TNMC Movies: Bad Movie News
Directed by:
Steve Miner
Written by:
David E. Kelly
Starring:
Bridget Fonda
Bill Pullman
Oliver Platt
Mariska Hargitay
Meredith Salenger
Brendan Gleeson
Betty White


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Lake Placid

Read our reviews of the movie.

Plot:
A giant alligator turns up in a lake in Maine and starts eating people. A paleontologist is called in to investigate.

News:

12 July, 1999
I'm sensing that not everyone shares my enthusiasm for this movie. So I thought I would point out an interesting review at AICN. Check it out and see if it doesn't get you just a little bit interested.

8 July, 1999
Well at least the special effects will be good. Director Steve Miner said he hired the best to try and bring his movie in on budget. Stan Winston (Jurassic Park, Predator, Aliens, T2) was hired to create animatronic alligators. Three of them were constructed for various shots. Digital Domain (The Fifth Element, Titanic, True Lies) was hired for CGI effects to fill in where the robotic gators needed help, "because it's very hard to train a 30-foot crocodile to do anything you want." The movie was filmed relatively inexpensively for a summer movie at $30M.

Thanks to The Hollywood Reporter.

2 July, 1999
It's not really about the movie, but this had to be mentioned. Apparently six crocodiles had their mouths taped shut and were adorned with bow ties and top hats to accompany Bridget Fonda down the red carpet at the movie's premiere. Needless to say, animal rights activists were outraged. They claim the lizards were exposed to unnecessary trauma, because of the limo ride and papparazi cameras (and yet no one tries to save celebrities from this same ordeal). Jennifer O'Connor of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said "Just because these reptiles don't have fur and just because they are not warm and fuzzy, and can't vocalise their discomfort, using them as props for a movie premiere is just unacceptable. You don't have to be fond of reptiles to see how wrong it is to dress them in these demeaning costumes and even worse tape their mouths shut."

I'm going to have to take a break, that's too much entertainment for this early in the morning.

Thanks to Cinescape.

29 June, 1999
We've got a few more pictures for you to appreciate. I have to say I'm really looking forward to this one. It strikes me as the perfect blend of dark comedy and stupid. If you need evidence consider some of these lines from the movie available on their website:

"We know what we're doing... we've got a cow hanging from a helicopter."

"I've come. I'm here. I'm staying. Unless there are ticks."

"The idea that you could die suddenly with no offspring, disconcerting. If you'd like I could help commit your genes to perpetuity."

Hopefully it will be as entertaining as I think it will.

Thanks to Cinescape for the pictures.
Quick! Shoot over its head!We know what we're doing... we've got a cow hanging from a helicopter.What the hell is that?
What the hell is that?Having some trouble?One more time.  What the hell is that?

25 June, 1999
The official site has opened. If there was any doubt that this movie was meant more as a comedy than a horror film, the website should set you straight. There are numerous video clips and images to check out. A handful can be found below.

I'm fine with dead bodies.  Especially men.What an animal does in the wild is his own business so long as he doesn't do it to man.The idea that you could die suddenly with no offspring.  disconcerting.  If you'd like I could help commit your genes to perpetuity.

6/3/99
Here we have the official poster for horror (or is it comedy?) movie Lake Placid. As always, click on the image to see a larger version. Thanks to The Movie Page. The poster is on the bar on the left if you hadn't noticed.

5/27/99
Loews had posted the trailer for the giant alligator (or is it crocodile?) movie. After watching, all I can say is that I hope they are intentionally playing this movie campy. If so it could be a lot of fun. But if this is supposed to be serious, then it's going to be awful. Either way I'm looking forward to it.
Quicktime Lo-Res 5.7MB MOV
Quicktime Med-Res 10.6MB MOV
Quicktime Hi-Res 20.5MB MOV

5/5/99
Director Steve Miner said that the idea for the movie came from a canoe ride that he and producer David Kelley took in Maine. Kelley thinking out loud said "What if there was something down in this scary, black water?" That was all it took for a movie about a giant crocodile to be made. Miner also says that the movie if scary and funny, but that the croc has no sense of humor. That's unusual, because most massive crocodiles are pretty funny. Thanks to the LA Times.

