"Nothing but beef... White, powdery, BEEF!"
Anyone familiar with the 1992 comedy Shakes The Clown knows it is one of the best AND worst films of all time. Starring Bobcat Goldthwait (who also directed) and featuring appearances by Adam Sandler, Julie Brown, Robin Williams, Kathy Griffin, and Tom Kinney (at left, portraying coke-addled clown villain Binky), the film's premise is pure genius, one of the great conceptual triumphs of the 1990's.
Shakes is a children's party clown with a long list of problems. Unable to pay his rent and pestered by his girlfriend, Shakes is definitely down on his luck. He needs work, but here's the catch: He can't be entertaining unless he's completely hammered!
This setup leads to many hilarious foibles, as Shakes boozes fimself from children's party to children's party, stumbling home to a "clown bar" (brilliantly named The Twisted Balloon) at the end of each day. During the course of his misadventures, Shakes is framed for murder by his nemesis, Binky, and has many a hilarious run-in with both a group of mimes (who clowns despise with a violent passion) and the "rodeo clowns" (the tough guys of the clown world).
Side note: Me and Del Tigre once witnessed a group of hipsters "re-enacting" the clowns vs. mimes fight scene (in costume) from this film at the corner of 19th and South Van Ness. But instead of beating the shit out of each other, they were giggling and fake-hitting. It was pathetic. We were outraged.
With a plot like that, how could Shakes The Clown go wrong?
The answer: By turning into a depressing morality tale.
Halfway into this wacky romp, Shakes has to "come to grips" with his rampant alcoholism, turning this booze-fueled party movie into a sad trudge through the perils of excessive raging. He experiences the D.T.'s and ends up having to take responsibility for the havoc his drinking has wrought upon his life. LAME.
Hence, Shakes The Clown fails to achieve the massive potential that its first half promises, another casualty to the Hollywood morality machine. This atrocity has always saddened me, but rather than dwell on it, I've decided to TAKE ACTION.
Below, you will find a petition that I put together, demanding that Sony Pictures Entertainment (who currently own the rights) RE-FILM the second half of this classic movie. Bobcat Goldthwait can't be that busy. Let's get the cast and crew back together and make this movie what it should have been: A solid hour and a half of hard-partying and drunken hilarity! I've already sent an email to Michael Lynton, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures. All you guys need to do is add your name to the list! Let's SAVE SHAKES!!!
Download a hi-res version of the petition here. Print it out, sign it, add postage, and send it off to Sony Pictures/Columbia Tristar. Let's make history!
For the uninitiated: The first 3 1/2 minutes of the movie, some of the finest moments in the history of cinema. Yes, that's Florence Henderson passed out drunk on the couch: