The Flintstones

a survey of summer movies that just didn’t catch on

May 27, 1994

The Flintstones are an example of a pop culture phenomenon that’s long past its relevance, but it’s so simple and recognizable that it lingers like a ghost in the public memory. Or like a fossil! As the first prime time cartoon, it originally aired between 1960 and 1966, but more than half a century later – whether because of the spin-offs and TV movies, the vitamins and cereals, or just cultural omnipresence – almost any American could identify the show on sight.

That doesn’t mean they’ve given it much thought, though, because there’s not much to chew on here. I know I watched it for some period of my life, but couldn’t point to a favorite episode, or even a specific one. There are different stories, technically, but the joke doesn’t really go beyond “what if there was a Honeymooners type family sitcom, but with cave men?,” and with the gimmick that modern lifestyles and technology (cars, drive-in theaters, kitchen appliances) exist, crudely constructed out of rocks, bones, wood, animal skins, and talking, subservient prehistoric animals. The plots reflect the same middle class concerns as a normal show would – trying to keep your job to pay for the house, trying to make your wife not mad that you spend too much time out with your buddies – but mostly it’s that one anachronistic joke of “the modern stone age family.” It’s humor with one wink and a whole lot of taken-for-granted cartoonist ingenuity.

This movie is not fuckin around. It has a Drew Struzan poster like a STAR WARS or an INDIANA JONES.

And the movie THE FLINTSTONES, for better or worse, doesn’t have much more ambition than to recreate that in a feature length live action movie. Unlike most of the movies in this Summer Flings series, it was a giant box office hit, with a record breaking opening weekend and ultimately earning $341 million worldwide on a $46 million dollar budget. But it got mostly negative reviews and had a reputation as a bad movie – you can tell that because those hacks at the Razzies gave it four nominations and two wins, for worst screenplay and worst supporting actress Rosie O’Donnell. She does a fine Betty Rubble, but was widely and openly criticized for not being skinny like the cartoon drawing. Spielberg hadn’t thought to ask if people were mainly going to this to jerk off, and if so what their preferences were.

I don’t think this is a movie that many people remember fondly, if they remember it at all.

At the time there was definitely resentment toward it as an empty-calorie corporate product. There was still time to push back against Hollywood trying to turn every damn registered trademark into a giant summer movie, and the amount of money and effort Universal put into producing and hyping such a silly idea – including having a teaser trailer attached to JURASSIC PARK a year in advance – rubbed people the wrong way. Director Brian Levant brought in eight sitcom writers to punch up the script, then had four more round table sessions with additional writers until a total of 32 had worked on it, so that number was often cited as an example of absurd Hollywood excess. “It took 32 writers to write that? Ha ha ha, I got ’em.”

Watching it now, though, I mean… maybe it’s just me, but… I think it’s got a little charm to it? It’s definitely a lightweight, surface level movie. Unlike POPEYE or DICK TRACY, they don’t add much emotional depth to the cartoon world. But I remember when I saw this at a dollar theater in the year of 1 A.J.P. (After Jurassic Park) it was exciting to see the shots where Dino ran by, because it was new to see a digital model based on a cartoon design but with realistic textures. According to the director’s commentary track there were 56 c.g. shots in the movie, which was alot then.

But in 24 A.J.P. that’s barely any, and my reaction is kind of the opposite. It’s ‘holy shit, look at that gigantic set! And that gigantic set! Look at all these props!’ They took those cartoon designs, based in the stylish limited animation of the era, the creative interpretations of 1960s furniture, architecture and fashion, and then they figured out how to capture that style, but with the textures of real materials. And they built all those things – houses, businesses, cars, machines – and populated them with people who kinda looked like the cartoons, but real, and animatronic puppet dinosaurs created by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop acting as garbage disposals, cranes, record players, dictaphones…

I mean, this must be one of the last hand-made productions of this size and detail. 1994’s shameful excess is 2017’s good ol’ days.

Look at this. They built Bedrock! The cars, the trees, the playgrounds, the “Chevrok,” presumably the official fossil fuel of THE FLINTSTONES.

Look at this telephone. This stone tablet newspaper.

Look at these guys. They’re puppets! Dino is amazingly expressive with his face and paws.

