true sci fi in there (I guess I would watch a sci-fi film with a redneck character … would be weird though), and it would be a very unpleasant 24 hours, but still a pretty funny marathon there.)

Notes – Buddy Ebsen reprises his role as Barnaby Jones for this film. His last film appearance.

The Clampett’s automobile is a 1921 Oldsmobile. (fun fact)

The name of the retirement home where Granny is held hostage, “Los Viejos”, is Spanish for “The Old People”. (fun fact)

When Granny invites cousin Pearl and all of the family to Jed’s wedding, she says “only the Clampetts, not the Kelloggs or Daggs”. Kellogg’s Corn Flakes was one of the original network TV sponsors of The Beverly Hillbillies. Daggs may be related to the other original network TV sponsor, Winston cigarettes, but this is as yet unconfirmed. (That is actually a fun fact. I like that a lot)

When Miss Hathaway dresses up as the blonde nurse her name tag has the name “R. Rigdon” on it. This was a nod to Rhonda G. Rigdon, Assistant to Director Penelope Spheeris during filming. (Man, look at these little nuggets)

Same mansion as The Bodyguard with the late Whitney Houston.

The car’s license plate number in front of Jethro’s truck at the birthday party is 2GAT123. This plate has been seen in various movies and TV shows over the years. Such as Beverly Hills Cop II (1987), Go (1999), Pay it Forward (2000), Mulholland Drive (2001), “Curb Your Enthusiasm”  (2000), Two and a Half Men (2003), Modern Family (2009), The Boy Next Door (2015), and numerous others. (Wow, we are really getting into movie prop 101 in this thing)

Jim Varney almost did not get the part of Jed Clampett. The studio thought at first he was too identified as Ernest to play a character such as Jed. But in the end Jim impressed them enough with a screen test to get the part. (I would have certainly thought so, but I was also seven at the time and loved Ernest films)

According to Director Penelope Spheeris, Sam Elliot was being considered for the role of Jed Clampett, but ultimately, it was Jim Varney ‘s background in comedy that got him the part.

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