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Saturday, August 23, 2014


Well, earlier in the week, I wrote a piece on the movie "Matinee", which was one of the ten movies that were featured on the above compilation of family favourites that I purchased from my workplace a few weeks ago.

I was supposed to post this last Saturday, but a time crunch caused me to make a change in plans.  It was just as well.  "Matinee" was worth the wait, as it happens to be the best of the lot of films that are featured on this compilation, and I was really happy to do a film that was well-liked by moviegoers.  The movie itself was a classic, and I really am glad that I waited to do a proper entry on it instead of attempting to rush through it.

With today's film selection, on the other hand, I can't say the same.  In fact, this film currently holds a Fresh Rating of ZERO per cent on the film review website "Rotten Tomatoes".  Of the ten films that are on this compilation, it easily is the worst of the lot.  And, after watching this movie, I would be inclined to agree with that perspective.

In fact, this may very well be the shortest movie entry that I ever do because I can't find any sort of trivia on this movie whatsoever.  At least any trivia that would salvage this hot mess of a movie that I'll likely never watch again.  Thank goodness that the other nine on the compilation are somewhat decent.

This is a movie in which the main star of the picture isn't a man, woman, or child, but an animal.  Now, I'm sure we all have our favourite movies that have an animal as the star.  "Flipper" made you laugh, "Free Willy" gave you hope, "Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey" was nice, and "Old Yeller" broke your heart. 

Mind you, there have also been some absolute clunkers in the movie world.  Did we really need all those "Air Bud" movies?  One would have been plenty!  And, don't even get me started on that 1981 film "Going Ape".  It's a wonder that Danny DeVito and Tony Danza even got work after that mess!

I guess the point that I'm trying to make is that depending on who the director is, and the cast members who are involved, and even the type of animal that is used can have a huge factor in whether a movie does incredibly well at the box office, or incredibly poorly.

In this case, the film made four million at the box office...on a budget of $24 million.  Ouch.

The film also had the unfortunate distinction of being nominated for four Razzie Awards, including nominations for main human star Matt LeBlanc (whom most of you remember from "Friends" as Joey, the soap opera day player who couldn't catch a break).  Luckily for LeBlanc, he lost out to Pamela Anderson.  And luckily for this movie, the awards that this movie was nominated for lost to Demi Moore's "Striptease".

But that's not to say that the nominations weren't warranted though.  Truth be told, I think if this movie had won any Razzies, I would not be shocked. 

You see...this film has a dirty little secret.  One that isn't quite so secret now that it's been out for eighteen years, but nevertheless, it's still pretty scandalous.  You see, most movies that have animals in the starring roles use real living animals.  They use real dogs, cats, mice, hamsters, elephants, porcupines, rattlesnakes...whatever the animal that is needed for the scene, they usually bring in the real thing.  Sometimes the animals are added in via CGI, which admittedly I find annoying, but I can at least understand the reasoning behind it.  You wouldn't put a poisonous snake in the arms of a seven year old, so you'd simulate it to protect the child.  Sometimes it doesn't work out, but other times it can look amazing (see any and all of the Harry Potter series of movies).

But when your idea of inserting an animal into a film involves using a part-time mechanical chimpanzee model who plays baseball?  Yeah...that's a recipe for box office Kryptonite.

Such as the case of the film "Ed".  The film, directed by Bill Couturie, was released on March 15, 1996 to scathing reviews. 

The most depressing part of the story?  Couturie is a multiple Emmy Award winner, and even won an Academy Award!!!

Anyway, the film in addition to Matt LeBlanc also starred Jim Caviezel (clearly BEFORE he made it big in Hollywood), Jack Warden, and Jayne Brook.  I wonder how each of these actors feel now about being a part of the film back then.

(Well, okay...we can't ask Jack Warden.  He died in 2006.)

It's just so unfortunate how this film turned out.  I mean, if they did manage to find a monkey that could actually play baseball.  If anything, that would have been cool to see, and might have salvaged some of the film.  That said, the mechanical chimp that they did use was so...what's the word I'm looking, that it really destroyed whatever little credibility the film had.

In fact...the plot can only really be summarized as this.  Farm boy Deuce goes to an open baseball tryout to join a minor league team.  He makes the team because of his natural talent and insanely wicked "rocket arm" pitch.  And as the newest member of the team, he becomes the roommate of one of the other team members.

Did I mention that the roommate just happens to be a chimpanzee named Ed?  Yeah, that's not contrived at all.

The rest of the movie pretty much goes as planned.  Ed and Deuce develop their skills and become friends.  Deuce falls in love with a woman who has a little girl.  Ed is sold by the owners of the team, and Deuce tries to rescue him before it's too late. 

Yeah, you know something?  I think that's all I really want to say.  The less said about the film, the better.

One final note.  Matt LeBlanc's co-star from "Friends", Matthew Perry, was offered this role.  For some reason, Perry turned it down.  I can't imagine why. know, maybe I'll just hope that the next film that I review is better than this one.  Maybe one with Burt Reynolds.  Yeah, that might work.

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