And then they face a challenge like creating a fancy lobby for the Slate and Co. corporate offices. So they figure out the Flintstones version of marble walls, installation art, a glass elevator.

And obviously they gotta get some visual gags in there, like the record collection on display here. Dumb joke, but exactly the same dumb as the cartoon.

To the extent that there is any emotional core to this movie, it’s about the friendship between Fred (John Goodman, DEATH SENTENCE) and Barney (Rick Moranis, STREETS OF FIRE). I remember Fred being an asshole in the cartoon, but here that’s kind of a front. At the beginning of the movie he’s in trouble with Wilma (Elizabeth Perkins, THE RING TWO) for spending too much of their savings, but he actually secretly loaned it to Barney to help him adopt Bam Bam. Barney returns the favor by switching their aptitude tests, which gets Fred promoted and Barney fired. So there are some tensions there that they gotta deal with, and their wives get stuck in the middle and what not.

This is of course exactly as sitcom-y as the show, but it has to hold our attention longer. Luckily Goodman and Moranis each have an inherent humanity and a chemistry together. And seeing Goodman as a leading man is a rare treat.

Of course there’s a bad guy and a secret plot and at the end he takes the kids hostage and there’s a dumb battle in the rock quarry. Slate and Co. junior exec douche Cliff Vandercave (Kyle MacLachlan, the guy from that TV show everybody is so god damned obsessed with and talking about all the time, Desperate Housewives) promotes Fred to use as his fall guy in an embezzling scheme. He’s aided by a femme fatale-ish secretary played by the not-very-famous-yet Halle Berry (THE LAST BOY SCOUT). I still think it’s funny that her character is named Sharon Stone, and research confirms that it was meant for the real Sharon Stone but it didn’t fit into her schedule (maybe she would’ve been filming THE SPECIALIST?).

I like that Fred’s “dictabird” – a prehistoric bird that sits on his desk and takes dictation – is actually a major character. He’s a puppet with the voice of Harvey Korman and is more important to the plot than Elizabeth Taylor as Fred’s mother-in-law.

On the cartoon sometimes they would have characters that were based on contemporary celebrities, but with geological puns in their names. For example Cary Grant was Gary Granite, and the recent Flinstones/WWE crossover movie STONE AGE SMACKDOWN has Vince McMahon voicing the part of Vince McMagma. Here we have the B-52s appearing as the BC-52s. And like so many Hanna-Barbera cartoons it just turns into a music video and Fred is surprisingly into dancing. He seemed like a non-dancer to me but my assumptions were wrong.

One weird embellishment to the cartoon is the detail that there are people in Bedrock who are neanderthals, with larger foreheads than the Flintstones and Rubbles. Some of them work at the factory with Fred, and they seem to be an underclass. Fred proudly says that his lodge no longer allows neanderthals as members. That’s fucked up!

Levant is a huge Flintstones fan and collector, and I’m sure there aren’t too many of those who also know how to direct a movie, so I get why they chose him. But is it fair to say he’s a pretty for-hire choice of director? His filmography up until that point consisted of episodes of Married With Children, The New Leave It To Beaver and Charles in Charge, and the films PROBLEM CHILD 2 and BEETHOVEN. His subsequent movies include JINGLE ALL THE WAY, SNOW DOGS and ARE WE THERE YET?, as well as the prequel to this one and some SCOOBY-DOO! tv movies. He also wrote the TV movie STILL THE BEAVER and the 1997 LEAVE IT TO BEAVER movie. I haven’t seen almost any of these, but it seems like a good bet that this is his best movie. He pulled off the job with more skill than expected, though also the exact amount of artistic vision expected.

Steven E. de Souza (DIE HARD, KNOCK OFF, STREET FIGHTER: THE MOVIE) wrote the first draft of the script for Joel Silver in 1985. It went through four other drafts, including one by Mitch Markowitz (GOOD MORNING VIETNAM) that he said was based on The Grapes of Wrath. “Fred and Barney leave their town during a terrible depression and go across the country… They exhibit moments of heroism and poignancy.” Richard Donner was set to direct, but reportedly thought it was “too sentimental.”

Speaking of sentimental, Spielberg bought the rights in 1988 because he worked with Goodman on ALWAYS and thought he should play Fred Flintstone. You know, always looking out for his friends.

