One of the things I love most about the ‘90s is that it wasn’t that serious. I mean, I was no more than 12 during that decade so the world felt fun to me no matter what but at the same time the pop culture of the ‘90s – and part of the very early ‘00s – did have this level of silliness to it that we celebrated. Movies like ‘Kindergarten Cop’ could be a hit just as much as a movie like ‘Forrest Gump.’ I won’t mention why the world became a bummer in 2001, but you can guess why…With that, one of my absolute favorite aspects of 1994 is a movie adaptation of one the groundbreaking TV series, ‘The Flintstones.’
I’d like to think the success of ‘The Addams Family’ movies years prior helped ‘The Flintstones’ get greenlit because the creepy and kooky family really showcased how to perfect a film based on a beloved show from the past. Rule #1 – don’t take it so seriously. Just look at ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’ the year before. Movies based on ridiculous shows don’t have to go overboard. They just have to stick with the source material enough, create a believable world, and cast wonderfully and no one will be upset. Or perhaps people were upset but it was 1994 and Twitter was still 12 years from making its debut so we had no way of knowing random people’s opinions. Nevertheless, ‘The Flintstones’ movie had all four.
‘The Flintstones’ plot possessed both heart and ridiculousness as Barney and Betty’s adoption of Bamm-Bamm and trying to stop the plot of an evil CEO balanced one another out, and in between, we got a movie that highlighted so much of what we loved about this silly world like the garbage disposal that was just a prehistoric piggy, the cars that literally ran via feet, and carving one’s answers on a piece of rock as the paper was years from being a thing. Those aspects, while idiotic to those who only think cinema counts when it’s nominated for an Oscar, are what helped bring the world of Bedrock alive. Not to mention the cast.
No one was bigger than John Goodman in the ‘90s and honestly, no notes when it came to him as Fred Flintstone. He’s forever Dan Conner to me but absolutely no one else in 1994 could’ve slayed that role like he did, and by his side, Rick Moranis. Don’t even get me started on my Moranis crush…him as the lovable sidekick Barney, almost recognizable with the blonde locks, but nonetheless a perfect choice. As for their lady counterparts, Elizabeth Perkins owned it as Wilma, and I was not mad at Rosie O’Donnell’s Betty. That’s just the core four though as the rest of the cast was rounded out by freaking Elizabeth Taylor, Halle Berry, and Kyle MacLachlan – just to name a few.
‘The Flintstones’ had long been this cartoon I watched in syndication. Something to fill the void of my bedroom as I made up lavish tales with my Barbies. It was fine, but never one of my must-watch, small screen necessities. However, when the two-time Razzie-winning film came to light I was nothing less than thrilled – and I wasn’t the only one. ‘The Flintstones’ managed to be $6 in 1994 at the box office, nestled in between ‘Speed’ and ‘Dumb and Dumber.’ Told you silliness was celebrated then. Even more impressive, what it banked in ‘94 would’ve landed it well in the top 10 today.
It’s been a minute since a movie like this has gone into theaters, but there is hope that Hollywood can still take a TV antiquity and spin it into a lovely cash flow. Just look at what Netflix did with ‘Wednesday.’ Perhaps the latest ‘Addams Family’ addition to the world will result in a…you know what, never mind. I don’t think we need to see Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm given a Hot Topic and/or ‘Riverdale’ makeover, but then again…
Whatever Hollywood decides or doesn’t decide to do with ‘The Flintstones,’ one thing’s for certain, the love I have for the 1994 movie will remain forever.
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