3/8/99
Well I don't know about you, but I'm dying to see a movie about people being killed by a giant alligator. It makes me think about some of those old lame horror movies about killer bees or piranhas. Anyway here are a couple of pics from the movie. Thanks to The MovieWeb.

Lake PlacidLake Placid

1/19/99
In an interview with the Calgary Sun, Bridget Fonda mentioned her next movie, Lake Placid which is about a giant alligator in a peaceful lake, "it's more tongue-in-cheek than it is terrifying. I desperately want to be in a movie that scares people." . Sounds like a good bad movie.

Reviews:

6 July, 1999

Review by 'Darkseid' courtesy of Dark Horizons.

Hey there. Just caught the flick Lake Placid at a screening near Washington DC. Despite a number of things about the film that bothered me (which I will get to in a bit), I found this film enjoyable, particularly some of the really funny dialogue. A couple of characters in particular stood out, namely Betty White as a bizarre lakeside resident, and the sheriff in this movie.

Anyway, the story starts off with an unusual death in a lake up in Maine. The local authorities are sent to investigate, as well as a palientologist (Bridget Fonda). Also sent in to check out things is Fish and Wildlife Service agent Bill Pullman, who serves as a kind of pseudo love interest for Fonda, and an eccentric rich guy (Oliver Platt). Things move quickly in this film, as it is only about an hour and a quarter long. The main characters soon discover that a giant crocodile is responsible for the mayhem. We get a particularly cool scene of the croc going after a bear----very cool effect. There are some scary scenes, but unfortunately not many deaths. Still, I enjoyed some of the humorous dialogue, especially from the sheriff who thinks he's discovered a clever insult (he calls another character "mental"). There are also a lot of redneck jokes; I think people from Maine might be offended by this film (lol).

Overall, the film was what might be called a "popcorn movie". I would have like more deaths---hey, I would have just liked more characters. We tend to focus on just one small group--Fonda, Platt, Pullman, the sheriff, and some of the local authorities. On the plus side, there is a funny cameo by Betty White as a woman who lives on the lake, and the special effects are decent enough. And then there's the dialogue, which I enjoyed. I would say not say Lake Placid is good for full price--it was way short--but it's ok for a matinee, and a nice way to relax.

18 June, 1999
Review today courtesy of Dark Horizons. If you've read this far, you don't have any spoilers to worry about.

Review by 'SXYCHOKLT'

I had an opportunity to see lake placid and i most say it is a major disappointment. Keeping in mind the overall plot of the film is about a lake terrorized by a huge, and i do mean huge, crocodile. I must admit this plot seems so '80's but i was still intrigue, as are some of you. Allow me to give you some advice, don't see this movie. it suxs beyond words!!! The characters are 2-dimentional and the plot is so transparent. other than oliver platt's character, you had no reason to want the humans to live. the croc was no doubt the most interesting thing about this 90-minute waste of time other than to see betty white curse like a sailor. believe me, it will make you look at golden girls differently. truth is there is nothing to say about this film other than it is only worth a dollar movie admission or better yet, network premiere will deep blue sea be any better? probably not. until someone makes a decent sequel to jaws, animal-killing films lack severely!!!!!!

17 June, 1999
A review by 'Peter' Major Spoilers

Thanks to Dark Horizons.

Here's a fair warning, I'm going to make this a spoiler review, because when I really hate a movie, I hate it so much that I have to give away the surprises (if any) just to get my point across on how bad this movie is. The plot is about a crocodile that is attacking people in a lake near a small New England town (no, it's not Amity). A New York City museum paleontologist (Bridget Fonda) is sent to the Maine lake to find out what exactly killed a Game and Fish ranger. She gets the help from a Game and Fish Warden (Bill Pullman), a eccentric Crocodile scientist (Oliver Platt), and the town's local sheriff (Brendan Gleeson). It turns out that it's a crocodile that killed the ranger, and he's hungry for more meat! Ooooooooo!

