Friday, May 17, 2019

Podcast: North (1994)

Direct download.

Superfan Leo requested one of those most notoriously bad movies in modern history: Rob Reiner's 1994 box office bomb North.

The titular 11-year-old wunderkind North (Elijah Wood) is tired of his parents' (played by Jason Alexander and Julia Louis-Dreyfus) bickering and self-centeredness, so he decides to become a "free agent" and shops around for new parents.

With his parents in a shock-induced double coma, North traipses the globe looking for a new family, which takes him to Texas, Hawaii, Alaska, and so on. A number of A-Listers and fun character actors appear, including Bruce Willis, Jon Lovitz, Alan Arkin, Dan Aykroyd, Reba McEntire, Kathy Bates, John Ritter, Abe Vigoda, Richard Belzer, Ben Stein, and a very young Scarlett Johansson in her very first role.

Some Notes:

  • Roger Ebert famously disliked North, writing in his review that he "hated this movie. Hated, hated, hated, hated, hated this movie." I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie later become the title of one of Ebert's books.
  • The movie was based on the book North: The Tale of a Boy Who Becomes a Free Agent: and Travels the World in Search of the Perfect Parents, written by Alan Zweibel, who also penned the film's screenplay. Fun Fact: No one read this book. Not even the author.
  • Abe Vigoda plays a inuit grandfather sent off to die on an ice floe. The actual Vigoda (who has always been 100 years old) would go on to live another 22 years.
  • A young Jussie Smollett also appears in the film, this time uncovering an elaborate deception rather than (allegedly) perpetuating one.

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