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Free genealogy search for your family history in photos. Search by surname, state, country and more. If you find a photo of a family member owned by the archive, we'll send it to you free! Casey Wilson (Bitch Seth) joins Paul, June, and Jason to discuss the 1991 comedy Drop Dead Fred. Recorded live at The Bell Theater in Los Angeles, they talk about why this movie made June want to pursue acting, Phoebe Cates’ character’s relationship with Drop Dead Fred, Casey’s hatred of.

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(272) 272 product ratings - Drop Dead Fred DVD Rare OOP Phoebe Cates Official Region 1 USA Release w/ Insert. C $15.41 shipping. Watch Drop Dead Fred 1991 Full Streaming Movie, download Drop Dead Fred full movie, Drop Dead Fred Drop Dead Fred streaming, Drop Dead Fred mp4, Download Drop Dead Fred AVI & MP4 DVDrip Full Movie, Watch Drop Dead Fred Movie Full. When I first saw this film when I. I really like Drop Dead Fred. It's not a cinematic masterpiece by any means and never was intended to be. But it's fun and silly, and I went into it being quite a fan of Rik's. To this day, I still like it. The movie itself is also pretty poignant when you think about it. As Lizzie is growing up and handling life on her own without Fred.

Drop Dead Fred
Directed byAte de Jong
Produced byPaul Webster
Screenplay byCarlos Davis
Anthony Fingleton
Story byElizabeth Livingston
Music byRandy Edelman
CinematographyPeter Deming
Edited byMarshall Harvey
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment
Working Title Films
Distributed byNew Line Cinema
(North America)
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment
Rank Film Distributors
(UK theatrical)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
(UK home video)
  • May 24, 1991 (United States)
  • October 11, 1991 (United Kingdom)
101 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
United States
Budget$6.788 million (est.) or £3,650,000[1]
Box office$14.8 million (domestic)[2]

Drop Dead Fred is a 1991 British-AmericanDark comedyfantasy film directed by Ate de Jong, produced by PolyGram Filmed Entertainment and Working Title Films and released and distributed by New Line Cinema.

Rik Mayall starred as the title character: a happy, anarchic, and mischievous imaginary friend of a young girl named Elizabeth (Phoebe Cates) and nemesis of her overbearing mother Polly (Marsha Mason). He causes chaos around her home and neighborhood, but nobody can see him except her. When she grows up and has an emotional crisis, he returns to 'cheer her up' in his own unique way, causing more chaos than ever before. The supporting cast included Carrie Fisher, Ron Eldard, Tim Matheson, and Bridget Fonda.

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Elizabeth Cronin is an unassertive and repressed woman, dominated by her controlling mother Polly, who blames her for her divorce. While taking her lunch break from work, she visits her husband Charles, from whom she is separated, hoping to sort out their problems. He reasserts his desire for a divorce and says that he is in love with another woman named Annabella.

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While she is at a public phone, a man walking down the street breaks into her car to steal her purse, and then her car. Forced to run back to work at the courthouse, she arrives late and loses her job. As she leaves the courthouse, she runs into an old friend, Mickey, who brings up childhood memories they shared, which includes memories of Elizabeth's childhood imaginary friend, Drop Dead Fred. Mickey explains how only Elizabeth could see Drop Dead Fred, and everybody else thought she was crazy. A series of flashbacks reveals that while he caused havoc for her, he also gave her happiness and a release from her oppressive mother. One day while she and Fred are making a mess on the diner table she hears her mother coming and she imagines him hiding in a jack-in-the-box. Polly, fed up with Elizabeth playing with Fred takes the jack-in-the-box and tapes it shut and takes Fred away from her. The event leaves her traumatized.

After a pep talk from her friend Janie, Elizabeth moves back into her mother's home, having nowhere else to go. Elizabeth finds the taped-shut jack-in-the-box that Polly trapped Fred inside in her childhood bedroom. She removes the tape, releasing Fred. He agrees to help her feel better, which she believes will only happen when she wins back Charles. However, his childish antics do more harm than good. He sinks Janie's houseboat, causes havoc at a restaurant, and tricks Elizabeth into attacking a violinist in a shopping mall.

Worried by Elizabeth's recent strange behavior, Polly takes her to a (children's) psychologist. In the waiting room, Fred is seen meeting up with the imaginary friends of other patients, who are all children. The doctor prescribes medication to rid her of Fred, whom he and Polly believe is a figment of her imagination. She also changes her appearance and wardrobe. The medication also has the effect of slowly killing Fred. Charles now wants her back and she is overjoyed, until Fred discovers he is still cheating on her with Annabella and tells Elizabeth. Heartbroken, she tells Fred that she cannot leave Charles, because she is scared of being alone. She then passes out due to overdosing on medication. They escape to a dream sequence in which she is finally able to reject Charles and stand up to Polly, declaring she is no longer afraid of her. She frees her imprisoned childhood self. Fred tells her that she no longer needs him, so they kiss and he disappears.