The idea of the infamous 32 writers was to do it like a TV writer’s room. I imagine most of them were trying to add jokes, not plot twists, that’s why it’s coherent despite so many cooks. When all those names were submitted to the Writer’s Guild for arbitration it caused controversy. Writers were worried it would set a dangerous precedent, so some of them pulled out of arbitration. The credit went to De Souza and the team of Tom S. Parker & Jim Jennewein (uncredited writers on SUPER MARIO BROS.!), who had only worked on the movie pre-Levant.

One image that is emblematic of THE FLINTSTONES is the RocDonalds restaurant. It’s a perfectly organic joke that Bedrock would have their version of the omnipresent fast food chain, and instead of a sign telling how many billions sold it would be in the dozens.

But also the movie had a tie-in with the real restaurant and they filmed ads on this set. People don’t like that type of product placement. Entertainment Weekly even quoted Goodman as saying, “My Fred Flintstone doll is okay, but when I saw my face on a package of french fries, well that’s enough already.”

On the other hand, I mean, look at it in the movie:

Just as a piece of design it’s pretty fuckin cool.

But yeah, they merchandised the shit out of this one. Products included (but were not limited to): action figures, talking dolls, bendies, dinosaur keychains, miniature vehicle Happy Meal toys, drinking glasses made to look like they were chiseled out of rock and bone (similar to later BATMAN FOREVER mugs), trading cards, watches, a Super Nintendo game, a pinball machine, and a comic book adaptation where you could see John Goodman or traditional cartoon Fred depending on which color of glasses you look through.

And of course there was a soundtrack, kind of. It had some of David Newman’s score and the two songs by the BC-52s. Like SUPER MARIO BROS. it has “Walk the Dinosaur” (original version though) and like COOL WORLD it has a song by My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult (just on the album, I think). You also got Weird Al and the end credits song where the band Green Jelly redoes “Anarchy in the UK” for the world of the Flintstones. Like the Sex Pistols originally intended.

These Mattel action figures crack me up because here they have a pretty realistic John Goodman face attached to a body with the proportions of the cartoon character. It’s bizarre but at least there’s a logic to it, unlike the DICK TRACY ones.

Also it’s pretty cool that there’s a Kyle MacLachlan action figure, although it wasn’t his first or last. (He had one for DUNE and now for Twin Peaks.)

A March 1994 L.A. Times article said THE FLINTSTONES had over 100 licensees, but speculated that THE LION KING might sell more crap with less than half as many.

“My gut feeling is, John Goodman’s picture should not be on the merchandise,” said Harry Clark Noyes, president of the marketing research firm Psychological Motivation.

A month later, Ad Age declared that “the film’s promotional tie-ins aren’t yabba-dabba-dooing it for most kids.” A sampling of children interviewed all liked the movie and were aware of its McDonalds tie-ins, but most weren’t interested in owning any merchandise. The next summer Entertainment Weekly reported that “Though Disney’s $313 million-grossing THE LION KING exceeded $1 billion in total merchandise sales last year, Universal’s THE FLINTSTONES, which grossed a robust $130 million, saw rocky toy sales.”

You get it though? Rocky.

I think this all worked out for the best. The kids didn’t go for all the commercialism, but the craftsmen got to build Bedrock for us to look at. I don’t know, man. I’m not saying it’s not THE FLINTSTONES. That’s all it is. But I’m not mad they made it.

–this has been a review by OUTROCK VERN

additional source:

Bringing ‘The Flintstones’ to the big screen – Entertainment Weekly

This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 14th, 2017 at 10:12 am and is filed under Cartoons and Shit, Family, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

53 Responses to “The Flintstones”

  1. When I saw The Nice Guys, I thought two things:

    -What a great movie.

    -Crowe and Gosling would make a terrific Fred & Barney.

    Think about it.

  2. Were the Razzie folks too busy to notice how much worse EXIT TO EDEN was to nominate her for that instead? O’Donnell seemed more closer to the original than any of the other main cast I remember.

  3. Viva Rock Vegas is actually pretty funny. This one, not so much, but like Vern said, the sets are great.

  4. What do you think the internal monologues of O’Donnell, Moranis, Goodman, and Perkins were like the first day they showed up to set wearing the costumes pictured in the header? Holy shit.

