Wayne's World (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Penelope Spheeris|
|Produced by||Lorne Michaels|
|Based on||Wayne's World|
by Mike Myers
|Music by||J. Peter Robinson|
|Cinematography||Theo van de Sande|
|Edited by||Malcolm Campbell|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$183.1 million|
Wayne's World is a 1992 American comedy film directed by Penelope Spheeris, produced by Lorne Michaels and written by Mike Myers alongside Bonnie and Terry Turner. Based on the Saturday Night Live sketch of the same name, it stars Myers in his feature film debut as Wayne Campbell and Dana Carvey as Garth Algar, a pair of rock music fans who broadcast a public-access television show. It also features Tia Carrere, Rob Lowe, Lara Flynn Boyle, Brian Doyle-Murray, Chris Farley, Ed O'Neill, Ione Skye, Meat Loaf and Alice Cooper in supporting roles.
Wayne's World was released in the United States on February 14, 1992 by Paramount Pictures. A critical and commercial success, it was the tenth-highest-grossing film of 1992 and remains the highest-grossing film based on a Saturday Night Live sketch. A sequel, titled Wayne's World 2, was released the following year on December 10.
In Aurora, Illinois, rock music fans Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar host a public-access television show, Wayne's World, from Wayne's parents' basement; a broadcast of Wayne's World catches the attention of television producer Benjamin Kane. While out cruising with friends in Garth's car, the Mirthmobile, Wayne stops to admire a 1964 Fender Stratocaster in a shop window. They later go to a nightclub, where they avoid Wayne's troubled ex-girlfriend Stacy while Wayne falls for Cassandra Wong, vocalist and bassist of the band Crucial Taunt, and impresses her with his Cantonese.
Benjamin meets with Wayne and Garth and convinces them to sell him the rights to the show for $5,000. Later, Wayne returns to the music store and purchases the Stratocaster with the money. Benjamin attempts to steal Cassandra from Wayne by using his wealth and good looks, by distracting Wayne and Garth with all-access tickets to an Alice Cooper concert in Milwaukee while offering to produce a music video for Crucial Taunt. At the concert, Wayne and Garth make the acquaintance of a bodyguard to music producer Frankie Sharp, head of Sharp Records.
While filming the revamped Wayne's World under Benjamin's oversight, Wayne and Garth find it difficult to adjust to the professional studio environment. Their contract obliges them to give a promotional interview to their sponsor, Noah Vanderhoff, who owns a franchise of amusement arcades. After Wayne ridicules Vanderhoff on the show, he is fired, leaving Garth to host the show on his own. This infuriates Garth and jeopardizes their friendship. Jealous of the attention Benjamin is giving Cassandra, Wayne attempts to prevent her from participating in the Crucial Taunt music video shoot, but she breaks up with him for his distrust.
Wayne and Garth reconcile and hatch a scheme to win Cassandra back by getting her a record deal. They plan to ensure Frankie Sharp hears Crucial Taunt play. While Garth and their friends infiltrate a satellite station with the aid of Benjamin's assistant, Wayne goes to Cassandra's video shoot but embarrasses himself in an attempt to expose Benjamin's ulterior motive. Cassandra initially tells him to go home, but upon realizing that Benjamin is up to no good, she changes her mind and leaves for Aurora with Wayne, who apologizes to her.
The Wayne's World crew hacks into Sharp's satellite television and broadcasts the Crucial Taunt performance from Wayne's basement, where Sharp and Benjamin converge. Unfortunately, Sharp declines to offer Crucial Taunt a record contract. As a result, Cassandra breaks up with Wayne permanently. She and Benjamin depart to a tropical resort. Stacy reveals that she is pregnant with Wayne's child; and finally, an electrical fire destroys Wayne's house and kills Garth.
Dissatisfied with this ending, Wayne and Garth turn to the film's audience and halt proceedings; they restart the scene in which Benjamin is unmasked as "Old Man Withers" in a Scooby-Doo parody ending. Still unsatisfied with this ending, they restart again with a "mega happy ending", in which Cassandra successfully signs a record contract and begins a relationship with Wayne. Garth begins a relationship with a waitress, while a reformed Benjamin learns that money and good looks don't necessarily bring happiness.
