Thursday, April 2 by

On April 10th, Observe and Report opens, and will be the second mall cop movie released within a few months.  We’re not saying it’s a knockoff of Paul Blart at all.  But it’s another example of the Hollywood tradition for competing studios to release two eerily familiar movies right around the same time of year. 

Some say both films benefit from the timing.  Some say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  You be the judge of which flicks deserve the compliment. 

Screen Junkies presents – in convenient chronological order, no less:



Turner and Hooch vs. K-9


Release Date Difference:
Believe it or not, K-9 was released 3 months before Turner and Hooch.

The (Same) Plot:
A California policeman teams up with lovable pooch to take down evil crime ring. Lieutenant Dog is shot protecting their new best friend, Detective Human.

The Kicker:
Hooch dies. Jerry Lee (K-9) lives.

The Principals:

Director: Roger Spottiswoode (Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot) for Turner and Hooch & Rod Daniel (Teen Wolf) for K-9.

Stars: Tom Hanks plays Turner, the neat freak detective who comes to love Hooch’s carefree ways.  James Belushi plays Michael Dooley – ill-tempered, fussy detective.

The Victor:

Turner and Hooch.

Sure, K-9 was first, and had a happy ending (plus, arguably, the cooler dog), but T’n’H had Tom Hanks in his pre-Jesus-decodifying, pre-European accent days. Charisma, thy name isn’t Belushi. At least, not James Belushi.


1989… again

Leviathan vs. Deep Star Six


Release Date Difference:
Deep Star by a nose – 2 months.

The (Same) Plot:
Contracted deep sea crew discovers ravenous fish-monster with taste for human flesh. After almost everyone dies, the rest decide to hot-foot it out of the deep blue sea, only to be attacked by the sea creature once again when they reach the surface.

The Principals:

Director: George P. Cosmatos (Tombstone, Rambo: First Blood Part II) for Leviathan; Sean S. Cunningham (the original Friday the 13th) for Deep Star Six.

Stars: Peter Weller, aka Robocop, in Leviathan.  Taurean Blacque in Deep Star Six. Who? I dunno, some guy.

The Victor:

Leviathan. Barely.

The cast outshines Deep Star Six (despite a brief role from Matt McCoy of Police Academy 6: City Under Siege fame). Deep Star Six holds water over Leviathan for the most impactful scene – which they pretty much ruined by making it their poster.



Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves vs. Robin Hood

Release Date Difference:
Robin Hood, by a month.

The (Same) Plot:
Robin Hood and his Merry Men seek to thwart the evil Sheriff of Nottingham by stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.

The Principals:

Director: Kevin Reynolds (Waterworld) for Prince of Thieves.  John Irvin (Raw Deal – go see it) for Robin Hood.

Stars: Kevin Costner (Prince of Thieves), authentically bringing the myth of Robin’s American accent to film.  Patrick Bergin (Robin Hood), perpetuating the lie on Robin Hood being British (of all things!)

The Victor:
Alan Rickman (Die Hard, plus a bunch of movies that pale in comparison to Die Hard).

Rickman showed he could be a two-hit bad guy, and easily outshone both the star and the other movie. You should probably send him money.



1492: Conquest of Paradise vs. Christopher Columbus: The Discovery


Release Date Difference:
The Discovery eked out a summer release, two months prior to 1492.

The (Same) Plot:
Some Italian navigator decides to sail across the world on Spain’s dime. He was a bad driver and crashed into America instead, decided he discovered it, while Vikings and Native Americans yelled BS.

The Principals:

Director: Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner, bunch of awesome stuff) for 1492. John Glen (A ton of James Bond flicks) for CC: The Discovery.

Stars: Gérard Depardieu, Armand Assante, Sigourney Weaver in 1492.
Some Guy as Columbus, with help from Marlon Brando, Tom Selleck (!?), Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Benecio Del Toro in Columbus.

The Victor:

1492, by default.

Both were busts, but only one brought in major Razzie nominations. Magnum PI failed as King Ferdinand (I’m no historian, but I’m guessing the Hawaiian shirt and the short shorts didn’t fit this character).


Tombstone vs. Wyatt Earp

Release Date Difference:
Tombstone "crushes" Wyatt Earp by six months.

The (Same) Plot:
Goody-two-shoes Wyatt Earp tries to tame the wild west. There’s a big shootout at the OK Corral, but Kevin Costner lives anyways.

The Principals:

Director: George P. Cosmatos (Leviathan, Rambo: First Blood Part II)  for Tombstone.  Lawrence Kasdan (The Big Chill, Silverado, writer of all your childhood favorites) for Wyatt Earp.

Stars: Kurt Russell (Wyatt), Val Kilmer (Doc Holliday), Sam Elliot (Virgil), and Bill Paxton (Morgan) in Tombstone.  Kevin Costner (Wyatt), Dennis Quaid (Doc), Gene Hackman (Nicolas), and BIll Pullman (Ed Masterson) in Wyatt Earp.

The Victor:

Tombstone… if only because (1) Kurt Russell, (2) Val Kilmer, and (3) you can view it within a fortnight.


Dante’s Peak vs. Volcano


Release Date Difference:
Dante’s Peak edges Volcano by 3 months.

