Mr. Saturday Night is a 1992 American comedy-drama film that marked the directorial debut of its star, Billy Crystal.

Mr. Saturday Night
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBilly Crystal
Written byBilly Crystal
Babaloo Mandel
Lowell Ganz
Produced byBilly Crystal
CinematographyDonald Peterman
Edited byKent Beyda
Music byMarc Shaiman
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • September 23, 1992 (1992-09-23)
Running time
119 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$43 million
Box office$23 million[1]

It focuses on the rise and fall of Buddy Young Jr., a stand-up comedian. Crystal produced and co-wrote the screenplay with the writing duo Babaloo Mandel and Lowell Ganz. It was filmed from November 1991 to March 1992 and released on September 23, 1992, by Columbia Pictures. Co-star David Paymer received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Plot Edit

Stand-up comedian Buddy Young Jr. became a television star with the help of his brother and manager, Stan, but alienated many of those closest to him once his career began to fade.

Through a series of flashbacks, the brothers are seen during childhood entertaining their family in the living room. The older Buddy continues his career as a comic in the primarily Jewish resorts of the Catskills, where he meets his future wife, Elaine.

As Buddy's fame grows, so does his ego. He hits the big time with his own Saturday night television show. But despite the warnings of his brother, Buddy uses offensive material on the air, costing him his show and causing his career to suffer, officially ending when his stand-up act on the Ed Sullivan Show is scheduled right after the Beatles' first US appearance, leading to his act being ignored and cut short. Furious over being snubbed, he goes into an offensive tirade and quits.

As an older man, long past his prime, Buddy is estranged from Stan as well as from his daughter, Susan. A chance at redemption comes when a young agent named Annie Wells finds him work and even gets Buddy a shot at a role in a top director's new film. Buddy nevertheless gives in to his own self-destructive nature, continuing to hurt his relationships with his family.

Eventually Buddy realizes how he has hurt his family and mends the relationships by giving money Stan gave him from their mother's estate to his daughter Susan and beginning to play shows at retirement homes. The show ends with his brother giving him a painting he made of the two of them as children in their parents living room where they used to entertain the family on Shabbat.

Cast Edit

Cameos Edit

Comedians Jerry Lewis, Carl Ballantine, Slappy White, and Jackie Gayle appear in the New York Friars' Club scene.

Production Edit

Development Edit

Billy Crystal first originated the character of Buddy Young Jr. for a 1984 HBO special, A Comic’s Line.[2] On a 1985 episode of Saturday Night Live, he made an appearance as the character during a Weekend Update segment.[3] "One night, the producer said, 'Johnny Cash, June Cash and Waylon Jennings are in the audience tonight — what if I put them near the Weekend Update desk?' I did [Buddy] live and I was like Don Rickles, I just had funny interplay with them. I had no idea what I was going to say. Live! And it was really funny. And then I knew I had something."[2]

The opening title sequence was designed by Elaine Makatura Bass and Saul Bass.

Reception Edit

Critical reception Edit

Mr. Saturday Night received mixed reviews from critics. It holds a 57% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 28 reviews with the consensus stating: "Billy Crystal's flawed directorial debut can't seem to decide whether it wants the viewer to love its protagonist or hate him, but it features fine work from Crystal and his co-stars".[4] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale.[5]

Box office Edit

Mr. Saturday Night was a box office bomb in the United States and Canada, grossing $13.3 million,[6] less than a third of its budget.[7] It grossed $23 million worldwide.[1]

Awards and nominations Edit

At the 65th Academy Awards, David Paymer was nominated for Best Supporting Actor (the film's only nomination). Billy Crystal also hosted the ceremony, during his traditional Best Picture medley, Crystal added the movie to the list, immediately afterwards adding the line, "I just wanted to see how it feels, so sue me."

Award Category Nominee(s) Result
Academy Awards[8] Best Supporting Actor David Paymer Nominated
American Comedy Awards Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture (Leading Role) Billy Crystal Nominated
Artios Awards[9] Outstanding Achievement in Feature Film Casting – Comedy Pam Dixon Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards[10] Most Promising Actress Julie Warner Nominated
Golden Globe Awards[11] Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Billy Crystal Nominated
Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture David Paymer Nominated
Political Film Society Awards Peace Nominated
Young Artist Awards Best Young Actor Co-Starring in a Motion Picture Jason Marsden Nominated

Home media Edit

The film was released twice on DVD, the first time on December 8, 1998 by PolyGram Video, and again on June 4, 2002 by MGM Home Entertainment.

Stage adaptation Edit

On November 10, 2021, it was announced that the film would be adapted into a Broadway musical opening at the Nederlander Theatre the following spring. Crystal would reprise his role as Buddy Young Jr. and write the book with Ganz and Mandel, with music by Jason Robert Brown and lyrics by Amanda Green. Paymer would also reprise his role as Stan. Also in the cast would be Randy Graff as Elaine, and Chasten Harmon as Annie. The show would be directed by John Rando and choreographed by Ellenore Scott.[12]

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ a b "Planet Hollywood". Screen International. August 30, 1996. pp. 14–15.
  2. ^ a b Appelo, Tim (December 7, 2022). "'Mr. Saturday Night' Billy Crystal on Aging: 'Find Something You Love...And Just Do It!'". AARP. Retrieved 11 May 2023.
  3. ^ "Looking Back At Johnny Cash's Best "SNL" Moments". Classic Country Music. Retrieved 11 May 2023.
  4. ^ "Mr. Saturday Night (1992)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 23 June 2023.
  5. ^ "Home - Cinemascore". Cinemascore. Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  6. ^ "Mr. Saturday Night". Box Office Mojo.
  7. ^ "Weekend Box Office". The Los Angeles Times. October 6, 1992. Retrieved 2011-05-30.
  8. ^ "The 65th Academy Awards (1993) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Archived from the original on November 9, 2014. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  9. ^ "Nominees/Winners". Casting Society of America. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  10. ^ "1988-2013 Award Winner Archives". Chicago Film Critics Association. Retrieved August 24, 2021.
  11. ^ "Mr. Saturday Night – Golden Globes". HFPA. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  12. ^ Paulson, Michael (November 10, 2021). "Billy Crystal to Return to Broadway in 'Mr. Saturday Night'". The New York Times. Retrieved November 10, 2021.

External links Edit