Adobe illustrator cc brushes free. Upon awakening from the dream, Elizabeth dumps Charles and asserts herself to Polly. Before leaving, she reconciles with Polly and encourages her to find a friend to escape her own loneliness. Days later she visits Mickey and his daughter Natalie, who blames Drop Dead Fred on mischief that has just prompted her nanny to quit. Elizabeth realizes that he is now with Natalie, although she can no longer see him.

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  • Phoebe Cates as Elizabeth Cronin
    • Ashley Peldon as Young Elizabeth
  • Rik Mayall as Drop Dead Fred
  • Marsha Mason as Polly Cronin
  • Ron Eldard as Mickey Bunce
  • Carrie Fisher as Janie
  • Tim Matheson as Charles
  • Daniel Gerroll as Nigel Cronin
  • Keith Charles as Murray
  • Bridget Fonda as Annabella (uncredited)
  • Eleanor Mondale as Attractive customer
  • Bob Reid as Judge Dubben


Tim Burton and Robin Williams were offered the role of director and Fred respectively. They turned the project down.[3]

Filming began in August 1990, and finished in September that year.

Filmed in Minneapolis, a large part of Drop Dead Fred was filmed at Prince's Paisley Park Studios in the suburb of Chanhassen.It has been said that Prince used to visit the set, each evening once filming had stopped for the day, to mess around and admire the costumes and props.


Box office[edit]

The film, produced on a budget of just under $6.8 million, was released theatrically in North America on May 24, 1991, grossing $3,625,648 on its opening weekend, and $13,878,334 over its entire theatrical run.[2]

It made £1,794,121.[1]

Critical response[edit]

Drop Dead Fred was critically panned upon release but has gone on to become a cult film.[3][4] On Rotten Tomatoes it has an approval rating of 11% based on 36 reviews. The site's consensus states: 'Tackling mature themes with an infantile sensibility, Drop Dead Fred is an ill-conceived family comedy that is more likely to stir up a headache than the imagination.'[5] On Metacritic it has a score of 25% based on reviews from 19 critics, indicating 'generally unfavorable reviews'.[6]

Gene Siskel gave the film zero stars and said 'This is easily one of the worst films I've ever seen.'[7] Writing for Entertainment Weekly, Margaret Lyons asked, 'Is it supposed to be hilarious, or a really, really depressing story about the long-term effects of emotional abuse?'[8]Leonard Maltin stated that 'Phoebe Cates' appealing performance can't salvage this putrid mess..recommended only for people who think nose-picking is funny.'[citation needed]

Peter Freedman of the Radio Times called it a 'largely uninteresting and unfunny comedy', adding: 'It's a nice idea, but it falls between all available stools and ends up as a mess on the floor thanks to the poor execution. It's particularly irritating if you've seen the much better Harvey.'[9]Angie Errigo of Empire magazine wrote: 'There is scarcely a laugh to be had unless you are six years old or immoderately fond of such wheezes as depositing dog poop on a white carpet.'[10]

Writing for Mystical Movie Guide, Carl J. Schroeder wrote: 'The imaginary friend is cavortingly rude for a reason; he served to push the girlchild to do mischief for attention and as a cry for help. Now grown up, the woman has forgotten and is about to lose her soul, so events call for some kind of literal return of her demon to force the exposure of her pain. This psychic crisis is poignantly realistic..the creature who is visible only to the woman is like a poltergeist energy of her repressed self, a problematic ego container into which her powers of assertion and creativity were poured and stored. The movie's resolution is startlingly beautiful.'[11]


  1. ^ ab'Back to the Future: The Fall and Rise of the British Film Industry in the 1980s - An Information Briefing'(PDF). British Film Institute. 2005. p. 22.
  2. ^ ab'Drop Dead Fred (1991)'. Box Office Mojo. 1991-07-02. Retrieved 2014-06-10.
  3. ^ abMark Harrison (September 1, 2017). 'Drop Dead Fred: Looking Back On A Cult Classic'. Den of Geeks. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
  4. ^Stone, Loryn (16 December 2017). 'Drop Dead Fred – The Cult Classic Rife with Hypocrisy'. PopLurker.
  5. ^'Drop Dead Fred'. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  6. ^'Drop Dead Fred'. Metacritic. Retrieved 2020-10-10.
  7. ^Siskel, Gene (24 May 1991). ''Backdraft': A Spectacle Graced by Fine Acting'. Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 20 July 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  8. ^Margaret Lyons (Apr'il 28, 2009). ''Drop Dead Fred' remake: Let's not flick boogers at it just yet'. Entertainment Weekly.Check date values in: date= (help)
  9. ^Peter Freedman (1991). 'Drop Dead Fred – review'. Radio Times.
  10. ^Angie Errigo (1 January 2000). 'Drop Dead Fred'. Empire magazine.
  11. ^'Review of Drop Dead Fred'. Mystical Movie Guide. Archived from the original on 2002-12-16.

