Ranking the SNL Movies Worst to Best   Leave a comment

To celebrate the 40th anniversary Saturday Night Live I thought I would take a look back at what has represented the long running series biggest successes and resounding failures.  These are the 11 feature films based on the show’s sketches.  Some translated perfectly to the big screen, while most are best left forgotten forever. But I’ll go ahead and dredge them back up anyway. According to the only unit of measure that matters, their Rotten Tomatoes scores, here are the SNL Movies ranked worst to best!

11. It’s Pat – 1994 – Rotten Tomatoes: 0%

It is hard to tell if Pat is a man or a woman.  The end.  This was a hard sell as a two minute sketch, and it should have never been attempted to be stretched into a barely feature length (78 mins) film. The film’s antagonist is a man obsessively trying to figure out Pat’s gender and solve the mystery that no one cared about.  Maybe Pat is trans? Or ambiguously gendered? Anyone ever think of that?  None of our business, people!

10. The Ladies Man – 2000 – Rotten Tomatoes: 11%

After a string of movies through out the 90’s, The Ladies Man put an end to SNL on the big screen for a decade.  Like many SNL movies, it just didn’t have enough story or jokes to sustain a full length movie.  The premise, an old school player tries to turn himself around but has a hard time letting go of his lifestyle, is so cliche and hackneyed that it never had a chance rise above the sketch that spawned it.

9. A Night at the Roxbury – 1998 – Rotten Tomatoes: 11%

I can’t help but feel that if this movie came out about six years later it might have succeeded.  Will Ferrell’s breakout role in Old School and subsequent success as a leading man-child in Elf were still five years off, leaving Roxbury with a star that we were all still some time away from appreciating.  The movie was written off as being one note, and that is true, but it’s not like Will Ferrell’s best comedic work is known for being nuanced or deep.  Maybe Roxbury needed to happen so Will Ferrell could figure out how to be a leading man and work up to having the confidence he now has that allows him to be a human cartoon character.

8. Stuart Saves His Family – 1995 – Rotten Tomatoes: 27%

That man is a US Senator.  Just think about that for a second.

The movie made the attempt to be more than the sketch that spawned it- darker and taking a look into the sadness that would result in a man like Stuart.  What is sad is that this is a case of some really talented people (Harold Ramis Directed), coming together to make something that didn’t work.

7. Superstar – 1999 – Rotten Tomatoes: 32%

Neither bad enough to live on in infamy, nor good enough to land it a place in rotation on cable, Superstar is just  a flat by the numbers forgettable late 90’s comedy.  Forgettable enough I can not say for certain if I have seen it or not.  I don’t think I have, but who can be sure…

6. Coneheads – 1993 – Rotten Tomatoes: 34%

This is where the fool proof method of building a list raked on Rotten Tomatoes scores comes up short.  Coneheads, while not a great comedy, is certainly more watchable (or at least more re-watchable) than some of the films that out rate it.  Of all the films on this list it made the best use of the SNL cast, with 14 then current and former cast members showing up, by my count.  Which may have actually worked against it at the time.  It was a movie based on a twenty year old sketch, but embraced an SNL cast that did not yet have the benefit of decades of nostalgia from the audience.  Now that there is a generation of people who look back to the Farley/Spade/Sandler era of SNL as its heyday, the movie has grown as a delightful look back supporting cast who were on the very start of their upswing.

5. Blues Brothers 2000 – 1998 – R0tten Tomatoes: 45%

Comedy sequels, quite often, find themselves as foot notes in the story of their predecessors.  This is one such case.  The original Blues Brothers is such a beloved classic (as attested to by the fact that it has yet to pop up on this list) that there was little opportunity for this film come up to its level.  It tried to rehash the success of the original, sans John Belushi.  Which reminded the audience why the first was so good and begging the question”why don’t I just go watch the first one again?” At best, this movie is just a show case for the soundtrack. Otherwise, this it is best forgotten about entirely.

4. MacGruber – 2010 – Rotten Tomatoes: 47%

I think that Will Forte’s stock is still rising, with the movie Nebraska now under his belt and an upcoming show on Fox.  When we look back on the work of Will Forte years from now, we probably won’t mention this flop.  Not bad, just not very good.  Funny enough to end up on cable, but you will still click around during the commercials and maybe end up watching Law and Order reruns instead.  I appreciate that it capitalized on the trend of almost every 80’s action property getting an unnecessary gritty/violent reboot, but it might have done better if MacGuyver had been one of those properties. That could have reminded goers what they were laughing at.

3. Wayne’s World 2 – 1993 – Rotten Tomatoes: 60%

There is no point in talking about Wayne’s World 2 without talking about Wayne’s World 1, so if you would meet me below…

2. Wayne’s World – 1992 – Rotten Tomatoes: 85%

Wayne’s World 1 and 2 hit the right chord at a the right time.  Gen-Xers were just coming into the forefront of American culture, and getting attention from older folks who just did not get them.  Gen-Xers were more interested in doing their own thing rather than following in the footsteps of their baby boomer parents, and Wayne and Garth embodied the attitude of slackers everywhere, daring to succeed on their own terms.  The attitude of Wayne and Garth is alive and well today in every teenager who starts a video blog on YouTube, only to find themselves celebrities overnight.

These movies managed to take the central joke of the sketch, two guys in a batsmen talking about stuff they like, and transcended into classic comedy by taking the premise to the next level.  Mike Myers and Dana Carvey embodied the characters, and unlike in so many failed SNL movies, gave us heroes worth getting behind.  The characters were good on SNL, but came into their own on films where they were able to thrive.  The most memorable moments for these characters come from the movies rather then the sketches that they came from, which only one other SNL spin off can boast.  Speaking of which…

1. The Blues Brothers – 1980 – Rotten Tomatoes: 87%

The first SNL movie, and still the best.  There was no real sketch to base the movie on, just a series of musical performances from when SNL made an attempt to work the band into the show as much as possible.  It works better than other SNL movies because… well… it just is a better movie. The acting is good, the jokes are still fresh, the music is amazing, and you get caught up in the adventure.  You might even try to start a band after watching it.

It is almost hard to put it in the same category as the others.  It came out more than 10 years before the SNL movie boom in the 90’s, and didn’t lazily try to stretch a two minute gag out for an hour and a half, like say, not knowing the gender of the main characters.  Blues Brothers is not just a good SNL movie, its a good movie.  And that is why long after everyone forgets Superstar,  It’s Pat, and Blues Brothers 2000 we will still be watching this movie.

What other SNL sketches should be movies?  Do you have any guilty pleasures from this list? Tell me below!





Posted February 15, 2015 by atomicsam in Film, Lists, TV

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