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Almost every successful person working in Hollywood sticks to his or her thing that they like. You would never see, say, David Fincher doing slapstick gross-out comedy, or Michael Bay directing a Jane Austen-type movie (unless, maybe, if the Little Women were also fighter pilots).

But sometimes these folks, with their well-defined comfort zones, lend a hand to movies so bizarrely out-of-character for them it's like they only did it to say, "There, I can do other stuff too. Happy?"

It's Pat Was Co-Written by Quentin Tarantino

Based on a Saturday Night Live sketch where the audience couldn't tell whether the obnoxious character Pat was a man or a woman, the comedy movie It's Pat tells the story of ... the exact same joke. For 77 minutes. Oh, and It's Pat is now considered one of the worst movies of all time, universally panned by critics and moviegoers alike. By which we mean like 70 people tops, seeing as it was only ever shown in three cities.

"What hath SNL wrought?"

But it was made by ...

Quentin Tarantino. No, really. He co-wrote it.

The guy who made Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill has an ego so massive that according to science, it should have long ago collapsed on itself like a neutron star. But one thing's for sure: All of Tarantino's movies are violent and bloody, and if Uma Thurman is in any of them, something horrible is going to happen to her.

Remember when I had you overdose on heroin, then get stabbed
in the heart, shotgunned, coma-raped and buried alive? Memories ...

For mysterious reasons that will forever remain lost to history, Tarantino never demanded official credit for co-writing It's Pat, which he did in the first place because he was friends with the character's creator, Julia Sweeney. This pretty much makes Tarantino the greatest friend in the history of ever. The extent of our friendship involves maybe lending our friends $20 if they put their firstborn as collateral. Tarantino, on the other hand, is the type of friend who helps you write a movie where a sexually ambiguous Julia Sweeney romances an even sexually ambiguer Dave Foley.


Three Men and a Baby was Directed by Leonard Nimoy

A comedy about three bachelors -- portrayed by Magnum, Mahoney and Malone -- suddenly having to take care of Malone's illegitimate child and, of course, deciding to keep it by the end of the movie. They also come across heroin dealers at one point, because this was your typical "1980s shenanigans" type of film.

We hear smack is great on teething.

But it was made by ...

Leonard Nimoy, aka Spock. With all due respect to the man whose acting career has spanned 60 years, Nimoy is and always will be Star Trek's Spock, the pointy-eared space Buddhist and object of frankly a disturbing amount of homoerotic fanfiction. Three Men and a Baby was directed by none other than Nimoy right after he came off shooting his Star Trek IV, which we can't imagine being a smooth transition.

Originally titled Anthropological Studies of Earth's Single Males Faced With Forced Fatherhood.

Before you start worrying that we no longer can tell reality from fiction, it's not like we think Nimoy really is the calculating, emotionless Spock. We know it, because the man admitted himself that the role has greatly influenced his character and personality over the years. But now, in light of that, we don't know what to think about the fact that Three Men and a Baby was the highest-grossing production of '87 and the most successful remake of a French film in movie history.

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Music of the Heart Was Directed by Wes Craven

Premiering in 1999, this Oxygen Channel-esque dramatic biopic tells the story of a professional violinist (Meryl Streep) teaching music to a group of underprivileged Harlem kids, giving them a gift they could never imagine. If that last part sounded cheesier than the whole state of Wisconsin, don't blame us: That's the film's tagline. Music of the Heart achieves its trifecta of inspirational movie cliche when Streep and her students must organize a fundraising concert to save their music program, and the phrase "Play from the heart" is uttered without a shred of irony.

Via Impawards
As expected, the poster is virtually indistinguishable
from a pamphlet for feminine hygiene product.

But it was made by ...

Wes Craven, creator of some of the most iconic horror films in history. Most notably, Wes Craven is the dark, twisted mind behind A Nightmare on Elm Street, a story about a sadistic dream demon who murders a bunch of teenagers because their parents burned him alive. So ... not exactly a bundle of kittens and sunshine.

Although really, it depends on how you combine the kittens and the sunshine.