    It only occurred to me as I read this piece (since I’ve never seen the movie) that this 90’s FLINTSTONES is perhaps best understood as part of the post-BATMAN wave of high-budget/low-concept adaptations/updates of culturally saturated IPs for which massive, highly stylized sets were built – see also DICK TRACY, SUPER MARIO BROS, JUDGE DREDD, etc. I guess that heinous Ron Howard GRINCH movie is probably the last of that sub-sub-genre before digital sets fully took over.

  5. I was wondering how this made the cut. I remember it making a lot of money for it’s time. I myself saw it at a sold out show. Then I realized the merchandise didn’t move too hot and critics hated it.

    I do agree that it was a great technical achievement one of the best from the 90s. Plus anything with Goodman, Moranis and Maclachlan putting in solid work despite the absurdity is worth watch. That mcdonald’s mug brought back some memories. Definitely had a couple of those laying around.

  6. Hey, guess what!? I like this movie!

    Okay, just like CONEHEADS, it’s not one of my all time favourites, that I have any nostalgic attachment to and/or revisit on a regular base, but I think for what it is, it’s okay and it gives me some good chuckles when I catch it on TV every few years. I always thought that the fate of MacLachlan’s character is unusually harsch for a kids movie (or FLINTSTONE adaptation). And say what you want about the overall quality of the movie, but the casting of Goodman and Moranis was a stroke of genius!

    Not sure if anybody remembers that, but the theme song by the B(C)-52s was actually a HUGE hit! I’m talking weeks in the top 10 all over the world all summer long! Okay, in the US it apparently only made it to #33, but those were the 90s, where a cover version of an old cartoon theme could become a smash hit, just because.

    Random note: My mother really hates the scene where Fred shoves his hand down that prehistoric pig’s throat and has to leave the room or switch the channel, whenever it happens. On the other hand, she, who is as square as the people from their generation come and would most likely super disappointed in me if I would turn out to be gay, admitted to me more than once, that the thinks Halle Berry looks super sexy here.

  7. This is one I remember not liking all that much but can’t say I remember too many specifics. I think Vern is right that the problem is that it has to entertain us much longer than the 22-minutes of the original cartoon.

    Despite me recently having a practical-effects hipster rant a few days ago I really love practical effects and Vern reminding me of the craftsmanship that went into this one kinda has me wanting to give it a second chance.

    In conclusion: A MAN NAMED FLINTSTONE is still the best FLINTSTONES movie.

  8. Probably. I never saw the prequel but Jack Burton’s cheer-leading of it in this thread and the JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS thread has me interested. If I can, stupidly, give the two SCOOBY-DOO movies a second chance* I don’t see why I can’t give VIVA ROCK VEGAS a single chance.

    *I learned that with the second watch of the SCOOBY-DOO movies that when Matthew Lillard and the cartoon dog are not on screen, Freddie Prinze Jr, Sarah Michelle Geller, and Linda Cardellini’s performances almost make the two movies watchable. Even though I ended up not seeing GUARDIANS OF THE GALXY VOL. 2 in theaters I figured I owed it to Troma’s James Gunn to give them a second shot. I never said I was right to do so.

  9. That Grapes of Wrath inspired Flintstones film sounds amazing. There’s actually a Flintstones comic that’s getting some good buzz recently. I assume it’s some sort of middle class desperation, Arthur Miller shit, but maybe that’s weird wish fulfillment on my part. I really liked Flintstones as a kid, but I think part of that is that it seemed sophisticated, even though it was for kids. I don’t really remember much about the John Goodman movie, but I think I may have seen it in theaters.

  10. Vern, how has it been to write all of these comedies? You said it was hard and you wanted to try more. Does the high concepts make it easier?

  11. Ever notice that Steven E De Souza has had his hand in every single movie Vern reviews? Do we know they aren’t the same person?

  12. “One weird embellishment to the cartoon is the detail that there are people in Bedrock who are neanderthals, with larger foreheads than the Flintstones and Rubbles. Some of them work at the factory with Fred, and they seem to be an underclass. Fred proudly says that his lodge no longer allows neanderthals as members. That’s fucked up!”

