Whether you love Sylvester Stallone or absolutely loathe him, you cannot dismiss his impact on movies, particularly in the 1980’s. Over the course of his career, Stallone has made a number of films that garnered him a huge global fan base, but not all of his work has been popular.
Three Stallone movies that caused more fans to run from the movie theater instead of to it are as follows below:
In 1984, some tiny, disembodied little voice whispered in Sylvestor Stallone’s ear and told him that it was high time for him to “expand” his talents by writing and starring in a film comedy. Instead of telling that voice to go away and mind its own business, Sly foolishly agreed to its suggestion.
The result was the abysmal “Rhinestone.”
The plot is about a bosomy country music star named Jake Farris (Dolly Parton) who bets her manager (Ron Leibman) that she can turn anybody he chooses into a country singing sensation.
Well, as luck or lack of luck would have it, the manager selects Nick Martinelli, a New York cabbie played by- you guessed it!- Mr. Sylvester Stallone. Jake takes him out of his element to the hills of Tennessee to turn him into a genuine country crooner in just two weeks. The painful process is supposed to make us roll in the aisles, as we witness Nick’s ineptitude and tuneless warbling. Of course, you know that a romance is going to develop, but the sparks between Stallone and Parton are anemic at best.
At the conclusion, Jake wins her bet when Nick finally embraces his inner redneck and successfully performs a country music act. It’s a wonder that Stallone wasn’t burned in effigy by the country music industry in Nashville after this picture came out!
As for Sly’s fans, they were not amused, something that should have made him realize that comedy was just not his forte.
Over the Top (1987)
“Over the Top” had Stallone back in an action film again, with a plot that gave him a chance to flex something muscular. He plays Lincoln Hawk, a long distance truck driver who fathered a son by a woman who is dying at the start of the movie. (This gives you an idea of how awful the rest of this thing is going to be). Her last request is for Hawk to meet and get close to his son Mike (David Mendenhall), so he picks the kid up from military school and they go on a trip across the country in Hawk’s big ole truck.
The boy doesn’t warm up to Daddy right away, but what draws him closer is when Hawk starts competing in and winning…drum roll, please!…arm wrestling contests. I kid you not. Large sequences of this film consists of watching Sly arm wrestle men who look like the kind of guys Jeff Foxworthy writes jokes about.
Anyway, there is a brief period of time when father and son are disconnected again, but love triumphs and all ends on a high note, when Hawk wins a national arm wrestling competition in Vegas.
Unfortunately for Sylvester Stallone, this movie did not inspire a worldwide craze for arm wrestling and not too many people were cheering for “Over the Top” Either.
Sly’s acting was not at its best here, the whole premise of the film was ridiculous and the kid who plays his son was extremely irritating.
To say that this movie was a vast disappointment is an understatement.
Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992)
One would have thought that Stallone would have learned the error of his ways from his earlier attempt to star in a comedy, but, alas, that stupid voice came whispering in his ear again 8 years later and darned if he didn’t listen to it.
In the humorless clunker, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Sly plays Sgt. Joe Bomowski, a macho police detective whose diminutive, overprotective mom Tutti, played by the late Estelle Getty of “Golden Girls” fame, comes to visit him and ends up being an annoying pain in the rear. She tries to baby him, does stupid stuff like washing his gun and spends her time interfering in both his professional and personal life, until you wonder when he’s going to get so irritated that he has her carted off to a home.
The plot is much too predictable to dwell on here, but, as you’d expect, everything ends up with Mom saving the day by showing her tough side and rescuing Joe from the bad guys. JoBeth Williams has the thankless role of Gwen Harper, a fellow cop and sometime girlfriend of Joe. A waste of great talent! Understandably, this turkey was savaged by critics and audiences avoided it like contact dermatitis.
If anything good can be said about this movie at all, it’s that it finally convinced Stallone to stop appearing in comedies.