To this day, Music of the Heart remains Wes Craven's only full-length non-horror/thriller movie, and nobody knows why. In 1999, Craven was still riding high on the success of the Scream films, so even if he was fighting a crippling addiction to albino rhino blood, it couldn't have been about the money. Roger Ebert suggested that with this film, Craven tried to break out of the "horror guy" typecast and start doing other stuff, which totally explains why he later went straight back to horror and never left. Only, you know, not.


Ghost Was Directed by Jerry Zucker, aka the Naked Gun Guy

Ghost is the movie where Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore have steaming ghost sex over a lump of wet clay. Swayze is a banker, learns something he shouldn't have, gets murdered and comes back in spirit form to protect his wife from the people who killed him.

Why hello, every banker ever, who isn't Patrick Swayze.

A lot of the film is dedicated to themes like coping with the loss of your loved ones and eternal damnation, as two characters are dragged to hell at the end of the movie.

Damn you, pre-CGI era cartoon demon hands!

But it was made by ...

Jerry Zucker -- who is famous for being one of the Zs in ZAZ (Zucker, Abrahams, Zucker), a trio of filmmakers responsible for every major slapstick comedy in the 80s and 90s. Zucker's credits in particular include directing Airplane! (which launched Leslie Nielsen's comedy career and the misconception that quoting a funny movie makes you funny) as well as writing all of the Naked Gun films. The man has spent his entire career making us laugh at other people's suffering.


Ghost wasn't Zucker's only "serious" movie. In 1995 he also directed First Knight, a story of the struggle between love and loyalty set in medieval Europe, sandwiched between Naked Gun 33 1/3 and Rat Race like fine caviar between two slices of Wonder Bread. But what makes Ghost stand out is how insanely successful it was. The movie is mostly remembered today through parodies, but what we tend to forget is that Jerry Zucker's Ghost has made more money than all of his other films combined.

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Babe, Babe: Pig in the City and Happy Feet Were Directed by George "Mad Max" Miller

Anyone who grew up in the 90s will remember the Babe movies, which feature a talking pig, his barnyard friends and the phrase "Baaa Ram Ewe!" -- which makes about as much sense as the idea that someone would name a boy "Babe."

Via Wikimedia Commons

Happy Feet is also a kid's film starring talking animals -- this one specifically a CGI-animated flick about a tap-dancing penguin shunned by his community because he cannot sing show tunes. Nothing too dark there, right?

But it was made by ...

More or less the father of the post-apocalyptic action movie genre. From 1979 to 1985, George Miller directed, wrote and produced all three Mad Max movies, which to this day remain the most accurate portrayal of Australia in movie history. Amid completing his brutal, post-apocalyptic trilogy starring Mel Gibson, Miller's other major directing credit was a segment of the 1983 Twilight Zone movie.

This one.

At least the Babe movies -- despite featuring a sheep herding pig getting into all sorts of shenanigans -- had their darker, more mature moments.

Seriously, it's a pretty scary place.

Still, with George Miller, you sort of expect "dark / mature" to be more ... well, this:

"Just walk away, pig. Just walk away."

The origin of Happy Feet goes all the way back to the production of The Road Warrior. It was then that Miller had a chat with a grizzled old cameraman named Billy Grimmond who had just come back from shooting a documentary in Antarctica. Grimmond sold Miller on the idea that the South Pole is this spectacular, badass wasteland that should totally be in a movie someday, presumably of the explody-shooty variety.

See, George Miller? Badass Antarctica.*
*We know. Let it go.

Twenty-five years later, Miller went with it and gave us Elijah Wood voicing a flightless bird. You figure it out.

The story behind Babe is even more disheartening. The movie premiered in 1995 but was the product of a 10-year "labor of love" by Miller, which means that when he was filming this ...

... he was secretly thinking about this ...

Stuart Little Was Written by M. Night Shyamalan

Based on the classic children's book by E. B. White, the 1999 Stuart Little film tells the story of a talking mouse adopted by human parents, trying to fit into his new family and find his place in the world. Featuring the voice talent of Michael J. Fox as the title character, the film would go on to spawn two sequels and a decent amount of merchandise.

Including an ill-fated attempt to break Disney's monopoly on the lucrative "mouse ears hat" market.

But it was made by ...

