Gone Fishin' (film)

Gone Fishin' is a 1997 American comedy film starring Joe Pesci and Danny Glover as two bumbling fishing enthusiasts. Nick Brimble, Rosanna Arquette, Lynn Whitfield, and Willie Nelson co-star. It is the second collaboration between Glover and Pesci outside of the Lethal Weapon series. Christopher Cain directs J. J. Abrams and Jill Mazursky wrote the script.

Gone Fishin'
Gone fishin.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byChristopher Cain
Produced by
Written by
Music byRandy Edelman
CinematographyDean Semler
Edited byJack Hofstra
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release date
  • May 30, 1997 (1997-05-30)
Running time
97 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$53 million[1]
Box office$19.7 million[2]

The film was released on May 30, 1997. It was panned by critics and was a box-office bomb, grossing just $19 million against its $53 million budget.


Joe Waters (Joe Pesci) and Gus Green (Danny Glover) are bumbling, blue-collar, yet happy best friends and next door neighbors who live modestly in Newark, New Jersey and have known each other since childhood. They share the hobby of fishing and win a stay in the Florida Everglades to go angling, but promise to return home in time for Thanksgiving.

On the way, however, while stopping at a restaurant, they meet an Englishman, Martin (Nick Brimble), who discreetly steals Joe's car keys and leaves. Joe and Gus are forced to push their boat down the road until they are met by two women, Rita (Rosanna Arquette) and Angie (Lynn Whitfield), who are after Martin and offer them a lift. During the ride, a bump causes the boat to disconnect from the car, leaving Joe and Gus stranded yet again, and the boat is accidentally hooked to a train and pulled away along with their beer and supplies. Joe and Gus hitch a ride with two men, but on the way, they see their car at a gas station and investigate. Joe goes to confront Martin inside the bathroom, but backs down when he catches Martin loading a gun. Joe and Gus flee the petrol station in their car, and discover a blood-stained knife in the dashboard.

Joe and Gus stay at a trailer park for the night, and while watching a documentary on television, they learn that Martin is actually Dekker Massey, a wanted criminal who has conned several women out of their riches and is implied to have stabbed his last victim to death and hidden her money and jewelry somewhere. The presenters offer a bounty for Dekker's capture, and Joe and Gus decide to turn in the knife after their fishing trip. Meanwhile, Dekker begins hunting Joe and Gus down.

Following a recommendation by the trailer park owner, Joe and Gus visit Phil Beasly's boatyard and rent a speedboat, but end up breaking almost every gadget on the boat, losing the knife and wrecking the boatyard by accident. Distraught, they decide to return home early, but end up with a flat tire. While getting the spare tire from the trunk, Joe discovers a map that leads to Dekker's fortune. They book a room in a nearby hotel, and while having dinner, they are found by Rita and Angie, who question them about Dekker and reveal that they are after him because Rita's mother was one of Dekker's victims. Joe and Gus promise to bring Dekker to justice, but that night, Gus sleepwalks and starts a fire in the hotel, destroying their suite and the map. They only barely manage to escape undetected, though their car breaks down on the road and Joe is struck by lightning while they try to fix it. Instead of killing him, the lightning boosts Joe's memory and he is able to lead the way to the cave where Dekker hid his fortune. Despite an altercation with an alligator, they retrieve the treasure and escape, but are accosted by Dekker. At gunpoint, Dekker forces them to push Joe's car into the swamp and ties them up inside a sheriff's office, intending to flee the country with the treasure.

After Dekker leaves, however, Joe and Gus are found and freed by their idol, Billy "Catch" Pool (Willie Nelson), and they set out to stop Dekker. After a long chase across the swamp, Joe and Gus find and capture Dekker moments before his escape via plane and hand him over to the police. Though they claim the reward money, Joe and Gus are forced to spend it mostly on the damages they caused during their trip.



When Gone Fishin' was in the early stages of development during the early 1990s, the roles of Joe and Gus were first offered to John Candy and Rick Moranis. Both turned it down as they were busy with other projects.[3] Once the film was given the greenlight in 1995, Joe Pesci and Danny Glover were eventually cast as the leads. John G. Avildsen was set to direct the filmed and had already filmed it for the first two weeks, but he was fired from Disney and paid his $2 million salary to the studio; Christopher Cain immediately signed on to replace him.

The production went over-schedule and over-budget, eventually coming in at a final cost of $53 million.[1] Most of the movie was filmed around The Everglades and the Big Cypress Swamp in Florida.

Filming accidentEdit

During production of the film, stuntwoman Janet Wilder was killed when a boat that was made to jump a ramp in one of the scenes landed on top of her. Wilder's husband and father-in-law were also injured.[4]


Box officeEdit

In its opening weekend, the film opened at #3 at the U.S. box office behind The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Addicted to Love, earning $5.8 million. The film eventually made $19.7 million domestically.[2]

Critical responseEdit

On Rotten Tomatoes the film holds an approval rating of 4% based on 27 reviews, with an average score of 2.32/10. The site's critics consensus reads: "Sloppy, formulaic, and unfunny, Gone Fishin' marks a painful low point in the careers of its two talented leads."[5] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C" on an A+ to F scale.[6]

Film critic Leonard Maltin gave the film a "BOMB" rating, his lowest rating. He called it "an annoyingly unfunny gambit" and declared that it was a waste of Pesci and Glover's talent, and "this film really smells". Film critic Chris Hicks of the Salt Lake Tribune said after Gone Fishin' and 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag that "the Academy should have asked Pesci to return the Oscar he had won for Goodfellas." In Red Lobster, White Trash and the Blue Lagoon, Joe Queenan said that he was "so embarrassed about Joe Pesci that he has been known to wait outside cinemas showing a film called Gone Fishin' and give those few customers who sat through it their money back, on behalf of the "American Celluloid Retribution Society".[7]

The film also received two nominations at the 1997 Stinkers Bad Movie Awards: Most Painfully Unfunny Comedy and Worst Actor for Pesci.[8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Pfeiffer, Lee (January 30, 2020). "REVIEW: "GONE FISHIN'" (1997) STARRING JOE PESCI AND DANNY GLOVER; KINO LORBER BLU-RAY RELEASE". CinemaRetro. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Gone Fishin' (1997)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  3. ^ Evans, Bradford (2 June 2011). "The Lost Roles of John Candy". Splitsider. Archived from the original on 20 May 2018. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  4. ^ Janet Wilder - Biography
  5. ^ "Gone Fishin' (1997)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  6. ^ "Find CinemaScore" (Type "Gone Fishin" in the search box). CinemaScore. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  7. ^ David Dale, "The stars and gripes", Sydney Morning Herald, 10 Oct 1998, Spectrum, p. 10s
  8. ^ "The Stinkers 1997 Ballot". Stinkers Bad Movie Awards. Archived from the original on 18 August 2000.

External linksEdit