Damn, guys, I guess there’s more Full House stuff. I’m gonna review Fuller House when that happens but in the interim there was a terrible Lifetime movie so why don’t we have a friendly little chat about that?
So, this thing is bad and everything, but it’s also pretty well suited to the quality of its subject. I just saw Straight Outta Compton and it kind of amazed me to see an actual high-quality biopic get made for once, but imagine if they’d made a Full House movie of that caliber. I mean, it couldn’t be done, because there’s pretty much no story to tell here, but like imagine if this movie actually looked like it cost money to make or had even one talented actor in it. It’s kind of a zen practice to try to conjure up that image because it’s so unfathomable that it just makes your mind draw a complete blank.
Anyway, let’s get into the point-by-point shit talking. The “movie” opens with the actor who plays Dave Coulier backstage talking to what I wouldn’t so much call an actor as a confused child who is depicting one of the Olsen twins. The guy who plays Coulier is pretty lousy but I was so grateful to not have to look at Uncle Joey’s actual face for any of this that he never really bothered me.
The two of them head onstage and I was going to say that they embark on a reenactment of a Full House episode but the thing they’re doing isn’t based on any episode that I remember seeing. I know that I was stoned on pot for most of the episodes that I watched (especially the early ones. BOY was I high all the time back then!) but I’m really certain that there was never a sleepwalking Uncle Joey episode. I guess that this is a thing about rights. Like, the people at Lifetime must know the exact amount of stuff that you can do in a biopic without getting sued. Probably you gotta cough up some cash to do an episode reenactment?
And if that doesn’t throw you enough, check out this set! That looks more like Archie Bunker’s house than the Full House. It’s, like, inverted. Again, I have to assume that this is a rights thing, like they changed it just exactly enough to not have to give anyone any money.
So then a bunch of no-name actors come out as various characters from the show and it kind of makes your brain reel. It’s weird because it was already unsettling to see all those terrible people in those garish outfits deliver that intolerable dialogue when it was actually happening, but seeing a skewed reenactment of it is even more fucked up somehow. It’s like seeing a hideous monster reflected in a funhouse mirror, and it keeps telling all these corny jokes.
So the actors run through their crappy fake episode reenactment until the Olsen Twin shits its pants and they have to stop the scene (that’s really what happens!) and then the camera pans up and we cut to 2 years earlier.
Wait, what? Oh, I get it. That was, like, the high drama moment. Most crappy biopics start at a moment that’s supposed to pull you in, like when the guy it’s about is smoking crack in a hotel room or like getting robbed at knife point by a prostitute who’s high on crack or like skiing on a steep, dangerous mountain in the Ozarks while he’s high on crack or something, and then it cuts to when he’s young and innocent and you’re like, man, I gotta see how this hopeful young man ends up being a treacherous crack smoker, especially since he was also the writer of Alf. The problem here is that the moment they’ve used to try to hook us with reveals that nothing at all interesting is about to take place for the entire movie. And this isn’t just me being that cranky guy on the internet that shits all over Full House all the time, either. There’s like zero drama in this whole thing. The big conflict is that (spoiler alert) Bob Saget is aware that the show sucks. Outside of that there’s really nothing controversial or even interesting here. Nobody even hits a crack pipe, not one time.
2 years earlier, Bob Saget was telling dirty jokes on stage. The jokes aren’t that dirty here because this is a cheap network television movie (his bit is about tampons, which you can totally talk about on every channel) but you get the idea. Faux-Saget heads backstage and meets up with Faux-Coulier, informing the audience that they were pals before starring on the worst sitcom of all time together. They have a friendly exchange with Mrs. Faux-Saget before she leaves them to do guy stuff, like drink booze and trade handjobs (just like on their tv show! Well, not the booze…).
Faux-Coulier tells Faux-Saget that he’s just been cast on Saturday Night Live and Faux-Saget congratulations him before going into a whiny diatribe about how all the comedians that they came up with are getting tv deals except for him. I guess it would feel pretty bad to see Dave Coulier get better comedy gigs than you.
We cut to a generic diner, where we meet Faux-Stamos, who is working for his father after quitting his role on General Hospital. I’m just gonna assume that he’s working there to help his dad out and not because he spent all of his tv money already. I mean, come on. Anyway, Faux-Stamos gets ogled by a bunch of horny broads while his dad gives him a pep talk about his acting career. Young Stamos worries that the course of his career has led him to be seen in the acting world as “damaged goods,” which is incredibly naive considering that he’ll still be getting work in 20 years after appearing in the worst thing ever filmed (including footage of actual torture) but, you know, hindsight’s 20/20. Faux-Stamos is comforted first by his father’s reassuring words and then by sauntering over to those horny broads to tear them walls up.
