Nine Movies Based on Saturday Night Live Sketches

Stuart Saves His Family

This isn't a particularly inspired list - but then, none of these movies were particularly inspired either. Let them serve as a symbol of Hollywood's creative bankruptcy. It's bad enough that a strident Saturday Night Live player should become a bankable movie star (Bill Murray notwithstanding). But you're really scraping the bottom of the barrel when you sink millions into a feature film based on a mildly amusing five-minute sketch. SNL has produced exactly eight such pictures, though two had sequels (one too horrible to list: Blues Brothers 2000, anyone?).

  1. The Blues Brothers (1980). The first - and, some say, the best - of the SNL movies, this John Belushi-Dan Aykroyd vehicle was based on their wildly popular musical comedy act. Although it was a hit, it actually remained the only SNL title in theatres until...
  2. Wayne's World (1992). Mike Myers became a big star with this recurring sketch, and the feature version was such a hit that it quickly yielded a sequel:
  3. Wayne's World 2 (1993). Though not as successful as the first Wayne's World, this comedy did well enough to inspire SNL producer Lorne Michaels - and Paramount, who had an exclusive distribution deal with Michaels - to go forth and start mining the TV show for yet more feature material. And thus we have:
  4. Coneheads (1993). Michaels made the mistake of going back to the original SNL skits first, unaware that, by 1993, nobody was interested in seeing characters that were popular a full fifteen years earlier - much less ones embodied by Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin. Coneheads tanked.
  5. It's Pat (1994). Still, the SNL movie juggernaut foraged on, though not even Lorne Michaels or Paramount would touch Julia Sweeney's awful "comedy", based on her androgynous SNL character. It's Pat was so bad that it was barely even released.
  6. Stuart Saves His Family (1995). Even so, it's hard to understand why Michaels, Paramount, et al thought this would be the big winner, since even SNL fans barely acknowledged occasional cast member Al Franken's lisping "self-empowerment" proponent. They put a lot of time, money, and talent into this picture - and watched it go down like a lead balloon.
  7. A Night at the Roxbury (1998). After the previous disasters, Michaels and Paramount took a few years off to regroup. Fresh faces in the SNL cast provided the inspiration for a new breed of cheaply-made, easily-profitable comedies. A Night at the Roxbury, which helped propel Will Ferrell to stardom, was the first, though it immediately dates itself, not least because the actual Roxbury nightclub closed soon after.
  8. Superstar (1999). Ferrell again, but this time playing second fiddle to castmate Molly Shannon's geeky Catholic school girl. Superstar is almost weird enough to recommend (cast and crew, well aware that their low-budget/fast-buck comedy was hardly going to be scrutinized by studio bean counters, indulge in some downright surreal moments), but the SNL movie franchise was clearly getting weaker by the year.
  9. The Ladies Man (2000). You know things are tough when you're releasing Molly Shannon and Tim Meadows vehicles - even if rising star Ferrell kept generously lending his talents in supporting roles - and so did Lorne Michaels, for this was the final nail in theĀ Saturday Night Live movie coffin. Michaels decided it was wiser to use the talents of his writers and performers in non-sketch-inspired films, and so the profitable, well-received Mean Girls - written by SNL alumna Tina Fey and starring Fey, Meadows, and other cast members - was born.