    About this. So Warner Bros now owns Hanna-Barbera. So they have DC publishing a line of Hanna-Barbera comics. For THE FLINTSTONES one this interpretation of neanderthals was part of it’s conceit as the book is critically acclaimed for what it was designed to do: be the platform for it’s writer’s social commentary and this subject was of course touched upon in the first issue. So it’s funny because this movie contributed something to THE FLINTSTONES that actually helped it successfully reinvent itself for the 2010s.

  13. A friend of mine got to work on Viva Rock Vegas, and she said that Levant was a very down-to-earth cool guy who knew he wasn’t ever going to win awards but wanted to make films families could enjoy. He also just loved the fact that he got to build real life cartoon worlds.

    Anyway, I saw this one (OG Flintstones) right after I got dumped for the first time. My buddy though a trip to the mall and the movies would be just what the doctor ordered. Because of this… I kinda liked the movie. Haven’t seen it since, though.

  14. To quote the great Barry Norman, “yabba dabba don’t”.

  15. bruce springstone was a legit 1982 parody record, a twelve-inch single featuring the theme song and a take of “take me out to the ballgame”. a fairly dead-on springsteen impression

  16. Onthewall, I’m about to test everyone’s patience, but I like Exit to Eden.

    I get that it’s something no one wanted to see: Garry Marshall undercover cop comedy on an s&m island. But I think bondage freaks deserve Rom-come too and I love how much compassion and lack of judgment they have for the fetish.

    It’s actually far more respectful and accurate than 50 Shades of Grey. I call it 50 Shades of Garry.

    And Rosie makes me laugh as a dominatrix.

  17. grimgrinningchris

    June 14th, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    Jack Burton is 100% correct. Viva Rock Vegas IS a funny movie.

    It has all the inventiveness (new and recycled from the show) of concept and design of its bigger budget predecessor… but with like actual… y’know… FUNNY jokes.

    Plus, no disrespect to ANYONE in the first movie’s cast (well, except O’Donnell… cuz, yeah… she’s just a miserable human being whose only likable turn was in A League Of Their Own) and especially not Goodman or Moranis- who are both pretty much titans with the right material- but EVERYONE… and I mean EVERYONE in Viva Rock Vegas in their respective roles. That includes Baldwin, who was basically born to play Barney Rubble. Plus, love or hate the character, but casting Alan Cummings as Gazoo is some pretty genius shit.

  18. grimgrinningchris

    June 14th, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    Meant to specifically point out Krakowski too. A far better and more likable Betty, and with just as uncanny a knack for the voice and mannerisms as Rosie.

  19. Fred, I can’t say I “like” Exit to Eden but I’m glad it exists. It just suffers from an identity crisis. Either the Mercurio/Delaney plot or the Aykroyd/O’Donnell plots would’ve been fine. To have both is ill-fitting but it has its moments.

    Geoffreyjar, both Josie and Vegas feature scene-stealing performances by Alan Cumming so a double feature may be in order.


    I always thought people were a little too hard on THE FLINTSTONES, as you point out Vern, all the sets and props are cool as hell and while the movie may not be anything special, it’s not a bad movie at all, John Goodman and Rick Moranis are perfectly cast as Fred and Barney.

    The backlash to this movie and it’s merchandising reminds me of that smarmy anti-corporate attitude that existed in the 90s and pisses me off, like when people flipped their shit over “EuroDisney” and Disney’s proposed “America” park, I don’t want to sound too much like a libertarian but in the year 2017 it’s obvious the biggest problems facing the world today stem less from the corporate world and more from corrupt Governments, I mean who would you rather have running the world, Apple or Donald Trump?

    It just seems a little silly today for people to treat the movie’s merchandising blitz as something to be upset about, I actually do remember when McDonald’s had all that Flintstones stuff.

  21. Franchise Fred – I used to watch EXIT TO EDEN as a pre-internet access having teen because of some of the unclothed ladies, particularly Dana Delany, but it’s a pretty bad movie though, watchable but also very bizarre in that it feels like two different movies tied together.

    Anyway, taking back to FLINTSTONES discussion, I wonder what the original Steven E. de Souza script was like?

