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Lauren Looks Back: "Mac and Me (1988)" is the Earnest ET Ripoff

1988 was a good year for me. I was 2, Saturday morning cartoons were a thing, and Mac and Me was a movie. The only thing was — I hadn't heard of Mac and Me until roughly 3 years ago.

Lauren Looks Back: Mac & Me

Mac and Me is an earnest ET ripoff. Released in the summer of 1988, this movie was an immediate flop. Centering around a boy named Eric and an alien named MAC ("Mysterious Alien Creature"), the film follows Eric trying to hide MAC from the government, while also trying to get him back to his family with the help of his family and friends. The movie was — at its core — a thinly veiled advertisement for both Coca-Cola and McDonalds. Yet despite that, the movie was not funded by McDonald's!

Golden State Foods was a part of the funding for this film — and Golden State Foods is a food distributor that has worked with McDonald's. The greatest, if not the second weirdest part of this already weird film, comes within the confines of a McDonalds. Our protagonists are driving to a McDonalds for a birthday party, while MAC is wearing a teddy bear costume. Before we even enter the restaurant, there are people dancing in the parking lot.

And then there are people dancing in the restaurant. It's so completely out of place, and yet it also works within the confines of this remarkably stupid movie. The characters within this specific scene are extremely cartoonish and over the top, including the ballet team and football team — and even Ronald McDonald in an overwise extremely busy McDonalds.

But where this movie is incredibly weird, it also has it's shining moments. The acting, while mostly mediocre, isn't actually terrible. No one is acting over the top, and frankly, everyone is cast accordingly. I will say though, when we first meet Eric's friend near the start of the film, she's sitting out by the road in a lot of Native American items. This character point is never brought up again after that, and we're given exactly 0 explanation as to why she was doing that. The rest of the characters are fairly one dimensional, but for this movie that's almost expected.

The score for the movie is also really good. It adds a few layers of depth and is high quality for this. Granted, at times the soundtrack sounds like Back to the Future or Space Mountain at certain points. But it's still good, and above serviceable.

All in all, this is worth watching at least once. It's enjoyable, it's weird, and Paul Rudd uses this infamous clip in just about every interview he gives on Conan. You can find Mac and Me streaming on Amazon Prime.

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Baltimore LaurenAbout Baltimore Lauren

I like pinball machines, Archie Comics, and bad movies. Sometimes I write about old books for the heck of it. Follow me on Twitter: @BaltimoreLauren
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