My now fiancé, Jaimie, and I creatively collaborated for a second time! I introduced him to another one of my childhood favorites; the movie called Mac and Me. It’s such a bad movie.. it’s good! We utilized this flick for his new-ish magazine called: Rob’s Video (you can purchase it here).
Across the universe, a family of four search to quench their thirst on their barren home planet by poking hollow tubes into the ground. Their meal is interrupted by a NASA robotic rover that landed nearby to collect rock and soil samples. This curious family communicates with one another by whistling as they carefully approach this foreign vehicle. The youngest child accidentally gets sucked up in its suction hose along with rocks and soil. The parents and sibling try to rescue him but get sucked up themselves! The family travels to an unknown land, they emerge from the dissected rover, unsure of its residents, escape their dangerous grasp, and get separated from one another. The youngster tumbles into traffic causing a three car pile up (as well as a major traffic jam), he becomes squashed on the windshield, and is described as: “omelets.. with eyes!” He becomes a stowaway in a nearby van, which is occupied by a family of three, the Cruises, who are moving across the country from Chicago to LA. The first sign of the stowaway’s presence is when he steals a can of Coca-Cola (with a straw) from the youngest boy, Eric, who blames his older brother, Michael.
Numerous signs follow indicating that there is an unknown life form lurking about their new house: unplugged TVs turn on, remote control cars drive without batteries, wet footprints leading away from an empty/steamy shower, power tools modifying walls/doors, a hundred-year-old heirloom painting ruined, trees/flowers replanted throughout their living room, etc. Eric’s mom and brother do not believe him when he says: “It wasn’t me, it was the little creature! I saw it!” Upset-yet-determined Eric follows the little creature into the backyard (he names him: Mac, short for: Mysterious Alien Creature), down a treacherous hill, and into a deep pond below (oh, by the way, Eric is wheelchair-bound, so this incident is life-threatening as he cannot swim, so Mac dives in, takes him ashore, and saves his life). The girl next door, Debbie, sees Mac rescue Eric, but she’s afraid to tell the grownups because nobody would believe it! Eric and Debbie team up to catch Mac and prove his case, but they didn’t plan for the government to show up, who are trying to take Mac, and do who-knows-what to him! Will this physically disabled boy and his pals evade the bad guys and help Mac reunite with his long-lost family?! You’ll just have to watch Mac & Me to find out!
Mac & Me is a complete rip-off of.. you guessed it.. E.T.! This movie came out six years after E.T. Ironically, this film was made by Orion Pictures, which filed for bankruptcy in the early ’90’s.. maybe because Universal Studios sued them?! Whoa, I’m seeing stars.. Far out, dude!
Mac & Me is so bad.. it’s good! The epitome of an 80’s bad rip-off action adventure, sci-fi cult classic! Fun for the entire family! Speaking of family, they stole E.T.’s older brother’s name, Michael. I mean.. C’mon, they definitely cheated off someone else’s paper! The rip-offs continue, they even pulled a “Marty McFly” move when Eric grabs a hold of a truck and strolls down the street; the music playing during this scene sounds eerily similar to the Back to the Future theme song. Bet they wish they had a time machine so they could reconfigure the space time continuum and get back some of their dignity!
IMDb’s description of Mac & Me: “An alien trying to escape from NASA is befriended by a wheelchair-bound boy.” I mean, goodness gracious, can ya get anymore unnecessarily specific?! This was the first time I saw a physically disabled character who was played by a real life wheelchair-bound actor. Still, to this day, I don’t think I’ve seen anything like this on screen since! Representation matters, however knowing where to highlight and being tactful about it is important.
This movie’s small cast has a few unknown gems: The mom is played by Christine Ebersole, a soap opera star from One Life to Live and Broadway stage performer. The older brother, Michael, is played by Jonathan Ward who voices Zak from the animated film Ferngully: The Last Rainforest. The actress who plays Debbie’s sister, Courtney, is played by Tina Caspary, who has been in 1982’s Annie, Can’t Buy Me Love, and Teen Witch. The lead who played Eric, Jade Calegory, had a short acting career with only three credits to his name; Mac & Me was his film debut.
As I’ve said before, what’s a bad movie without a couple random dance numbers that have no relevance to the storyline whatsoever? Oh, and we can’t forget the blatant product placements: Coca-Cola, Skittles, and McDonald’s! Debbie and Eric attend a birthday party, which so happens to be at.. McDonald’s! Where Debbie’s sister, Courtney, works. Even Ronald McDonald himself shows up to entertain the kiddos; he infamously won a Razzie award for Worst New Star for this film. I remember going to many birthday parties at Mickey D’s! Hey, I’ll bet it’s no coincidence that Mac is named after their famous Big Mac burger. Mac joins in on the fun and dances, in disguise, as a robotic teddy bear along with the McDonald’s staff, party goers, and customers. The uniformed footballers dancing by the front door is randomly hilarious.. because they’re grown men trying to pass as teenagers!
My favorite scene is when their silver VW van cruises through the desert with wild horses running alongside them while the song “Waves” by Debbie Lytton plays. Waves in a desert, how ironic! Such a beautiful scene, with this catchy tune, gets me pumped every time! I’m a sucker for a sexy sax solo!
Actor Paul Rudd has a running gag with late night talk show host Conan O’Brien where he plays Mac and Me’s trailer, again and again, instead of showing a clip from his upcoming film. Rotten Tomatoes gave this flick a five percent rating yet the Audience Score is at thirty-eight percent. This just goes to show that maybe lovers of this bad movie, like Paul Rudd and I, are a little more gracious than the harsh film critics.
SPOILER ALERT: Mac & Me ends with a pink chewing gum bubble that says: “We’ll be back!” and then bursts. It didn’t do well in the box office, only making back half of their budget, and a portion of its box office intake was donated to the Ronald McDonald House Charities. Maybe the clown is to blame for this major flop?! For obvious reasons, the proposed sequel was never made. Go figure! I wonder if they thought about how iconic that final scene is.. because ya know how the saying goes: “I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but..” Haha!
‘Twas such an honor that Jaimie asked me to collaborate with him, again, on his creative project, Rob’s Video ‘zine! As I mentioned in my Vintage Trolling blog post, we were originally inspired to create vintage good/bad movie posters whilst watching the documentary: 24×36: A Movie About Movie Posters (highly recommend). I just let Jaimie go with creating the illustration of this Mac & Me movie poster. I didn’t have much input because the storyline (ahem, E.T.’s storyline, ahem) was pretty straight forward. He did make sure to include the obviously obnoxious product placement with Coca-Cola and McDonald’s. This design does differ from the VHS &/or DVD covers and other posters because it doesn’t include any Earthlings or suburban California skyline. I do like that Jaimie changed it up and included Mac’s silhouetted family in the background. I formatted the movie title, advertising slogan, and billing block. I don’t think we’ll color this movie poster, no real reason as to why, however Jaimie did color the Troll movie poster so we can display it somewhere in our home. We just gotta find the wall space.. Ugh, haha!