A Definitive Ranking of Every SNL Movie From Worst to Best

Blues Brothers

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Lorne Michaels’ long-running TV empire has launched the careers of dozens of comedians, but its efforts to branch out into theaters have been… uneven, at best. Here’s the official, inarguable rundown of SNL movies, from worst to best.

11. A Night at the Roxbury

Not only is this the absolute worst of the SNL films, it lands pretty solidly on a list of the absolute worst films of all time, period. Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan star as infuriating recurring characters Steve and Doug Butabi, two Yemeni-American club kids who mug through a number of ludicrous situations involving the L.A. nightclub scene. This movie is painful to watch and thankfully murdered Chris Kattan’s career while leaving Will Ferrell relatively unscathed.

10. Blues Brothers 2000

Making a sequel to one of the greatest comedies of all time (more on that later) is generally a bad idea, especially if one of the stars of the first movie is dead. The odious Blues Brothers 2000 suffers from the absence of John Belushi, and adding a wisecracking 10-year-old orphan doesn’t help matters at all. Some solid music on the soundtrack can’t redeem this one.

9. It’s Pat

Probably the most polarizing movie in the SNL canon, you either love It’s Pat or it makes you want to kill somebody. (It scores the rare 0% on Rotten Tomatoes.) Julia Sweeney’s bizarrely androgynous character was tough to deal with in five minute segments, but that cringe-inducing humor actually becomes more affecting in a feature film. Fun fact: Quentin Tarantino did some uncredited work on the script.

8. The Ladies Man

The late ’90s were the nadir of Saturday Night Live spin-off movies, as Lorne Michaels desperately tried to catch lightning in a bottle again following the success of Wayne’s World. It all ended with 2000’s The Ladies Man, starring Tim Meadows as radio lothario Leon Phelps. Directed by Reginald Hudlin (who deserves much better), the end result is a chore to get through.

7. Stuart Saves His Family

Al Franken’s Stuart Smalley was a character born for TV – a relentlessly cheerful motivational speaker with a tenuous connection to reality. As the anchor for a feature film, he just doesn’t work. The box-office bomb earned under a million bucks in theaters, and was one of late director Harold Ramis’ few flops.

6. Superstar

The thing with Saturday Night Live characters is that many of them are based on annoyance or all-out revulsion, and that’s hard to hang a movie script on. One that pulled it off was 1999’s Superstar, starring Molly Shannon as armpit-huffing Catholic schoolgirl with dreams of fame Mary Katherine Gallagher. (Will Ferrell’s turn as Sky Corrigan definitely helps.) The character’s just weird enough to work, and the supporting cast (including Ferrell, Tom Green, and Mark McKinney) is pretty solid.

5. Wayne’s World 2

After the huge success of the first Wayne’s World movie, Paramount wanted to go back to the well right away with a sequel. Unfortunately, it missed a lot of the things that made the original successful and tried to make up for it with lots and lots of celebrity cameos – Heather Locklear! Jay Leno! Aerosmith! Rip Taylor?

4. Coneheads

Most of the movies based on SNL sketches have been roughly contemporaneous, but Coneheads is the bizarre exception. The first Coneheads bit aired in 1977 and the movie came out sixteen years later. That said, it’s a fairly solid take on the franchise, with alien family Beldar, Prymaat and Connie dealing with life in suburban New Jersey.

3. MacGruber

Will Forte’s TV action star character is an obvious parody of MacGyver, but it’s a broad enough concept that it works stretched out to an hour and a half. This is probably the most lowbrow of any SNL movie to date, with lots and lots of toilet humor, but it’s charming in its own way.

2. The Blues Brothers

The first film based on recurring SNL characters is still one of the greatest. Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi so perfectly inhabited the black suits of Jake and Elwood Blues that they’re inseparable from the characters, and the car chase scene is one of Hollywood’s most iconic. Throw in hot as fire performances from James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles and you’ve got a true American classic.

Click here to see all showings of The Blues Brothers on IFC.

1. Wayne’s World

Mike Myers and Dana Carvey took a classic SNL setup – two losers doing a local access TV show – and built an entire weird world around it as Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar. Penelope Spheeris (The Decline of Western Civilization) was the perfect director to take the duo to the big screen, and it remains the highest-grossing of any of the Saturday Night Live films theatrically. A still quoted classic, it’s the gold standard that all future SNL films are held up to. Oh, and it also has Tia Carrere at the height of her smoking babeness. Schwing!

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Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

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End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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Byrning Down the House

Everything You Need to Know About the Film That Inspired “Final Transmission”

Documentary Now! pays tribute to "Stop Making Sense" this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Cinecom/courtesy Everett Collection

This week Documentary Now! is with the band. For everyone who’s ever wanted to be a roadie without leaving the couch, “Final Transmission” pulls back the curtain on experimental rock group Test Pattern’s final concert. Before you tune in Wednesday at 10P on IFC, plug your amp into this guide for Stop Making Sense, the acclaimed 1984 Talking Heads concert documentary.

Put on Your Dancing Shoes

Hailed as one of the best concert films ever created, director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) captured the energy and eccentricities of a band known for pushing the limits of music and performance.

Make an Entrance

Lead singer David Byrne treats the concert like a story: He enters an empty stage with a boom box and sings the first song on the setlist solo, then welcomes the other members of the group to the stage one song at a time.

Steal the Spotlight

David Byrne Dancing
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Always a physical performer, Byrne infuses the stage and the film with contagious joy — jogging in place, dancing with lamps, and generally carrying the show’s high energy on his shoulders.

Suit Yourself

Byrne makes a splash in his “big suit,” a boxy business suit that grows with each song until he looks like a boy who raided his father’s closet. Don’t overthink it; on the DVD, the singer explains, “Music is very physical, and often the body understands it before the head.”

View from the Front Row

Stop Making Sense Band On Stage
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Demme (who also helmed 1987’s Swimming to Cambodia, the inspiration for this season’s Documentary Now! episode “Parker Gail’s Location is Everything”) films the show by putting viewers in the audience’s shoes. The camera rarely shows the crowd and never cuts to interviews or talking heads — except the ones onstage.

Let’s Get Digital

Tina Weymouth Keyboard
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Stop Making Sense isn’t just a good time — it’s also the first rock movie to be recorded entirely using digital audio techniques. The sound holds up more than 30 years later.

Out of Pocket

Talk about investing in your art: Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz told Rolling Stone that the members of the band “basically put [their] life savings” into the movie, and they didn’t regret it.

Catch Documentary Now!’s tribute to Stop Making Sense when “Final Transmission” premieres Wednesday, October 12 at 10P on IFC.

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