External links[edit]

  • Drop Dead Fred on IMDb
  • Drop Dead Fred at Box Office Mojo
Retrieved from 'https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Drop_Dead_Fred&oldid=999027469'

Drop Dead Fred is a 1991 “Black Comedy Fantasy Film” (according to Wikipedia) that came and went without much fanfare. It made a decent profit on a modest, roughly $7 million budget, but was noteworthy mostly for being lambasted roundly by critics of the period. The late Gene Siskel referred to it as “easily one of the worst movies [he had] ever seen,” Entertainment Weekly’s Owen Gleiberman gave the feature a “D” grade and singled out the late, legendary British comic actor Rik Mayall as “obnoxious” (not just his performance; Gleiberman referred to Mayall himself as “an obnoxious British actor”) and capsule review king Leonard Maltin described it as a “putrid mess… recommended only for people who think nose-picking is funny.”

It’s hardly a novel occasion when critics miss the mark on a movie (great filmmakers like Paul Verhoeven, Abel Ferrara, Brian DePalma and M. Night Shyamalan have routinely received scathing notices for efforts that have pushed boundaries and tackled tricky and meaningful thematic material in powerful fashion), but I’m surprised, given the lip service paid by media figures to concepts like “female empowerment” and “self care,” and the accompanying need for entertainment to portray them, that not only was the film so uniformly pilloried upon release but that it hasn’t recuperated in the intervening three decades. Beyond a small but loyal cult following that treasures the film as I’ve come to, its existence has scarcely been acknowledged since its original theatrical release.

The film stars Phoebe Cates, on the shortlist of the most beautiful women of all time and a fine actress with a number of excellent dramatic and particularly comic performances, in one of her last film roles before retiring to focus on motherhood and private life. Cates plays Elizabeth “Lizzie” Cronin, a meek young woman whose marriage to Charles (played by a slimy Tim Matheson) has fallen apart in the wake of his infidelity, leading to her going, on her lunch break, to the Jaguar dealership where he works to try and talk about their status, but Charles has little time for her and brushes her off in condescending fashion, as he’s more focused on trying to bed a blonde woman who’s browsing the selection of vehicles in the showroom. This leads Lizzie to call her friend and confidante Janie (Carrie Fisher, in the kind of “matter-of-fact, quick-witted career woman” role at which she was always excelled), but in the process her purse is stolen from her car, and then the car itself is stolen, leading to her being late getting back to her job as a court stenographer, resulting in her termination. On the way out she bumps into childhood friend Mickey (ubiquitous character actor Ron Eldard), who’s heading to court to finalize his divorce and custody proceedings for his young daughter. Upon Lizzie’s returning to her apartment Janie advises her to stand her ground and have a frank conversation with Charles when he inevitably comes home, but Lizzie’s mother Polly (the great Marsha Mason, outstanding as the overbearing ice queen, micromanaging and infantilizing Lizzie while withholding genuine affection at every turn) arrives and tells her she’s coming back home to stay and get herself together. Lizzie, with prodding from Janie, refuses and says she’s waiting for Charles, but the ensuing cut shows Lizzie slinking into her mother’s house behind Polly. Just 10 minutes into the picture and everything we need to know about Lizzie’s life and the way people view and treat her has been established.

The next major development is the return of Drop Dead Fred (the aforementioned Rik Mayall, portraying an obnoxious character but himself a genius of comedy, most remembered for great British series like The Young Ones, Blackadder and The New Statesman) the first night Lizzie’s back at her mother’s place. Fred is Lizzie’s long-buried imaginary friend, who, rather than being a sweetheart the way most such characters are depicted, is a wrecking ball of high-energy vulgarity and creative mischief-making. He mocks Lizzie for having grown “gross” and “old” and has little interest in allowing her to sleep and wants to get back into the pair’s old routine of driving Lizzie’s mother mad.


