My TIVO recorded Cannonball Run II for some unknown reason. For some stranger reason, I found myself watching it in fascination. The movie was just as bad as I anticipated, but I could not believe the cast. What other movie could have Tim Conway, Frank Sinatra and Jackie Chan in the same film. I was wondering who could pursuade this many big names (at least at the time) to sign up for this dreck. Here is a partial cast list:
Sammy Davis Jr
Shirley MacLaine (As a seriously disturbing “sexy fake nun” making out with Burt Reynolds ‘shudder’)
Jackie Chan (Whaaa? Well, I think he was pretty unknown in the US at the time)
Richard Kiel (Of James bond villain fame - teemed up with the aforesaid “Mr. Chan”)
Jim Nabors (as, get this, Private Homer Lyle)
Charles Nelson Reilly
Frank Sinatra (Frank freakin’ Sinatra, did he lose a bet?)
Mel Tillis (In a car with Tony Danza and an ape)
and (wait for it)
George “Goober” Lindsey
Anyway - anyone else know any other movies you can’t understand how it was casted? Share
I have noticed this phenomenon A LOT- unbelievably crappy movies with uber famous casts (and after they’ve made it big). Town and Country, Nothing but Trouble, Rat Race (to name a few). Either someone’s cashing in some favours or clashing egos turned everything sour.
The winner and all-time champion of oddball casing, as I’ve claimed before on the SDMB, is The Story of Mankind, a ruly whacko production with:
Ronald Colman as the Spirit of Mankind
Vincent Price as "Mr. Scratch, the Devil OK, this one makes sense)
Peter Lorre as Emperor Ner
Groucho Marx as Peter Minuit
Harpo Marx as Sir Isaac Newton
And a great many misplaced others. Hendrik van Loon’s book was serious, but I have no idea what the makers of the film were trying to do.
As we’ve pointed out beforem, the late 1950s/early 1960s was the era of the Try-to-fit-in-as-many-cameos-as-you-can era:
**It’s a Mad. Mad, Mad, Mad World
The Madwoman of Chaillot:
Katharine Hepburn*, Paul Henreid, Oskar Homolka, Yul Brynner*, Richard Chamberlain, Dame Edith Evans, Donald Pleasence, John Gavin, and Danny Kaye
The Blue Bird :
Elizabeth Taylor*, Jane Fonda*, Ava Gardner, Cicely Tyson, Robert Morley, Patsy Kensit, Will Geer, and Mona Washbourne (James Coco was also in the cast, but got sick and had to drop out).
The Story of Mankind:
Ronald Colman*, Hedy Lamarr, Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx (their last film together, though they didn’t appear together), Virginia Mayo, Agnes Moorehead (Endora on “Bewitched”), Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Charles Coburn*, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Cesar Romero, John Carradine, Dennis Hopper, Edward Everett Horton, Franklin Pangborn, (very well-known character actor), Henry Daniell, and Francis X. Bushman (major silent film star)
I’m pretty sure that some of it is that having certain actors in a movie will guarantee big bucks at the box office, so someone is probably thinking “Hey, we have Tom Hanks in our movie, we’re gonna make tons of money! Script? What do you mean we need a script? We have Tom Hanks!” And of course, the more big names, the better.
Rat Race is rather enjoyable as a brainless comedy, but nothing more. In general, the more big names, the more the movie is going to suck.
Sarah Jessica Parker
Michael J. Fox
Joe Don Baker
There’s nothing really surprising about the cast for Cannonball Run II:
Dom DeLuise - frequent Reynolds costar, from first movie
Dean Martin - Rat Pack, from first movie
Sammy Davis Jr - Rat Pack, from first movie
Jamie Farr - from first movie
Marilu Henner - Taxi cast member, frequent Reynolds costar
Shirley MacLaine - Rat Pack
Catherine Bach - frequent Reynolds costar
Jackie Chan - from first movie
Tony Danza - Taxi cast member
Jack Elam - from first movie
Jim Nabors - frequent Reynolds costar, Gomer Pyle cast member
Charles Nelson Reilly
Frank Sinatra (Frank freakin’ Sinatra, did he lose a bet?) - Rat Pack
Mel Tillis - frequent Reynolds costar. from first movie
George “Goober” Lindsey - Gomer Pyle castmember
This is basically most of the cast of the first movie, a group of Burt Reynolds’s pals, some former cast members from Taxi and Gomer Pyle who knew the Reynolds pals, and the Rat Pack. It’s actually quite similar to the Rat Pack movies, where you always suspected that the Rat Pack members were having more fun making the film than you were in watching it. Throw in some current hot TV babes, some TV comedian character actors, some down-on-their-luck TV actors, and a random sports star and you’ve got a typical Burt Reynolds movie of that era. The very laziness of the casting is one of the reason it was no good and was pretty much the end of Reynold’s time as a major movie star. What would have been surprising would be if it were to have Al Pacino, Gene Hackman, Meryl Streep, Woody Allen, Robert Redford, Harrison Ford, Dustin Hoffman, Sigourney Weaver, Jack Nicholson, Donald Sutherland, Robert DeNiro, or any major European actor of the time in the cast.
I once watched the movie “A Bridge Too Far” without knowing a thing about it. It is an OK movie, but nothing particularly outstanding. Not “really bad” as the OP, but definitely middle of the pack for WWII movies.
Directed by Richard Attenborough. Starring (among others):
So next time you were looking for a movie with both Cliffy and Sir Laurence Olivier, that’s your movie.
Yvonne De Carlo
Zsa Zsa Gabor
Plus a whole mess more who have imdb listings going back into the 20’s and 30’s. Were the studios cleaning out stockroom or something?
You people have a hard time telling a truly bad movie like Sgt. Pepper’s LHCB from one that just may not be your cup of espresso. The Ten Commandments was one of the best comedies of all time. “Mother of Mercy! Is this the end of Dathan?” Anne Baxter in Betty Page bangs, hot-cha-cha! What? Hmm, my irony meter must be stuck again.
SgtP’sLHCB did suck pretty badly and did nearly kill the careers of several musicians in it but they weren’t actors to begin with. Cannonball Run II had the suck knob turned all the way up (and it goes to eleven) but the huge cast had a lot of folks on the down slope of their careers.