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Hops and Box Office Flops: ‘SUPER MARIO BROS. – Flushed Down the Warp Pipe’

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Super Mario Bros. is a travesty. It reimagines the colorful sprites of the Mushroom Kingdom as a grimy, dystopian nightmare world.

It’s an interpretation where Bowser has more on his mind than simple kidnapping. In this cyberpunk acid trip, President Koopa—played by Dennis Hopper as just a guy in a suit—has graduated to despot. He’s a fascist dictator on a quest to ethnically cleanse the people of Earth.

This all may sound like an exaggeration, but it isn’t. Super Mario Bros. is oppressively grim, rarely funny, and oddly horny for what is meant to be a kids’ movie. Worst of all, it lacks almost any of the hallmarks of the storied franchise.

Sure, there are visual cues here and there; but it squanders the license in unimaginable ways. The familiar music is nearly nonexistent; the Goombas are ten-foot tall hell spawn with shrunken heads; and the Shy Guys are leather-clad freaks ripped straight from Mad Max. It’s a truly mind boggling exercise in Hollywood failing to understand what makes a property so beloved.

John Leguizamo and Bob Hoskins as Luigi and Mario in the Super Mario Bros. Movie

They paid millions just for the rights to develop the film, and they bought it on the title alone; there wasn’t even a script. So it’s sort of hard to fathom how they came to this cringe-worthy amalgamation of ideas.

Audiences, critics, and the stars agreed. This film was lambasted. And despite being based on one of the most lucrative video games in existence, it failed to even recoup its budget. It grossed just $35 million on a budget of $48 million.

As for the stars, Hopper was apparently miserable on set, berating the directors for the constant rewrites and dearth of clear direction. Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo—who played the titular brothers—resorted to drinking to soldier through the madness.

We all feel your pain. But, sometimes, you have to see things to believe that they inexplicably exist. So sit back, wrench open a Pixels IPA from Seminar Brewing, and reload those Thwomp Stompers! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. Cash, and Chumpzilla are heading to Dinohattan to de-evolve President Koopa and then dance the night away with reptilian strippers!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – How far can a film stray from the property that inspired it? Well, we wish we’d never found out. (00:00)
  • The Shit Movie Championship Showdown – This is indeed a terrible movie, but is it bad enough to take down our reigning champion, The Adventures of Pluto Nash? (1:15:26)
  • The Super Mario Bros. Trivia Challenge – Capt. Cash dials up his magic flute to dazzle us with trivia related to this epic misfire. (1:28:00)
  • Recommendations – Next up: With the fungus of Dinohattan in our collective rearview, we sally forth to the baffling stupidity that is Uwe Boll’s Postal! (1:39:30)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—the debauchery of the Mario Bros. and more—from this week’s episode!

You can find this episode of Hops and Box Office Flops on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbeanSpotifyAcastTuneIn, and iHeartRadio!

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Thomas L. Kelly

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