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The Saturday Night Live Movie
July 19, 2010 4:12 PM   Subscribe

"All three of the 'Appeal' segments make fun of those pre-movie trailers where celebrities used to ask you to donate money. It's a little shocking to see them using Christopher Reeve begging for money for medical research until you remember this was written years before his accident. Spooky. More celebrities interrupt Chris, arguing over what the point of the Walter Sternberg Foundation is, all of them asking for money, but none of them agreeing on why. Charlton Heston, Robert Vaughn, Clint Eastwood, Mary Tyler Moore, and others show up to argue. They return later to yell at the audience for not giving enough money, accusing them of not caring. Finally, in the third appeal, Chris Reeve just snaps and loses it, furious at the audience. 'I don't know what to say. Words cannot express my contempt for you people. You sit there stuffing your faces in your Reeboks and your Levis 501s. You don't care about the children. You just want to beat the crowd out of the parking lot at the end of the movie. Well, as far as I'm concerned, you can all go f*** yourselves.' Then for the rest of the film, Reeve just randomly shows up in the background of scenes, glaring at the audience with naked disgust." From the never-filmed The Saturday Night Live Movie, written in 1990 by Greg Daniels, James Downey, George Meyer, Tom Davis, Al Franken, Conan O’Brien, and Robert Smigel.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates (17 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
If this had been filmed, audiences could have left after the first half hour secure in the knowledge that they weren't going to miss anything worth seeing.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:27 PM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


I will wager that "Crack Rap" by Al Franken and Tom Davis has nothin' on Rap: The Musical
posted by stargell at 4:35 PM on July 19, 2010


That sounds very much like Conan O'Brien.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:39 PM on July 19, 2010


If this had been filmed, audiences could have left after the first half hour 1992 secure in the knowledge that they weren't going to miss anything worth seeing.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:46 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would love to see the "Dad's Car" segment. Because why wouldn't you and your friend Shitty take sledgehammers to your dad's sports car after he specifically said not to touch it for any reason while he's gone?
posted by infinitewindow at 4:51 PM on July 19, 2010


Yeah, I'd have stayed for "Dad's Car" too. In fact, I'm pretty annoyed he didn't spill the ending.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:00 PM on July 19, 2010


This seems surprisingly hit-and-miss; I wonder if it was made mostly of bits that were either too long or too intrinsically obscene to get on the show. I also wonder if they had specific cast members in mind when they wrote the sections. (It would have been pretty funny if they'd actually managed to get Christopher Reeve et al. for the charity appeals, although pretty ghastly in Reeve's case, considering.)

At least it would have avoided one of the pitfalls of SNL movies: characters that were barely tolerable for three-to-five-minute sketches being forced to carry ninety-minute movies. (I'm thinking of "It's Pat", specifically, but I still have to wonder who thought that anyone could stand the Roxbury Guys or that one Catholic schoolgirl Mary Whatsis for that long, either. Even the freaking Coneheads...) Wayne's World was an exception because Wayne Campbell was an exceptionally mellow character, and The Blues Brothers because they really weren't characters at all--really a couple of ciphers in Wayfarers and fedoras--which is why the movie was a series of music videos, interspersed with car chases.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:03 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


And let us not elide that pinnacle of bare tolerability, the one about the guy who is good enough, smart enough, and gol-durnit people like him. Or at least voted for him.
posted by hexatron at 5:11 PM on July 19, 2010


...and Elf.
Not ELF
Not Elf
Not ELF
But Elf
posted by hexatron at 5:17 PM on July 19, 2010


Bob Roberts was pretty good.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:25 PM on July 19, 2010


If you're going to make a sketch comedy movie, keep in mind that movies are - in theory - meant to last longer than live TV shows. Choose sketches that don't rely on Jay Leno level "current politicians foibles" comedy or popular trends in music or whomever the celebrity of the week happens to be. You might get a good opening weekend, but your movie will be dated before the year is out (just like your TV show).

That isn't to say avoid being topical altogether, just don't make it the focal point.

Furthermore, you can learn a thing or two about making sketch movies from Monty Python and their experience with "And Now For Something Completely Different." They learned that, no matter how they organized the material, the first 45 minutes got laughs, the next 20 got silence, and the final 15 got laughs. This is the main reason their next three movies all had devices to unite the sketches (semi-plots in the case of "Holy Grail" and "Life Of Brian" and thematic unity in "Meaning of Life").

While the "movie" business seems like a bit of a through line in this script, its not consistent enough to hang together thematically. I suspect the audience in 1990 would have largely sat around chortling occasionally and wondering when Lothar of the Hill People or Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer was going to appear.

Anyhow, if anybody out there is planning on making a sketch comedy movie, call me and I'll tell you how it should be done so that you'll make a million zillion dollar every year until the final gas braaaap.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:30 PM on July 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Sounds a bit like Kentucky Fried Movie. I loved Kentucky Fried Movie (when I was 12).
posted by Drab_Parts at 8:36 PM on July 19, 2010


If you're going to make a sketch comedy movie, keep in mind that movies are - in theory - meant to last longer than live TV shows....You might get a good opening weekend, but your movie will be dated before the year is out (just like your TV show).

As a point of context, this simply wasn't true in 1990. Movies made money in the theatre, and making a movie specifically for theatrical release was how everyone operated. The home market was a blip -- pay cable produced strong-ish revenues, and home video was middling at best, and certainly not a part of the business affairs landscape. International sales and distribution were worthless -- back then, releasing a movie overseas was akin to lighting your farts on fire. Basically: in 1990, once a movie came out, it made its money back in the theatre or it just became another worthless piece of film they ran on Saturday afternoon cable.

Reverse these rules now -- theatrical release is vital to securing a strong home distribution model while domestic release serves to advertise the international release. We're through the looking glass, people.
posted by incessant at 10:18 PM on July 19, 2010


Chris Morris did it better. As anyone who's seen the "Cake" episode of Brass Eye will know.
posted by Paul Slade at 2:02 AM on July 20, 2010


Basically: in 1990, once a movie came out, it made its money back in the theatre or it just became another worthless piece of film they ran on Saturday afternoon cable.

I don't know man, I already owned like 300 VHS movies by 1985. I imagine they had an inkling already that there was some long term money to be made by that time.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:20 AM on July 20, 2010


Mary Tyler Moore?
posted by blucevalo at 5:08 AM on July 20, 2010


Related: The true story behind Run Ronnie Ron
posted by cottoncandybeard at 6:02 AM on July 20, 2010


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