Published at: April 24, 2000, 11:40 p.m. CST by headgeek
I really don’t expect anyone anywhere to believe me
when I tell them about FLINTSTONES: VIVA
The first FLINTSTONES had one or two bright spots
with the effects, and then died for the rest of the film.
John Goodman, Rick Moranis, Rosie O’Donnell and
Elizabeth Perkins.... well, they never ceased being...
John Goodman, Rick Moranis, Rosie O’Donnell and
Elizabeth Perkins. Then the film’s overall plot of
being an embezzlement scheme.... That’d be like
making a Star Wars movie about a trade dispute.
What’s up with that?
But the main issue was... Rosie O’Donnell, no matter
how well she did Betty’s voice was not and will never
be a sex goddess. That’d be like casting me as Alfred
E Newman just because I have reddish hair....
WRONG! It’d be like casting Nick Cage as
The cast that they choose to play the FLINTSTONE
characters... have to disappear and simply become
those characters. John Goodman just isn’t Fred...
Rick Moranis isn’t Barney...
So... years pass by, the first film made enough money
that Universal realized there was potential in the
franchise, but they also seem to have realized the first
film was pretty damn bad.
So... What do they do? Do they fire Brian Levant,
the man behind THE FLINTSTONES first live action
film? NO.... and that’s where the dread came from
this evening upon entering the theater.
You see... I have heard rumblings... rumors that THE
FLINTSTONES: VIVA ROCK VEGAS was a really
really good movie.... but noone would write the
review. I understand that. Whoever writes the first
review for this film is going to be slapped around like
a wife of Mike Tyson’s. Well.... call me bitch and
start slugging, cause I’m set to be your punching
I didn’t have tickets to this film. I received a phone
call yesterday from the Line Goddess, Jan... saying
that the screening was taking place at the
Metropolitan theater at 7pm.
Somehow I managed to get Dad in the car to go... the
first film amounted into an argument between him
and me that nearly destroyed our friendship. He
thought THE FLINTSTONES was a mountain of
dinoshit... I thought it was a beautiful film with a few
patches of dinoshit scattered through it. Degrees of
mediocrity I suppose.
Well, my grandfather, his father, told us boys that “to
get kicked once by a mule... it’s the mule’s fault... get
kicked twice and you’re the ass.” Ol Father Geek
quoted this at me a couple of times on the drive...
damn rush hour traffic.
Upon arriving at the theater... there is a vast line of
children with parents. The beautiful Gissela, Queen
of the Theater Jungles, to greet me. Glen Oliver and
his boy David in tow. And quickly we were all
I said to Glen, “Looking forward to the film?”
Glen snarled up his face and said... “Brian Levant!”
I retorted with, “THE GREAT GAZOO!”
And then we had our seats. I began reflecting upon
the career of Brian Levant. PROBLEM CHILD 2,
BEETHOVEN, FLINTSTONES... OHMYGOD....
Brian Levant.... Oh dear God.... Brian Levant. Oh
hell... Oh man.... He sucks....
But dammit... I have heard rumors that this film does
not suck. It has Mark Addy, who was brilliant in
THE FULL MONTY... and was the only truly
wonderful thing in JACK FROST. Then there was
Stephen Baldwin... He’d been good once in his
career, 19 films previously in THE USUAL
SUSPECTS... maybe... he doesn’t look a thing like
Barney Rubble though... alright, he’ll blow.
The girl from THIRD ROCK FROM THE SUN...
well, I like her. Maybe she can be Wilma. The gal
playing Betty though... She’s way friggin hotter than
the last sausage to stretch that blue hide. Well...
they’re better cast anyways.
I don’t know... we’ll see.
That’s where I was when the film started. I wasn’t
too up for the film. I was just hoping to see a few
cool or funny dinosaur gags. Awaiting non-stop
farting and poo poo humor and figuring... well... it’s
probably just 100 minutes.
100 minutes... man, that could’ve been long as hell.
Like the last time.
Now, I know... with the information you have from
that trailer... the visual look of Barney played by
Stephen Baldwin... and the rest being mainly
unknown to your eyes.... This movie probably looks...
No, I take that back, it definitely looks like crap. The
sort of crap they shovel down our kids’ throats and
Well... This film is not that film. Brian Levant, from
the looks of this film.... was being pushed around
completely during the first film. I’m willing to bet his
casting was chosen for him. That he had very little to
do with pre-production... That Spielberg and
Universal were making decisions and then he was
stuck with the ramifications.
On this film... He seemed to be left alone. I mean
seriously... why would you make a FLINTSTONES
movie starring Mark Addy and Stephen Baldwin? I
mean, the biggest names in this film are Joan Collins
and Harvey Korman. Whatever... this film is easy
absolutely the first film in what could be a really cool
franchise if they keep these people together.
Mark Addy IS Fred Flintstone. At all times, his voice
and face do that Ralph Kramden/Fred gargle
commanding tone thing. When he’s whispering... he
sounds like Fred. When he’s exclaiming... he’s Fred.
