Film / Mac and Me

A 1988 Merchandise-Driven ripoff of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, commonly regarded as one of the worst Hollywood movies ever made.

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 (Christine Ebersole), 16-year-old Michael (Jonathan Ward), and 11-year-old and wheelchair-bound Eric (Jade Calegory), 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, and 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, and later Conan: Whenever Paul Rudd is a guest, Rudd will play that clip instead of one from whatever film he's promoting at the time.

This film provides examples of:

  • Award-Bait Song: "Take Me, I'll Follow You" by Bobby Caldwell.
  • Batman in My Basement
  • Character as Himself: Ronald McDonald is credited as this. He wound up winning the "Worst New Star" Razzie for 1988!
  • Disney Death: Both the aliens and Eric; the attempted tearjerking before revival is milked for all it's worth too.
  • Disappeared Dad: We're not told why.
  • Dull Surprise: Arguably many instances of this; the human characters don't react with nearly as much surprise and horror as most probably would at the aliens' antics or the dangers they inadvertently cause.
  • Exposed Extraterrestrials: The alien family, until they become American citizens at the end.
  • 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.
  • Mars Wants Chocolate: The aliens need Coca-Cola to survive. No, really.
  • 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?
  • Police Are Useless: The police and government authorities, for all their efforts to recapture these aliens, often let them slip past them way too easily; one security guard in the supermarket practically lets one of the aliens simply take his gun out of his hand.
    • Especially egregious is what happens right after when the police are called in to confront the aliens; when Eric charges forward to protect his friends, the pursuing officer flips over the corner of his cruiser when he has plenty of room to spare....And that's not even getting into the police actually causing an entire store to explode violently.
  • Product Placement: This might be the all-time record holder, as some of the placement serves minor plot points. 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 huge birthday party there, hence Ronald's cameo. The trailer actually 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 — The aliens nosh on these too, much as E.T. did with Reese's Pieces.
    • 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!" Although other than the words, the story is completely wrapped up.
  • 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.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Nobody seems especially puzzled by the stuffed bear Eric insists on bringing to the party at McDonald's; even after Mac stretches his arm out reaching for a cola, it's quickly glossed over.
    • Somehow Eric and his mother don't seem curious at the dogs barking madly at a nearby tree right after Mac has crashed a Power Wheels toy in the same place.
  • 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?