Death to Smoochy (2002)
June 20, 2015 6:05 PM - Subscribe

When Sheldon Mopes, aka Smoochy the Rhino, is hired to replace kids show host Rainbow Randall, he doesn't realize that children's entertainment is anything but child's play.

Robin Williams plays Rainbow Randall, a cynical kids show host who gets busted for taking bribes from parents in exchange for appearances on his show. Desperate for an immediate, but squeaky clean replacement, the network lights upon Sheldon Mopes (Ed Norton) a singularly sincere man who plays Smoochy the Rhino. Shockingly Smoochy becomes incredibly popular with kids, and Mopes manages to side step the pitfalls of the edutainment industry with his earnest nature. Even Nora (Catherine Keener), Smoochy's hardened producer, falls for his charm and the two begin a relationship.

The movie culminates which an ice show. Mopes has earned the ire of corrupt charities by cutting them out of the ice show profits. This decision results in a plot against Sheldon's life, which is attempted during the ice show. The attempt fails, with the killers disposed of mainly off screen by the Irish mafia. Randall and Smoochy begin a new show together with Nora.

Smoochy, directed by Danny David, did not fair particularly well in the box office or with the critics. Rotten Tomatoes currently ranks Smoochy at 42 % (rotten), but it does score 66% with audiences. Roger Ebert paid the film the following back handed compliment, "Only enormously talented people could have made Death to Smoochy. Those with lesser gifts would have lacked the nerve to make a film so bad, so miscalculated, so lacking any connection with any possible audience. To make a film this awful, you have to have enormous ambition and confidence, and dream big dreams."

On a side note, all the ice skating choreography was done by Canadian ice skater Elvis Stojko.
posted by miss-lapin (12 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Good goddamn but I absolutely love this movie. It's so fucked up and dark and hilarious, and I LOVE seeing Edward Norton in weird roles like this.

(also I may or may not be known to occasionally put up little posters that say "you can't change the world but you can make a dent")
posted by angeline at 7:09 PM on June 20, 2015 [4 favorites]

I love this movie too and it reminds me a bit of another Robin Williams film The Fisher King. Here Parsifal is played by Norton, but it's partially the same plot in that a strikingly innocent character inadvertently heals a bitter man. This film adds a layer of satire in terms of the edutainment industry. I think the end is problematic, but over all I enjoy it.
posted by miss-lapin at 7:20 PM on June 20, 2015

I have a weird affection for the Irish mob guys. ("It's a shame this happened. Okay, now let's go pray and get shitfaced.")
posted by bakerina at 8:35 PM on June 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

Way better movie than it sounded.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:09 PM on June 20, 2015

This movie is fucking hilarious and a great use of Robing Williams being a total psycho. Crazy quotable too. And the songs!

Lookie lookie lookie
Here comes a cookie
Fresh from the soil!
No tropical oil!
Sweetened with juice
For an energy boost!

(Also "My step-dad's not mean he's just adjusting")
posted by supercrayon at 11:19 PM on June 20, 2015 [4 favorites]

I have to say, also, that watching this movie does actually remind me to eat a little better for a few days afterward, so thanks, Sheldon! Although I'm still not touching a soy dog with spirulina butter or whatever the heck that was in the beginning.
posted by angeline at 8:04 AM on June 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

That stuff he puts on the dog is a special blend which involves almond butter that Ed Norton devised himself specifically for this part.
posted by miss-lapin at 10:44 AM on June 21, 2015

Did anyone else notice that this film takes place in the same universe as American History X? Edward Norton is playing the same character, just post reform. Same anger issues, same familiarity with firearms, he's just under control now. I'm glad he's doing better.
posted by stet at 12:11 PM on June 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

I had never seen this before, and I liked it well enough. It had its ups and downs. But I have to say -- Smoochy on Ice was brilliant!
posted by isthmus at 7:56 PM on June 22, 2015

This film sits in a very small compartment with a few others that are much funner and funnier and quotable than you would expect from their reviews. Death to Smoochy, Mystery Men, Intolerable Cruelty, and the first Spongebob Squarepants Movie.
posted by Paragon at 3:26 PM on June 23, 2015

Thus far I have named two cars inspired by this movie (yellow mini is Randolph "it's small but it's fierce!" and a car we had that was even smaller was Angie) (a third car is a Big Lebowski nod - Walter). I keep trying to make people watch it because, really, it's fucking hilarious and fun.

HALT gets a lot of play, in our household. I think I need to rewatch soon.

The worst quote I have that is in rotation is "ow, my balls!" because I don't have them but every time I spill something on myself that's what tries to pop out of my mouth.
posted by geek anachronism at 7:17 PM on June 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

I love this movie. I love my future ex husband Edward Norton. I love Robin Williams playing assholes. I looooooooooooooooooooooooove Catherine Keener, who is woefully underrated. And hey, Stojko! While he had this whole Thing about I Am A Macho Man Who Figure Skates I'm Not Gay Even Though Literally 99% Of All Male Figure Skaters Are Look At Me Do Martial Arts On Ice I'm Fucking Rambo, he was a hell of a skater, especially given his size--he's actually a seriously tiny dude.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:30 AM on July 2, 2015

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