Laser Time – Special Effects Comedies That Failed


Not every effects-driven big-budget comedy can succeed like Ghostbusters! We exhume the spirits of high-priced comedies that couldn’t quite mix laughter with visual spectacle.


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24 thoughts on “Laser Time – Special Effects Comedies That Failed

    1. I was a little disappointed to find out that the line is “awesome” and not “sweet”. The latter roles off the tongue so mush better.

  1. Buckaroo Banzai, Innerspace, and Little Shop of Horrors 1986 also count I think. Btw, I’ve heard you guy slag off Banzai before as being awful, which baffles me.. you guys need to revisit that one.. there’s so much great weird, oddball shit in that flick. It’s like Lebowski in that it’s not for everyone and it’s optuse as hell but you gotta give em credit for really going for the weird.

  2. Wild Wild West is such a damn abomination. I had seen it as a kid, but one night a couple of years ago I tried watching it on Netflix. It’s one of the few movies I actually had to turn off before I finished it, and I love watching bad movies.

  3. Almost done and digging the episode. Any love for Tammy and the T Rex? The movie where Paul Walker’s brain is put in a robot dinosaur?

  4. I love Osmosis Jones you guys should monday night movie it sometime
    And I think Little Nicky is my fav Sandler film.

  5. Would something like Looney Tunes Back in Action count? while it is a hybrid like Who Framed Roger Rabbit was I like to count the animation as special effects. It’s budget was 80 mil and sadly didnt get enough back from the Box Office which it received only a 68.5 mil. I also really wanted to mention Gulliver’s Travels and year one but it seems they managed to get their money back on those tragedies.
    Great movie themed episode as always!

  6. Took me a minute to figure out why I felt suddenly on the edge of tears while you were all discussing Evolution. Turns out it was the softly inserted ending song from Super Metroid playing beneath the conversation. I don’t know enough words to articulate the aching nostalgia that just wants to pour out of me when I hear that beautiful, haunting song again.

    Cheers, gang. Good show.

  7. Regarding Ghostbusters 2, I think that it is perfectly fun but compared to the first, yes it is flawed. Granted while it would be unfair to compare fun yet lesser movies to a classic like the first one, as a sequel there is all that baggage. I thought it was creative and different though. I have yet to see the new one but I can expect to end up saying the same thing, which is fine and clearly better than the expensive nothing listed here yes, I forgot about Evolution to and Wild Wild West can be thrown on a bonfire).

    Also I looked up this “I refuse” critic everyone references (yes I’m THAT late)… the AVGN? Am I missing something? I don’t agree with the stance but he’s not a professional film critic nor being angry or sexist so why did anyone, even notable people care? Then again, if you told me a Ghostbusters film was going to be the most controversial film of the last few years… Dam, the internet sucks, but at least I’ve got Laser time still, great episode!

    1. The reaction to AVGN was a bit harsh, as there wasn’t a hint on controversy or sexism in his post. He just said he’s tired of remakes… That said, this is coming from a guy who makes a living crapping on bad games and movies on his Youtube page. Considering his fairly level-headed response to the TMNT remake from 2014, the way he turned his nose up at Ghostbusters came of as highly hypocritical to me.

      1. That’s a good point, but at least we got a Nostalgia Critic crossover review out of that one… he probably should have just done that this time aswell.

    2. Notable people cared because he is a notable voice and audience, even if not particularly as a film critic (I think he’s a pretty bad one honestly, but he’s not too bad a bad film historian). Although he refused to see it and review it, it seemed like a lot of effort to merely announce something that would fit in a tweet. He still tries to give a position based limited information as if he could genuinely review it out of thin air and makes a pretty gross statement about Harold Ramis being lucky he wasn’t alive so “he didn’t live to see this shit”. Not only won’t he see it, he knows Harold Ramis enough to know how he’d feel about something he hasn’t seen and Harold Ramis literally can never see?

      If you haven’t read Harold Ramis’ daughter Violet Ramis Steil’s piece from a few days ago, here’s a particular highlight that’s really stuck with me.

      “From flat-out rejection of women as funny, to remarks about the actors’ looks, to the invocation of GB84 as ‘untouchable’ and disgust with ‘reboot culture’ generally, I was shocked by the anger and outrage. Are these people for real? I wondered. Sure, the timing sucks, but damn! I mourn my dad’s absence in this world as much, if not more, than anyone, but for people to say that he is “rolling in his grave” or would never have let a female-centered cast happen is INSANE. In his personal life, Harold Ramis was a kind, generous, and gracious person. Professionally, he was always about sharing the spotlight and making the other guy look good. Please, stop using my dad as an excuse to hate the new Ghostbusters. It degrades his memory to spew bile in his name.”


