Today in Movie History: July 5

The day after Independence Day is beyond dead for movie releases. Most films released this week open earlier to take advantage of the holiday weekend, and the 5th of July resembles a barren wasteland for very good reasons. There is a single exception, and let’s be honest: it’s not a good movie. At all. But it’s all we got, and it does have a sort of gimmicky charm, so we’re plowing forward.

I’m talking about Weekend at Bernie’s,¬†a dark comedy about a pair of young executives (Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman) whose boss (Terry Kiser) is poisoned by the mob. They need to pretend he’s still alive because reasons and the expected wacky mayhem ensues. It’s pretty much a one-joke premise, with Kiser’s “corpse” fixed with a rigor mortis smirk¬†and a pair of sunglasses as the boys wheel him to and fro. That said, one has to give it up for Kiser’s performance: a strangely brilliant bit of physical comedy that somehow holds the wafer-thin premise together, and turned the film into a minor icon of the era.

Weekend at Bernie’s opened today, for better or worse, in 1989.

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