Monday, November 19, 2018
  • Stuck in the '80s
  • Steve Spears

30 years later, ‘Coming to America’ still Eddie Murphy’s best work

Let's be honest: Even after three decades, Coming to America has held up better than any Eddie Murphy movie of the '80s.

Oh sure, you're already screaming "What about Beverly Hills Cop or 48 Hours?!?" Both are indeed classics – and both are sullied somewhat by their themes and language. (And both are diminished by their simply awful sequels.)

No, it's Coming to America that still somehow seems to be just as funny today as it as back on June 29, 1988. The story of a crown prince in Africa coming to the United States to find a bride is a simple story. But Murphy is surrounded by amazing co-stars, a legendary comedy director (John Landis), a great script and an endless supply of memorable lines and laughs.

Critics sadly don't agree with this argument. Coming to America holds only a 67 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, many predictably bemoaning the lack of an original script.

But heck, it was all worth it JUST for the scene where Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche revive their roles as the Duke brothers from Trading Places. (Another movie the critics "should have" hated for the script, right?)

Here are five things you probably didn't know about Coming to America on its 30th anniversary.

1. The movie was nominated for two Oscars: best costume design by Deborah Nadoolman and best makeup by the legendary Rick Baker, who handled all the multiple characters played by Murphy and Arsenio Hall. (This would be the first film where Murphy experimented with playing multiple roles.)

2. The infamous "McDowell's" restaurant where Akeem and Semmi work was actually a Wendy's restaurant that was closed for renovation at the time. The McDowell's vs. McDonald's sideplot was approved by the McDonald's corporate office, but apparently the news didn't reach some area managers, who threw a fit when they saw the fast-food homage.

3. Much of the engagement party dance in Zamunda is actually a speeded up version of the Michael Jackson "Thriller" dance, which John Landis also directed.

4. Cuba Gooding Jr. made his first big-screen appearance in Coming to America as the boy getting a haircut. The scene, however, was shortened. Gooding was supposed to say he couldn't pay for the haircut to which the barber responded by cutting out a patch of his hair. It ended up – no pun intended – on the cutting room floor.

5. As "unoriginal" as the script was, it didn't stop columnist Art Buchwald from suing the studio and claiming the script idea was his. Buchwald won and ultimately was reportedly paid $900,000.

Source: IMDB.com

Comments
‘The Color Purple’ musical coming to big screen

‘The Color Purple’ musical coming to big screen

Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, Quincy Jones and Scott Sanders are working with Warner Bros. on a movie adaptation of the musical.
Updated one month ago
Up next for a remake: ‘Alien Nation’

Up next for a remake: ‘Alien Nation’

The director of the sci-fi reboot says he's almost finished with a script. Now the question is whether Disney will let the project go forward.
Updated one month ago
Bill and Ted 3 could start shooting soon

Bill and Ted 3 could start shooting soon

Alex Winter says the script is right and the financing is there.
Updated one month ago
Up next for Hollywood reboot: Flash Gordon

Up next for Hollywood reboot: Flash Gordon

"Gordon's alive?!?" The '80s can't completely claim the campy majesty that is Flash Gordon – it's based on the comic strip and the Buster Crabbe movies of the 1930s – but pardon us for gasping when we learned that it's the next movie that...
Updated one month ago
Syfy wants to reboot Critters, Killer Klowns from Outer Space

Syfy wants to reboot Critters, Killer Klowns from Outer Space

Reboot mania continues to grip Hollywood this frightening month as two more cult horror movie cult classics from the '80s have been tapped for comebacks. This time, it's the ever-so-unlikely Critters and Killer Klowns From Outer Space.Bloody-disgusti...
Updated one month ago
‘Night of the Comet’ remake in the works

‘Night of the Comet’ remake in the works

Who remembers 1984's Night of the Comet? The B-movie starred Catherine Mary Stewart, Robert Beltran and Kelli Maroney as survivors of a comet shower that turned most observers into zombies (or just plain dead). Well, Hollywood has never met a zombie ...
Updated one month ago
Robert Englund could reprise Freddy Krueger once more

Robert Englund could reprise Freddy Krueger once more

It's that creepy time of the year when everyone falls in loves with horror movies again – for at least a month – and Hollywood gets the hots for remaking the classics of our youth. This time it's the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise.Movi...
Updated one month ago
New ’80s podcast: ‘Beetlejuice’ turns 30

New ’80s podcast: ‘Beetlejuice’ turns 30

Have you noticed all the online ads for "Beetlejuice … The Musical" lately? We sure did here at Stuck in the '80s, and so we looked back through our catalog of nearly 500 episodes to find the time we honored the horror-comedy masterpiece.Thing ...
Updated one month ago
‘Friday the 13th’ reboot coming from … LeBron James?

‘Friday the 13th’ reboot coming from … LeBron James?

What's the first thought that raced through your brain after hearing about the box office success of the Halloween sequel last weekend? That Hollywood would only be encouraged to go to the well more often, yes. I just didn't figure that somehow NBA g...
Updated one month ago