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November 18, 2009

Film Fatale: Mystery Men

Flaming Carrot Comic Bob BurdenReleased in 1999, Mystery Men is a movie about superhero characters; three core wanna-be superhero friends create a group of crime fighting comrades (which eventually become seven) who at the end of the movie are dubbed “The Mystery Men.” The story is loosely based on Bob Burden’s Dark Horse comic book series Flaming Carrot Comics (two interesting trivia factoids about Bob Burden- he was born and raised in Buffalo, NY just like this site’s founder, and when the creators of SpongeBob were thinking of a name to call their series, they thought of Spongeboy but Bob Burden had already trademarked the name which led to the creation of SpongeBob). The film features an all star cast of stars not limited to Geoffrey Rush, Greg Kinnear, William H. Macy, Hank Azaria, Ben Stiller, Paul Reubens, Janeane Garofalo, Tom Waits, and Claire Forlani.

846204mystery-men-video-release-postersAlthough considered a flop, the movie has developed a bit of a cult following; which is not surprising with all the little gems it possesses. For instance, getting to see accomplished theatre and film star Geoffrey Rush play the over the top villain Casanova Frankenstein. Or hearing quotes like this one between Captain Amazing (Kinnear) and The Shoveler (Macy), CA: “Oh so you guys, uh, they’re superheros!” TS: “Well, we fight crime. Call it what you will.” Everything in this movie is over the top including the film’s leading golden boy superhero, Captain Amazing, played by the equally amazing Greg Kinnear. In the beginning of the film after a battle is over and the news and crowd are trying to see Captain Amazing, a little boy asks him for an autograph who he pushes over on his way out; he also does this to old man in a wheelchair, causing him to crash into something. When Captain Amazing complains about his bad press his manager reminds him, “You want big news you have to have big fights. A superhero needs a supervillain and, thanks to you, we’ve got none left.”

A great scene is the one where they discover Janeane Garofalo in their superhero try outs. A then little known Dane Cook makes a brief appearance as The Waffler, and two girls get into a catfight over their shared costume dressed similarly to Wonder Woman – “Hey! You copied me!” “You copied me!” “Did not!” “Liar!” and proceed to kick the shit out of each other. I would love for something similar to happen between a couple of cosplayers at a Con sometime.

eddie_izzardI hadn’t watched this film in years and was surprised to find that that iconic piece of catchy, irritating, pop music known as the song “All Star” by Smash Mouth was made for the film and its music video was themed to the movie. When I hear that song or see that video it’s hard to believe that it’s really part of our culture.

I like that the cast is centered around wanna-be superheros who eventually save the day, and also highly resemble geeks. Case in point, The Blue Raja lives with his mother who at one point thinks he’s smoking pot, The Shoveler’s wife bosses him around all the time, and Mr. Furious is nervous around girls. I also have to admit, I like the fact that they have a female superhero with a kick ass attitude in the cast (Garofalo) who isn’t there for just some T and A. She delivers a great line to The Spleen (Reubens) who perpetually stinks and is currently hitting on her, “There’s not enough beer in the world, Spleen, I’m sorry. I’m sorry” I would love to use that line on someone who was annoying me in a bar. Legendary Tom Waits takes a turn as the crazy weapons maker scientist Dr. A Heller, much like his character Renfield in one of my favorite films Bram Stoker’s Dracula. If you’re not familiar with his music check out a song here.

This film also casts my favorite stand-up comedian-who-likes-to-wear-women’s-clothing Eddie Izzard as Tony P., leader of the Disco Boys- “Disco is NOT dead!” If you’re not familiar with his work check out a clip of it here. Mystery Men’s characters have more to them than meets the eye, as does the movie itself…

mystery MenThe Movie Lady



  1. I have no shame is stating that I absolutely love this movie. It’s one of my favorites.

  2. infinite speech

    This movie stays in rotation at my house as well! It was better than I expected it to be considering I assumed I would hate it the first time I actually watched the entire thing. Nothing like a guy who is only invisible when no one is looking at him lol!

  3. I also love this movie. I love cast! But I think some of us comic geeks are bias cuz it’s a superhero themed movie. Everywhere else I’ve looked and everyone else I’ve heard from who aren’t comics fans think this movie stinks.


  4. Kristin

    It’s one of my hubby’s favorites as well.
    Geoffrey Rush, Hank Azaria, William H. Macy…. It’s hard to go wrong with that.

  5. I have met a few non comic fans that love the movie as much as we do

  6. billy

    I’ve never seen it.

  7. I’m part of the cult following. With a cast like this, how can you go wrong! Didn’t know about the Spongebob factoid. Great review as always Movie Lady! Keep em comin!

  8. infinite speech

    Billy thats almost as bad as Andy not seeing Predator man lol

  9. I have yet to see this movie in full. Whenever I start to watch it, something dramatic happens that requires my immediate attention. Now I kind of avoid it!

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