Mac and Me

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Mac and Me
Mac and me movie poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Stewart Raffill
Produced by
  • R.J. Louis
  • Mark Damon
  • William B. Kerr
Written by Stewart Raffill
Steve Feke
Starring
Music by Alan Silvestri
Cinematography Nick McLean
Edited by Tom Walls
Production
company
Vision International
New Star Entertainment
Distributed by Orion Pictures
Release dates
  • August 12, 1988 (1988-08-12)
Running time 99 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $13 million
Box office $6,424,112[2]

Mac and Me (aka MAC and Me) is a 1988 American science fiction adventure film co-written (with Steve Feke) and directed by Stewart Raffill about a "Mysterious Alien Creature" (MAC) that escapes from nefarious NASA agents and is befriended by a boy who uses a wheelchair due to paraplegia. Together, they try to find his family, from whom he has been separated. The film stars Jade Calegory (in his only film appearance), Christine Ebersole, Jonathan Ward, Katrina Caspary, Lauren Stanley and (a then-unknown) Jennifer Aniston in her film debut as an uncredited extra.

The decision to create the film was based solely on the success of E.T. (1982). The title Mac and Me comes from the working title for E.T.E.T. and Me.[3] The film was both a box office bomb and a critical disaster and is now often regarded as one of the worst films ever made.

Plot[edit]

A NASA satellite has landed on an unknown planet and begins to take rock and soil samples, where it is eventually discovered by four aliens nearby. After they are sucked up through its vacuum, it appears to malfunction at first then makes its way back to Earth. After it is brought to a military base by NASA agents for study, the aliens manage to escape with use of their powers in which they can destroy or heal anything they touch. During the escape, the youngest makes his way to a street where it accidentally causes several cars to crash before hiding in a passing van, occupied by a wheelchair-bound boy named Eric Cruise, his older brother, Michael, and their single mother, Janet, who are moving to California from Illinois. The other three aliens have made their way out into an unspecified desert.

The day after the Cruise family settles into their new home, the baby alien causes damage to it and is seen by Eric. While trying to catch up with him, he loses control of his wheelchair and falls over a hill into a lake where he nearly drowns, but is rescued by him. Eric then tries to tell Janet and Michael that he is responsible for both events, but they do not believe him. Deciding to prove that he is telling the truth, Eric sets a trap later that night to catch him with the help of his new friend and neighbor, Debbie, who had seen him as well. They suck him up into a vacuum cleaner which malfunctions and causes the entire neighborhood to suffer a power surge. After he is released, Michael now believes of his existence, but he leaves before Janet could be convinced. Eric's behavior towards him changes after he fixes all of the damage it caused to the house the next day, and leaves behind several newspaper clippings in which Eric believes that he is trying to tell them something.

FBI agents Wickett and Zimmerman, who had been present when the four aliens had escaped from the base, have tracked down the youngest to the Cruise residence due to the neighborhood's power surge and are immediately recognized by Eric and Michael. Eric is forced to take him, whom he has now named MAC (mysterious alien creature), to a birthday party at a McDonald's restaurant where Debbie's older sister, Courtney, works. Wickett and Zimmerman follow with additional help and attempt to apprehend him there, but he, disguised as a teddy bear, starts a dance number as a distraction and escapes with Eric on his wheelchair. After Wickett and Zimmerman chase them through a nearby neighborhood and shopping mall where Janet notices them in the latter, Michael, with Debbie and Courtney's help, rescues them with the use of Janet's van. After catching up with the agents, Janet inadvertently learns from Wickett that MAC is indeed real.

Following a brief argument, Eric, Michael, Debbie, and Courtney decide to help MAC reunite with the other three aliens, revealed to be his family. With his help, they travel towards the outskirts of Palmdale and manages to find MAC's family in an abandoned mine, reviving them with Coke. While stopping at a gas station for drinks and gas, they wander into a supermarket with security being alerted. After the father steals a gun from a security guard, the police arrive and a shootout accidentally occurs out in the parking lot, followed by an explosion with Eric caught in the crossfire and killed while the aliens appeared to have perished in it. Once Wickett, Zimmerman, and Janet arrive by helicopter, MAC and his family are seen having survived the explosion, then use their powers to bring Eric back to life.

For reviving Eric, MAC and his family are granted citizenship, with the Cruise family, their neighbors, and the two FBI agents in attendance.

