SNL at the movies: Winners and Losers
Scene Staff Report | Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Even though it was not a box-office or critical success, 1999’s “Superstar” has found new life on DVD and television. This underrated comedy stars Molly Shannon as the awkward and a little unsettling Catholic schoolgirl Mary Katharine Gallagher. Any film that has Will Ferrell playing the stereotypical high school hunk and Jesus has to be a little weird but also hilarious. One of the highlights of “Superstar:” the cafeteria dance scene to “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now).”
Certainly the most successful of all the movies adapted from SNL sketches, this 1992 comedy features Mike Myers as Wayne and Dana Carvey as Garth, the low-life hosts of the Aurora, Ill.-based local Friday late-night cable access show “Wayne’s World.” The two air the show from their basement, where they mostly play air guitar and drums and interview locals. Wayne and Garth’s rendition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” in the movie propelled the song to the top of the Billboard charts in 1992, nearly 20 years after its initial release.
“A Night at the Roxbury”
This 1998 classic based off their long running skit “The Roxbury Guys” stars Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan as head-bobbing brothers Steve and Doug Butabi. The brothers love to go clubbing and dream of one day getting into an exclusive club, the Roxbury. Their hilarious failed attempts at picking up women and quest to start their own nightclub hearken back to the days when SNL still elicited regular laughs and has viewers clamoring for the good old days.
“The Blues Brothers”
“The Blues Brothers” was the first and one of the best SNL movies. Turning a five-minute sketch into a full length film is an undertaking at any level, but Dan Aykroyd’s calm wit and John Belushi’s physical antics translated readily to the big screen. With its comedic stars delivering above expectations and musical numbers by the likes of Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, James Brown and Cab Calloway, the film has found itself in classic territory, and that’s even before mentioning the iconic car chase or Carrie Fisher hell bent on revenge.
Based on easily the most annoying character in the SNL character canon, “It’s Pat” was a thin idea to start with — the misadventures of a sexually-ambiguous nerd played by Julia Sweeney. It did so poorly that it was pulled from theaters after one-week with a box-office gross of $60,822. Sweeney’s career tanked, and cameos by Kathy Griffin and Kathy Najimy are about the only good things about this film.
Tim Meadows’ smooth talking couldn’t save this dud released in 2000. It stretches the “Ladies Man” sketch about a suave radio host giving out dubious relationship advice too far and too long. With a supporting case that includes Will Ferrell, Eugene Levy, Julianne Moore and Lando Calirissian himself, Billy Dee Williams, this could have been a silly, raunchy movie. It wasn’t.
“Coneheads” was derived from an SNL skit where an alien family found themselves stranded on Earth. Dan Aykroyd led the trio as father Beldar in the original skit and in the movie adaptation. The skits, and eventually the film, follow the family as they attempt to assimilate to American culture. Claiming to Earthlings that they came from “Remulak, a small town in France,” their overactive habits fall short of funny — unless binge eating, chain smoking and guzzling beer can somehow be construed as comical. They were often shown “honing their cones,” or rubbing their cones together as a sign of affection, just one more example of their creepy behavior.