This film is a JAWS rip-off, first of all, the characters are similar to the three main characters of JAWS, the writer (David E. Kelley, who is Michelle Piffer's boyfriend) just mixed them around together and has them share the same personalities. The Bridget Fonda character is like Roy Schider's "Brody." Bill Pullman is also like Chief Brody, with a bit of Han Solo thrown in. Oliver Platt is exactly like Richard Dryefuss' "Hooper" character. And Brendan Glesson is like Robert Shaw's "Quint." It's so similar that the Platt and Glesson charatcer's clash the same way Hooper and Quint clashed in JAWS. Then ripping-off JAWS 2, the crocodile jumps out of the water and attacks Platt's helicopter. And to make things worse, GOLDEN GIRL'S Betty White (who was Rose), knows about the crocodile and feeds it her livestock, like she's feeding a dog or pig shouting "come and get it!" When seeing her leading a cow towards the lake, with the croc head popping out waiting for his meal, I just realized that this movie isn't "fun stupid" it just plain awful. Then after getting "house arrest" for knowing about the crocodile, she calls the sheriff and his deputies "C*cksuckers!" Man, Bea Arthur would have a stoke hearing Betty White talk like that. Then's there's the so-called climax, which is boring. This being the 90's, the character's can't kill the beast (who has already killed two people), so the characters try to tranquilize the beast and take it to a safe huge water tank in Oregon. The biggest explosion is Platt's helicopter crashing, but it doesn't explode. While Platt and Pullman are yelling at Fonda, who's in the lake with the croc, telling her which direction to swim to avoid the hungry animal. Once they capture it (using a new way to catch a 30 foot creature, a helicopter!), Yipes! Another one appears, and the sheriff plays the hero by blowing it up with one shot of his gun. I couldn't get it, it looked like a shotgun, but the bullets had the hit impact of a C-4 bomb.

The movie ends with a "MIGHTY JOE YOUNG" style ending, the croc is being carried on a back of a semi-truck on it's way to his new home, in Oregon. While that nutty Betty White feeds bread to the tiny baby crocodiles that still live in the lake, so they can leave it open for a sequel that will more than likely premire on video like "TREMORS 2." Why did I hate this film? It's the same reason why I hated "ANACONDA" it full of stupidy! It a very dim-witted film that is trying to be a scary beast/monster movie at first, then it turns into a animal lover film. Why? I'm guessing while Kelley was writing the script, Michelle Piffer convinced him that, it's not the crocodile's fault that he's killing people, he's only a animal. So they keep him alive?!?!?

And the body count isn't that high (only two people get killed, and that's in the first two reels) so there goes the suspense if there was any. And the dialogue? Bridget Fonda yelling, "I can't go to the forrest! I'm alergic to the forrest!" And why is it called Lake Placid?!?!? In the first 20 minutes of the film, Sheriff Brendan Glesson tells Fonda that, "this lake was going to be named Lake Placid, but they didn't think that it sounded right." O.K., so what is it called? And why is the movie called LAKE PLACID?!?!?! So what's good about this film? The women. It's just fun to watch the good looking women, that's all. I'm not sexist, or trying to be, but that is the only thing that caught my attention. With Bridget Fonda, Meredith Salenger (THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN), and Mariska Hargitay (the daughter of Jayne Mansfield) there is plenty of beautiful women to look at. They all try their best at acting, that's because they're better than all of the actors in the film. Bill Pullman mumbles and talks like his usual self, the same way he did in INDEPENDENCE DAY, WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING, and MR. WRONG. Platt is like a hyperactive eight year old with hormones. And Glesson grunts and moans. But you have to figure ahead of time that this is going to be a bad movie, with the same man who directed "MY FATHER THE HERO," "BIG BULLY" and "FRIDAY THE 13th PARTS 2 & 3." What can you expect? And the stuff that David E. Kelley produces on t.v. (THE PRACTICE & ALLEY McBEAL) are hits?!?! If his shows are like this film, then the t.v. audience must be really brain-dead. And David E. Kelley is right to call this film a "horror/comedy." It's scary by having you watch this piece of garbage, and it's a comedy because Kelley is laughing at you for wasting your money and giving it to him. Don't bother with this film, go see the other, and hopefully a million times better film that comes out the same day, EYES WIDE SHUT. EYES WIDE SHUT will slaughter this film at the box office! * (out of *****)

16 June, 1999
A review by 'Breathead.' Major Spoilers

Thanks to Corona's Coming Attractions.

