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Creature Feature Wednesdays: Straight outta the Amazon in 'Anaconda'

In honor of this week’s Straight Outta Compton premiere, we celebrate one of Ice Cube’s greatest cinematic accomplishments: the ’97 cult classic Anaconda.

Straight Outta

The movie is a near perfect interpretation of the “it’s so bad, it’s good” variety. It was the ’90s—and this wasn’t Jurassic Park—so the CGI isn’t great. Neither is the acting. But if you go into it not expecting great, you can then anticipate a whole lot of fun.

The Gist

A documentary film director, Terri Flores (Jennifer Lopez), and her crew seek out an elusive Indian tribe, only to be taken captive by crazy snake hunter Paul Serone (Jon Voight). Yep, that’s the gist. Of course, Serone then leads them on a quest to find a gigantic anaconda. Loyalties are tested. People are eaten—and then regurgitated. But there are survivors, and the film oddly comes full-circle in the end, when said survivors discover the long-lost natives—who also worship snakes.

Anaconda - Jon Voight gets eaten

The Cast

Often, what makes a film interesting is its cast—and Anaconda‘s is a doozy. As mentioned, it stars Ice Cube, Jennifer Lopez, and Jon Voight. Decent. A little random, but decent. Then we get soft-spoken ’80s star Eric Stoltz (Some Kind of Wonderful) as a professor, and goofy Owen Wilson (Wedding Crashers) as a sound engineer. Let’s add in Kari Wuhrer of Eight Legged Freaks, The Prophecy sequels, and Sharknado 2 fame. Even Machete himself, Danny Trejo, has a bit part in the beginning. Spoiler: He doesn’t make it.

The title character—the anaconda—even has a voice credit! And to further the appeal, the snake’s “voice” is provided by famed cartoon actor Frank Welker. His credits include various installments of Scooby-Doo (as Fred) and G.I. Joe, Inspector Gadget (as Dr. Claw), The Transformers from 1984 to 1987 (as Galvatron and others), and The Real Ghostbusters (as Ray).

Frank Welker Mash-up

The Sequels

In the vein of Lake Placid, Anaconda was an arbitrary ’90s movie that spawned a great many nontheatrical movies. True, its second franchise installment, Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (2004) was released in theaters. But after that, all bets were off. Next came Anaconda: The Offspring (2008), starring David Hasselhoff, and then Anacondas: Trail of Blood (2009)—which picks up directly where its predecessor ends.

Finally, this year, we got Lake Placid vs. Anaconda in the ultimate movie mashup! Okay, not really—but all jokes aside, I fully support this creature-feature trend. Keep ’em coming, because I’ll be watching.

Fun Facts

  • Bill Butler was the cinematographer on Anaconda. His other creature-feature credit? Jaws.
  • Anaconda was nominated for six Razzie Awards (thankfully, it lost most of them to The Postman). It has since been included in The Official Razzie Movie Guide, listed as one of the “Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made.”
  • While the movie was widely panned by critics and moviegoers, Roger Ebert gave the movie 3.5 stars out of 4! This makes me love Ebert even more.

View the trailer for Anaconda below:

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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