Eric’s Bad Movies: ‘The Wiz’ (1978)

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Ease on down to Film.com for this week’s edition of Eric’s Bad Movies, featuring “The Wiz,” a terrible screen adaptation of what was apparently a fine Broadway musical. The movie exemplifies Hollywood logic: “This worked really well on stage! So when we make the movie, let’s change everything about it!”

Michael Jackson appears in this film, and I think I am to be commended for writing about it without making a single joke about child molestation. This is especially remarkable when you consider how funny child molestation is.

The clues I gave last week were that the film was the oldest I’d covered so far in Eric’s Bad Movies (i.e., older than 1981), and that “some of its actors were Grammy-winning singers. The film was a remake.” The three major guesses were “The Wiz,” “A Star Is Born,” and “The Jazz Singer.” (Well, someone said “Cannonball Run,” too, but I don’t know what they thought that was a remake of.) “The Jazz Singer” wouldn’t have qualified because only one of its actors (not “some”) was a Grammy winner. “A Star Is Born,” with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, was a reasonable guess, though. In “The Wiz,” Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, and Lena Horne are all Grammy winners (and Richard Pryor, too, though for a comedy album, not singing).

There is some uncertainty over what next week’s movie will be, but I believe it will be this one: a horror film from the 1990s starring someone who would go on to star in a popular, long-running TV show.

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