Death Becomes Him: The Weekend At Bernie’s Films

Wow. I fully intended to watch both Weekend At Bernie’s (1989) and Weekend At Bernie’s II (1993) within a fairly short amount of time. Instead, it turned out to be an almost two week process thanks to watching so many horror movies and falling asleep a few times during WAB2. In fact, Rickey and I tried watching 2 after we watched Terror Train. I had watched the first one and thought I had seen 2 when it came out, but was completely blown away by it’s weirdness. Not so blown away that I could stay awake, mind you, but it’s pretty crazy.

I’m getting ahead of myself though. Everyone always remembers the WAB plot very simply: two guys pretend like their boss is dead so they don’t get in trouble. But it’s SO much deeper than that. See, our heroes played by Jonathan Silverman and Andrew McCarthy are interns at Bernie’s firm (insurance, I believe). They find a discrepancy of millions of dollars in one account. Bernie asks them to come to his house in the Hamptons to celebrate the discovery, but what he’s really doing is setting them up so his mobster cohorts can kill the guys. Flipping the script, the mob boss tells his goon to kill Bernie instead. The goon gets there before the guys, kills Bernie with a lethal injection and leaves him, passing the guys on their way to Bernie’s house. At first they don’t think he’s dead, just sleeping, but eventually they figure it out, but just as they do a traveling party shows up to rock out and have fun. The girl Silverman’s trying to bag also shows up, which is why he doesn’t say anything (he’s the straight-laced one to McCarthy’s wacky dude). So, at first it’s a “we’re already in too deep” kind of a story, but then the guys hear a message on Bernie’s answering machine with Bernie asking about killing the guys. So now they keep Bernie around so they don’t get killed.

All in all it’s a pretty fun, though fundamentally morbid film that keeps getting crazier and crazier, but in a way that WAB 2 tops in spades. See, in the sequel Silverman and McCarthy are back (it’s only a day or two after the events of the first one, but these dudes are Clearly worse for wear after the four years that passed in real time) and they’re trying to use dead Bernie to get the money that he stole from his company. To do that they have to take him to St. Thomas, but before they can do this, a couple of voodoo dudes grab Bernie and bring him half-back to life. Basically, when music plays around the corpse, Bernie gets up and dances his way toward the money (hence the “Zombies” label). It seems they were hired by the mobsters to find the money. Meanwhile, firm employee Barry Bostwick, is on the guys’ trail (they were fired from their job after returning to New York and getting blamed for the missing money), but he keeps looking crazy and getting arrested.

This is absolutely a weird movie. If you have trouble accepting the idea that two guys could haul a dead man around for two days in the original, then steer clear of this one. If the scenes where Bernie walks under water thanks to a Walkman and headphones to find the treasure aren’t enough, they meet up with a girl who’s father studies voodoo, but also accepts the fact that these men have been carting around a corpse-turned-zombie for days with little-to-no problem.

If you like bad movies, this is it. A studio actually made this movie and released it in theaters. That’s shocking to me. To add to the weirdness, McCarthy plays his character like a coked up chimp, which is distracting to say the least. But, with a few beers and friends, I think this movie is a party waiting to happen. Both are still on the NetBox, so you can hit them up whenever you want!

Live Blogging Mannequin (1987)

I’m not even sure if I’m doing this right, but what the hell? I’ve started taking notes while watching movies to then use for posting on the site, but sometimes a movie isn’t good enough to rank a full-on post. Well, I know you ravenous readers can’t get enough of my content, so I figured I’d “live blog” some flicks. First up on the list? The 1987 epic fantasy (I guess) flick starring Andrew McCarthy, Porky’s star Kim Cattrall, Estelle Getty and James Spader.

So, the basic idea of the movie is that Kim was an Egyptian (yes EGYPTIAN) princess back in ancient times. Somehow she ended up not dying when she should have and has appeared to different people throughout history, kind of like a muse. So, who does she pick in the late 80s? Hard on his luck Andrew McCarthy who ends up becoming an inspired window display designer for Estelle Getty’s NYC store after he saves her life from a falling sign. It turns out that Kim’s spirit is inside of a mannequin that only comes to life when no one else is looking (in theory). Andrew’s displays really get people excited and business is booming, which makes the rival store angry. The rival store employs James Spader as a buttoned-up 80s business guy and the mean sergenat from the Police Academy movies plays a paranoid security guard who knows something’s up. Meshach Taylor also plays an artsy over-the-top gay fellow window designer. I think. He’s Andrew’s friend. It’s a weird movie to say the least. Anyway, here’s my notes:

*Haha, white Egyptians.

