5 People Who Hated their own movies
People in the film industry usually strive to stay up-beat even when their films may not be a roaring success. But sometimes film-makers are so disappointed in their own efforts they may flat-out disown their own films. Here are five people (in no particular order) both actors and film-makers alike who were more than a tad embarrassed, disappointed or even just flat-out enraged by the movies they were forced to make.
To give Ahnold some massive credit, he’s an actor who takes failure in his stride. Then again, he was at one time the highest paid actor in Hollywood, but no matter how embarrassing or unsuccessful his movies have been, Arnie almost never talks shit on them. Nope, not even Batman & Robin (though he’s known to take the piss out of the sequels to movies he was in). However, there is one movie that even Schwarzenegger admits that he feels embarrassed to have been a part of, his debut role as a leading actor.
To give some perspective on Hercules in New York, Arnold had just won his first Mr. Universe award and had been living in the states for little over a half-decade. It had been Arnold’s dream to star in a Hercules movie since he was a little boy, so naturally when he was offered the role of the mythical Greek hero, he jumped at the chance. Unfortunately, Arnold realised too late that instead of the epic swords and sandals flick he had in mind, “Hercules in New York” was a low-budget fish-out-of-water comedy and (based on box-office gross) not a very good one. Arnold even had to go through the indignity of adopting a stage name, “Arnold Strong”, and having his voice dubbed over (though the later re-released undubbed version is now widely available).
In his autobiography, Total Recall, Arnold notes that the film’s only redeeming quality was a very heartfelt goodbye scene between himself and his co-star Arnold Stang (voice of Top Cat). However, it would take Arnold more than a decade before he would hit it big with 1982’s Conan the Barbarian.
Compared to his action-movie rival, Sylvester Stallone has never been shy about admitting that he’s starred in a lot of stinkers over the years and, many times, directly as a result of his attempts at competing with Schwarzenegger. Stallone’s admitted that he took part in films like Rhinestone, Over the Top and Stop! Or my mom will shoot simply because his management warned that Schwarzenegger would take the roles if he didn’t do them. However, there’s one film amongst his own that even Stallone himself admits was a mistake.
After achieving major success with the first four films in the Rocky series, Stallone attempted to bring the Italian-American boxer back to his roots in what is widely considered the worst movie of the bunch anyway. Stallone himself was unsure what he wanted Rocky 5 to stand for, changing the dramatic ending at the last second, where Rocky was supposed to die.
Stallone admitted years later that he did Rocky 5 out of sheer greed in a vain effort to try to breathe new life into the series after Rocky 4’s immense success. He even jokingly once gave it 0 stars out of 5 on David Letterman.
I think it’s fair to say that pretty much no-one was happy with 1993’s film adaption of the beloved 8-bit Nintendo video-game. Shigeru Miyamoto seems to be the only person who ever had anything positive to say about the movie, saying its weakness as a film was due to it being “tied to a video-game”. Even the directors didn’t much care for the source material, saying they only played it for reference and weren’t hugely bothered by attention to detail. Despite the disservice the film might have done to his budding career, John Leguizamo seems to now remember the bat-shit crazy production with some degree of fondness (even giving a video-interview for the film’s 20th anniversary screening). Even the late Dennis Hopper was able to joke about the movie to his offspring, saying he did it simply so “[they] could have shoes”.
However, if there’s one actor who felt particularly betrayed and angry by the finished product, it was the actor playing the film’s titular character, Bob Hoskins. Just a few years before his death, Hoskins said in an interview that Super Mario Bros. was the worst thing he had ever done. He didn’t much care for the director duo of Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton and both he and co-star Leguizamo were frequently drunk on set in order to put up with the insanity of the production.
It’s a little sad that Hoskins went to his grave so utterly bitter about the film, since beyond its tenuous connection to a Nintendo video-game, Super Mario Bros. isn’t exactly a terrible film and quite fun as a silly time waster.
I’ve talked about at length about the films of Finnish film-maker Spede Pasanen, both good and bad. However, lest you thought Mr. Pasanen was unable to admit that he had made any terrible films, you’d be wrong. Since 1973, Pasanen and actor Vesa-Matti Loiri had been milking the Uuno Turhapuro series of farce comedies to its fullest with Spede producing 18 films in the series during his life-time (with one film produced after his death in 2004).
However, after starring as the character in 16 films, Vesa-Matti Loiri had had enough and decided that he was not going to play the character anymore. This caused a rift between him and Spede at the most inopportune time. Spede had promised Finnish theatre owners a new Uuno movie for the summer of 1994. With his main-star gone, he hired the otherwise excellent Esko Salminen to play Uuno’s Brother and produced what is easily considered the most derided Uuno thing in history. Spede and Loiri eventually reconciled with Loiri donning the Uuno make-up for not just one more movie during Pasanen’s life-time but also for a single-season television series as well. Later on, Spede encouraged people to forget that the movie even existed.
Another movie Spede clearly wanted no-one to see was the ill-fated film adaption of his borderline sexist TV skit “Woman’s Logic” (Naisen logiikka). The skit had become hugely popular on the Spede Show in the 1980s, and as Spede had been cashing in on his TV work in film format for pretty much the entirety of the 1980s, Woman’s Logic was to be the final film in Spede’s saga of suckiness. The skits feature Spede and the steaming hot Hannele Lauri playing a married couple where the wife played by Hannele would drive her husband nuts with her basic lack of understanding about the world around her.
What was notable is that the film was produced with a grant from the Finnish Film Foundation (which before the 1990s had continually snubbed Spede). However, shooting was put on hold in 1992 due to actor Simo Salminen’s bad back. By 1999, the Foundation was beginning to demand Spede pay back his grant unless the film was released during that year. Rather than just pay back the money, Spede finished the movie hastily and released it to only one theatre in the Helsinki area where it ran for one week.
A talented film-maker he may had been, but Spede could sure waste money given the opportunity.
This one honestly makes me a bit sad, since Cool World is probably my single favourite film from the controversial film-maker Ralph Bakshi. However, the infamous director of such films as Fritz the Cat, Wizards, The Lord of the Rings (1978) and Fire & Ice holds a massive grudge against this movie, which while snubbed as an “Who framed Roger Rabbit? for adults” in its day is now considered a cult classic. The story of a human cop trying to stop a conniving (and sexy) cartoon character from escaping into the real world is a surreal, bizarre but ultimately very satisfying super-natural, detective adventure film.
The problem is, Cool World was not the movie Bakshi wanted to make.
After his cinematic escapades, Bakshi had spent the rest of the 1980s working on Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures and had come under fire for one episode in particular which was misconstrued as having depicted drug use. Sick and tired of the constant negative attention, Bakshi wanted to make a full-on horror movie about the off-spring of a human and a cartoon character, who goes on a killing spree using cartoony methods to kill his victims.
Bakshi teamed up with producer Frank Mancuso Jr. who was responsible for producing Friday the 13th Parts 3 – 5 as well as 7. However, Bakshi had not taken into account that Mancuso had grown tired of making horror films, had Bakshi’s script re-written and successfully pitched Cool World as the private dick film it eventually became. This enraged Bakshi, to the point where he punched Mancuso in the face, but unwilling to give up on the project, begrudgingly focused on making the film’s animated sections as good as possible on the budget he was given. Bakshi was equally dismayed of the film’s leading lady Kim Basinger, who wanted the movie to be cleaned up so she could show it to ill children at hospitals.
As a result, Bakshi was left extremely bitter of the final product, which is a shame because Cool World is such a criminally under-appreciated film.