Bob Saget’s low wage doppelganger goes home to his wife to tell her some big news and she says that she has big news, too, and then in true sitcom fashion he keeps interrupting her when she tries to talk and tells her all about how he’s got an offer to be the lame comic relief on a morning news show. He questions whether or not he should take the job and then his wife tells him that she’s pregnant because that’s all wives ever say on tv after their big news gets interrupted over and over again.
Phoney baloney Dave Coulier’s agent calls him and tells him that the people at Saturday Night Live realized that he’s the worst comedian of all time and his stupid fucking face would be a pox on their show so he didn’t get the gig after all and then Coulier pouts like a stupid whiny baby. Meanwhile, Fakey Bob Saget decides to take the morning show gig. I think that these two scenes are supposed to be visually woven together by the artful use of cordless phones.
We cut to the ABC Network, where a bunch of fancy bigwigs have a meeting. There are some real tasty looking donuts on the table and no one is even eating them. That always drives me nuts on tv shows when there are delicious snacks at a meeting and everyone just acts like they’re not even there. Man, if I was at that meeting I’d be tearin’ them donuts up.
The meeting scene is actually a pretty decent explanation of how Jeff Franklin, who wrote some actually quite watchable movies that played on cable ten millions times throughout my youth (“Summer School” and “Just One of the Guys”), wanted to pitch a show about a bunch of comedians who lived in a house together and was cajoled by the network into a series of creative compromises that led to the monstrocity that is Full House. It all kind of makes sense from a soulless tv network perspective. Like, let’s just throw a bunch of obnoxious kids into that mix and make it really emotionally manipulative and you’ve got yourself a series!
After a brief sequence of Bob Saget just not quite fitting in on his morning show gig, he finds out that his wife is in the hospital. It turns out that she had an emergency c-section but is ok and then Sister Saget comes in to establish her character, which may be important later.
As Jeff Franklin prepares for his initial casting session for the Full House pilot, he expresses concern to either Miller or Boyett about being unsure of the creative direction of the series he’s helming. Meanwhile, Candace Cameron delivers a mediocre audition, which we know because the casting director says so to Jeff Franklin, as the actress playing Candace Cameron’s performance is pretty much on par with everything else we see in this movie.
As the casting process continues, we learn more fun trivia about the show, like that the creators wanted Paul Reiser to audition for Danny but he’d already signed on to do My 2 Dads, which is pretty much the same show except not as shitty (and, paradoxically, not as successful). These sorts of moments are really what this movie is all about. You don’t get much actual dirt (seriously, not one crack rock in the whole production) but you do get a lot of useless factoids. Anyway, Candace Cameron’s soulless show-business mom storms back into the casting office with her daughter in hand and, in true Full House fashion, they are awarded another opportunity for overstepping their boundaries. There is a smart creative choice in this scene of playing music over Candace’s audition so we don’t evaluate her actual performance but we do get the idea that she did a much better job this time and is awarded the role.
As the casting process continues, Dave Coulier gets a call from his agent to let him know that he’s been offered the role of Joey for some unholy reason (probably some goats got sacrificed, or maybe Dave Coulier just sucks a powerful mean dick) and then we see John Stamos fight his way through a horde of groupies to have a lunch with Jeff Franklin that leads to him being cast as Uncle Jesse.
Even though the Olsen twins are only in the audition room because their mom is there with a friend who’s peddling her own children, Jeff Franklin can feel it at the base of his nuts that he can make those 2 ugly babies into soulless media moguls some day.
Bob Saget gets fired from the morning news show because he’s got the second most punchable face in television. His wife suggests that she go back to work early so he can be a stay at home dad for a while and he’s totally just like fuck that noise. Like, super flat out. His wife suggests that he makes an effort to get cast as Danny Tanner and, after some resistance, he agrees to go for it. Anything’s better than being a stay at home dad!
There’s a teeny tiny flair of storytelling as the producers are shown announcing the casting of Danny and it’s revealed that John Posey has received the role. Jeff Franklin watches the pilot in his office and expresses his feeling that John Posey’s face just isn’t begging to be punched enough for his terrible abomination of a tv series. Franklin insists to the producer that Bob Saget is the only man for the job and then they both wonder how they’ll break the news to John Posey. We never actually see the scene where John Posey is let go, or hear any mention of him ever again in this movie. Man, I’d give anything to know how John Posey feels about being let go from Full House. Is it a bummer or a total relief? Oh, wait, I just googled “john posey full hosue interview” and found all the answers… maybe I’ll read it later.
And with that, the cast of Full House is assembled, which seems like a good stopping point for the first review. Man, I’m totally not used to writing this kind of crap anymore. How did I ever have time to do this? Anyway, I’m guessing it’ll take 3-4 weeks to review this whole thing. I hope people keep reading it. If you want to hear more of my dumb thoughts about shitty pop culture, be sure the check out the Saved By the Bell Reviewed Podcast, where I chat about that show with a regular cast of depraved weirdos (and an occasional special guest!) each week.