He is FRED FLINTSTONE. He wears the clothes
better. He has thought clouds, when he’s feeling
little... he’ll physically shrink.... when he’s in love
hearts will sprout all over the screen. When he
becomes greedy, his eyes will grow big and do the
slot machine thing landing on dollar signs. He does
the twinkle toes thing. He... well... He’s Fred
Flintstone... a fairly regular all-stone age working
class cave man. He has big dreams... big ideas... but
can never really get the job done.
Stephen Baldwin.... Barney Rubble... I don’t know
what sort of ‘act of God’ occurred, but Stephen
Baldwin became Barney Rubble up there. Those
Blue eyes of his... well... Ya know how Barney’s
eyes were just black... no whites. Ya know how he’d
stare at Fred, and Fred would just slug his shoulder
and say, “Coooome on Barney Snap out of it”? Well,
those Blue Eyes of Stephen’s somehow
communicated that same dim glimmer of dullness...
That vacuous stoned look, that I had somehow always
imbued Barney Rubble with. And then there’s the
voice. My god. It’s Barney Rubble. The ‘heh heh
heh’ laugh while shaking the shoulders... That golly
style to his nature... His appetite... his unending
hunger... it’s here.
Then there’s Kristen Johnston as Wilma. Well, on
the show, Wilma was always nagging Fred to stop
with those crazy ideas... she was always being strong
and independent, but a housewife. Here... it’s
pre-that-Wilma. Here we see where Wilma came
from... What her mom (Joan Collins) was like
(BITCH) and her father (Harvey Korman) was like
(insane) as well. Wilma does a very good job of
being smart, lost, confused and missing that Fred
element in her life. She wants a normal existence... a
family... a regular guy that loves... her.
Now... Jane Krakowski as Betty Rubble.... well, ya
see... When I watched the FLINTSTONES series... I
always thought... man... Wilma is your wife... Betty is
your fuck goddess. She’s hot... she’s your Lolita
babe with the heart sunglasses. Barney might be a
little dim... but he goes home at night to lay down
with Betty! Holy Moly. What a woman! When I
first see Betty on her roller-skates at the car hop... the
ol Rollergirl fetish thing started flashing... You
notice the black hair and the hourglass figure... That
giggle of hers... Oh deeeeeeelicious.
SHE’S HOT! That’s the way it should be!
Now, I know... what about the movie? What is it
Well... ya see... heh heh heh.... Alan Cumming plays
THE GREAT GAZOO... and the film begins with
GAZOO being sent to Earth.... a bit like Clarence in
IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE.... but to study the
‘Mating Habits’ of primitive man. That’s right... the
film is about Fred and Barney and their pursuit of
“That’s great Fred, Betty wants to take me back to
our place and cook me Breakfast in the morning...”
He looks down... up... real blank... then, “...I don’t
know what we’ll do till then though.”
Oh my god... laugh out loud hard. When you hear the
delivery from Baldwin... that look in his eye... my
god, this might be the best character work of his
career. He’s fucking amazing as Barney. His eyes
never ever denote that he knows what he’s doing.
He’s all instinct and smile.
Alan Cumming as the Great Gazoo is soooo cool
looking and his character is just exactly what the
character of Mr Mxylpltk (I know I misspelled that
and that too) should be. He is the most perfect
cartoon to reality transformation ever created. I want
a life size GREAT GAZOO modeled after this
version of the character... I’d have him floating over
there in the corner of my room.
The most amazing thing about this film... is it really
isn’t for kids. It’s aimed at adults... the biggest laughs
over my shoulders were coming from adults... I
won’t ruin any more bits... That’d be criminal... but
the fact that the Great Gazoo... as played by Alan
Cumming... is sent to Earth to study heterosexual
mating habits of two men that roommate together...
well, there’s whole layers of other jokes that I was
appreciating like crazy in this thing.
Joan Collins is easily 5 times the she-bitch that
Elizabeth Taylor wanted to be. Harvey Korman’s
character is hysterical, and proves that he’s not dead.
So what happened on the making of FLINTSTONES
Well, I can only guess that Brian Levant and his team
of writers were allowed to just shoot from the hip... I
mean, they were expected to make a movie that
would gross at most 2/3rds of the original film. So
they dared to actually make not only a better film, but
a movie that completely eclipses that turd and shows
EXACTLY how you make a movie adaptation from a
1st.... you cast actors (not stars) that can become the
iconic characters you want them to be.
2nd... You look at the series, realize that was a 30
minute episode... and take the characters on an
adventure that would be a feature length story.
3rd... You pay attention to the intended audience.
Pebbles and BamBam were for kids... Barney and
Fred and Wilma and Betty were for adults. It was
FAMILY entertainment, meaning that you entertain
adults.... AND the kids. And you don’t treat either as
Neanderthals, even if that’s the subject of your film.
4th... You actually DO the things the characters did
originally. If Fred’s eyes leave his head.... then... ya
got to do that.... If he floats across the room.... ya
gotta do that.... If Barney has a voracious appetite....
he eats... if Betty is a fuck goddess... Betty must
remain a fuck goddess.
In this FLINTSTONES movie, they treat Rosie
O’Donnell correctly... she’s the voice of the Octopus.
This movie does everything right, it moves fast and
very fast, it’s entertaining, funny and even a bit
touching. This was a complete and utter surprise
tonight, and like STAR TREK II after the
MOTIONLESS PICTURE.... on the second film...
They Nail It!