M. Night Shyamalan, famous for The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, some nonsense about Marky Mark talking to plastic plants, the overused "twist ending" gimmick and, subsequently, flushing a promising filmmaking career down the toilet. The toilet then turned out to exist only in the mind of ghost child aboard a spaceship or something.

Even his career had a stupid twist.

Shyamalan wrote Stuart Little's screenplay and somehow didn't have the ending reveal that the entire cast had been zombies the entire time. It's just a straight-up family film, which makes you wonder why Disney got Shyamalan to write the screenplay for it. And he didn't even follow the book, changing a lot of the original novel, in which Stuart is a mouse actually born (not adopted) to real human parents.


Well, OK, it might not be that hard to explain. Before 1999, the only major directing work Shyamalan had done was Wide Awake, a tremendous box-office bomb co-starring Denis Leary. We're pretty sure that making a bad movie with Denis Leary must be like the filmmaking equivalent of exposing yourself in front of a nursery. At the time, Shyamalan would have probably gotten onboard a Stuart Little porn spoof if it meant staying in the Hollywood game. In the end, his perseverance paid off when his next project, The Sixth Sense, proved to be a massive hit, and Shyamalan went on to become the butt of every movie joke on the planet.

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You Only Live Twice Was Written by Children's Author Roald Dahl

Even if you don't remember this 1967 James Bond movie, you'd instantly recognize it because it has been copied and parodied by every spy film in history. Some of its most iconic elements include Connery's Bond stopping a rocket launch, a secret lair hidden inside a volcano and a greater focus on Bond's gadgets.

How am I firing thish gun, you ashk?

But it was made by ...

Roald Dahl, who wrote the screenplay. If that name sounds vaguely familiar, it's because Dahl is the guy responsible for writing your entire childhood. His literary works include such classics as James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, Fantastic Mr. Fox and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. In the 1960s, Dahl also briefly went into scriptwriting, applying his signature dark yet kid-friendly style to, for example, the 1968 family film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

You know, the family film with the dick-nosed creep who kidnaps and murders children?

The reason why Dahl was hired to write the movie (despite having no experience with scriptwriting) was because it just so happened that he and Ian Fleming were close friends. So naturally, Dahl's first step was to throw out almost the entire plot of the You Only Live Twice novel and just do his own thing with the script (which, in his defense, did include ninjas).

Ninjas wielding assault rifles.

The movie turned out to be a huge success, both financially and critically, but man, the relationship between Dahl and Fleming must have taken a hit. He also decided to not kill off Bond's archnemesis, Ernst Stavro Blofeld (the villain with the Persian cat), inadvertently helping create Dr. Claw and Dr. Evil.

Staying Alive Was Directed by Sylvester Stallone

Staying Alive is the 1983 sequel to Saturday Night Fever, which basically created disco. It starred John Travolta reprising the role of Tony Manero, now grown up and working his life out in the aftermath of the disco craze. It sucked.

Hard to believe, we know.

But it was made by ...

Sylvester Stallone, star of Rocky, Rambo, The Expendables and other movies where Stallone punches/shoots/stabs people in the mouth.

Director's trademark: Glistening muscular dudes in headbands.

Stallone is an interesting guy. Before doing Staying Alive, the man had already done porn, science fiction, sports and action movies, so why should a disco flick be anything special? Because in Stallone's 40-year career, Staying Alive remains the only movie where he did it all -- working as director, producer, writer and actor. Hell, he probably also made the coffee and yelled at himself in the mirror for going over budget. And he did it right after finishing Rocky III and First Blood.

"Can we speed this along? I have polyester swatches to pick."

Staying Alive was actually one of the highest-grossing films of 1983, making enough money to commission a scaled-down statue of Stallone made entirely out of cocaine. But it however performed terribly with the critics, many complaining that the sequel lacked the grittiness and shock of the first movie.

Pictured: Grittiness and shock, apparently.

Considering that just a year before that, Stallone had punched Mr. T unconscious and blown up a gas station, we can see how they would have been disappointed.

Cezary Jan Strusiewicz is a freelance online writer and Japanese-English-Polish translator. If you pay him, he will write words for you. Contact him at c.j.strusiewicz@gmail.com

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