Did ‘The Flintstones’ Rip Off The Coen Brothers?

No Country For Old Fred
Did ‘The Flintstones’ Rip Off The Coen Brothers?

While its most significant accomplishment was clearly resurrecting McDonald's McRib, the 1994 live-action adaption of The Flintstones was a big ass deal. It was the fifth-highest grossing film of the year, just behind that movie where Tim Allen murders Kris Kringle. It was even produced by Steven Spielberg, credited as "Steven Spielrock" -- which was either a cute joke or some kind of sketchy tax dodge. 

Despite all the hype, The Flintstones was a surprisingly mundane tale of middle-aged malaise and workplace drama. The only real plot involved Fred getting an undeserved promotion so he could be set-up by a sleazy corporate executive played by a post-Twin Peaks, pre-awkward pool sex Kyle MacLachlan. Which is surprisingly similar to the Coen brothers' comedy The Hudsucker Proxy, in which a random dummy is hired to be the new head of Hudsucker Industries in a scheme to deflate stock values. 

What's really strange is that the movies came out just months apart, with even critics at the time pointing out the similarities. Even odder, the two share more than one connection, not just the plot, but frequent Coen collaborator John Goodman stars in The Flintstones and has a cameo in The Hudsucker Proxy. And Sam Raimi, who co-wrote Hudsucker with the Coens back in the '80s, randomly has a cameo in The Flintstones.

Is there an explanation beyond just coincidence that explains why Raimi appears in a movie that borrows so heavily from a script he wrote? While we don't care enough to produce a true-crime podcast on the subject, please let us know if you have any leads.

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter! And check out the podcast Rewatchability

Top Image: Universal Pictures

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