List: Best and Worst SNL Movies
Posted by Mr. Feeny on August 21, 2009
I was going to save this for Saturday, but since it’s a slow day and the related news did come out yesterday, I guess this’ll work.
It was announced Thursday that Lorne Michaels is going to have another movie made using a Saturday Night Live sketch. It’s one I didn’t expect at all: MacGruber. The parody of MacGyver. The pluses: it will star Will Forte, Kristen Wiig and Val Kilmer. The negatives: it’s 90-120 minutes based on series of 60 second sketches. The whole humor behind MacGruber is being unable to stop things from exploding, thus killing everyone in the room (which always looks the same no matter where they are). Then the audience ignores that they would have died in the blast, and enjoys another skit. That gimmick won’t work in a movie, where there are many sets and viewers typically expect their main characters to stay alive for at least half the film. Of course, if Richard Dean Anderson reprises his role as MacGruber’s father, that will help. [see video on sidebar]
Saturday Night Live has had it’s ups and downs over its 34 seasons. Everyone talks about the great periods in the beginning, the early 90s and the early 2000s. Then there are the slow periods…like most of the 80s. SNL was in a recess until the last two seasons, when it’s rebounded with great talent (the writing still needs work, no offense to NU alum Seth Myers…who’s terrible)(ok, I guess I meant to offend, but not directed at NU. It’s not their fault).
SNL’s movies have had similar ups and downs. Mostly down. Which are the best and worst? I’m glad I asked.
BEST SNL-BASED MOVIES
1. The Blues Brothers –The first and best. It’s become part of American pop culture. The iconic look, the car chases, the music, the dialogue. It became its own phenomenon, separate from Saturday Night Live. Until Men In Black came along, black suit and black shades were the Blues Brothers, nothing else. And being filmed in my kind of town doesn’t hurt either.
2. The Coneheads — This one gets a bad rap because they made it 18 years after the sketch debuted. But to me, that makes it even better. It mixes two great eras of SNL. Dan Akroyd and Jane Curtain reprise their roles, while Chris Farley, David Spade, Adam Sandler and Phil Hartman all make appearances. It’s kind of like the SNL-All Stars. And the essence of the Coneheads is kept intact, bringing them to a whole new audience.
3. The Ladies’ Man — The last SNL movie, until now. It was cheesy…but aren’t they all? Tim Meadows did an excellent job expanding the character beyond the little sketches and making you feel for Leon…beyond the sex jokes. And deliver deadpan lisp humor. There’s a fantastic musical number with Will Ferrell. And it’s very quotable, especially the pickup lines. What more do you need?
WORST SNL-BASED MOVIES
1. It’s Pat — I’ll admit it. I haven’t seen this. But very few have. It was such a disaster that they pulled it from theaters after just one week. That automatically makes it the biggest flop. I guess movie patrons needed to know if they were watching an actor or an actress to enjoy it.
2. Blues Brothers 2000 — Released in 1998. Need I say more? How about no John Belushi (due to death) and the addition of two new bros. And of course, the reason that annoys me. Canada was substituted for Chicago. Unacceptable.
3. A Night at the Roxbury — I almost gave this to the senator from Minnesota, but I couldn’t stop thinking about how unfunny this film was. I don’t think I laughed once. I never liked Chris Kattan, and there was nothing likeable about these characters. The schtick was boring at the start and just got worse. Uncool guys try to pick up women? Not the basis for an entire movie.
What’s on your lists? I already know one that people will argue vehemently should have surplanted Ladies’ Man...but I really oddly enjoy Leon Phelps. “Yeahhhh, thas right.” Also, I haven’t seen WW.