The final scene shows MAC's father driving his family, along with the kids who helped them. MAC, who had bubble gum in his mouth, blows a bubble that bears the message "We'll be back!", which was supposed to imply that there would be a sequel (The sequel was later cancelled[4])

Cast[edit]

Music[edit]

Soundtrack[edit]

The film's soundtrack album was released by Curb Records, featuring one track from the musical score by Alan Silvestri[6] and the theme song "Take Me (I'll Follow You)" by Bobby Caldwell.[7]

Track listing:

  1. You're Not A Stranger Anymore (Theme From Mac and Me) - Jara Lane (3:42)
  2. Take Me (I'll Follow You) - Bobby Caldwell (5:32)
  3. You Knew What You Were Doing (Every Inch Of The Way) - Marcy Levy (3:30)
  4. Down To Earth - Ashford and Simpson (5:27)
  5. Waves - Debbie Lytton (3:44)
  6. Send Out A Signal - Larry Hart (4:31)
  7. Wait And Break My Heart Tomorrow - The Flint River Band (4:40)
  8. Overture (Theme From Mac and Me) - Alan Silvestri (4:24)

Score[edit]

In 2014 Quartet Records released a limited edition disc (1000 copies) of the complete Alan Silvestri score,[8] including the material present on the song album (the overture and the two songs he co-wrote).

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Mac and Me was considered a Box office bomb. It grossed $6,424,112 in the United States against a budget of $13,000,000.[2] Mac and Me had a profit-sharing arrangement with Ronald McDonald Children's Charities.[9]

Critical response[edit]

The film was panned by critics for the similarity of its plot, characters, and even the design of the alien, to E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.[9][10] It was further criticized for its numerous and blatant product placements, including Coca-Cola and Skittles (the only food MAC eats), Sears (where Janet works), and pervasive promotion of McDonald's.[11] The contrivance of the character being called "Mysterious Alien Creature" to be abbreviated as "MAC", a five-minute dance number in a McDonald's restaurant featuring Ronald McDonald (credited as "himself"), and the use of him to introduce the film's theatrical trailer, led Leonard Maltin to call the film "more like a TV commercial than a movie".[12] (According to a contemporary article from Ad Age "there was no quid pro quo between the filmmakers and these companies".[13]) The distinguishing feature of the protagonist using a wheelchair – without that being the focus of the story – received mixed reactions.[5][10] Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 0% rating, based on 23 reviews, with the site's consensus stating: "Mac and Me is duly infamous: not only is it a pale imitation of E.T., it's also a thinly-veiled feature length commercial for McDonald's and Coca-Cola."[3] The film ends with a freeze frame and the words "We'll be back!" superimposed, but after egregious reviews and box office returns, the planned sequel was cancelled permanently.[14]

Accolades[edit]

1988 Golden Raspberry Awards
1988 Young Artist Awards

Legacy[edit]

The film has gained a measure of notoriety due to actor Paul Rudd. As part of a running gag when appearing as a guest on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and O'Brien's later show Conan, Rudd would perform a "bait-and-switch" by showing a melodramatic and poorly staged clip from the film (in which Eric loses control of his wheelchair and falls off a cliff, witnessed by MAC) instead of showing clips from the actual films he was there to promote.[15][16]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "MAC AND ME (U)". Guild Film Distribution Ltd. British Board of Film Classification. July 22, 1988. Retrieved August 21, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Mac and Me at Box Office Mojo
  3. ^ a b Mac and Me at Rotten Tomatoes
  4. ^ "Sequel Baiting Endings That Didn't Work". Empire. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  5. ^ a b "When he tires of answering questions about why he's in a wheelchair, the 7th-grader simply dead-pans: 'Vietnam.' : Out-of-This-World Career Still in Cards for 'Mac and Me' Star". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-05-15. 
  6. ^ Soundtrack.net - Mac and Me (1988)
  7. ^ Bobby Caldwell - Film Usage
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ a b "Movie Review Mac and Me Takes a Big McBite Out of E.T.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-05. 
  10. ^ a b "Review/Film; 'MAC and Me,' Family From a Distant Planet". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-05-17. 
  11. ^ "Movies; Branded Into the Scenery; Commentary: Advertising is so much a part of life that it's understandable to find familiar products in films. But sometimes it goes too far.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-05-17. 
  12. ^ Maltin, Leonard (2003). Leonard Maltin's Movie and Video Guide 2004. Signet. ISBN 0-451-20940-0. 
  13. ^ Stevenson, Seth (2007-06-11). "Vitaminwater, Everywhere: Why is David Ortiz shilling for the frou-frou beverage?". Slate. 
  14. ^ "Sequel Baiting Endings That Didn't Work". Empire. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  15. ^ Michael Adams (2010). Showgirls, Teen Wolves, and Astro Zombies: A Film Critic's Year-Long Quest to Find the Worst Movie Ever Made. Harper Collins. p. 247. ISBN 0061966312. 
  16. ^ Rowles, Dustin (Dec 13, 2013). "Did You Know That the Amazing Paul Rudd Has Quietly Been Pulling Off One of the Longest Running Jokes in Late-Night History?". Pajiba.com. 

External links[edit]