Saturday Night Live has produced a number of cinematic offshoots, from hits like The Blues Brothers (1980) and Wayne’s World (1992) to unjustly neglected pictures like Stuart Saves His Family (1995). Perhaps one of the least seen films to emerge from that hotbed of satire and cultural parody is this 1984 sci-fi comedy written and directed by series writer Tom Schiller. Zach Galligan stars as an aspiring artist in a futuristic New York run by the Port Authority. When he fails a drawing test, he’s forced to direct traffic in Holland Tunnel, which puts him in touch with a group of homeless people who secretly rule the world. To flesh out the story, Schiller managed to secure a number of inspired celebrity cameos from fellow SNL-ers Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd, comics Imogene Coca and Mort Sahl and singer Eddie Fisher. The picture even marked the on-screen debut of Anita Ellis, a big band singer best known for dubbing Hollywood stars like Rita Hayworth and Jeanne Crain. MGM was gung ho for the film until it tested poorly in previews. At that point, they pulled it from their schedule, even ignoring two invitations to screen it at the Cannes Film Festival. It played on television in a few European countries and made its U.S. television debut earlier this year as part of the TCM Underground franchise.
(d. Tom Schiller, 82m, 35mm)
In attendance: Zach Galligan