*Animated opening![kind of like Grease.]

*Kim Cattrall, Estelle Getty AND James Spader? SOLD!

*Wow, that is a YOUNG Spader. [I mistook McCarthy for Spader for the first 10-15 minutes as you’ll see in a few more notes.]

*This dude [McCarthy] has it ROUGH. Yet, this is still less heavy handed than Spider-Man 2. [Yeah, I’m the one guy who doesn’t like Spidey 2]

*Wow, Estelle Getty looks young too.

*That’s a hell of a way to get a job, catching a sign.

*Haha, woops, THAT is Spader. The main guy is Andrew McCarthy, makes sense.

*Lamar Burton, interesting. [Lamar Burton had nothing to do with this movie, I thought Meshach Taylor was Reading Rainbow’s Burton.]

*Felix Maxwell looks and sounds familiar.

*Hey, he’s from Ohio!

*Oh wow, this was shot in Boscov’s, I’d never heard of them before moving out here. [And now I can’t even remember where the Boscov around here is. Nanuet maybe?]

*Estelle looks like a younger version of the rappin granny from Wedding Singer.

*I think Felix is from the Police Academy movies. [I got this one right.]

*Hahaha, she says “Where do they hide all the musicians?” just before they music really kicks in. [I have no idea what this refers to.]

*Dress up dance number! It would take a really long time to actually do this. [Kim and Andrew are hanging out in the store after hours when no one is around and doing this huge dance number with tons of costume changes reflecting different eras. It’s both kind of impressive and ridiculous.]

*Haha, can you imagine being one of these people so excited about a window display? OMG, they’re f**king riding f**king bikes!!! ahhh!!!! [I know people like the window displays at Christmas, but you’d think Andrew had Whitesnake AND Poison in these displays.]

*Rambo the bulldog is super cute.

*”Tonight we nail that little fart blossom.”

*Haha, hang gliding inside! [Yup, in the store. Happened.]

*I’m not sure if it’s a good idea for your co workers to think you’re banging a mannequin. [Andrew keeps carrying this mannequin around and his coworkers are starting to think he’s weird. I guess they’re right, actually.]

*Can other people hear her? [This isn’t really addressed in the movie. There’s a scene where Andrew takes mannequin Kim behind closed doors and they apparently have sex. So, can they hear her? I’m not sure. Either way, let’s hope Andrew isn’t too loud when in the throws of passion.]

*”You know I would never bother you when you’re getting a piece of wood” – Lamar [Still didn’t realize it’s really Meshach Taylor.]

*Sure creepy foreign guy, I’ll have sex with you. Hahaha he can’t get it up. [Andrew has this ex who works at the evil store. While she’s tasked with figuring out the secret to his window success, she’s teamed with this sleazy guy with a generic accent who keeps trying to have sex with her. Eventually, she sees Andrew with someone (I think Kim in mannequin form) and decides to finally do the accent guy. It doesn’t go as planned.]

*They’re passing dozens of people who could be looking at her, yet she’s still human. [Andrew’s got Kim riding on the back of his motorcycle. When one of the other main characters sees them, she looks like a mannequin, but when they’re just driving down the street she’s alive. SO, you’re trying to tell me that NO ONE is looking out their windows and seeing her? Plot hole!]

*What would happen if they were having sex and someone walked in? [Consider this my Brody moment while watching this crazy movie and drinking mojitos.]

*I love that they think they can ruin an essential nobody by showing pictures of him rolling around with a mannequin even though it clearly looks like he just fell on her, if it was Tom Cruise I could understand, but it’s just some dude.

*Woah, awesome slide move by McCarthy, it’s like calculator bowling. [Andrew’s getting chased by the bad guy’s goons and slides right into one of them on his knees.]

*How did this movie get made? [And I don’t mean the special effects.]

*Why is there a conveyor belt for mannequin destruction leading to a wood chipper? More importantly, why can’t he lift a freaking mannequin out of the shredder? [Sorry, I’m trying to think logically. And, hey, maybe department stores do have these kinds of things, I have no idea.]

*Holy shit, that guy saw her! She’s human around other people!!!! [Yeah, I was excited that it finally happened, I’m a sucker for happy endings.]

*Hahahahaha, they got married?! [They’ve only known each other for a few months at best. Oh and she’s magic.]

*”We can build this dream together…” love that song “Nothing’s gonna stop us nowwwwwwww!” [I looked it up, it’s called, unsurprisingly “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” by Starship. As a bonus, here’s the video, with Mannequin footage!]