Leonard Part 6
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Leonard Part 6 is a 1987 American spy parody film. It was directed by Paul Weiland and starred Bill Cosby, who also produced the film and wrote its story. The film also starred Gloria Foster as the villain, and Joe Don Baker. The film was shot in the San Francisco Bay Area. It earned several Golden Raspberry Awards; Cosby himself denounced and disowned it in the press in the weeks leading up to its release. It is often considered to be one of the worst films ever made.
|Leonard Part 6|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Paul Weiland|
|Produced by||Bill Cosby|
|Screenplay by||Jonathan Reynolds|
|Story by||Bill Cosby|
|Music by||Elmer Bernstein|
|Cinematography||Jan de Bont|
|Edited by||Gerry Hambling|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Box office||$4.6 million|
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Bill Cosby plays Leonard Parker, a CIA spy-turned-restaurateur. According to the opening sequence of the movie, the title refers to the idea that this film is actually the sixth installment of a series of films featuring the adventures of Leonard, as parts one through five were locked up in the interests of world security. In actuality, there are no films preceding this one.
The theatrical release poster points out that Leonard Parker is, at the time of his reluctant return to action, coping with domestic issues:
His daughter is engaged to a man old enough to be his father.
His estranged wife behaves like she is younger than their daughter.
And now his government has asked him to save the world. Again.
The film starts with Parker being called out of retirement by his CIA director Snyderburn (Baker) to save the world from evil vegetarian Medusa Johnson (Foster), who brainwashes animals to kill people. The film ends with Leonard infiltrating Johnson's headquarters (an "International Tuna" factory), fending off the vegetarians with magic meat he received from a Gypsy, freeing the captive animals, and flooding the base using Alka-Seltzer. He escapes by riding an ostrich across the roof; the unlikely steed flies him to the ground.
Asked years later about his work on the film, director Paul Weiland recalled:
It was a terrible mistake. ... When anyone gets into that position (Bill Cosby's position of power in the 1980s), they are surrounded by sycophants and no one tells them the truth. But Cosby just wasn't funny. I couldn't tell him directly. I'd say it feels slow, and he'd say, 'You worry about construction, let me worry about funny.'
The movie received overwhelming negative reviews. When the film was released in 1987, even Cosby himself said that he was so disappointed with it that he publicly advised people not to waste their money on it.
Roger Ebert called it "one of the worst movies of the year" and strongly criticized the obvious Coca-Cola product placement, saying that Cosby "ought to be ashamed of himself." Gene Siskel gave the film zero stars out of four, calling it "The year's worst film involving a major star. That's right, it's worse than Ishtar." Variety declared, "Bill Cosby is right to be embarrassed by this dud, but result really can't have come as a total surprise to him since he wrote the story and produced it." Caryn James of The New York Times wrote: "Mr. Cosby and the director, Paul Weiland, were reportedly at odds while filming Leonard Part 6, which opens today at Cine 1 and other theaters, but there's plenty of blame for them to share. Mr. Weiland's direction, Mr. Cosby's story and Jonathan Reynolds's screenplay seem equally trite." Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times wrote: "Leonard Part 6 is a smug, tedious exercise in self-indulgence ... There's virtually nothing to laugh at in this film, and too much of everything else." Thomas noted that, although Weiland was the director, "clearly Cosby, as star, producer and idea man, is the auteur here." Rita Kempley of The Washington Post stated: "Cosby looks woebegone all movie long. He knows he's out of his element, a comedian of words in a physical role." Robert Garrett wrote in The Boston Globe, "This Christmas turkey is so dreadful that it must be in the same league as Paul Newman's The Silver Chalice for its power to embarrass its star."
The movie won three Golden Raspberry Awards, for Worst Actor (Cosby), Worst Picture, and Worst Screenplay (Jonathan Reynolds and Cosby). It was nominated for two more Razzie Awards, for Worst Supporting Actress (Foster) and Worst Director (Weiland). A few weeks after the ceremony, Cosby accepted his three Razzies on Fox's The Late Show. He demanded that the three Razzies he earned be specifically made out of 24 karat (99.99%) gold and Italian marble, which were later paid for by Fox. Cosby himself later brought the awards with him when he was a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, happily displaying them and proclaiming, "I swept the awards!" For the 2005 Razzies, the movie earned a nomination in the Worst "Comedy" of Our First 25 Years category, losing to Gigli.
- Dick, Bernard F. (1992) "Columbia Pictures: Portrait of a Studio" (p. 46). The University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-1769-0. Retrieved on November 28, 2010.
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- Caryn James (1987-12-18). "Film: Bill Cosby's 'Leonard Part 6'". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2017-09-10. Retrieved 2017-02-10.
- Kevin Thomas (1987-12-18). "Cosby's 'Leonard' a Super-Inane Superspy". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2012-11-04. Retrieved 2015-07-28.
- Kempley, Rita (December 19, 1987). "Cosby, Lost With 'Leonard'". The Washington Post. D6.
- Garrett, Robert (December 18, 1987). "'Leonard 6' leaves Cosby with egg on his face". The Boston Globe. p. 97.
- Mathews, Jack (1988-01-06). "Laughing Their Way to Bank Hollywood Accounts Swell From `Baby' and `Momma'". The Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2012-07-01. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
- Mathews, Jack (1987-12-22). "Weekend Box Office". The Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2012-07-07. Retrieved 2010-12-26.
- "Razzie® Award Reel – YouTube". Archived from the original on 2016-04-29. Retrieved 2016-11-26.
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