I just got finished attending an advanced screening of Lake Placid in Chicago, and I was pleasantly surprised. I had absolutely no expectations for this movie, and I have to say I really enjoyed it. I don't know how this movie is going to be classified, because it's not horror, and it's not really suspenseful. It is very funny, with Oliver Platt providing most of the comic relief.

The movie starts off with a sheriff and a diver out in the middle of a lake. The diver goes in the water to tag some beavers and winds up the main course for a creature that we don't get to see. The shot of his bottom half getting eaten is very much like the opening shot of Jaws. The diver somehow manages to make it back to the sheriff in the boat, and the sheriff pulls the top half of his body back into the boat. Next we get introduced to Kelly (Bridgett Fonda), a paleontologist who has just been dumped by her boyfriend, which also happens to be her boss. He sends her to check out the incident at the lake because a large tooth is found, but he really just wants to get rid of her. Out at the lake, Kelly meets the sheriff and Jack Wells (Bill Pullman), a game warden from the forest and wildlife preserve. They all go out to the lake to check out whatever may be out there. On the way out, they question the old lady who lives by the lake (Betty White) and ask if she has seen or heard anything. Back on the lake, the sheriff explains to Kelly and Jack that the lake is called 'Black Lake', because the name 'Lake Placid' was already taken. After setting up camp, Oscar (Oliver Platt) shows up in his helicopter. Oscar is an eccentric mythology professor, who loves to swim with crocodiles. Next thing you know, the whole group goes out into the lake in two boats to check out this killer crocodile. Before you can say 'look out!' , Kelly's boat gets flipped over by something so fast that you don't even see it. Well this shakes everybody up pretty bad, so they go back to camp to talk about it.

The next day they all go back out, along with some deputies, and again Kelly just can't keep her ass in the boat and falls in the water. After she gets back in the boat, they decide to go back to camp and talk about this new development, when wouldn't you know it, this creature bites the poor deputy's head right off. Once again, the damn thing moves so fast you can't see it, but you do get to see the deputy's headless body, which is a plus. On the shore, Oscar and the sheriff are getting into when all of a sudden Smokey the Bear shows up, and he's pissed. Well he doesn't get to express his anger for very long, because our killer crocodile decides to show his face and have some lunch. He munches on the back of the bear and drags it into the water. After everyone gets finished checking they're drawers, they all decide to call it a night. The next day, Oscar and a female deputy go out in his helicopter to search for our friendly little crocodile. Kelly, Jack and the sheriff find little 'ole Betty White feeding one of her cows to the crocodile. Betty tells everyone that shes been feeding the crocodile for six years and that it's her pet. At this point, Betty gets off the best line in the movie when she tells the sheriff "If I had a dick, this is where I would tell you to suck it". After eating his steak, the crocodile finds Oscar swimming around in his cove and decides to say "Hi". The crocodile swims right up to Oscar, and let's him smell his bad breath. Oscar escapes, but not without almost destroying his helicopter in the process. Well the Game and Wildlife guys from Florida here about all this and decide to come up to take out the crocodile. Well somehow Oscar and Kelly convince everyone to try and trap the crocodile and save its life. They borrow a cow from Betty, to use as bait and fly the poor cow over the area where the crocodile is. The crocodile manages to almost get the cow, causing enough trouble that the helicopter crashes, and damn if Kelly doesn't fall in the water again. This time, she swims to the helicopter and the crocodile follows her, swimming right through the doors and getting stuck. They fill him with enough drugs to sedate an elephant, and lo and behold, there's a second one. They immediately kill the new crocodile, and then pat themselves on the back for saving the first one. The final shot is of Betty White sitting on a pier, feeding five or six baby crocs. As I said earlier, you really can't call this a horror movie. As bad as it was, the dialogue by David Kelley was funny as hell. The scenes between Oscar and the sheriff were laugh out loud funny, and Betty White steals every scene that she is in. The reaction coming out of the theatre was mixed, but everyone who did like it, talked about how funny it was. It will be interesting to see how Fox markets this picture when it comes out in July.