  22. Thanks Jack Burton (and Griff).

    The undercover cops were added to the film, right? They’re not in Anne Rice’s book. Which sort of just makes me love it more that Hollywood thought it needed a wacky cop subplot.

  23. Griff: Probably had way more explosions and action sequences in the de Souza script. Im’ma hold out for a Shane Black-written FLINTSTONES with hard-boiled Fred and Barney.*
    *Seriously though, I concur, that does seem like it would be interesting read

    Burton: You already convinced me to watch FLINTSTONES ORIGINS, I was already a defender of JOSIE AND HER PUSSYCAT BAND, but if you’re telling me just to do it for Alan Cumming and you start telling me to also watch SON OF MASK and THE SMURFS duology I’m outta here!

  24. grimgrinningchris

    June 14th, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    geoffreyjar- Cumming actually has dual roles in Viva Rock Vegas… as the Great Gazoo and as prehistoric Jagger stand-in Mick Jagged and is equally funny in both.

    Griff- You don’t know a perfectly cast Fred and Barney until you’ve seen Addy and Baldwin in the roles. Obviously Goodman and Moraines are the superior actors, but in these particular roles… not even a question…

  25. grimgrinningchris

    June 14th, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    geoffreyjar- Cumming actually has dual roles in Viva Rock Vegas… as the Great Gazoo and as prehistoric Jagger stand-in Mick Jagged and is equally funny in both.

    Griff- You don’t know a perfectly cast Fred and Barney until you’ve seen Addy and Baldwin in the roles. Obviously Goodman and Moraines are the superior actors, but in these particular roles… not even a question…

  26. grimgrinningchris

    June 14th, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    Also Kaplan and Elfont (the unsung heroes that gave us Josie…) co-wrote the VRV script. So there is that too.

  27. Good catch.

  28. Vern- I’m a longtime fan, first time poster. The Summer Flings series has been amazing. It hits a real sweet spot for me, as I was 10 in the summer of 1990, and saw nearly all of these movies in the theater (I even had a “Cool World” poster in my bedroom, because that was as close to a pin-up of Kim Basinger my parents would let me have). Anyway, this series has finally pushed me to donate on Patreon, which I should have done long ago. Keep doing exactly what you are doing!

  29. Fred, I’ll do you one better. Rosie was actually quite attractive in some the leathers she wore. Aykroyd faired much, much less in the getup he had on. The movie is still awful though, despite Dana Delany looking stunning and appearing to actually give a damn about the subject matter. My problem overall is that it was the major example of how Hollywood would portray BDSM, as fodder for low-brow comedy. Well, either that or used in endless thrillers and horror movies as something of a sociopathic behavior.

    SECRETARY is the one that mostly gets it right. There’s an independent that came out last year, REMEDY, that touches more on the pro-Domme/sub scene but speaks to a lot of truths about what goes on. The book of EXIT TO EDEN gets a lot right, and I’d like to think in a world where that movie (which I’m pretty sure came out in October of this year, so it likely removes the burden of Vern having to watch it for review) didn’t come out, there would have been a more faithful adaptation in the works just as 50 SHADES was taking off. We’ll perhaps never know now, as it seems the SHADES movies themselves are basically coming and going, and Hollywood will be less interested in kinky material. But, as always, sex sells so who knows.

  30. Are fast food tie ins with movies still a thing? At least to that scale? I noticed JURASSIC WORLD and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY themed Blizzards at Dairy Queen but what about the days of those glass mugs? I actually still have two LORD OF THE RINGS glass goblets from Burger King circa 2001.

  31. I’ll say that Mark Addy is definitely the best live action Fred Flintstone in a world, where John Goodman isn’t playing the part, but Baldwin’s constant grimacing really doesn’t do it for me.

    BTW, the original cartoon is one of the few cases, where the German dubbing is actually superior to the original. Not just that I like Barney’s high pitched German voice better (no offense to Mel Blanc), the whole thing is also cluttered with made-up slang (that partly actually became part of the German language), intentional mispronouciations and in-jokes. So even if the stories are often nothing to write home about, the gags in the German version still makes me laugh.

  32. Onthewall, I agree. Rosie looked great back then. And you’re right, had there been more sincere portrayals of BDSM, my affection for the wacky Rom-com version would have more merit.

