Eric’s Bad Movies: ‘The Avengers’ (1998)

This week’s edition of Eric’s Bad Movies at is “The Avengers” — but don’t get your hopes up for descriptions of exciting avenging action, for the movie contains no avenging whatsoever. It does have bear costumes, though.

I really got a kick out of you guessers last week! As you’ll recall, I gave you these clues:

“Next week’s movie, from the 1990s, was directed by a man who had previously made a very well regarded Christmas comedy. This film’s three leading stars were all prior Oscar nominees (and one was a winner); a fourth would later win an Oscar for something else. This film was based on previous source material and was universally derided as a flop.”

Someone guessed “Baby Geniuses” right off the bat, which isn’t a bad guess. It was directed by the same man, Bob Clark, who had previously directed “A Christmas Story” (and, um, “Porky’s), but it doesn’t meet the Oscar criteria. Neither does Clark’s “Loose Cannons,” which someone else guessed. What we’re learning is that, “A Christmas Story” aside, Bob Clark really didn’t make any good movies.

Then someone guessed — nay, was certain — that the answer was “Diabolique.” It was from Jeremiah Chechik, who had directed “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”; its top three stars were Oscar nominees; it was based on a book; it was a flop. Surely this was it! But no, it was not. As someone else observed, it didn’t meet the qualification of a fourth star who subsequently won an Oscar. Someone else, convinced “Diabolique” was right, even suggested that I had made a mistake in my clue-giving! As if!

It took our old friend Randy to look a little more closely at Jeremiah Chechik’s IMDB page and see that “Diabolique” was not the only terrible movie he directed. He later made “The Avengers,” which stars Oscar-nominees Ralph Fiennes, Uma Thurman, and Sean Connery, with Jim Broadbent as the future Oscar winner (for “Iris,” 2002).

Next week’s movie was originally intended as a sequel to another franchise but was reconfigured (and retitled, and recast) when the franchise’s star decided not to make it. The new star they wound up with was a logical choice because the role was very similar to one he’d been playing on TV already anyway. Guesses?