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Monkeybone (2001)

In a coma, a cartoonist finds himself trapped within his own underground creation and must find a way to get back, while racing against his popular but treacherous character, Monkeybone.

Director:

Henry Selick

Writers:

Kaja Blackley (graphic novel "Dark Town"), Sam Hamm

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Director: Michael Lehmann
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Brendan Fraser ... Stu Miley
Bridget Fonda ... Julie McElroy
John Turturro ... Voice of Monkeybone (voice)
Chris Kattan ... Organ Donor Stu
Giancarlo Esposito ... Hypnos
Rose McGowan ... Miss Kitty
Dave Foley ... Herb (as David Foley)
Megan Mullally ... Kimmy
Bob Odenkirk ... Head Surgeon
Pat Kilbane ... Burger God Rep
Lisa Zane ... Medusa
Whoopi Goldberg ... Death
Sandra Thigpen ... Alice
Wayne Wilderson ... Hutch
Amy Higgins ... Clarissa (as Amy D. Higgins)
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Storyline

In a coma, Stu Miley a cartoonist who created a comic strip called Monkeybone which features a rascal monkey. He finds himself trapped within his own underground creation and must find a way to get back, while racing against his popular but treacherous character, Monkeybone. Naturally, Monkeybone himself is there, and he and Stu quickly start fighting like cats and dogs. When Stu realizes that his sister, due to a pact they once made, is preparing to pull the plug on him, Stu makes a deal with Hypnos, the god of sleep, to help him steal a golden ticket from Death himself. But when Monkeybone takes over Stu's body and escapes to wreak havoc on the real world, Stu has to find a way to stop him before his sister pulls the plug on reality forever! Written by Anthony Pereyra {hypersonic91@yahoo.com}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Get Boned! See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for crude humor and some nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 February 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dark Town See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$75,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,685,078, 25 February 2001, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$5,411,999

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,210,366
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

On 2016, Rose McGowan wrote this Instagram post:

"Here I am as Miss Kitty in a film called Monkeybone. The movie would've been incredible (at least the underworld part) if the men at 20th Century Fox (the suits) hadn't fired the director, a true artist, Henry Selick 1/2 the way through filming- a profoundly stupid move. Selick went on to direct Coraline and had already made the classic, James and the Giant Peach, both tremendous pieces of work. The set design, costumes, prosthetics, actors, all at master level, at least in the underworld part of the film. What #FoxStudios turned this film into because of their fear and lack of artistic thinking was a travesty. They truly robbed us, the audience, of a possible classic. Also-fun fact alert-Monkeybone was based on a graphic novel called Dark Town. The weenies at Fox changed the name to 'Downtown' because they were scared African Americans would be upset by a psychedelic underground acid trip of a world with a CAT for a waitress named Dark Town. Hmmm... I wonder how many African American women directors they've hired in ratio to white male directors? That is what is what Fox should have been/should be concerned with. #foxstudios #rosearmy #anarmyofthought #bravethebook #thinkdifferent #be better" See more »

Goofs

Chris Kattan is in very poor shape for a gymnast. See more »

Quotes

Julie: It looks so... new.
Stu: Well that's because it is new!
Julie: But the heirloom - your grandmother's ring...
Stu: What? You want a used ring?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Following the credits a stop-motion animated statue, which gave Stu Miley his pajamas earlier in the film, is seen for a few seconds holding two flags. One reads THE and the other reads END. See more »

