Flashback Review: Coneheads

In 1975, fresh from his stint on “Laugh-In,” Lorne Michaels creates a sketch comedy called, “Saturday Night Live, (SNL) which paved a wave of comedians including Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray (replaced Chevy) Jane Curtain, Garett Morris, Laraine Newman, and both the late Gilda Radner & John Belushi. Primarily filmed in front of a live studio audience, a selective star either an actor/actress, musician, comedian or sportsperson serves as a host to promote his/her work. Don’t forget a musical guest performing while the cast rehearse and put their costumes on for the next sketch. Filming live is not easy, a cast member will have a hard time to resist laughter. As many of you guys and gals know, SNL is filmed at The 30 Rockefeller Plaza (30 Rock for short) in New York City.

Some of their sketches were later adapted on the silver screen as a Three Act Structure movie including “The Blues Brothers & Wayne’s World”earned positive reception. Thanks to the critical & commercial success of both films, Lorne Micheals & some of the SNL alumni planted more seeds in an attempt to capitalize the success of the aforementioned films like “Wayne’s World 2,” “Coneheads,” “It’s Pat,” “Stuart Saves His Family,” “Blue Brothers 2000,” “A Night At The Roxbury,” “Superstar,” “The Ladies Man” & most recently “MacGruber.” All of them minus Wayne’s World 2, were darts missing the bullseye.

As of 2020, SNL continues to satirize culture, celebrities, politics, current events, etc. by bringing a new batch of comedians since 1975 spanning four decades. Some of my favorites SNL cast members are Mike Myers, Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, Chris Rock, Kenan Thompson, Andy Samberg, John Belushi, Jay Pharaoh, Amy Poehler & last but not least, the late Chris Farley, who’s my all time favorite cast member besides the aforementioned ones. The first time I’ve heard of SNL, I used to own VHS copies of Adam Sandler, Chris Farley & Mike Myers during their own tenure. This served as a gateway introduction for me.

Coneheads was first conceived by Dan Aykroyd after smoking weed, passion for science fiction and his fascination of Ufology. As the original cast brainstormed some ideas, Lorne liked Dan’s concept about The Coneheads blending in human civilization as they wait for a rescue party to arrive on Earth in order to get back to their planet. Dan portrays Beldar, the main character of the sketch along with Jane Curtain as Prymatt, Beldar’s wife & Laraine Newman as Connie. Beldar & Prymatt’s daughter.

Coneheads was released in July 23rd, 1993 along with “Poetic Justice.” (the exact same date I was born) Unlike Wayne’s World and its sequel, Coneheads earned negative reviews from critics and movie goers alike. Overtime, Coneheads became a cult classic for its surreal take on comic science fiction, “fish out of water” element and ensemble cast of past SNL alumni with some now making a successful career. Any of you “Star Wars” fans heard of Ki-Adi-Mundi from “The Prequel Trilogy” & “The Clone Wars” series? I think George Lucas created Mundi, because he’s a fan of SNL

MacGruber will stream on Peacock. In response to Will Forte reprising his role since his movie based on the character along with commemorating the 45 anniversary of SNL. I’d like to share my thoughts on Coneheads. According to Anne Hathaway & John David Washington, Christopher Nolan is an SNL fan, he would often quote lines from MacGruber & Wayne’s World on set.

Today’s review contains crucial SPOILERS. If you’re not familiar with Coneheads, go watch them on YouTube or stream on Peacock with every single season of SNL available.

Acceptable & Unacceptable Qualities

Acceptable: Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtain & Michelle Burke all did a solid job for their respective performances as the titular family. Dan also co-wrote the script.

Past SNL Members including Michael McKean, David Spade, Chris Farley, (god bless his soul) Adam Sandler, Kevin Nealon, Michael Richards, Jan Hooks, Julia Sweeney, Garrett Morris, Jon Lovitz, Phil Hartman, (may he Rest In Peace) Tim Meadows and last but not least Laraine Newman, (the original Connie) all did a good job for their respective performances.