The (Same) Plot:
Experts try to warn that a volcano no one is worried about is about to melt everyone. No one listens, people melt.

The Principals:

Director: Roger Donaldson (The Bank Job) for Dante’s Peak.  Mick Jackson (The Bodyguard) for Volcano.

Stars: Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton in Dante’s Peak. Tommy Lee Jones, Anne Heche, and Keith David in Volcano.

The Victor:

A tie!

The brilliant casting of Keith David (aka "Childs" from The Thing), offsets the slightly better melting of stuff in Dante’s Peak. Although, some may give an edge to Volcano for destroying Los Angeles.



Armageddon vs. Deep Impact


Release Date Difference:
Deep Impact slams in 2 months before Armageddon.

The (Same) Plot:
An extraterrestrial rock is about to hit earth. The United Deciders of America step up to take action by nuking the crap out of that evil-doer rock (hopefully).

The Principals:

Michael "BOOM" Bay (Transformers, The Rock, Twitter) for Armageddon.  Mimi Leder (Pay It Forward) for Deep Impact.

Stars: Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Aerosmith, and Steve Buscemi in Armageddon. Morgan Freeman, Elijah Wood, Robert Duvall, and Téa Leoni in Deep Impact.

The Victor:

The comet in Deep Impact.

I was a well developed character, and arguably the villain with the highest body count in all of cinema history!


1998… again

A Bug’s Life vs. Antz

Release Date Difference:
One itsy-bitsy month – Antz beats Life to the theaters.

The (Same) Plot:
A neurotic worker Ant, who is secretly in love with the Princess Ant (they have those?!), trying to break free of the ant social order.

The Principals:

Director: John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton (Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Wall-E) for A Bug’s Life.  Eric Darnell and Tim Johnson (Madagascar, Over the Hedge) for Antz.

Stars: Dave Foley, Julia Louise-Dreyfuss, Kevin Spacey in A Bug’s Life.
Woody Allen, Dan Aykroyd, Danny Glover, and Gene Hackman in Antz.

The Victor:

Depends on how you like your neurotic Ants, but for my money, A Bug’s Life.  Hopefull watching it will get you to see Seven Samurai



Mission to Mars vs. Red Planet

Release Date Difference:
Mission to Mars hit theaters 8 months before Red Planet.
(Fun fact: by the time Red Planet was released, no one remembered Mission to Mars)

The (Same) Plot:
A space crew goes to Mars to have a picnic or something, but there’s actually stuff there, and it freaks them out. Also, there are robots, because it’s the future.

The Principles:

Director: Brian DePalma (Scarface, Carrie) for Mission to Mars.  Anthony Hoffman (absolutely nothing else) for Red Planet.

Stars: Gary Sinise, Tim Robbins, and Don Cheadle in Mission to Mars.
Val Kilmer, Carrie-Anne Moss, Tom Sizemore, and Terrance Stamp in Red Planet.

The Victor:


Um, Red Planet‘s got Terrance Stamp, so there’s a… plus… I guess. Screw it! Just see Ghosts of Mars instead (released 9 months after Red Planet)!



Heist vs. The Score

Release Date Difference:
The Score stole the early audience by 4 months.

The (Same) Plot:
Thieves get tired of stealing old ladies’ purses, so they go after some heavly protected priceless items. Of course, no one can be trusted, so the robbers triple-back-stab each other. But really, the has-been over-the-hill lead just wants to be smarter than the young upstart actor.

The Principals:

Director: David Mamet (Glengarry Glen Ross, Ronin) for Heist.  Frank Oz (Trading Places, voice of Yoda) for The Score.

Stars: Gene Hackman, Sam Rockwell, and Danny Devito in Heist.
Robert DeNiro, Edward Norton, and Marlon Brando in The Score

The Victor:

Another tie!

Both flicks want to be twistier than a pretzel (and just as tasty), but they both come out as plain ol’ number 2 pencils (and just as tasty).  Heist may take the cake for the most confusing line of dialogue in movie history when Danny Devito says, "Everybody needs money. That’s why they call it money." 


Paul Blart: Mall Cop vs. Observe and Report

Release Date Difference:
Paul Blart scoots in on his Segway 3 months ahead of O and R.

The (Same) Plot:
Fat dumb guys can’t get regular jobs, so they have to strap on a taser and work at the Mall; also, they’re in love with one of their fellow mall employees. 

The Principles:

Director: Steve Carr (Daddy Day Care) for Paul Blart.
Jody Hill (The Foot Fist Way, Eastbound & Down) for Observe and Report.

Stars: Kevin James in Paul Blart. Seth Rogen, Anna Faris, and Ray Liotta in O and R.

The Victor:

Only time will tell.  Blart felt like a rushed movie and wasn’t received too well by critics.  Nonetheless, it scored big B.O. opening weekend and ended up taking in over $100 mil.  Observe and Report hits theaters on April 10th, and director Jody Hill has already called Blart "a piece of sh*t."  Let’s hope he can back those words up.

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  1. April 2, 2009 11:45 am


    the fast and the furious and point break? .. i think these are very much alike the fast and the furious: http://www.tastekid.com/ask?q=the+fast+and+the+furious&f=dym

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