Saturday Night Live (SNL) is an iconic late-night television show featuring comedy, variety, and musical performances that's been airing since 1975. It's produced some massive stars, largely thanks to its hugely popular sketches, which range from the sublime to the ridiculous.
The show's sketches are so well-liked that Hollywood has turned several of them into theatrical movies. In this piece, we'll rank all eleven of them, from worst to best.
11. It's Pat (1994, Directed by Adam Bernstein)
It's Pat is a movie about the Saturday Night Live character Pat, an androgynous misfit whose sex never gets revealed and who was created by Julia Sweeney (who also plays Pat). In the movie, Pat searches for a steady foundation in life and falls in love with a character called Chris, whose gender also remains a mystery).
An Androgynous Misfit Whose Sex Never Gets Revealed
It's one of the worst movies ever made (it has a rare 0% score on Rotten Tomatoes). It's so unfunny that it's shocking that it ever got made. Pat is pretty harmless in SNL sketches but becomes an unlikable and egotistical oaf for this movie. It tries to convey a moral about acceptance, but it does so terribly.
10. A Night at The Roxbury (1998, Directed by John Fortenberry)
A Night at the Roxbury is a movie based on the long-running Saturday Night Live sketch “The Roxbury Guys.” It's an extension of the concept whereby the Roxbury Guys – Steve and Doug Butabi, played by Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan – bob their heads to Haddaway's famous song “What Is Love” while being hilariously shunned and turned down by women at numerous nightclubs.
A Failure at the Roxbury
It's pretty terrible. “The Roxbury Guys” is a sketch that didn't warrant a movie, as its characters and ideas are incredibly one-dimensional. Consequently, the film feels far too stretched out and will bore you very quickly. Ferrell is entertaining, but even he doesn't save this one.
9. The Ladies Man (2000, Directed by Reginald Hudlin)
The Ladies Man is a sex comedy that follows the exploits of the suave radio host and sex therapy expert Leon Phelps, a character the movie’s star Tim Meadows initially developed in sketches on Saturday Night Live. In the film, Phelps gets fired from his job and must deal with the consequences of his promiscuous ways.
Suave Radio Host and Sex Therapy Expert
It's another terrible movie. There isn't enough material – especially not of a funny nature – to make The Ladies Man into a movie-worthy story. Phelps goes from being a buoyant, optimistic, and at least somewhat likable character on television to a drab and lame character who slogs his way through nearly one-and-a-half hours of painful escapades. To put it simply, it's just incredibly dull.
8. Stuart Saves His Family (1995, Directed by Harold Ramis)
Stuart Saves His Family is a movie based on Saturday Night Live sketches that featured a character called Stuart Smalley. In the film, the eponymous would-be self-help guru attempts to save his family (who have a variety of troubles) and his low-rated public-access television show. It's partly inspired by the book I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!: Daily Affirmations by Stuart Smalley, written by Smalley's creator Al Franken.
A Wannabe Self-Help Guru
Any movie with Vincent D'Onofrio in it is worth watching for him alone (D'Onofrio plays Stuart's drug-abusing brother Donnie), but it's not great. In a nutshell, it fails at being funny. Most of the characters are seriously annoying, too, but it's much more interesting to watch than most terrible movies.
7. Superstar (1999, Directed by Bruce McCulloch)
Superstar is a movie about a nerdy and socially inept girl named Mary Katherine Gallagher, who appeared as a recurring character on Saturday Night Live in several sketches. In the film, Mary Katherine attempts to find her place in her Roman Catholic private school while also dreaming of stardom.
A Nerdy and Socially Inept Girl
The main problem with this movie is that Mary Katherine is so difficult to like. Seriously, she's awful. On top of that, most of the jokes fall flat, the script is terrible, and this is another piece of SNL material for which there was zero justification to turn it into a movie.
6. Coneheads (1993, Directed by Steve Barron)
Coneheads is a sci-fi comedy based on the Saturday Night Live sketch about extraterrestrials from the planet Remulak who get stranded on Earth. The aliens have Anglicized their Remulakian surname to “Conehead.” While they aim to conquer our planet, they end up departing to their home planet on happier terms.
Extraterrestrials Who Get Stranded on Earth
It's not a great movie, even with SNL originals Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin in leading roles, and it's unfunny and, frankly, dismal. Simply put, it's not movie material because it's not entertaining enough to draw it out over a feature-length production. Its silliness is sometimes somewhat charming, but that's the only remotely good thing we can say about it.
