Reviewed by Ken M. Wilson
Rating: 10 Beans
ad we at "Bad Movie Night" decided to allow movies to be rated above ten, this movie would have been a ten... no, a ten plus... no, BORDERLINE ELEVEN! Respectable actor Danny Glover and choppy, no-talent Joe Pesci star as fishing fanatics Joe and Gus, two lifelong friends that have always caused trouble no matter where they go. It's a shame that they didn't show up in character when the executives at Caravan and Hollywood Pictures decided to release this film to the general public... we might all have been spared from this contender for "Worst Film of 1997."
Of course, we enjoy to find big-name gems such as "Gone Fishin'," for it brings to life that fear of all fears... anyone, and I mean anyone, can find themselves starring or co-starring in a film worthy of being heralded on "Bad Movie Night." I managed to catch this film twice in the theatres and still carry the ticket stubs proudly in my wallet. Recently, I rented this film for a full-blown in-house viewing. With Scoot and Bjula in tow, I managed to solidify the fact that "Gone Fishin'" is just as horrible on the small screen as it was in the theatre.
Here's the premise -- Glover and Pesci have managed somehow to win Willie "Catch" Nelson's fishing contest. Apparently, Nelson is a legendary rodsman that has his own television show featuring his philosophical dogma on catching fish. It boils down to being completely in the wrist and all one has to do is "flick and dip... flick and dip." Willie has probably fifteen lines in the film... had he had more perhaps he would have been paid enough money to pay off his past IRS debt. As it stands, that's about the extent of his character. With that out of the way, we can concentrate on the, eh heh heh, plot. As I said, the boys have won Nelson's fishing contest and are going to make their way to "the big one" -- they are going to fish the Florida Everglades. Their wives have given them strict rules of being back home before Thanksgiving. With that said, the guys are "Gone Fishin'!"
Stopping off at a small on-the-way diner, the boys are duped by slicked up Dekker Massey, the films bad guy. Convincing them that he's just an amateur fisherman, he gains their trust and their carkeys when neither is watching. With that, the boys are carless... Massey's quick getaway leaves the buddies' boat behind which the idiots plan to lug to their final destination. It is from here that the complete idiocy begins as we are made privvy to Massey's whole string of evil -- he moves in on older women, marries them, then takes their money and jewels and sometimes their lives. With the help of two women ("Look, Gus... babes!"), the boys are given a tow. Lo and behold, one of the babes (Rosanna Arquette... I waaaaaaant youuuuu) has had her own run in with Massey, for he took her mother for everything.
From here, the movie embarks on a series of idiotic mishaps -- boats are wrecked and/or picked up by trains, hotels are blown up (Glover's character sleepwalks whenever he eats red meat), Massey is hot on their trail, the boys find evidence to nail Massey only to lose it before they can turn it in for the reward money, etc. etc. etc.
The movie ends with the boys staging an incredible chase for Massey -- after a "touching" scene in which the two exchange how lucky they are for having the lives that they do (all the while they are tied up in chairs and holding hands in the middle of a Florida swamp) -- and nailing him in the end.
Ken's Cameo Corner brings us two cameos... one was the effeminate waiter at the ritzy club (played by Maury Chaykin) where the boys eat dinner, this same man played Jim the hacker in "Wargames" alongside Eddie Deezen; the other was Academy Award winner for Best Actress Louise Fletcher who is MUCH better known as the nasty Nurse Ratched from Nicholson's "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." As of this writing, I am unsure as of my most prized Cameo Corner entrant. Did any of you ever see Kitten Natividad's classic 1987 film "Takin' It All Off?" Well, if I'm correct, the same guy who played the business man that the girls were supposed to impress may have played the stuffy waiter that is seen glaring at the "Gone Fishin'" boys when they first arrive in the fancy restaurant. I'll have to look further into this.
All in all, this movie was one of the most horrific events of 1997 for me... it was so painful to watch the first time that, when learning that I couldn't see "Batman and Robin" due to ticket availability, I took my six year old son Alex to see it. To this day, even Alex (who enjoyed "Bean") says that this movie "was very bad." That's my boy.
"Gone Fishin'" may not get worst film of the year here at "BM Awards," it's my official favorite contender. Just seeing Danny Glover, who has been in such legitimately great films such as "Witness," "Lethal Weapon," and "The Color Purple," appearing as an inept shell of a human being is almost depressing. I sincerely hope that he just made "Gone Fishin'" as part of a contractual obligation or because he was just having fun for it was horrible. For Pesci, this kind of a role is standard issue for him.
In the end, and I don't know how many times I can stress this, "Gone Fishin'" is a ten bean movie... no, a ten plus bean movie... no, hell, it's BORDERLINE ELEVEN!