    And yes it was October. I was working at the movie theater after school.

  33. But I think I would put it in my Aykroyd top five:

    1. Ghostbusters
    2. Blues Bros
    3 Trading Places
    4. Ghostbusters II
    5. Exit to Eden

  34. Okay watched VIVA ROCK VEGAS. I wont compare it to prior FLINTSTONES movie since I haven’t seen it in decades. If I were a bigger FLINTSTONES fan I’d probably really like it. FLINTSTONES is one of those shows that I was never really into. I mean didn’t dislike it but I didn’t like it either, it was just there.

    That said, it’s obvious everyone’s heart was in the right place and despite what one would think doesn’t come off as some shallow and crass cash-in that’s just being made because the studio owned the “IP.” I really liked how the actors gave it their all and there wasn’t one embarrassed performance or one that screamed ‘I’m too good for this!’ I always appreciate that and helped the movie a bit charming, despite me not finding it very funny. Much better than the SCOOBY-DOO movies and I definitely didn’t hate the time I spent with it. Thanks Burton.

  35. Grimgrinningchris

    June 15th, 2017 at 6:25 am

    Fred. You’d put Exit To Exen over solid mid-level Akroyd like The Great Outdoors? Weird.

  36. Grimgrinningchris

    June 15th, 2017 at 6:27 am

    CJ. I think Baldwin really gave his all and played it as a cartoon. Moranis, genius though he is, just played a slightly slowed down version of himself. He seemed bored.

  37. This was just towards the end of Moranis’ acting career I believe. He had LITTLE GIANTS this year and some movie with Tom Arnold later on then stopped completely. I guess his wife had died and wanted to focus on being a dad. I think now he’s more interested in music as he put out an album a few years ago.

  38. And I think “playing it as a cartoon” is the worst thing you can do, unless your movies is some hardcore slapstick fest like GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE. Not saying that THE FLINTSTONES are KING OF THE HILL, but Baldwin does stick out because of his acting decision. And not in a good Nic Cage way.

  39. Moranis said that it was a combination of his wife dying and thus wanting to be there for his kids and the fact the movies were getting worse and writers and directors wouldn’t let him improvise anymore and told him he had to stick to the script. So he learned he was starting to hate acting and he had enough money so he stopped.

  40. I like Rosie O’Donnell in some movies but you guys are really trying hard to be non-ironically like things that really aren’t that great.

  41. Grimgrinningchris

    June 15th, 2017 at 8:24 am

    Sorry, but a Flitstones movie fits right in with movies that SHOULD be played as a cartoon.

    There is zero level of verisimilitude in this world- nor should there be.

    When there is a big headed floating magic green Martian and Fred is doing his twinkle toes bowling bit straight out of the cartoon- playing it as anything less than that would be the exact wrong way.

    How is Addy’s performance not cartoonish? Or either of Cumming’s?

    Sure, the movie gives Fred a ton of heart- but he’s still played VERY broadly.

  42. There is a difference between “cartoonish” and “cartoonish”. And like you said, they play it very broadly, but compare this to the constant mugging and grimacing that is going on in the live action versions of GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE or ROCKY & BULLWINKLE (two movies where it was very appropriate). Personally I prefer the more grounded “Hey, it’s silly and cartoony, but there is no need to go full HELLZAPOPPIN’ in our acting” approach of everybody, except Baldwin. Everybody, especially Goodman plays, it more like a classic 60s sitcom character (Exaggerated, yet still human), than “WHOO WACKAWACKAWACKA BLEBLEBLEBLE CARTOOOOOOOOOOOONS!!!”

  43. Not to try to get to into the which Fred/Barney is better better, especially since it’s been so long since I’ve seen the original one. From memory Goodman and Moranis (both whom I love) pretty much played the characters as they would any other comedy role they were given but Addy and Baldwin really do go out of their way to ‘BE’ the characters as they were in the cartoon. Since alot of guys have already gave them love I’d to single out Kristen Johnston’s and Jane Krakowski’s performances. Like Addy and Baldwin they really do go out of their way to ‘BE’ the characters and, from memory, the characters are given way more to do in the prequel. I started watching 30 ROCK and UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHIMDT recently so it goes without saying that I’ve become a fan of Krakowski’s. I think she really takes the bull by the horns and just goes at this one full-tilt when I don’t think many would’ve blamed her phoning it in (or worst) but she didn’t, she strove for excellence in a role and movie that really, REALLY didn’t ask for it. Short version without re-watching the original: I’m team the cast is better, or at least way more fun, in the prequel.

