Theodore Rex (1995)

Director/Screenwriter: Jonathan R. Betuel

The Second Annual White Elephant Blogathon

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By Marilyn Ferdinand

I read about this blogathon hosted by Lucid Screening that sounded kinda cool and like something I used to like to do with my film buds. Assign a movie to someone they would never ordinarily see and let them assign one to you. View and exchange notes.
Now, I can’t say I didn’t know what I might be in for. The event is called a White Elephant Blogathon, so I knew the films being exchanged would be clunkers. But I didn’t think anyone would truly be cruel—I knew I wouldn’t be. We’re supposed to have fun, right, not inflict maximum pain?

Well, whoever pulled Theodore Rex out of the tortured recesses of their demented mind just for this occasion will be another extinct being to add to the dinosaurs, passenger pigeons, and dodo birds if ever I get my hands on him or her. This movie isn’t dumb. It isn’t gross. It isn’t juvenile. I have a lot of respect for dumb, gross, and juvenile. This movie is even worse than the Preminger Abomination (don’t ask, I cannot speak its name). It is a crime against humanity. It should be put on trial. It should be disemboweled and hung by the neck until dead. Everyone who agreed to make it should be fired, thrown out of their respective unions, tarred and feathered, and sent to live in Chernobyl.

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What’s it about? Does it matter? I’m sure its creator, Jonathan Betuel, wrote it as occupational therapy with the help of celebrity addicts Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and Tom Sizemore (he contributed the detective angle) while they were riding out the DTs. In the end, it’s just a bunch of starving actors dressed up like dinosaurs that fart, lust, and whack people with their tails. Now, Theodore Rex (voice of George Newbern, body of somebody too embarrassed to show his face) did have a certain je ne sais quoi. No, really, I have no idea what he had. And, of course, we can’t forget, as much as we might try, the infamous Whoopi Goldberg in a dive suit fitted with shoulder pads recycled from Sean Young’s black suit in Blade Runner. Maybe Whoopi should have been wearing fins, too; it might have made the film funnier. At least you could look forward to her tripping and landing on her ass.

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Whoopi won a Razzie for her brain-dead appearance in this fugtacular. I’m on the fence as to whether she really deserved it. She didn’t do anything but show up and move her lips. She never tried to create a character, like it wasn’t worth her time. Well, I’m sorry, but Razzies really should only go to bad performances. Maybe if she had flirted a little with Rodney, the dinosaur shown above that had the hots for her, I could lay my doubts to rest. Rodney, at least, gave it a try, though the possibility that he could actually be attracted to Whoopi were slim to none. I think this is a case where the Foundation awarded the film, not the actress.

Also caught in the headlights were Armin Mueller-Stahl, a German actor cast as—what else?—a bad guy. Poor Juliet Landau—you’d think being the daughter of super-cool Barbara Bain and Oscar winner Martin Landau would mean a lifetime free of bad or kooky roles. So far, though, I’ve only seen her play evil Englishwomen—Druscilla (what a name to be stuck with!) on the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Veronica Shade (so close to very hip Veruca Salt, and yet so far) in this atrocity. Even the normally perky voice of Carol Kane sounded listless and depressed. And I’ll never be able to look at hunky Richard Roundtree the same way again.

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Curse the Red Betuel and his kind! Curse the wickedness in this world! Curse the evil that causes all this unhappiness!

Happy April Fools Day! The joke was definitely on me. l

  • Ali Arikan spoke:
    1st/04/2008 to 9:56 am

    Come on! Whoopi Goldberg! Druscilla! A talking dinosaur! What’s not to love!

  • Marilyn spoke:
    1st/04/2008 to 10:04 am

    I have always hated Whoopi and Druscilla. Always! But I still love dinosaurs.

  • goatdog spoke:
    1st/04/2008 to 10:47 am

    Is the Preminger Abomination an abomination only if one has read the source novel, or is it simply a crime against the cinema? I’m not a huge Preminger fan, but I was sort of looking forward to that one. (Not to Theodore Rex, of course.)

  • Marilyn spoke:
    1st/04/2008 to 10:56 am

    It is an abomination because of the way it completely defamed Algren’s book. The casting is pretty moronic, too. It’s not A Walk on the Wild Side, which is bad, but not an abomination.

  • Gina spoke:
    1st/04/2008 to 11:21 am

    Marilyn – thanks for your condolences on Strip Nude for Your Killer.
    I’ve never seen Theodore Rex – but I actually like Whoopi and I love Armin Mueller Stahl.
    But seeing them in a bad movie might be more than I can handle 🙂

  • Marilyn spoke:
    1st/04/2008 to 11:29 am

    I have nothing against most of the cast per se except Whoopi (her only good performances, IMO, were 1990’s The Long Walk Home and 1992’s Sister Act). I just hate seeing some talent, like Mueller-Stahl, wasted like this.

  • Ben spoke:
    1st/04/2008 to 12:08 pm

    Oh god, that first screencap is enough to make me feel sorry for you.

  • Fox spoke:
    2nd/04/2008 to 1:03 am

    This probably wasn’t your aim, but you’ve made me want to collect my friends together and watch this one night! 🙂

  • Marilyn spoke:
    2nd/04/2008 to 10:23 am

    Sicko!

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