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Drop Dead Fred is a difficult film to review. I saw it for the first time
when I was 13 years old or something, and I absolutely loved it because I
was right in the middle of the age group at which the film is directed. I
watched it again recently, and while the film's slapstick comedy did not
hold quite the same massive appeal (although I was still hugely
as it did when I was younger, I regretted to discover that I had grown out
of a lot of the goofy antics that went on in the movie.
However, I was reading through some of the reviews written on the IMDb by other users, and was amazed at how offended a couple of people were by this film, revealing in their reviews a total detachment from their own inner selves and a complete misunderstanding for the little people that we call kids. No, for example, I would NOT recommend a seven year old girl to psychiatric help for making a mess. This is arguably one of the most ludicrous ideas that I have ever read on the Internet Movie Database in my entire life, and believe me, I have read some jaw-droppingly moronic comments on this beloved site.
If you read through the user comments for this movie, you can so clearly see the difference in the people who liked it and the ones who hate it that it almost makes you laugh out loud that these people can't see that they are exactly the kinds of people that the movie rebels against. Drop Dead Fred begs Elizabeth not to let her mother turn her into one of them because he doesn't want her to turn into the kind of person who is so uptight and frigid and barren that she would be incapable of enjoying exactly the kind of entertainment and fun that Drop Dead Fred is.
This is a movie that was made for people who are still in touch with their inner child, people who realize that a little girl with a mother who has absolutely no understanding of the mind of a child has every right to escape into the world of an imaginary friend if it will help her escape the grayness and responsibility imposed on her by her mother, who demands absolute perfection and hasn't the first clue about how to raise a child. Very similar things can be said about various IMDb users, such as ones who refer to Fred as a product of a deranged mind or say anything about psychos or brutality or insanity.
Drop Dead Fred is not a film about an insane little girl. Indeed, I like to think that the world is populated mostly with people who understand that the minds of young children operate slightly differently than their parents'and our own, and that they can be forgiven for getting into a little mischief. I am generally against grouping together people who did not like a certain film, but in this case it seems overly obvious that the people who wrote negative reviews of this fun comedy are simply the people who resent being pointed out as the kinds of people that they are.
Drop Dead Fred is a movie that was made for fun, to be enjoyed, laughed at, and respected for reminding us that we need to lighten up occasionally and, while not necessarily flinging spaghetti in a nice restaurant, act like children every once in a while to prevent ourselves from being driven insane by the fast-paced society that we live in. And if you can't do that, if you hated Drop Dead Fred because you simply can't understand that concept, if, indeed, you think that Elizabeth is in dire need of psychiatric care, you may want to step back and look closely at your life and your views.
YOU may be the one in need of therapy.
I am amazed by the amount of people who have discussed this movie in the terms of being about "mental illness".... it should become clear by the end of the movie that this is a fantasy, Fred is not an imaginary friend he is "real" he exists and his sole purpose in life is to help children in a dark place and bring them out of themselves. Imaginary friends do not move on to another child, imaginary friends are the property of those who imagine them. I wouldn't be at all surprised if I saw a review of "Gremlins" on here by the same people who said "nasty little creatures who create distruction around them are not funny". This is a funny movie, plain and simple. Rick Mayall is outstanding as Fred and Phoebe Cates gives the perfect performance as the downtrodden daughter and wife. Anyone who says bad things about this movie has obviously never seen a fantasy movie before and taken it for what it is. I am surprised that they didn't call Demi Moore delusional in "Ghost" because she was refusing to let go of her boyfriend and "imagined" all the stuff that went on. This is a fantasy folks, a pure unadulterated fantasy and it is a bloody funny one at that. Watch it, it will make you laugh, it will make you smile, and it will make you chuckle.... what more can you ask and again Rick Mayall is brilliant.
Here's a little gem most everyone hated and totally misunderstood! Able to
be loved by younger kids and laughed-at by the more "balanced" adults, DROP
DEAD FRED is just fun. That's all it was ever meant to be! My children "grew
up" with this film in our library and we have seen it probably 30 - 40 times
over the years.
