We know we're not supposed to admit this -- "Saturday Night Live
sucks!!!" and all that -- but we kinda like the MacGruber sketches. They're short, unlike too manySNL
skits dragged out beyond all point, and -- what can we say? -- they're usually funny.
Now, however, we are dealing with MacGruber the movie. And that brings up the extremely ominous history of SNL movies, which have included some of the biggest bombs of recent years.
the movie was released in 1993, a full 15 years after Coneheads the phenomenon had peaked, and 10 years after everyone had started saying "Yeah, I guess you had to be there" about the skit.
The trailer above -- featuring wacky comedy music to inform you that you should be laughing at some of this stuff -- tells you all you need to know about the movie. Dan Aykroyd, hot off the utter bomb Nothing But Trouble, used Coneheads as a springboard to future bombs Exit to Eden, North (which at least sparked a classic Roger Ebert review: "I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie") and Sgt. Bilko.
The Ladies Man (2000)
Leon Phelps wasn't very funny as a skit, and as a full-length feature film, well....here is the opening paragraph of theWashington Post's review
ofThe Ladies' Man
"The Ladies Man," another cheesy, overdrawn and witless "Saturday Night Live" takeoff, attempts the impossible: to turn lisping love machine Leon Phelps (Tim Meadows) into a Waynesque film franchise. "SNL's" Lorne Michaels appears to be pathologically addicted to producing these cheap showcases and -- sometimes -- career-killers. Can't somebody make him stop?
The trailer features a joke about an elderly nun "taking it all in" while in "a missionary position," if that's your thing.
Stuart Saves His Family (1995)
Unlike the two movies already mentioned,Stuart Saves His Family
got some respect from actual important film critics, like theWashington Post
andSiskel & Ebert
. But the vast majority of critics hated it -- a 29 percent rating onRotten Tomatoes
-- and it took in less than a million at the box office, which is difficult to do.
Al Franken (whatever became of him?) is actually deeply into all the self-help stuff, and the movie tries, somewhat ham-fistedly, to get the positive thinking mantra across. Franken's self-help book told how he got pretty damn depressed at the movie's reception. ("Franken gives a two dimensional portrayal of a one-note character, which gets exceedingly tedious by pic's midway point," said Variety.)
We hope things worked out for him, is all we can say.
Sure, we could have gone withNight at the Roxbury
, but we didn't want to stick that Haddaway song in your head forever. (Too late!!
Molly Shannon's Mary Katherine sketches should have hit the sweet spot for us -- Catholic girls, panty flashes, etc. But we -- and apparently most of the American movie-going public -- found them insipid and pointless. And where the whole armpit-smelling thing came from, we have no idea.
By the time Superstar came out, SNL movies were all expected to crash and burn. It did little to change their reputation.
It's Pat (1994)
There's very little to say aboutIt's Pat
, whose title is shorthand for all the awfulness SNL movie have provided.
Mind-boggling. A movie entitled Scenes of a Newt Gingrich Enema could do better.
But it does set a bar even MacGruber can get over.
Do you have what it takes to see MacGruber? We're giving away 15 passes, good for two people each, to the May 20 preview screening. Just e-mail your contact info to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, May 17, and we'll enter you in a drawing.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.