As we update the "Al at the Movies" section (it'll be ready as soon as The Passion of the Christ drops out of the top ten list!), a number of films previously listed there have slipped out of the top ten highest-grossing list. But since scathing movie synopses are always good for a laugh, we decided to move those movie reviews here rather than just get rid of them. Enjoy!
Forrest Gump (1994, Directed by Robert Zemeckis, $329,452,287)
It's really hard to hate Forrest Gump, the whimsical story of a southern man's life throughout the Baby Boomer generation...but we'll try! Often in the movie, Forrest (played by Tom "I must have another Oscar!" Hanks) encounters real historical figures and somehow screws up each of their lives. It's like watching an old Sherman and Peabody cartoon but with an oldies station on in the background. In the movie, we learn that because of dumb ol' Forrest, the Watergate scandal is revealed and Richard Nixon resigns from office, Elvis Presley learns how to shake his hips back and forth, and that John Lennon is inspired to write about world peace (because, you know, the Beatles never touched upon that subject before). We're sure that if the movie was made several years later, Forrest would have been manager of a Washington laundromat ("Oops, I got a bleach stain on Miss Lewinsky's dress. She probubly won't no-tice."), he would have been in charge of collecting ballot boxes in Florida ("And when I opened up my tackle box, alls I could find in it were little cards with holes next to names. Whoever that bloody Al guy is, he sure must be pop-u-lar."), and he would have been employed as a pizza delivery boy in Afghanistan ("So finally they let me into the cave to give the pizza to this man they called Something the Llama. But when I handed him the pizza and he opened the box, something funny happened. There was a big bright flash and a loud noise...and then he was gone before he could pay.")
When Al was writing the songs for his 1996 album Bad Hair Day, he seemed to have made a personal pledge to not do another "food song." So what better topic to write about than the Academy Award-winning film? Al took the hit song "Lump" by the Presidents of the United States of America and titled it (what else?) "Gump," covering everything from Forrest's brushes with presidents (real ones, not the band) to his army buddies Bubba and Lt. Dan. Al decided to make the rockin' parody the second single from Bad Hair Day and even directed a video for it. The video itself parodied scenes from both the "Lump" video (weren't there like five version of it?) and Forrest Gump. Al had Forrest (portrayed in the video by character actor Andy Comeau) "seamlessly" inserted into stock footage featuring John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and an atomic explosion. The video even parodied the film that Forrest Gump beat in almost every Oscar category, Pulp Fiction.
The "Gump" song became a highly charged opening band number for 1996's Bad Hair Tour. Instead of projecting the music video on the video screen, Al went a step further and edited an awesome montage of footage from the film. Now, if only Paramount would let Al put that on the next video compilation!
The song remained at the top of the setlist for 1999 and 2000's Touring With Scissors tour, and Al even performed it "live" for the made-for-TV movie Safety Patrol.
Order the DVD or the video
The Lion King (1994, Directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, $328,423,001)
The Lion King had the temporary honor of being the highest-grossing animated film of all time (Pixar's Finding Nemo and Dreamworks' lackluster Shrek 2 have since unseated it) and was once the highest-grossing film released by Disney (again, Nemo). Assuming you don't have a three-year-old who made you watch the video over and over again all day, and assuming you have never seen the all-too-similar Japanese cartoon series Kimba the White Lion, the movie is about a young cub prince named Simba (voiced by one of those really annoying kids from Home Improvement) who runs away after believing he's responsible for his king father's death. Along the way he meets Disney's attempt at ripping off Ren and Stimpy, gains a brand new yet powerless Matthew Broderick voice, and becomes a dopey, shiftless, lazy heir ignoring his royal duties...sort of a George W. Bush. Anyway, a vague love interest and the obligatory monkey drag his sorry fuzzy ass back to Pride Rock, where he somehow tricks hyenas to kill his uncle...or something. The only question remaining is were the rights to Hamlet that hard for Disney to get??
What better place for Al to parody the beloved ninety-minute moichandising bonanza than on his very own Saturday morning kids show! During the opening of The Weird Al Show, one can see a CGI Al on top of a high Pride Rockian cliff to hold up his jelly bean and pickle sandwich for all to see...just before the edge of the cliff breaks off and Al tumbles, sandwich and all.
Order the DVD or the video (Warning: Disney likes to tack on a new song with each new video release, so who knows which version these are!)
Independence Day (1996, Directed by Roland Emmerich, $306,200,000)
ID4, as the fans known as "Indies" call it, is a terrible hodge-podge of so many better movies.
The recipe is as follows
1 cup Star Wars
1 cup War of the Worlds
1 cup the Alien series
3 tablespoons of Close Encounters of the Third Kind
a tablespoon of Top Gun
2 teaspoons of Duck Dodgers and the 24 1/2 Century
2 teaspoons of Stargate
a teaspoon of The Right Stuff
a teaspoon of Crimson Tide
a teaspoon of Flight of the Navigator
a pinch of The Poseidan Adventure
and just the touch of Jurassic Park
Mix ingredients together and let sit for two long hours. You may add a likable rap star for flavor.
Okay, Al did make a reference to this movie, but it's an obscure one, so bear with us here. During the Fatman cartoon in the Weird Al Show episode "Al Plays Hooky," in which "evil alien pirates who look like giant fish and come from a planet where they use bagels for money are robbing every deli in the area" ("That is just so typical!"), Harvey borrows a laptop to hack into the First Bank of Blorg's computer system. Harvey makes a clever aside, "I saw this in a movie." What he is referring to is the fact that Jeff Goldblum's character (did he even have a name?) was able to disable the entire alien army by sending them a computer virus from his puny laptop.
Order the DVD, the video, or the special 2-disc DVD set
The Sixth Sense (1999, Directed by M. Night Shyamalan, $293,501,675)
Remember that sitcom Thunder Alley, starring Ed Asner as a gruff grandfather who takes care of his three grandsons? Well, when one of the boys (Haley Joel Osment) was approached about doing a movie about a kid who saw ghosts, he thought "I saw Ed Asner in a bathtub...I can take anything creepy!" Not only does this poor kid have to deal with ghosts but also with Bruce Willis, who looks depressed and sullen throughout this whole thing (he probably just finished watching Color of Night). Willis plays a child psychologist who helps Osment deal with his remarkable ability. All the while, Haley's hot Aussie mother slowly goes through a nervous breakdown trying to make sense of what's wrong with her son. In addition to being both captivating and involving and being the highest-grossing thriller of all time, The Sixth Sense also has the distinction of being the most recent movie parodied in the first Scary Movie...simply because the rest of the movie sucked and the Wayans Brothers knew they needed a trendy blockbuster to cash in on and show in the commercials.
Since The Sixth Sense (huh?) was one of the most recent movies on the highest-grossing list, Al hasn't had too many opportunities to poke fun at it. However, during one of his many newsbreaks on ALTV2K in 1999, Al reports on a brand new sequel called The Third Sense about a kid who can...smell dead people.
Order the DVD, the video, or the special 2-disc DVD set
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