Alternate Versions

The DVD contains the following extended or removed scenes:
  • The "Show Me The Monkey" short is shown in its full length. It shows little Stan's erection actually popping up through his pants, the psychiatrist looking at an ad for an expensive boat, telling Stan that it'll take many sessions to cure him of this "imaginary monkey case". Stan asks why the doctor thinks Monkeybone is not real, but is shoved out of the door. Monkeybone then pops out of the case, pushing the doctor out of the skyscraper window. Monkeybone rides the doctor like 'Slim Pickens' in , screaming "Yeeha!" as they fall. The doctor is killed, crashing out of frame next to Stan in a splash of blood - but Monkeybone survives. Stan chastises Monkeybone, but Monkeybone tells Stan he doesn't need a psychiatrist. He sticks his finger inside his bottom, telling Stan that it's the best way to stop sucking his thumb (it's references later in the regular version with the Monkeybone toy which has ITS thumb in its bottom). Stan tells him to "get back in the pack!" (which Stu says twice to Monkeybone later in the regular version of the film.)
  • After the car crashes due to the inflated Monkeybone boat, Stu and Julie exit the car. Herb runs up to them, and is inspired with an idea for Monkeybone car air bags. Stu is incensed that Herb is calling a merchandising department instead of reporting the accident. Julie tells Stu to calm down, and use a pay phone to report the accident to the authorities. Unfortunately, a pipe which had been loosened by the crash falls on the booth, putting Stu in a coma.
  • Stu finds a Visible Man and Visible Woman in his psychological baggage. When arriving at Coma Town, there are creatures that first meet Stu rummage through his baggage, looking at a training bra and other odd items. Stu also tries to talk to coma cases on line for the Morpheum Theater, and meets other creatures from his nightmares, like a western cowboy centaur. A bizarre turtle, instead of Joe Camel, asks Stu for a smoke. A three-headed Devil compliments Stu's work, and asks for Stu's autograph - in blood, of course.
  • Stu first meets Moneybone when the elephant piano player approaches the bar, and Moneybone pops out of his knapsack. There are two versions of this: in one version, Monkeybone announces, "Fee fi fo fum, Something smells like..." and then pulls his thumb out of his bottom. The other version, he says, "Just kidding folks! Drinks on the house," then adds, nodding at Stu, "On him, of course." In both versions, he then kisses him and says, "Hiya, Boss", as he does in the regular version.
  • In an extended version of the "Love Is A Drug" scene, Stu spies his macabre paintings on display at Hypnos' party. Monkeybone tells him that he finds them disgusting and repelling. Stu gets angry, and tells him that the paintings are art, and that Monkeybone is only a doodle. The full version of "Love Is A Drug" is played, with more dancing by the town's inhabitants.
  • An extended scene with Hypnos. Monkeybone gets drunk on Hypnos' wine, annoying Stu. The bee Hypnos is laying down with flies away. Hypnos reveals that he is Death's brother. (Interesting to note Stu is never told that Hypnos is Death's brother at anytime except for the extended version of the scene, yet reveals this knowledge when being tortured by Death.) Stu decides to go to the Land of Death on his own, but Monkeybone, despite his fear, desperately convinces Stu to take him along, telling him "You gotta take me with you!" At that point, one of the Reapers comes to the party, and claims a party guest, Lulu, after she hits on him. This is the same dead girl Stu and Monkeybone follow in the regular version.
  • There is a brief scene in which Death's Helper complains that "no one understands I was born to dance", then goes through "Death's Door" to help Death process souls.
  • Monkeybone in Stu's body, is shaving off the beard he had in a coma, when Kimmy comes in, apologizing for wanting to pull the plug. She tells him that if there is anything she could do to make it up to him, she would do it. Monkeybone Stu closes the hospital room's door, tells Kimmy that she's awfully attractive, and starts dancing with her suggestively, exclaiming, "ALL ABOARD! BABY GOT A BIG CABOOSE!" Scene cuts to Julie walking toward the room, while Stu can be heard crowing, "GET ON THE BOOTY TRAIN!" A second later, Stu screams "Ow!" after being punched by Kimmy then kicked in the groin, who comes out the door looking flustered by her brother's sexual advances. Stu, still clutching his groin, says "nothing happened".
  • The scene in which the "Little Jack Horner" Monkeybone doll is extended, with the other executives actually getting on the table and rubbing bottoms with Monkeybone Stu. After they leave, Monkeybone Stu tells Herb that at the Monkeybone benefit that they should have a giant piñata full of Monkeybone dolls. As Stu continues to behave strangely, taking one of the Burger God reps white jackets, Herb is asked if Stu has been improving since the accident. Herb gleefully says, "Has he ever!"
  • The alternate ending has instead of the Monkeybone cartoon ending where Herb tells people to take off their clothes, Death pays Hypnos a visit, who is packing his bags. Death grabs Hypnos out of his tower, and Downtown closes for the night.
See more »

Connections

References Laura (1944) See more »

Soundtracks

Fall Away
Written and Performed by Eleni Mandell
Eleni Mandell performs courtesy of Space Baby Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
For Lots of Laughs (Go Somewhere Else)
18 July 2001 | by jhcluesSee all my reviews

