At the time of its release, Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel considered this to be one of the worst films they'd ever reviewed. Ebert wrote, "I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it." The pair later reviewed it on their television show, where Ebert went on to say that the movie made him "cringe... just sitting here thinking about it." Gene Siskel characterized it as "junk" and said that it made him feel "unclean." The clip of their review would go on to become a popular Internet meme associated with bad movie reviews. When Rob Reiner was roasted at the New York Friar's Club, Richard Belzer asked him to read Ebert's review, Reiner did so, then joked "if you read between the lines, [the review] isn't really that bad." Screenwriter Alan Zweibel keeps a clipping of the review in his wallet, sometimes reading it at public appearances. Ebert's review eventually became so notorious (arguably more so than the film itself) that he later released a collection of negative reviews titled "I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie."
Bruce Willis' character Gabby (as the Cowboy) fires several rounds from a rifle in the desert. This wasn't just any rifle. It was the famous rifle Chuck Connors' character Lucas McCain used in The Rifleman, a Winchester 44-40 with a 20-inch barrel and the conspicuous backwards, round-D style loop, and the 8-32 set screw tapped through the trigger guard to give the rifle its rapid-fire action that made The Rifleman famous and which Willis took advantage of in this scene in North.
In the Hawaiian segment, North is seen featured on a billboard with an octopus tugging his bathing suit down to reveal his rear end. This billboard is a spoof of the famous classic billboards by the Coppertone sunblock lotion, which featured a little girl having her bathing suit tugged on by a dog.
Screenwriter Alan Zweibel's son attended school with the son of Hollywood "superagent" Mike Ovitz. One day, the two got into a verbal altercation in which Ovitz's son said, as an insult "your dad wrote 'North'!" Zweibel was happy to learn his son responded with "at least people like my father!"
Following Roger Ebert's 2013 passing, screenwriter Alan Zweibel wrote a piece for the New Yorker entitled "Roger And Me" in which he recounted, years after Ebert's infamous review, bumping into Ebert, introducing himself, then saying "And I just have to tell you, Roger, that that sweater you're wearing? I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate that sweater." They then both laughed and shook hands.