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Film: Mac and Me

1988 Merchandise-Driven ripoff of E.T. Shortly after being picked up by an unmanned space probe and taken to Earth, a family of humanoid space aliens escapes from a research lab. They get split up, with the youngest entering a van belonging to the Cruise family (not that one): single mom Janet, 16-year-old Michael and 11-year-old wheelchair-bound boy Eric, who are moving from Illinois to California. Of course, it's the youngest kid who discovers the alien first — Hilarity Ensues as the creature's attempts to reunite with his family cause Eric's family to think he's going insane.

This is to E.T. what Hobgoblins is to Gremlins. Both Something Awful and the AV Club provide detailed recaps of the film. It was also the subject of Phelous's very first review on That Guy with the Glasses, can be seen here. Interestingly, Mac and Me was Jennifer Aniston's screen debut. A clumsy scene in which Eric rolls off a cliff became a Running Gag on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, as whenever Paul Rudd was a guest, Rudd would play that clip instead of one from whatever film he was promoting at the time.


This film provides examples of:

  • Award Bait Song: "Take Me, I'll Follow You" by Bobby Caldwell.
    • If Jara Lane was famous, "You're Not A Stranger Anymore" might be considered an attempt of this trope.
  • Batman in My Basement
  • Character as Himself: Ronald McDonald is credited as this. He wound up winning the "Worst New Star" Razzie for '88.
  • Disney Death: Both the aliens and Eric; the attempted tearjerking before they are revived is milked for all its worth.
  • Disappeared Dad: We're not told why.
  • Exposed Extraterrestrials: The alien family, until they become American citizens at the end.
  • Follow the Leader: Besides being an E.T. ripoff, the title of Mac and Me is one word different from an early working title for E.T., which was E.T. and Me.
  • Handicapped Badass: Eric, for a given very adolescent definition of "badass" - Chuck Norris he ain't, but you gotta admit the wheelchair stunts are pretty impressive.
  • Love at First Sight: Michael and Courtney.
  • Made of Explodium: A small supermarket goes up like it was firebombed during a gunfight between police and the aliens.
  • Plot Hole: Why would Eric think sucking MAC into a vacuum cleaner would work unless he saw what happened at the beginning of the film?
  • Product Placement: All-time record holder. The products in question are:
    • Coca-Cola — This turns out to be the Earth analogue to the aliens' primary nourishment on their home planet, and thus vital to their survival!
    • McDonald's — A character (Courtney) works there, and the kids go to a birthday party there at one point, hence Ronald's cameo. The trailer even played up the cameo. While Eric names the alien "Mac" based on his being a Mysterious Alien Creature, bear in mind that the restaurant's most famous sandwich, the Big Mac, is name-dropped in the film. The aliens even come from the planet of "Quartus Poundus", which might refer to another McDonald's sandwich — the Quarter Pounder with Cheese.
    • Powerwheels — Mac steals a Powerwheels car, and ends up getting chased by dogs while riding it.
    • Sears — The mom gets a job here, and the government agents chase Eric and Mac through it.
    • Skittles — Also important to survival.
    • Valvoline — The logo for this motor oil producer mirrors the 'V' sign the aliens make with their hands, as well as provides a clue as to where the rest of MAC's family is hiding.
    • Wickes Lumber — Mac desires to go therenote , and it's also the location of a comic relief scene with the alien family and the final confrontation with the government. All the furniture in their house is made with Wickes Lumber, as well.
  • Sequel Hook: "We'll be back!"
  • That Reminds Me of a Song: The dance number at McDonald's. Would definitely qualify as a Big Lipped Alligator Moment if the entire movie wasn't this crazy.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: When Courtney makes the very good point that the government might actually have a good reason to catch MAC, like for instance him having a disease, Eric's only rebuttal is "He doesn't have any diseases." How can he know that for sure?


The Last Temptation of ChristFilms of the 1980sManiac Cop
Hannah And Her SistersCreator/Orion PicturesMarried to the Mob
FilmImageSource/Live-Action FilmsSequel Hook

alternative title(s): Mac And Me
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