Summer’s busting out all over. You’ve got your sequels about a Beverly Hills cop, some city slickers, and a karate kid. You’ve got your gold-mine Disney cartoon. You’ve got your baseball movies. You’ve got your Arnold and your Julia, your Tom Clancy and John Grisham, your star-studded Westerns with Jodie and Mel and Kevin and Billy. You’ve got your Oscar winner Tom Hanks and your moneymaker Jim Carrey. Keanu Reeves shows up as Buddha and as an action hero. Woody Harrelson-cowboy or killer, take your pick. And it’s a jungle out there! There’s Lassie, Black Beauty, Andre the Seal, a Wolf-ish Jack Nicholson, and, of course, Norman (left), well past his veal years and still hoofing.
So what else is new? Not much if you watch TV. You’ve got another Saturday Night Live sketch on the big screen (this time, It’s Pat). You’ve also got The Flintstones and The Little Rascals. And trend-conscious readers will note that precocious children are big this year (see Elijah Wood in North and Macaulay Culkin in Getting Even With Dad). When it’s 110 in the shade, head over to the cineplex for chills and thrills, fireworks and sizzlers. And for heaven’s sake, watch out for falling stars.
Starring John Goodman, Rick Moranis, Elizabeth Perkins, Rosie O’Donnell, Elizabeth Taylor, Halle Berry, Kyle MacLachlan. Directed by Brian Levant.
While moviegoers watching the Flintstones trailer sing along to its famous ’60s TV theme, the $45 million question lingers: Did all the skill and invention of Steven Spielberg’s Amblin, George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic, the Hensons’ Creature Shop, Beethoven director Levant, 32 writers, and an undeniably talented cast create one big yabba-dabba-don’t-bother? It’s the body count in rewrite that keeps Hollywood gossiping. ”We had to give people what they loved about The Flintstones,” says producer Bruce Cohen, ”the characters, the cars, the gadgets-and a Flintstones plot. That was the most difficult.”
The story line (a slim one, but who needs War and Peace?) centers on strains in the friendship between Fred (Goodman) and Barney (Moranis) when Fred is promoted into the quarry’s executive suite thanks to embezzler Cliff Vandercave (MacLachlan) and his gorgeous assistant, Sharon Stone (Berry). Goodman, who had mixed feelings about playing Fred from the start, struggled manfully to create a breathing modern caveman. ”I tried to do my own character,” he says, ”but they wouldn’t hear of it. They wanted more Alan Reed, the voice people were used to, and I couldn’t blame them. I went without shoes to get the feel of Fred-Method acting, you know.”
”The sets and costumes put you in a cartoon mood,” says O’Donnell, who plays Betty and loved the baby alligator clothespins she got to use. Moranis had a favorite prop too. ”Once you’ve shaved with a hair-eating lizard,” he says, ”you’ll never go back to your blade.” (May 27)
Buzz: We know 32 writers who need a lesson in the difference between puns and jokes. But with surefire nostalgia appeal and a Jurassic-size marketing push, The Flintstones should begin the season like that Bedrock Drive-In fave, The Monster.