Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Rodman Flender|
|Music by||Graeme Revell|
|Edited by||Stephen E. Rivkin|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Releasing|
|Box office||$4.2 million|
Idle Hands is a 1999 American black comedy film directed by Rodman Flender, written by Terri Hughes and Ron Milbauer, and starring Devon Sawa, Seth Green, Elden Henson, Jessica Alba, and Vivica A. Fox. The main plot follows the life of an average lazy stoner teenager, Anton Tobias (Sawa), whose hand becomes possessed and goes on a killing spree, even after being cut off from his arm.
The film's title is based on the saying "idle hands are the Devil's play-things" or "the devil makes work for idle hands".
The film grossed over $4 million from an estimated $25 million budget.
Lazy stoner teenager Anton Tobias' parents wind up dead on Halloween, with all the clues pointing to him. After killing his best friends Pnub and Mick, Anton realizes that his right hand has become possessed. Unable to control his hand, Anton throws his cat across the street and while searching for it, he encounters his neighbor Molly and the two start a relationship. Anton holds a funeral for his parents and friends. However, Pnub and Mick decide not to go to heaven, returning to their former bodies and rising from the grave.
Meanwhile, a druidic high priestess named Debi LeCure is hunting the spirit responsible for killings across the country. After his hand kills two cops in his living room, Anton cuts it off with a cleaver. Pnub and Mick seek out a First-Aid Kit while Anton traps the hand in a microwave, burning it. Meanwhile, Debi (now along with Randy, Anton's neighbor) hunts Anton down to put a stop to the possessed hand. After sending Molly to the school dance, Anton returns home to finish off the hand. Unfortunately Pnub and Mick inadvertently release the hand. The three then steal Randy's truck and head to the school. Mick and Pnub go to the Halloween dance to watch over Molly, while Anton looks for the hand. Randy and Debi meet up with Anton. Debi explains that the hand will drag Molly's soul into the netherworld. Anton crashes the dance and tries to warn everyone about his hand, but is ignored.
The hand then scalps the band's lead singer and causes a panic. Molly and her friend Tanya escape through the vents. They attempt to go through a fan, which they have stopped with Tanya's shoe, but Tanya gets hung on the rope, Molly tries to pulls Tanya off the fan and Anton's hand ends up removing Tanya's shoe, allowing her to be pulled to her death in the fan. Molly then runs into the art room, causing her to get knocked out. Anton enters and fights with the hand while it is inside a puppet but it escapes to the auto shop, where Molly is strapped to a car in her bra and panties, being raised toward the ceiling. Anton, Mick, and Pnub fight with the hand over the controls. Mick finds a mechanic's bong and he and Pnub smoke "for strength". Anton blows some smoke into the hand (still inside a hand-puppet) until it drops the controls and they save Molly. Debi throws a ritual knife into the hand, stopping it in a puff of smoke and fire. She and Randy take off for "ritualistic sex." Anton releases Molly from the top of the car, they go under the car and start making out. In the process of lighting the bong for Mick, Pnub accidentally hits the controls for the car, and Anton is crushed by the car.
In the film's conclusion, Anton is in a body-cast in the hospital, having given up heaven to stay with Molly, and Mick and Pnub are now his Guardian Angels. When he is left alone in his room, Anton looks up and sees the message "I am under the bed" written on the ceiling. Mick and Pnub walk down the hall, pondering if they should tell Anton they were the ones that wrote the message, but decide against it, laughing.
- Devon Sawa as Anton Tobias
- Seth Green as Mick
- Elden Henson as Pnub
- Jessica Alba as Molly
- Vivica A. Fox as Debi LeCure
- Jack Noseworthy as Randy
- Christopher Hart as The Hand
- Robert Englund as the Voice of The Hand
- Steve Van Wormer as Curtis
- Fred Willard as Mr. Tobias
- Connie Ray as Mrs. Tobias
- Katie Wright as Tanya
- Kelly Monaco as Tiffany
- Sean Whalen as Officer McMacy
- Nick Sadler as Officer Ruck
- Randy Oglesby as Sheriff Buchanan
- Timothy Stack as Principal Tidwell
- The Offspring as themselves
- Dexter Holland as himself
- Mindy Sterling as Lady bowler
- Joey Slotnick as Burger Jungle manager
- Tom DeLonge as Burger Jungle employee
- Kyle Gass as Burger Jungle guy
- Ricky Martin (Uncredited) as Man in Car Park
- Rodman Flender (Uncredited) as Silhouette outside Front Window
The film opened on April 30, 1999, in 1,611 theaters. It grossed $1.8 million during its first week, and then a total of just over $4 million on a budget of $20–25 million, making it a box office flop.
An elaborate swimming pool sequence utilizing a large pool model, "wall of hands" and a "hell hole" visual was initially planned as the film's final "hand" encounter. However, initial post viewing tests suggested the ending didn't quite mesh with the overall intended tone of the film. A replacement shop class sequence with both comic and horror elements was substituted, delaying the film's release by several months. The original swimming pool sequence with mostly completed effects can be watched as a bonus feature on DVD presentations.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, as of March 2020, the film had a 15% rating based on 55 reviews, with an average rating of 3.39/10. The site's consensus stated: "An uneasy mix of slapstick and gore, Idle Hands lacks the manic energy and comedic inspiration required to pull off its goofy premise". Metacritic reports a 31 out of 100 rating based on 20 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".
Jeremy Wheeler at Allmovie.com gave the film a positive review stating: "It's definitely a case of better than you think. This horror comedy is high on gags and giant doses of marijuana... as is the love for gore and decapitated hand insanity to entertain any happy horror fiend."