The Fantasy genre is pretty much wide open, which allows a filmmaker to take an audience where he will, without the constraint of parameters of realism or any significant frames of reference. It's a kind of create-as-you-go market, and it's hard to go wrong, especially with the special effects and technology available today. Mixing fantasy and comedy, however, is a whole different thing, and even in the abstract it is bound to wind up in a very subjective arena, and to be successful it must be created and presented with great care, vision and an innate sense of what works by the filmmaker. `Monkeybone,' directed by Henry Selick and written by Sam Hamm is-- well-- none of those things, which is unfortunate for everyone involved with the project, but mostly for the unsuspecting audience upon which it is sprung.

The movie begins with a short `Monkeybone' cartoon, a pilot created from a popular comic strip written by Stu Miley (Brendan Fraser), which has just been picked up by Comedy Central and contracted for a number of episodes. The cartoon depicts the origins of Monkeybone himself, and the appeal is purely infantile (and that's being kind). After the premiere of this animated masterpiece, Stu attends the promo party with his girlfriend, Dr. Julie McElroy (Bridget Fonda), who is indirectly responsible for the existence of Monkeybone in the first place. Stu had suffered from a sleep disorder due to nightmares since he could remember, and it was Dr. Julie who turned his life around, treating him at the sleep clinic into which he checked himself when he finally couldn't take it anymore. At that point in his life, Stu's cartoons ranged from the gruesome to the downright disturbed-- all extensions of his nightmares; then Julie suggested drawing with his left hand instead of his right, and the result was the emergence of Monkeybone, who apparently is supposed to be the flip side of his nightmares. Which may be true for Stu, but not necessarily for the audience.

Monkeybone himself (with voice provided by John Turturro sounding like he's been inhaling helium), is-- far from being funny, cute or endearing in any way, shape or form-- an annoying little spud who grates on the senses from the moment he appears on screen, which beyond the opening cartoon, begins with Stu's descent into `Down Town,' the land of nightmares residing within his own mind into which he slips when a freak accident puts him in a coma. It's a freakish place, a kind of demented `Toon Town,' populated by (besides the ever-present and irritating Monkeybone) such illustrious nightmare mongers as Edgar Allan Poe, Jack the Ripper, Lizzy Borden, Attila the Hun and Stephen King (yes, the real King, in a cameo appearance). The crux of Stu's problem is that he has to get his hands on an `Exit Pass,' in order to defy Death (Whoopi Goldberg), and make his escape back into the land of the living.

Brendan Fraser has to be given credit for not being afraid to take on challenging (some would say questionable) roles; from the comic antics of `George of the Jungle,' to the comedy/drama of `With Honors,' to the action-packed `Mummy' films that have been so successful. Overall, he's made a career out of taking chances and ferreting out parts that have quite effectively showcased his versatility and talent as an actor. And it's easy to understand why this vehicle would've appealed to him. On paper, at least, it probably looked like it would work; and Stu, as written, probably seemed like a character that would give him another opportunity to spread his wings and show some range. Unfortunately, it's a long, long journey from script to screen, as they say. And even an Oscar worthy performance in this case (and it wasn't) couldn't have saved the day. The best that can be said is that Fraser did as well as anyone could have with the material he was given.

As for Bridget Fonda, one has to ask how an actor of her caliber gets caught up in such a thankless, generic role as this, which served the story as little more than fancy window dressing. Fonda is simply too good and too deserving of better than to wind up in a part as forgettable as this. But then again, it may have looked good on paper. We'll call it that.

The supporting cast includes Chris Kattan (Organ Donor Stu), Giancarlo Esposito (Hypnos), Rose McGowan (Kitty), Dave Foley (Herb), Megan Mullally (Kimmy) and Lisa Zane (Medusa). Sometimes it's fun to just relax and watch a movie that doesn't require much effort or thought and just lets you roll with the flow, but `Monkeybone' isn't one of them. This is the one that never should have made it past the first draft of the screenplay, and Fraser and Fonda should invest in some white-out to try and expunge this from their respective filmographies. There's magic in the movies, but not when the wires are exposed and you can see the trap door in the stage. So file this one under `Sorry-- but try again,' and we can all move on to bigger, better and happier times. I rate this one 1/10.


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