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Friday, June 1, 2012

My 100 Worst Movies of the 90's - 13 - North (1993)

North (1993; Castle Rock Entertainment)
North is one of the biggest achievements in the history of cinema.  It manages to simultaneously be incredibly offensive yet still has the awesome power to be completely boring.  After the first half of this film you won’t care enough to be angered by the racially and culturally-insensitive stereotypes and the creepiness of the screenplay.

The titular boy is played by Elijah Wood  (who was still a decade away from starring in the Lord of the Rings movies so he was able to shake this one off as a bad career move) who is sick and tired of his parents ignoring him and not realizing how awesome he is.  See?  Everyone else in the world thinks North is the greatest being to grace this green earth since Chuck Norris yet his parents just don’t understand.  North, frustrated by how much his parents don’t care about his awesomeness, divorces them and then goes on a worldwide quest to find new parents.  We get a Texan stereotype, a Hawaiian stereotype, an Inuit stereotype (complete with Kathy Bates in the Esquimaux-equivalent of black face), a mean stab at the Amish, an offensive Chinese emperor joke and one with an African tribe that is the the absolute low point of the film.  

North is epic.  I want to elevate this movie.  It is so bad, so offensive, so unfunny, so hateful that it should be remembered as one of the biggest flops in the history of movies. No! It’s more than that.  It is one of those movies where you can tell that all involved really thought they were making a great movie.  It’s not like a B-Grade made-for-TV schlock.  This was a big-budget failure, the best kind.  This movie has a massive A-list cast, a bunch of big names behind the camera, and all the promotion money can buy. Alas, it was still a tremendous failure. I love to be able to look at a shining example of Hollywood’s arrogance and watch it crumble in the weight of its big stars and its powerful producers because it is a sloppy mess. If only the same happened with the first Transformers movie.  

North was directed by Rob Reiner, the man who gave us This is Spinal Tap and The Princess Bride!  So, to see a mess like this, it really shows how deep Hollywood’s cynicism runs.  North was a big failure in the box office, not even making a fifth of its budget in returns.  It was one of those films that gets a DVD release with all the stars photos prominently on the cover, in an array, so that hopefully people will buy or rent it based solely on the cast.  Fortunately, people avoided this disaster, but the careers of many of the people involved with this flop never did fully recover.

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