Americathon - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Americathon Reviews

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½ March 13, 2017
This movie was so wretched it was pulled during first run even from drive ins. It nearly cost John Ritter his acting career.
July 6, 2014
If this had been done by Mel Brooks or they guys who made Kentucky Fried Movie it could have been a great comedy.
June 8, 2014
Not quite as bad as its reputation, but pretty damn bad. I laughed out loud a few times, but mostly I was bored. A great idea destroyed mostly by clumsy direction. A miss for sure.
½ July 21, 2012
I watched this movie with so much expectations. Boy did this movie crush and mutilate those expectations. The Beach Boys song at the beginning I'll admit was pretty good, but the rest of the presentation is very high on camp. The characters are nothing too special. It tries to be a political satire, but the only thing I laughed at was how bad it turned out. I don't hate it, but it's overwhelmingly mediocre.
August 9, 2011
Americathon, from 1979, starring John Ritter as President Chet Roosevelt. America's credit rating has been downgraded and the brilliant politicians decide to run a telethon to save the U.S. from foreclosure. Not a bad idea Congress, we could have Ryan Seacrest host and maybe get Jerry Seinfeld to do a little stand-up, etc. Text USA to 99999 to make your $25 donation and avert the debt crisis.
March 30, 2011
America goes broke in 1998, and programming whiz kid Eric McMurkin (Peter Riegert) suggests throwing a thirty-day telethon to pay back the national debt. While the aspirations are noble - Director Isreal and his screenwriters want to skewer the touchy-feely 'Me Decade', television, world politics and Jerry Lewis - the execution (except for a couple visual asides, and an okay ending) falls far short. But this is probably the only film that you'll see Meat Loaf attack a car with a pickaxe.
½ June 28, 2010
What happens when a bankrupt America finally faces foreclosure from the world wealthiest man? Why hold a nationwide telethon of course!

A typical 70's ensemble cast acts out a script that is Sardonic, Shallow and actually funnier now than it was at the time of it's release due to the casting and how the actors careers turned out. This flick is definitely personality driven to the point near Shatnerian in it's seeming denial (or Obliviousness) of the absurdity of the script or story.

Strong points include (some spoilers);

John Ritter as the President of the United States. Probably seemed like a strong lead then as he was still a newcomer to acting and mostly known for "Three's Company". Hysterical in hindsight as he found his niche (post Wholly Moses) playing Clueless, overly passive but well meaning father figures. (see; Problem Child series, 8 simple Rules and real Men).

Meat Loaf in a cameo battles the last running car in the world.

The Telethon is a stinking failure until somebody shoots the MC, A truly narcissistic ass played to perfection by Harvey Korman. After America responds with donations to the Bleeding Korman, crew members note "If I had know America wanted to see [Korman] shot, I would have done it days ago."

A supposed sexy scene with Ritter and a Korean Punk superstar in what might be the least sexy 30 seconds ever on film.

If you are a fan of "bad movies" such as the "Big Bus", bring this forgotten gem to your next group viewing. It will probably get you declared King of the Hill.
½ January 21, 2010
Let's see, what were this film's satirical predictions?

China openly embracing Capitalism and becoming a global economic superpower, Vietnam becoming the playground of Asia's wealthy and powerful, the depletion of US oil production (google "Hubbard's Peak"), a USA with a devalued dollar and heavily in foreign debt, cliques of wealthy Native Americans, Nike becoming a global conglomerate, jogging suits becoming fashionable casual wear, absurd limits of reality TV (the Mother and Son boxing match) and taboo subjects on prime-time (a sit-com about a cross-dressing single father), the collapse of the USSR, the creation of a "Western White House", the UK relying heavily on tourism and the Beach Boys still popular as a music group in the 1990's.

The only one that didn't make it was the Arabs and Israelites forming the "Hebrab Republic".
September 1, 2008
I saw this once. Back in 1980 or so. On USA, I think. The premise is that it's 1997 and America is so broke it needs to run a telethon to keep afloat. But what I recall is some "future" events that they get right: Gas is too expensive for most people, so Nike is the largest company in the world, and the world's only superpower is China. Plus, if I recall, Elvis Costello sings a song.
½ July 24, 2008
With the current state of finances in the United States, including the sale of the Chrysler Building and Anheuser Bush, mortgage failures, bank failures, skyrocketing debt to foreign interests and a surge in gas, oil and food prices it makes you wonder what the next shoe to drop will be. This was all predicted back in 1979 in Americathon. The country needs a bail out big time. Selling off the country one monument at a time is the solution.

The cast alone makes this movie worth seeing: John Ritter playing the President of the US was awesome. Other notables include Howard Hesseman, Harvey Korman, Elvis Costello, Meatloaf and Fred Willard - oh, I almost forgot it also had a ridiculously young Jay Leno.

Americathon is not the best movie ever made but I did enjoy it. Mind you, I saw it as part of a 36 hour sci-fi marathon (somewhere around hour number 15, I believe). Americathon is ripe for a revival if not a remake. Hell, I should buy the rights and turn it into a Broadway musical. If it can be done with the Last Starfighter then why not?
July 29, 2007
I haven't seen this movie since it was originally released (I had the soundtrack on 8-Track!), but it had an all-star cast, a political satire about the country holding a telethon because it was going broke, and one of the more bizarre but cool actors I've ever seen, Zane Busby. Please release this movie on DVD!!!
½ October 5, 2006
i just got this added to the database...leaves out that john ritter plays the president
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