For those with absolutely no humor or sense of childhood-wonder still, you would be doing yourself a big favor to miss this flick. Rik Mayall (who never cut it for me particularly) is Phoebe's imaginary childhood friend made flesh and come back to haunt her. True, he is tasteless, inspirationally trouble-making and a straight-up fruit-cake, but surely wouldn't that make for the ideal imaginary friend? I laughed at the reviewer claimed "her" imaginary friend had way better taste and wouldn't be seen dead acting like "Fred"....pity her! I had one too...a couple of back-ups even and they would have LOVED Fred!
The entire point of the film is brought to bear at the very conclusion of the film when Phoebe realises she has finally grown up and Fred knows it is time to "move-on." Personally I found this extremely touching, but there again, I never grew up!
Manic Mayall was born for this one role and he makes the most of it. The restaurant scene with Cates, who is just so cool, elegant and stylish throughout, is laugh-out-loud funny...again, IF you have a sense of humor. Prudes may well be offended by some of Mayall's antics, my four children weren't! Slate the film all you wish, it remains a total ONE-OFF.....name another like it!
Wonderful little bit of stupidity and like I said, if they make them cuter than Cates, I've missed the boat!
This is a movie that I loved as a kid. I never understood any of the adult parts of the movie of course at a young age. But the movie itself never left my memories and has stayed with me as I've grown up. Now I am going on 26 years old and watching it again. I haven't seen it since I was in elementary school. It brings back so many good memories and was one of my favorite movies as a kid. Now that I'm an adult I understand all the adult parts of the movie which now has a slightly different meaning. But it's still a good movie for kids and for any adult that likes fantasy. Especially adults like me that wish they could go back to being a kid.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Isn't it funny how this film, whilst massively dismissed as rubbish by
critics when it was first released, has attracted a very loyal
following of people who hold it very dear to their hearts - isn't that
basically the definition of a cult film? Why? The special effects are
terrible, it's basically a "breaking into the USA market" vehicle for
Rick Mayall, and Marsha Mason looks exactly the same in the "21 years
ago" flashbacks as she does in the current time-line.
This film is special because it has that certain endearing uniqueness to it that makes it very personal. Those who love it have watched it many, many times. I've never seen anything like it before or since. It's a Hollywood-style comedy about a mid-20's dippy girl that is re-visited by her childhood imaginary friend when her life starts falling apart... or, it's an increasingly dark study of a girl descending into madness, only to choose reality over fantasy in the end.
Phobe Cates is fantastic in this film. She reacts to Mayall's familiar but still funny "Rick" routine in the sweetest and cutest way. The comic timing of both is excellent. Check out her expression when she asks her mother to "sit down" after Mayall has just delivered his "Cobwebs" line... Adorable.
A curiosity is after Fred's first encounter with Elizabeth's mother. After having his head squashed flat by a fridge door ("Oh no my head, the Megabitch squashed my head! The Bitch! She squashed my head! The evil one reigns supreme!"), the following references by Fred during the rest of the film refer to her as the "Megabeast". Perhaps half way through filming the producers, thinking this would be a lovely summer kiddie film thought it was a tad too "adult" to appeal to a young audience and told the makers to tone it down a bit.. The opening scene, where Marsha Mason reads a bedtime story to her 4 year old daughter only to be told "What a pile of S**t" pretty much sets the scene. Hilarious! There are so many genuinely funny and heart-warming scenes in this film. When Fred makes a "real" mud pie with the 4 year old Elizabeth, the little girl seems to be genuinely enjoying herself ("it's so fun!"). You can't help but smile. And whilst the final goodbye between Elizabeth and Fred is pretty formulaic Hollywood, it still tugs at the old heart strings.
Some people perhaps read too much into the film when they see it as a study of schizophrenia etc, but then again you can't help think that underneath the zany comedy, the writers are subtly giving the film a deeper edge. The scene that really hinges Elizabeth's descent into madness is when she finally despairs of her cheating husband's hopeless ways ("I'm scared to be alone") by Fred, who beckons "come with me" with a very creepy invitation to succumb to insanity.
To me, this film succeeds because it naughtily mixes Hollywood's cliché-ridden nicey-nice "family" comedies with the anarchic British alternative comedy of the 90's. You'll either "get it" or think it's crap. The choice is yours. To those that love it, perhaps it just sparks that missed childhood innocence that runs throughout, as well as our desire to be more rebellious and independent than we are now as adults. The ending is lovely too... Fred carries on helping kids in his own way.
