Stream The Weirdest ’80s Rip-off Movie Ever, It Will Melt Your Brain

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Published

The 1980s was a decade of experimentation. This meant there was a lot of strange fashion, interesting musical developments, and some really bizarre movies. This was the decade that brought us The Garbage Pail Kids Movie, Howard the Duck, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, *Batteries Not Included, and, the weirdest one of all, a rip-off of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Mac and Me

So Bad It Landed Itself A Cult Classic Status

Some films become timeless classics, celebrated for their artistic brilliance, and some films… well, they have no choice but to carve out a niche for themselves through an unconventional route—the route of becoming cult classics. Some cult classics like Harold and Maude or The Rocky Horror Picture Show are films that weren’t appreciated in their time but came to be appreciated later. Others, like the Twilight franchise and Mac and Me, are just so mind-numbingly terrible that they’ve become cult classics because they’re so bad they’re kind of fun.

Mac And Me Was A Blatant E.T. Rip-Off

Mac and Me is a 1988 American science fiction film directed by Stewart Raffill. It came to exist because a marketer thought it would be a great idea to make a movie. Producer R.J. Louis, with a background in McDonald’s advertising campaigns, wanted to create a film that could capture the hearts of audiences in the way that E.T. did, while simultaneously getting McDonald’s to front the cost of the film.

Spoiler alert: the end result was a movie with a plot almost exactly like E.T. except full of cringy product placements, with Ronald McDonald himself making an appearance.

One Big McDonald’s And Coca-Cola Advertisement

Mac and Me premiered in Hong Kong on August 5, 1988, followed by a U.S. release on August 12. However, the film failed to make a splash at the box office, grossing a mere $6.4 million domestically against a $13 million budget. Critics lambasted the film for its blatant imitation of E.T., with one critic likening it to “E.T. in a sticky wrapper, left under the heater two hours too long.”The film’s extensive product placements, notably featuring McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, drew criticism for being a 90-minute commercial. Despite the negative reviews and its designation as one of the worst films ever made, Mac and Me did receive praise for casting a protagonist with spina bifida, showcasing inclusivity during a time in Hollywood when that was a rare occurrence.

Paul Rudd Makes Mac And Me Popular

While Mac and Me may have been a commercial failure and critical disaster upon release, it has since transformed into a cult film. Its inclusion in various “so-bad-it’s-good” listings and acknowledgment by actor Paul Rudd as part of a running gag on late-night shows have contributed to its cult status. The film’s unintentional hilarity and numerous product placements have endeared it to a niche audience.

In popular culture, Mac and Me continues to resonate, making appearances in podcasts, talk shows, and even a Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode.

Mac And Me Is Streaming On Amazon

Mac and Me may not have achieved the cinematic greatness of E.T. as Louis wanted, but it has found a lasting place in the hearts of those who appreciate its quirks and unintended humor. The film’s unique blend of marketing strategies, controversial production decisions, and unexpected cult following make it a fascinating case study in the world of cinema. If you’re curious to watch this bizarre spectacle of a Steven Spielberg rip-off, Mac and Me is streaming on Amazon.