- Mike Myers as Wayne Campbell, host of Wayne's World. Wayne lives with his parents in Aurora, Illinois, and spends his free time “partying” with his friends in and around the popular rock/metal scene of the early-1990s. His best friend is Garth Algar with whom he hosts their late-night cable-access show broadcasting from the basement of Wayne’s parents’ house.
- Dana Carvey as Garth Algar, Wayne's best friend and co-host. Garth is socially awkward and more stereotypically “nerdy” and introverted than his more outgoing friends. He has a crush on the girl who works at the Donut shop that their group frequents, Stan Mikita's Donuts, but is unable to work up the nerve to talk to her.
- Tia Carrere as Cassandra Wong, lead vocalist and bassist of local rock band, Crucial Taunt. She and her band perform gigs around town, notably at a heavy metal bar frequented by Wayne and his friends called The Gasworks. Cassandra is a Cantonese immigrant who claims to have learned English at college and from the Police Academy films.
- Rob Lowe as Benjamin Kane, a sleazy, Chicago-based television producer. His official title is Regional Programming Director for Oliver Communications. Benjamin is good looking, well-educated, and highly successful, but cynical, manipulative, and ruthless in his approach to business. Garth believes that "if Benjamin were an ice cream flavor, he'd be Pralines and Dick."
- Lara Flynn Boyle as Stacy, Wayne's troubled ex-girlfriend. Lacking self-esteem, she does not understand or accept that Wayne has broken up with her and still treats him like they are a couple. Wayne and Garth both refer to her as “mental” and a “psycho hose beast.”
- Brian Doyle-Murray as Noah Vanderhoff, a video arcade magnate, and a prospective client of Benjamin’s who is seeking to place him as the primary corporate sponsor of a television show aimed at teens and younger adults.
- Colleen Camp as Mrs. Vanderhoff, Noah's wife.
- Kurt Fuller as Russell Finley, producer/director of many of the television shows executive produced by Benjamin. Russell has a reputation as something of a hit-maker, having won awards and acclaim for many of the programs he has produced. He is fiercely loyal to Benjamin, believing Benjamin to be his friend.
- Chris Farley has a cameo as the well-informed security guard at an Alice Cooper concert taking place in Milwaukee.
- Meat Loaf as Tiny, a doorman/bouncer at the Gasworks who Wayne and Garth are "in" with. He allows them to skip the line at the door, and informs them about the bands playing and if they're good or not.
- Frank DiLeo as rock promoter Frankie 'Mr. Big' Sharp. The CEO of Sharp Records, Frank takes a very hands-on approach to his business, driving back and forth across the country to find new acts to sign to his label. He is afraid of flying, and thus takes his stretch limousine everywhere.
- Ed O'Neill as Glen, the darkly disturbed manager at Stan Mikita's Donuts. According to Wayne, he works at the donut shop “24-hours a day”. He makes frequent references to death, dying, and killing, and implies that he once murdered someone in the heat of passion.
- Michael DeLuise as Alan, one of Wayne and Garth's crew.
- Lee Tergesen as Terry, Wayne and Garth's head cameraman who has a penchant for openly expressing platonic love for his friends through hugging and repeatedly telling them, “I love you, man.”
- Dan Bell as Neil, Wayne's and Garth's second cameraman.
- Sean Gregory Sullivan as Phil, Wayne and Garth's friend who works at an auto repair shop. Wayne describes him as being frequently “partied out”, a state of heavy intoxication which renders Phil near-catatonic and unable to clearly recall events of the previous evening.
- Mike Hagerty as Davey, a controller at the Cable 10 television station whom Benjamin and Russell ask for help.
- Frederick Coffin as Officer Koharski. An enthusiastic local beat cop who is kind to Wayne, Garth, and their group.
- Donna Dixon as Garth's dream woman, who works at Stan Mikita's Donuts.
- Ione Skye as Elyse, a seemingly casual girlfriend of Benjamin’s who introduces him to Wayne's World.
- Robin Ruzan as a waitress at Stan Mikita's.
- Charles Noland as Ron Paxton, who tries to market his invention, the "Suck Kut", on Wayne and Garth's show.
- Carmen Filpi as Old Man Withers. He runs a “haunted” amusement park.
- Robert Patrick has a cameo as T-1000 (reprising his role from Terminator 2: Judgment Day). He is an officer who pulls Wayne over when he is speeding on his way to Cassandra.
- Alice Cooper with Pete Friesen, Derek Sherinian, Stef Burns, and Jimmy DeGrasso as themselves, performing Feed My Frankenstein. Wayne and Garth go to see him back stage at his show, where they receive a lecture on the history of Milwaukee.
Wayne's World was green-lit by Paramount Pictures in 1991. It was the second film based on a Saturday Night Live sketch, following The Blues Brothers in 1980. Producer Lorne Michaels hired Penelope Spheeris to direct, who had directed several music documentaries. Spheeris said, "I had been just struggling as a female director in this business for many years. I was 45 years old when I got that job. I just kept hanging in there. And Wayne's World happened, and it sort of flipped my life around."
Spheeris clashed with Myers during filming. An example was the "Bohemian Rhapsody" sing-along inside Garth's powder-blue, flame-accented 1976 AMC Pacer that was far more physically demanding than expected. She told Entertainment Weekly that Myers was "emotionally needy and got more difficult as the shoot went along. You should have heard him bitching when I was trying to do that 'Bohemian Rhapsody' scene: 'I can't move my neck like that! Why do we have to do this so many times? No one is going to laugh at that!'" She said she attempted to assuage Myers by having her daughter provide him snacks, and on one occasion he stormed off the set, upset that there was no margarine for his bagel. Myers and Spheeris argued over the final cut of the film, causing Myers to prevent Spheeris from directing Wayne's World 2.
The studio originally wanted to use a Guns N' Roses song for the head banging scene, but Myers demanded "Bohemian Rhapsody", even threatening to quit the production unless it was used. Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of Queen, had died of bronchial pneumonia resulting from AIDS a few months before the film's release. However, Mercury saw the head banging scene before his death, finding it hilarious and approved the song for the film's use.
Myers originally wanted Alice Cooper's "I'm Eighteen" and "School's Out" in the film, but Cooper's manager Shep Gordon convinced him to use "Feed My Frankenstein" instead. It was Myers' first meeting with Gordon and it made such a strong, positive impression on him that they formed a friendship. Myers directed a 2014 documentary about Gordon, titled Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon.
The film was a box office success, debuting at number one. The film's final domestic gross was $121,697,323, making it the eighth-highest-grossing film of 1992 and the highest-grossing of the 11 films based on Saturday Night Live skits.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an 84% "Certified Fresh" rating based on 51 reviews, with an average rating of 6.75/10, with the critical consensus stating, "An oddball comedy that revels in its silliness and memorable catch phrases, Wayne's World is also fondly regarded because of its endearing characters." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 57 out of 100, based on 14 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A-" on an A+ to F scale.
Roger Ebert said in his review: "I walked into Wayne's World expecting a lot of dumb, vulgar comedy, and I got plenty, but I also found what I didn't expect: a genuinely amusing, sometimes even intelligent, undercurrent." Gene Siskel ranked the film number eight on his list of the ten best movies of 1992.  Desson Howe wrote in The Washington Post that making a movie out of such a "teeny sketch" is "better than you'd expect", but criticized the finale as "an attempt to lampoon movie endings" "and a despair-driven inability to end the movie".
In popular culture
Filled with pop culture references, the sketches and the film started catchphrases such as "Schwing!" and "Schyea", as well as popularizing "That's what she said", "Party on!", and the use of "... Not!" after apparently affirmative sentences in order to state the contrary.
The scene in which Wayne, Garth and friends lip-sync to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" in an AMC Pacer is one of the most well-known scenes in the film. The Pacer was produced by American Motors Corporation (AMC) from 1975 to 1980. The car was purposely a second-hand Pacer painted baby blue with flames on the sides and non-matching wheels, which Wayne and Garth dubbed "The Mirthmobile". Due to its prominent appearance in Wayne's World, the "Bohemian Rhapsody" single reached #2 in the United States.
The original car from the film was sold and appeared in a 2015 episode of Pawn Stars. The car was restored to running condition with the original movie props inside the car, but a functional stereo system was added, the Pacer was sold in 2016 for $37,400. Because of "The Mirthmobile" role, the Pacer is arguably one of the two most famous AMC cars featured in film or TV, the other being "Dixie", the Jeep CJ-7 driven by Daisy Duke in The Dukes of Hazard.
American Film Institute recognition:
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs - Nominated
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes:
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs:
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Carvey and Spheeris both notoriously fell out with Myers despite the 1992 film's huge success. Myers is said to have blocked Spheeris from directing the 1993 sequel because she'd ignored his edit suggestions on the original.
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