4/8/99
Dark Horizons posted this screening review from "Light House Shines.'

Unlike a lot of the people who went to the screening recently held for Lake Placid, I knew from the getgo that it was going to be a film about a giant or mutant Alligator eating a bunch of local yahoos (Actually it was an oversized Asian Crocodile in the film). So I wasn't too disappointed or shocked when the film's true premise became evident, rather early on in the film. The thing I was shocked about though, was the fact that David E. Kelly, one of my literary heroes (Televisionally speaking only), wrote the film. As I truthfully expected the film to be a lot better than it was as a result, which just maybe my fault. As I am use to his literary works performing up to a certain standard, a standard which I think he missed almost entirely with his latest screen effort (His last was Mystery, Alaska).

As Lake Placid starts off well enough, when a man who is apparently trying to tag Beavers underwater for some nature study is suddenly and brutally attacked ( Now I am not expert, but I think you try to tag beavers on the land as it's easier that way). Said man, bitten in two, is subsequently hauled off by the local dimwitted sheriff, Keough (Well played by Brendan Gleeson, who I have never seen before in any film). Which is shortly before Bridget Fonda's nature phobic character reluctantly makes her way out to Maine to investigate the vicious attack, as a rather large tooth was found on the partially eaten man. That is far too large to have come from any known animal, hence the reason she was sent out to Maine in the first place. As the museum that she works for is hoping that the tooth will prove to belong to some long assumed extinct animal, possibly something prehistoric in nature. Which is what I was hoping for, some prehistoric Alligator or swamp creature.

Sadly though, this was not to be the case. As the enlarged attacker is quickly revealed to be nothing more than a 30 foot Asian Crocodile, which naturally shouldn't be all the way in Maine. Let alone thriving in such a small enclosed eco system without a sufficiently ample source of food. As this Thing eats whole cows, and at one point even an entire wild bear! Though I guess it survived so long because it was being fed by some crazy foul mouthed old woman, wonderfully played by Betty White. Who was actually one of the film's funnier characters. As she and her late husband were keeping the oversized Crocodile as a rather unorthodox pet. By periodically feeding it cows and horses, for which it would wait patiently just off their property for...Yeah, yeah, it sounds totally crazy. As no normal person would have a pet Crocodile that was capable of swallowing them whole, let alone entire livestock, but this was a comedy-horror film after all. So you have to forgive it for some of it's more dubious premises, otherwise the film would simply be canon fodder for Mystery Science Theatre 3000 ( God, I miss that show, and Joel was the best host ever!). Which is practically was, except for some good comedic interactions and dialog between several of the characters. Mainly Bridget's character Kelly and Hector, a very rich Hemmingwayesque rival researcher played excellently by Oliver Platt. Who believed that Crocodiles were actually godly creatures and that everyone was intellectual inferior to him ( Which was partially true as he often verbally spared with Sheriff Keough, they had a love hate relationship that was pretty amusing for the most part).

Now besides the film's all too few and far in between good points, Lake Placid is not a good film overall for several reasons. The main one being that the scenes with the oversized Crocodile, which is supposed to be the main focus, are not all that interesting, scary or particularly believable. Though that is a given with a 30 foot Asian Crocodile, but besides the whole unbelievable Crocodile thing. There are just to many things/scenes that really do not work about this film. Especially in terms of the lamely constructed, set up and executed attempts at romance, between Kelly and Jack ( Bill Pullman's Fish and Game department worker character). As these two certainly got along well enough on camera, but other than that there was nothing at all to indicate that they had any real feelings for each other than possible professional courtesy or maybe just a hint of lust (Which is not love, no matter what she says!). Plus to top it all off, this film was less than 90 minutes long! A severe no no for all films that are not meant for children. As studies have shown that people expect to get a lot more out of films now that they have to pay upwards of 8 bucks just to see a film. Which in turn translates to more films being made in the 2 hour range, rather than the old 90 minute range as they were in the past. For I know I certainly wouldn't pay 8 bucks to see a film that was 75 minutes, especially this film, and neither should you.

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