A soundtrack album for Idle Hands was released through Time Bomb Recordings two weeks in advance of the film, featuring mostly punk rock and heavy metal artists. Though appearing on the album, the songs "Enthused" by Blink-182, "Mama Said Knock You Out" by The Waking Hours, "Bleeding Boy" by Disappointment Incorporated, and "My Girlfriend's Dead" by The Vandals were not used in the film. Chuck Donkers of Allmusic rated the album two stars out of five, remarking that it "befits a combination teen comedy/horror flick that climaxes at a high school dance" and "features songs from over-the-top adolescent favorites".
|Released||April 13, 1999|
|Genre||Punk rock, heavy metal|
|1.||"Second Solution" (from The Living End, 1998)||Chris Cheney||The Living End||2:59|
|2.||"Enthused" (from Dude Ranch, 1997)||Tom DeLonge, Mark Hoppus, Scott Raynor||Blink-182||2:49|
|3.||"Beheaded" (1999)||Dexter Holland, Greg K., Noodles, Ron Welty||The Offspring||2:39|
|4.||"Mama Said Knock You Out" (originally performed by LL Cool J)||Marlon Williams, Bobby Ervin, James Todd Smith||The Waking Hours||2:52|
|5.||"Dragula" (Hot Rod Herman remix, from "Dragula" single, 1998)||Rob Zombie, Scott Humphrey||Rob Zombie||4:38|
|6.||"Mindtrip" (Idle Hands mix)||Ed Udhus, Ali Tabatabaee, Greg Bergdorf, Justin Mauriello, Ben Osmundson||Zebrahead||2:14|
|7.||"Push It" (from Wisconsin Death Trip, 1999)||Wayne Wells, Ken Lacey, Antonio Campos, Koichi Fukuda||Static-X||2:49|
|8.||"Bleeding Boy" (from F=0, 1999)||Brian Burns, Mark Christian, Warren Huart, Roel Kuiper, Doug Vandyck||Disappointment Incorporated||4:06|
|9.||"Cailin" (from Unwritten Law, 1998)||Scott Russo, Rob Brewer, Steve Morris, Wade Youman||Unwritten Law||3:59|
|10.||"My Girlfriend's Dead" (from Hitler Bad, Vandals Good, 1998)||Warren Fitzgerald||The Vandals||2:40|
|11.||"Rude Boy Rock" (from City Delerious, 1998)||Justin Robertson||Lionrock||4:52|
|12.||"Shout at the Devil" (from Shout at the Devil, 1983)||Nikki Sixx||Mötley Crüe||3:15|
|13.||"Idle Hands Theme"||Graeme Revell||Graeme Revell||3:06|
In addition to those on the soundtrack album, the following songs are also used in the film:
|1.||"Bloodclot" (from Life Won't Wait, 1998)||Tim Armstrong, Lars Frederiksen||Rancid||2:45|
|2.||"Core (In Time)" (from This Euphoria, 1998)||David Garza||David Garza||3:06|
|3.||"Glow in the Dark" (from This Euphoria, 1998)||David Garza||David Garza||3:09|
|4.||"How Do You Feel" (from Slow to Burn, 1996)||Peter Daou, Vanessa Daou||Vanessa Daou||3:51|
|5.||"I Am a Pig" (from Voyeurs, 1998)||Rob Halford, John Lowery, Bob Marlette||2wo||3:37|
|6.||"I Wanna Be Sedated" (originally performed by the Ramones)||Dee Dee Ramone, Joey Ramone, Johnny Ramone||The Offspring||2:19|
|7.||"Mindtrip" (from Zebrahead, 1998)||Ed Udhus, Ali Tabatabaee, Greg Bergdorf, Justin Mauriello, Ben Osmundson||Zebrahead||2:15|
|8.||"New York Groove" (originally performed by Hello; from Ace Frehley, 1978)||Russ Ballard||Ace Frehley||3:01|
|9.||"Peppyrock" (from Birth Through Knowledge, 1998)||Lo-Ki, Stone Groove, DJ Spinz, Adam Carlo, Sam Cino, Matt DeMatteo||Birth Through Knowledge||4:25|
|10.||"Pop That Coochie" (from Sports Weekend: As Nasty as They Wanna Be, Pt. 2, 1991)||David Hobbs, Chris Wong Won||2 Live Crew||4:17|
|11.||"Santeria" (from Sublime, 1996)||Bradley Nowell, Bud Gaugh, Eric Wilson||Sublime||3:03|
|12.||"Good friends & a Bottle of Pills" (from Far Beyond Driven 1994)||Pantera||2:52|
In popular culture
The film was parodied in the Robot Chicken episode "Dragon Nuts", in the sketch "Idle Nuts". The sketch has essentially the same plot as the original movie, but involving possessed testicles instead of a possessed hand.
- "IDLE HANDS (18)". British Board of Film Classification. June 28, 1999. Retrieved December 27, 2015.
- "Idle Hands (1999)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
- Smith, Steven (June 7, 1998). "It's Their Party". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
- Welkos, Robert W.; Source (May 4, 1999). "A Case of 'Entrapment' - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
- "'Entrapment' Snares Top Spot With Charismatic Stars' Help". Los Angeles Times. May 3, 1999. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
- "Idle Hands (1999)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
- "Idle Hands reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved December 27, 2015.
- "Idle Hands (1999) - Rodman Flender | Synopsis, Characteristics, Moods, Themes and Related". AllMovie. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
- Music from the Motion Picture Idle Hands (CD liner). Laguna Beach, California: Time Bomb Recordings. 1999. 70930-43526-2.
- Donkers, Chuck. "Review: Idle Hands". Allmusic. Retrieved August 27, 2015.
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