      1. Again though, we can all disagree (that is a nice statement by the way). I’m just dumbfounded out of all the people on the internet that include some genuine shitheads, this guy was made a poster child? I disagree with him for the same reason (limited info as you say) but we had little as well (Also when does he say the “not live to see this shit” part , not arguing, genuinely asking since it was more calm and not sweary unlike his game nerd persona). I’m more angry at those who are actively angry and sexist and/or send death threats etc, which he was/did none of. The internet has odd priorities…. especially about a comedy with cartoony ghosts.

        1. I don’t know that I agree that he was the poster child. I think his “No Review. I Refuse.” caught on as a bit of a meme because of the silliness. Again, the whole video felt like a bigger than needed production in the efforts of saying very little of importance, something that could have been condensed into a tweet or as he originally intended, as an aside on his next video.

          But his exposure was equivalent to his relevance. He’s not Hollywood big but he’s not just any old body on the internet. Patton Oswalt was one of the first that got onto him from what I saw and that’s because he was already familiar with him. So if that made him a poster child of anything, then it’s as I said, regardless of his level of relative vile to but relative to his notability. At best, I’d say he was the poster child for the “old man shakes fist” crowd of naysayers. This is something worth talking about and it might not be as important as sexism but I also don’t think it’s a heavy matter of priorities either. It’s not as if the entire population of the internet can only concern itself with one thing, of one level of importance, on a given subject, at one time.

          I might be mixing up the exact quote with someone else, it was a while ago and there were actually two Ghostbusters videos I don’t want to scan through again but I do remember him getting presumptuous on speaking for multiple people, including the deceased Ramis.

          1. By all means the “old man shakes fist” is a much much better point of debate but that’s not what I appear to see in even the first tide of reactions and that’s what confused me when I stumbled into it. He is clearly a huge Ghostbusters fan, hence why many of his fans no doubt wanted his point of view, even if you and I may disagree with it. Many arguments against the video though seemed to boil him down to a point as if they read his CHARACTER’S name IE angry and a nerd and went from there. How many of these sites and celebrity tweets really knew who he was, what his show was about or what he was like as a person, or when was the last time Rolfe was in any news? Twitter really can spread things to others not initially in the know, basically. He is notable but I disagree he was that notable. Also I would argue if he posted the exact same video but without the controversy about sexism that got everyone heated, would of anyone cared or even noticed?

            I guess it doesn’t matter now (although so far it was been fun debating), I was just that baffled when I found out. But hey, considering it took me that long, maybe I’m the old man shaking his fist haha! “Dam whippersnapper internet punk kids!”

          2. Sorry, forgot to add. Meme status does seem to be the case however, good point.

  8. Boy oh boy, did you guys miss a big one: Last Action Hero

    Not only is Last Action Hero one of my all time favorites, it is a movie I will defend until the day I die. It is the best 80s movie released in 1993, falling into that same genre as movies like The Goonies and The Last Starfighter, with a story that can seamlessly switch from serious to funny to heartfelt. Hugely expensive and filled with mostly practical effects, it is both a highly cynical satire and an earnest, sentimental story about a boy in search of a father figure who finds one in escapist Hollywood fantasy.

    Most people forget it was written by Shane Black and directed by John McTiernan – both riding high after a string of hits. The script is incredibly clever, with endless movie cliches getting poked at, my favorite being the explanation of how all phone numbers start with 555.

  9. For some reason, my mind immediately went to the disastrous Bill Cosby movie from 1987 that I’ve never actually seen — Leonard Part 6. According to Wikipedia, “Leonard Part 6 is a 1987 film that parodies spy movies. It was directed by Paul Weiland and starred Bill Cosby, who also produced the film and wrote its story. The movie also starred Joe Don Baker and Gloria Foster, the latter of whom played the villain. The movie was filmed in the San Francisco Bay Area. It earned several Golden Raspberry Awards; Cosby himself denounced and disowned it in the press in the weeks leading up to its release. It is often considered to be one of the worst films ever made. … The movie was a box office flop, and thanks in part to Cosby’s advice on the film, it only grossed $4,615,255[6][10][11]—a mere fraction of its $24 million budget.”

    I think the reason I remember its existence so well is that I taped and rewatched this scathing Siskel & Ebert review a few times as a kid:

  10. How did you guys miss out on Zombieland? Sure, it wasn’t a bomb, but NO ONE talks about it anymore! Hell, I had a hard time remembering it’s name and I loved that movie!

  11. Everyone forgets about this one:
    Around the World in 80 Days (Jackie Chan and Steve Coogan)
    Jackie Chan has a bunch of big comedy-action bombs. The Medallion, The Tuxedo, etc. Shanghai Knights (maybe?)

    Also Martin Lawrence. Black Knight.

    ALSO: Slither. We all know it’s great and it’s made it’s money in DVDs I would imagine. But it really shit the bed at the box office. Technically not big budget, but it was a huge budget for the level that James Gunn was at, at the time. He has just gone from 10’s of thousands of dollars to 10’s of millions of dollars, so it was huge to him.

    ALSO; Howard the Duck.

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