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Creature Feature Wednesdays: Feeding cows to crocs in 'Lake Placid'

Following the creature-feature recipe to a T, Lake Placid succeeds as a late-’90s guilty pleasure, starring a perfect set of ’90s actors: Bridget Fonda (Single White Female), Bill Pullman (Independence Day), and Oliver Platt (The Three Musketeers). And to make matters even more enticing, it also costars the venerable, unbreakable Betty White.

The Formula

We’ve mentioned the formula before. It’s been around since the dawn of creature movies, and in Lake Placid, it takes zero effort to identify the tropes. Giant crocodile comes to small town. Brendan Gleeson (of the Harry Potter franchise) plays the gruff town sheriff dealing with the chaos. He enlists the help of a local Fish and Game officer (Bill Pullman). Enter Bridget Fonda, the sensible, a-little-too-forgiving-of-the-croc scientist, who helps identify the creature. She then calls the wily croc enthusiast, Oliver Platt, to investigate even further. And finally, the team works together to capture the beast! Extending the tropes even more, Pullman and Fonda share a feisty flirtation.

Lake Placid - Bill Pullman

Betty White

Before the Snickers commercial, her stint hosting Saturday Night Live, and the TV Land sitcom Hot in Cleveland, Betty White had Lake Placid. And, truth be told, this was where I saw Rose Nylund branch out and do something fantastically wacky. This was her life’s new chapter: not giving a damn by doing whatever her glorious heart desired, including this absurd little crocodile movie. In Lake Placid, White takes on the role of Mrs. Bickerman—a spirited old lady who mouths off to authorities and feeds—yes, feeds—the killer crocs. Unsurprisingly, she’s a hoot.

Lake Placid - Betty White

The Sequels

While Lake Placid was theatrically released in 1999, the film has since spawned four (and counting) made-for-TV movies, beginning in 2007. Why not? And in typical Syfy fashion, they feature an array of horror and B-movie/TV actors, including John Schneider (Dukes of Hazard), Yancy Butler (Birds of Prey), Colin Ferguson (Eureka), Elisabeth Röhm (Law & Order), Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street), and—in a fun twist—Cloris Leachman as another crazy Bickerman sister.

But that’s not all, folks. Back in April, the Lake Placid vs. Anaconda crossover event premiered on Syfy! Robert Englund and Yancy Butler reprised their roles, and Parker Lewis/Syfy alum Corin Nemec joined the franchise!

Lake Placid vs. Anaconda

Fun Facts

  • It makes sense that Steve Miner (Friday the 13th Parts 2 and 3, Warlock) directed the movie, but did you know that David E. Kelley penned Lake Placid? Yes, that David E. Kelley, of Ally McBeal fame.
  • While there is an actual place called Lake Placid (and it looks lovely) in New York State, the one in Lake Placid is named Black Lake, and is located in Maine. Go figure.
  • Just before her Law & Order: SVU fame, Mariska Hargitay had a bit part in Lake Placid, playing the “other woman” to Fonda’s soon-to-be ex-boyfriend.

Check out the trailer for Lake Placid:

Tips for viewing: With the exception of a few, these movies are not masterpieces. Don’t view them as such. Don’t take them seriously. Watch them with friends and create your own commentary—on the acting, editing, bad choices, etc. And remember—have fun!

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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