Mac and Me
|Mac and Me|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Stewart Raffill|
|Produced by||R.J. Louis
William B. Kerr
|Written by||Stewart Raffill
|Music by||Alan Silvestri|
|Editing by||Tom Walls|
New Star Entertainment
|Distributed by||Orion Pictures|
|Running time||99 minutes|
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 MAC's family, from whom he has been separated. The film stars Jade Calegory (in his only film appearance), Christine Ebersole, Jonathan Ward, Katrina Caspary, and Lauren Stanley.
A NASA satellite has landed on an unknown planet and begins to take rock and soil samples, where it is eventually discovered by four creatures nearby. After the four are sucked up through the satellite's vacuum, it appears to malfunction at first then makes its way back to Earth. After the satellite is brought to a military base by NASA agents for study, the creatures manage to escape with use of their powers in which they can destroy or heal anything they touch. During the escape, the youngest makes its way to a street where it accidentally causes several cars to crash before hiding in a passing van, consisting of a wheelchair-bound boy named Eric Cruise, his brother Michael, and their single mother Janet, who are moving to California from Illinois. The rest of the creatures 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. He tries to catch up to the creature and falls over a hill into a lake where he nearly drowns, but is rescued by it. Eric then tries to tell his mother and Michael that the creature 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 the creature with the help of his new friend and neighbor Debbie, who had seen it as well. The two suck it up through a vacuum cleaner which malfunctions and causes the entire neighborhood to suffer a power surge. After the creature is released, Michael now believes of his existence, but it leaves before Janet could be convinced. Eric's behavior towards the creature changes after it fixes all of the damage it caused to the house the next day, and leaves behind several newspaper clippings in which Eric believes that it is trying to tell them something.
FBI agents Wickett and Zimmerman, who had been present when the four creatures 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 the creature, who he has now named MAC (mysterious alien creature), to a birthday party at a McDonald's restaurant where Debbie's sister, Courtney, works. The FBI agents follow with additional help and attempt to apprehend MAC there, but the creature, disguised as a teddy bear, starts a dance number as a distraction and escapes with Eric on his wheelchair. After the agents chase the two through a nearby neighborhood and shopping mall where Janet notices them in the latter, Michael, with Debbie and Courtney's help, rescues Eric and MAC with the use of Janet's van. While questioning why the agents were chasing them, 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 creatures, 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, MAC family's wanders into a supermarket with security being alerted. After the alien father steals a gun from a security guard, the police arrive and a shoot-out 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 the explosion. Once Agents Wickett and 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.
Cast and characters
- Jade Calegory as Eric Cruise – Calegory has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair in real life
- Christine Ebersole as Janet Cruise
- Jonathan Ward as Michael Cruise
- Katrina Caspary as Courtney
- Lauren Stanley as Debbie
- Vinnie Torrente as Mitford
- Martin West as Wickett
- Ivan J. Rado as Zimmerman
- Danny Cooksey as Jack, Jr.
- Laura Waterbury as Linda
- Ronald McDonald as Ronald McDonald
- Jennifer Aniston, Nikki Cox, and Dominic Lucero appear as uncredited extras
Mac and Me, distributed by Orion Pictures, failed at the box office, grossing only $6,424,112 in the United States against a budget of $13,000,000. Though it made no money, Mac and Me had a profit-sharing arrangement with Ronald McDonald Children's Charities.
The film was heavily criticized for the similarity of its plot, characters, and even the design of the alien, to E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. It was further criticized for its numerous and blatant product placements, including Coca-Cola and Skittles (the only foods the alien eats), Sears (where the boy's mother works), and pervasive promotion of McDonald's. The contrivance of the character being called "Mysterious Alien Creature" to be abbreviated as "MAC", a five-minute dance number in a McDonald's franchise featuring Ronald McDonald (credited as "himself"), and the use of the restaurant mascot to introduce the film's theatrical trailer, led Leonard Maltin to call the film "more like a TV commercial than a movie". (It has been reported that "there was no quid pro quo between the filmmakers and these companies".) The distinguishing feature of the protagonist using a wheelchair – without that being the focus of the story – received mixed reactions. The film has been labeled one of the worst films ever made by Rotten Tomatoes, where it holds a 0% rating. The film ends with a freeze frame and the words "We'll be back!" superimposed, but after bad reviews and poor box office returns, the planned sequel was shelved.
Awards and nominations
- Worst New Star (Ronald McDonald)
- Worst Director (Stewart Raffill)
- Worst Picture (R.J. Louis) (nominated; lost to Cocktail)
- Worst Screenplay (Stewart Raffill and Steve Feke) (nominated; lost to Heywood Gould for Cocktail)
- Best Family Motion Picture: Animation or Fantasy (nominated; lost to Beetlejuice)
- Best Young Actor in a Motion Picture: Comedy or Fantasy (Jade Calegory) (nominated; lost to The Two Coreys: Corey Feldman and Corey Haim for License to Drive)
- Best Young Actress in a Motion Picture: Comedy or Fantasy (Tina Caspary) (nominated; lost to Mayim Bialik in Beaches)
- Best Leading Young Actress in a Feature Film (Lauren Stanley) (nominated; lost to Mayim Bialik in Beaches)
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.
- "MAC AND ME (U)". Guild Film Distribution Ltd. British Board of Film Classification. July 22, 1988. Retrieved August 21, 2013.
- Mac and Me at Box Office Mojo
- Mac and Me at Rotten Tomatoes
- "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.
- Soundtrack.net - Mac and Me (1988)
- Bobby Caldwell - Film Usage
- "Movie Review Mac and Me Takes a Big McBite Out of E.T.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-05.
- "Review/Film; 'MAC and Me,' Family From a Distant Planet". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-05-17.
- "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.
- Maltin, Leonard (2003). Leonard Maltin's Movie and Video Guide 2004. Signet. ISBN 0-451-20940-0.
- Stevenson, Seth (2007-06-11). "Vitaminwater, Everywhere: Why is David Ortiz shilling for the frou-frou beverage?". Slate.
- "Sequel Baiting Endings That Didn't Work". Empire. Retrieved 2012-06-11.
- 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.
- Rowles, Dustin. "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 (Dec. 13, 2013).
- Mac and Me at the Internet Movie Database
- Mac and Me at Box Office Mojo
- Mac and Me at Rotten Tomatoes