5. Blues Brothers 2000 (1998, Directed by John Landis)
Blues Brothers 2000 is the sequel to 1980's The Blues Brothers (we'll come to that one later in the list), based on the sketch of the same name from Saturday Night Live. It's a musical comedy, and, in this one, Elwood Blues is released from prison and learns his brother, Jake, has died. He decides to reunite his old band with a few new members and embark on another “mission from God.”
Getting the Band Back Together… Sorta
It's far from a terrible movie, but it was a bold move making a sequel without the late John Belushi, and it doesn't fully pay off. The soundtrack is excellent and features blues, country, pop, and rock music, but the comedy fails to hit the mark more often than not. That said, John Goodman is a fantastic addition to the cast.
4. MacGruber (2010, Directed by Jorma Taccone)
MacGruber is an action comedy movie based on the Saturday Night Live sketch of the same name. It's a parody of the action-adventure television series MacGyver, which ran from 1985 until 1992 (the reboot series aired from 2016 until 2021). In the movie, the former special operative MacGruber returns to action to thwart his arch-enemy, Dieter Von Cunth, who's hellbent on destroying Washington, D.C.
A Parody of Television Series MacGyver
With Will Forte brilliant in the eponymous role, and the likes of Kristen Wiig, Ryan Phillippe, Val Kilmer, Maya Rudolph, and a load of WWE wrestlers supporting, this is a very watchable movie and far better than it has any right to be. It's incredibly quotable and is a bona fide cult classic. It relies on toilet humor and shock tactics a little too often, but it's still loads of fun.
3. Wayne's World 2 (1993, Directed by Stephen Surjik)
Wayne's World 2 is the sequel to 1992's Wayne's World (which we'll get to shortly), based on the Saturday Night Live sketch of the same name. This one follows the inseparable Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar as they attempt to organize a rock concert. At the same time, Wayne has to fend off a record producer who takes a shine to his girlfriend.
Wayne and Garth Attempt To Organize a Rock Concert
While it's not as good as its predecessor, Wayne's World 2 is still thoroughly entertaining. Mike Myers and Dana Carvey are still brilliant as Wayne as Garth, but the jokes in this one don't hit the spot quite as often as in the original. With stars like Christopher Walken, Kim Basinger, and Drew Barrymore making appearances, it's worth a watch regardless.
2. The Blues Brothers (1980, Directed by John Landis)
The Blues Brothers is a musical comedy based on Saturday Night Live's musical sketch of the same name. A tale of redemption, it follows paroled convict Jake and his blood brother Elwood as they set out on “a mission from God” to stop the Roman Catholic orphanage in which they spent their childhoods from closing.
On a Mission… From God
It's a classic movie, and Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi play two of their most iconic roles. It's brilliantly over-the-top and completely charming, with the two leads ably supported by a marvelous cast that includes James Brown, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, and a young hellbent on revenge Carrie Fisher. It's so energetic, buoyant, and funny – and the musical numbers are simply delicious.
1. Wayne's World (1992, Directed by Penelope Spheeris)
Based on the Wayne's World sketch from Saturday Night Live, the movie of the same name follows Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar – a pair of rock and heavy metal fan best friends – as they promote and broadcast a public-access television show.
Best Friends and Their Public-Access Television Show
It's silly, a little oddball, intelligent at times, and teeming with quotable lines and catchphrases – and that all makes Wayne's World the funniest, most entertaining, and outright most refined of the movies based on SNL sketches. Mike Myers and Dana Carvey shine as Wayne and Garth. The scene in which “Bohemian Rhapsody” plays is one of the most incredible musical scenes in movie history.
Honorable Mention: Strange Brew (1983, Directed by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas)
While Strange Brew didn't come from an SNL sketch, it did come from a bit on the show's Canadian cousin Second City Television (SCTV), so we thought it fitting to give it an honorable mention. It follows Canada's most famous hosers, Bob and Doug McKenzie, as they find employment at the Elsinore Brewery and learn that something rotten's afoot.
Canada's Most Famous Hosers
With Moranis and Thomas as the likable stars, Strange Brew is a laugh a minute. The humor is very lowbrow, but that makes it easy to watch, and it benefits enormously from its unique premise.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.