Non-SNL alumni such as Jason Alexander, Sinbad, Drew Carey, Michael Richards, (before he killed his career) Parker Posey, Joey Lauren Adams, Tom Arnold, Eddie Griffin, Ellen Degeneres, (who used to be nice) & Dave Thomas all did a good job for their respective performances.

SNL creator Lorne Michaels served as a producer.

Humor retains the sketches “Fish Out Of Water” element with the characters blending in pretending they’re from France. Their biology consists of eating limitless amount of food, rapid dialogue courtesy of Dan’s filibuster speeches, technobabble, smoking an entire pack of cigarettes, made up words associated from their birth planet and placing rings on top of their heads as some kind of mating ritual or as Borat calls it “a sexy time.” Like I said earlier, Dan was high on pot when he was brainstorming sketch ideas.

My favorite part that got me laughing is when Beldar sings “Tainted Love” as he prepares to manually upgrade his weapon to fight a monster in some a gladiatorial arena. I also laughed at Beldar’s nude scene when he enters a locker room.

Cinematography never had any camera issues.

Chemistry between Beldar, Prymatt & Connie serve as the main highlight of the movie. Despite the complicated technobabble, they’re believable as a family.

I also liked Connie dating Chris Farley. As they’re having a hard time trying to get in a proper relationship as Chris struggles to get Beldar’s approval to date her.

Character Development involving Beldar. At first, he want his family to make it back to their planet. Near the end of the film, he decides to stay on Earth for Connie.

Beldar fighting a monster shaped like his head, pokes fun at Luke Skywalker’s battle with The Rancor from “Return Of The Jedi.”

There’s a clip of Captain Kirk fighting a Gorn from the original “Star Trek” series. John Belushi spoofed Kirk on SNL. A subtle wink to long time fans of the show.

Both Dan & Jane performed “Conehead Love” in character for a music video to promote the film. It’s also heard during the end credits.

Although released in 1993, Michael McKean’s character proposes an idea to build an electric fence on the Mexican Border predicted Donald Trump’s idea as part of his 2016 Presidential Campaign. As they say life imitates art along with Alec Baldwin’s portrayal as Trump.

Unacceptable: Most of the Visual Effects didn’t age well like a stop-motion creature, Connie eating a Subway sandwich and a green screen. Back then, Jurassic Park came out a month before Coneheads. The latter movie was filmed as many special effects companies were yet to successfully follow the recipe of C.G.I.

I know this is based on a well known SNL sketch, but any human (except Michael McKean & David Spade) interacting with Beldar, Prymatt or Connie ignore the fact they have a cone shaped head. If this were real life, they would’ve been followed by local authorities or secret agents other than Chuck McGill & Emperor Kuzco.

After some sketches on SNL mentioned Beldar & Prymatt’s home planet for nearly two decades, we finally get a chance to see what it looks like. Sadly, its atmosphere looks like a rip-off of “Blade Runner.” As in the murky dark filter. Oh that’s right, some movies like “Demolition Man,” “The Fifth Element” and that god awful “Super Mario Bros” adaptation wanted to copy Blade Runner’s dark futuristic city.

A Plot Hole involving why it took so many years for a rescue starship to show up to Earth. After The Coneheads return to Earth, how many ships led by Beldar managed to get their in less than 24 Hours. Remember when they had to wait for several years until help arrives? How come no other starship wasn’t available to pick them up?

Product Placement (Pee Pee for short) features many brands like Subway, Pepsi, Doritos, Ruffles, Lays, Spam, Cap’n Crunch, Frosty Flakes, Tide, Pop Tarts, Ritz & Cosmopolitan.

The Final Verdict: C-

Although I enjoyed several good bits of Coneheads. Their film however, is a miscalculation missing the bullseye. The closest thing for a sequel is them appearing on a State Farm commercial. Not an epic clunker like “It’s Pat,” just a colossal disappointment. If you want to watch a legit movie based on an SNL sketch, I strongly recommend The Blues Brothers, Wayne’s World & its sequel.

If Lorne Michaels or anybody associated with SNL, I want to see a movie based on Andy Samberg & Justin Timberlake’s music videos “D**k In A Box,” “Motherlover” & “3 Way The Golden Rule.” I’d definitely pay my money to see them together on the big screen.

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