    Stern: Though it didn’t do much for me, I can see VIVA ROCK VEGAS really working someone who is a FLINTSTONES fan. Unless you’re commenting on the odd EXIT TO EDEN love. It’s been decades since I’ve seen that one and I remember hating it. I’m a different man now with much different morals so MAYbe it’ll hold up better? I mean I’ll never know because I have no desire to re-watch it.

  44. The best approach to these kinds of movie adaptations is to just do them animated. The concept of making something animated (especially something as beloved as THE FLINTSTONES) live-action was probably novel at first. I watched the DUCKTALES and SIMPSONS movies in their respective theatrical releases, and those felt way more cinematic in the sense that you were seeing essentially a more broader view of what you saw on television.

  45. Grimgrinningcbris, you know, I don’t remember The Great Outdoors well. I’ve meant to revisit it. It it holds up I might bump GBII out to keep Exit to Eden in the top five. I’m that committed.

    If I said it’s top 3 Rosie would that hold up?

  46. Grimgrinningchris

    June 15th, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    Great Outdoors is a favorite. And immensely quotable.

    I can’t really say on Rosie since the only things I’ve ever been able to stomach her in were A League Of Their Own and the animated Tarzan.

    “Welcome back to Stand Up Spotlight… I’m your host, Florence Henderson tee-hee-hee-hee…”


  47. Rosie actually had Anne Rice on her daytime show, and apologized to her for EXIT TO EDEN. That and her ruining FIGHT CLUB (but completely forgetting it until I heard Brad Pitt reference it on the commentary track) were the only memories I had of it. LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN is her best movie performance but I also thought she was okay as Meg Ryan’s friend in SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE.

    Hard for me to pin down a favorite Aykroyd performance, but SNEAKERS is one of my favorite movies. It’s probably best to say his best stuff was on SNL. I am from Auburn, Indiana, home of the Auburn-Cord-Duesenburg museum and festival (people like Jay Leno used to come every year). I guess a few years ago Dan was out on the road, stopped by and the museum people let him in to have a look.

  48. Geoffrey, I was referring to the comment that Rosie was attractive in Exit to Eden.

    Good call on Sneakers, what a wonderful film that was. I really miss the enjoyable humor filled mysteries that come out of nowhere that got no prior buzz but end up being financial hits that you just leave the theater feeling pretty good about your choice.

  49. I seriously do not remember the last time I watched this, well, in its entirety. It probably was still the 1990’s. I remember going to see it in theaters with my whole family. I mean it was a family movie night and I enjoyed it a lot. Hell, my mom bought the VHS. I remember even as an 8-year-old thinking that Halle Berry looked damn hot in that film. Anyway, I had forgotten about the insane merchandising surrounding this film. Hell, even Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles had some promotion for this film, though it could be argued because that was mostly a Flintstones product that is still going to this day.

    Maybe I should revisit this film. I remember catching bits and pieces of Viva Rock Vegas and I really don’t think that film deserves all the hate it gets. Is it good? Not from what I see, but I don’t think it’s as unwatchable as people say it is.

  50. They were re-running the original TWIN PEAKS last night on one of the Showtimes and I caught the episode where MacLachlan’s Cooper and Everett McGill’s Big Ed go undercover at One Eyed Jacks. Their covers? Fred and Barney. Of course Dale Cooper identified himself as Fred.

  51. Going through IMDB I realized that the guy who plays the giant was Lurch in the ADDAMS FAMILY movies.

  52. An addendum of mild interest; the Burger King Toys for VIVA ROCK VEGAS used designs closer to the characters from the cartoon than to the actors in the film. I guess they learned their lesson that fake-real Fred isn’t as appealing

  53. I remember right around the time VIVA ROCK VEGAS came out, Goodman was hosting SNL and in the monologue he was promoting it as if he was in it, until Tim Meadows or someone comes up to him and reminds him that he’s not.

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