Perhaps just from what I’ve told you, you can see what the filmmakers (Dutch director Ate de Jong was at the helm, working from a script by Carlos Davis and Anthony Fingleton, based on a story by Elizabeth Livingston; Mayall is said to have been given a high degree of input on his character and performance) were going for. Despite its conceit of a grown woman returning home to be reunited with her childhood imaginary friend, who gives a manic comic performance, the film has little to do with juvenile toilet humor beyond the superficial level. The picture takes great pains to show us at every turn how completely passive and utterly defeated Lizzie is by the circumstances of and people in her life, juxtaposing scenes of her serving as a human doormat for her mother and husband with childhood scenes of her and Fred, nearly always conspicuously left to their own devices, sometimes following chidings from Polly, wreaking havoc. Lizzie, it’s shown, was a lonely child subjected to emotional abuse (a plot point involves her bearing the brunt of her mother’s frustration and anger for her father’s having left them after what is shown to have been a strained, rocky marriage) and that dynamic led to her repressing her emotions and losing all self-confidence and becoming a mere shell, always seeking to please others at the expense of her own happiness and deathly afraid of being alone. The bed and room in which she sleeps at her mother’s house is completely unchanged from when she was a child, and after the returned Drop Dead Fred causes trouble as the film progresses (seen, of course, as the doing of Lizzie herself by her mother and others), the doctor she takes the adult Lizzie to for treatment is a pediatric psychiatrist.

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That people whose jobs it was to write film reviews noticed little of the thematic content on display and grappled with less of it is astonishing. It’d be one thing to think the film attempted to depict these concepts and failed, but for the vast majority of the critics who covered it to believe the movie is attempting to be a “gross-out comedy” rather than the portrayal of a wounded, lonely woman who’s lost touch with herself and is attempting to recover her own ego, is further evidence of how completely bereft of worth mainstream film coverage has been through the years.

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Mayall has the showiest role throughout the film and his performance is appropriately kinetic, somewhere between Robin Williams in one of his more high-octane roles, Jim Carrey in Me, Myself & Irene (another underrated film about a character in a psychic crisis) and Micheal Keaton in Beetlejuice. It’s telling that some critics even compared “Fred” to the latter, but missed that the obnoxiousness for which they derided the turn and the picture were intentional, as in Beetlejuice! Drop Dead Fred is shown, particularly following the visit to the doctor where Lizzie is prescribed an unnamed medication to “block the appearance of the imaginary friend,” to be a manifestation of her repressed emotions, creativity, energy and need for attention and love, and it’s only logical that that glut of needs and emotions and desires rendered flesh would be a bit much to take.

Cates, meanwhile, portrays her character’s fragility, pain and doe-eyed timidity wonderfully, commanding the screen while at the same time generously ceding most of it to whoever is sharing the scene. When Fred is absent, though, and we see his mischief and madness from an alternate viewpoint—and, thus, Lizzie is depicted as the one behaving in an out of control fashion—Cates proves capable of carrying that off as well.

The only critic of whom I’m aware who has dealt with any of this, or given this picture anything like its due, is not a critic at all. A composer named Carl J. Schroeder wrote, in a publication called Mystical Movie Guide, an appreciation for the film that I’d very much like to read, but alas I’ve only seen the following, wonderful excerpt: “The imaginary friend is cavortingly rude for a reason; he served to push the girlchild to do mischief for attention and as a cry for help. Now grown up, the woman has forgotten and is about to lose her soul, so events call for some kind of literal return of her demon to force the exposure of her pain. This psychic crisis is poignantly realistic… the creature who is visible only to the woman is like a poltergeist energy of her repressed self, a problematic ego container into which her powers of assertion and creativity were poured and stored. The movie's resolution is startlingly beautiful.”

I don’t want to “spoil” the events of the film, but I must at least talk about its climax, described accurately as “startlingly beautiful,” by Schroeder. The movie is less about its plot and events than it is the way in which they unfold and their significance (as is the case with anything not seeking to simply act as a momentary diversion for its audience) anyway. The sight of this woman, who by the end of the film has completely buried her self-respect in an effort to win back a husband who she’s shown to her face is cheating on her, and is persisting in taking the pills that are killing “Fred,”—becoming visibly sick and lethargic, pleading weakly with her not to take the pills while she, too, becomes even meeker and more desperate to please, the natural outcome of poisoning the embodiment of her repressed ego—snapping out of this zombie state after a metaphysical journey into “Fred’s” realm, where she stands up for herself at least, extricating herself from the shackles that’ve constrained her for more than 20 years, and learns to love and respect herself again, is incredibly poignant and powerful.

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It depicts so wonderfully the sorts of things that critics have bent over backwards and twisted themselves into pretzels reading into assembly-line, focus-grouped corporate junk like Captain Marvel, and its emotions feel real to us by virtue of their being so hard-won. We want to see Lizzie succeed because she’s a good person who has gone through relatable experiences and has, finally, come out the other side of her darknessand returned to the light.