P.S. Carrie Fisher will always be remembered and associated with Star Wars, but she is a superb comedy actress. "But didn't Elvis kill himself?", "Yes, but before that he was really interesting!"... Superb!
Drop Dead Fred is a side-splittingly hilarious film, with Rik Mayall as the fantastic lead role - Drop Dead Fred. After breaking up with her boyfriend and losing her job, Elizabeth returns to her mother's house. After discovering a taped up jack-in-the-box in the cupboard, Drop Dead Fred escapes from his prison, and bursts out into freedom ... only chaos can ensue now! Phoebe Cates, who plays Elizabeth, now has a whole new load of trouble on her hands. Fred is her childhood imaginary friend - and only she can see him! There are so many funny parts in this film, it's impossible to name them all, but Rik Mayall never fails to bring up the laughs in any scene, as he gives a highly energetic, enthusiastic performance. The ending is really touching and I can never forget how when I was younger I always got upset by it. It beautifully concludes the movie, and will make you feel warm inside. Watch it and try not to laugh. It's near impossible.
I am disgusted by the degree to which I see this movie denigrated among
user comments here on imdb.com. Instead of pointlessly hypothesizing about
the dullness and pointlessness that most likely constitute your personal
lives, I choose to take the high road, and merely state that Drop Dead
will make you laugh, cry, and question nearly everything about your
life...if you listen to it. If you haven't seen it...go and watch it! If
have seen it, and you don't like it...watch it again, and pay attention
time! And lighten up!
And if you have seen it, and love it like I do (and like all self-respecting human beings do), then go watch it again, and have some fun!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
OK, lets make it official, people have no sense of humor if this movie
is about mental illness and full of bad jokes to you.
I have never stopped loving this movie and am appalled that so many people are that uptight and dull in there ways that they cant collapse in laughter just by thinking about it.
i have seen it, i own it on DVD and i will say that the only bad thing is it isn't long enough. whoever doesn't let out a chuckle when mister pooh the knitted monkey has his intestines(feathers)removed needs to lighten up and let the inner child back into there hearts.
Did you non lovers of this film watch pride and prejudice and other none side splitting boring moves when you were growing up. learn to relax and let go.
perfect if anything.
First I must say that I prejudged this movie as an idiotic pile of c***.
How could anyone create such filth?(I got all this from the previews). But
I was stunned when I caught this film on television one day, because I liked
it in all respects. There have only been a couple of movies that I have
judged so harshly without seeing them and was enthralled by them and Drop
Dead Fred was one of them. This movie was hilarious but it was more then
just that. A lot of people did not understand this movie because they were
searching in the shallow waters and never dove deep into the meaning of it.
Fred may or may not be a figment of Phoebe Cates imagination, that is left
for the viewer to decide. He was obnoxious, he was mean and selfish, but
was their any other way to portray him? Cute and cuddly maybe? Sweet and
likeable? Now that would have annoyed me. Fred was a troublemaker, he was
the wild, uncontrollable child in Phoebe Cates. He represented the ounce of
child left in her. This movie was made to show that adults abandon the child
within to live a bore of a life. This adult was portrayed in Cate's mother
to contrast with her character. People who deny their inner child can never
live an entirely fulfilling life.
Rick Mayall did an incredible job as Drop Dead Fred. Without him, the movie would not have survived. But everyone else in the movie did a great job too. This movie is very enjoyable-watch it with an open mind.
For those of us who had or have a mother like that portrayed so
brilliantly by Marsha Mason, and felt insignificant and controlled,
like Phoebe Cate's character, we understand this movie and it speaks
loudly to us. I love this movie and used to watch it whenever I was
feeling a bit down. It cheered me up every time. It's a carefree, fun
ride that reminds us that all will not fall apart if everything isn't
perfect. Do you remember FUN?
Every actor in this movie owned their character perfectly. I particularly love the scene when Carrie Fisher pretends to throttle Drop Dead Fred. She gets it. She plays along. She believes in her friend that she loves.
There are many very memorable funny lines in this movie. COBWEBS for one!
This is THE PERFECT MOVIE.
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