Problem Child

*Originally written in 2003

In 1990 we were blessed with one of the greatest comedies of all time. Problem Child came along just before the more sophisticated Home Alone blew all competition out of the way. Problem Child is nevertheless a film filled with great gags, brilliant acting from everyone, and a witty dark side which few directors can effectively balance. Unfortunately most people see it as nothing more than juvenile and it has become a fairly despised movie. While critics hated it and it seems that it hasn’t found a subsequent audience, it still generated an inferior sequel and spin-off TV series. For me, it will always be an all-time favourite, and even though I first saw it when I was seven or so and can see why it is so hated, I still find it hilarious.

Junior is an orphan. Abandoned by his parents, he did the rounds at various homes, never staying at one place for too long because he didn’t fit in or rather because he was as one character says – ‘wicked’. Junior finds himself at a Convent school where he soon starts trouble. The Administrator, Peabody (Gilbert Gottfried) knows that the Nuns want to get rid of him, and when he hears that a husband and wife who can’t have kids are looking for a child to adopt, he cons them into taking Junior – everyone’s happy. However, the family soon realise that Junior is no angel and want to get rid of him, but adopted father Ben sees that he is just a lonely kid who keeps getting shoved around. When Junior’s hero – a murderer named the Bow Tie Killer – murders his way out of prison, he pays Junior a visit, kidnapping Junior and his adoptive mother and sending Ben on a rescue mission.

The film has too many funny moments to mention – the opening montage with Junior growing up, the scenes with the nuns, the camping trip, the baseball game, and even small things like – ‘Look a giraffe!’… ‘Look a fist!’ make this film a comedy which deserves so much more respect than it will ever get. The dark side, the violence, these are neatly balanced by the fact that Junior just wants to be loved, and the film can be seen as an effective satire on the whole adoption process where children can often become numbers or forgotten in a system. John Ritter is perfectly cast as the father, Jack Warden is brilliant as old fashioned Big Ben, Amy Yasbek is good as the annoying Flo, and Michael Oliver puts in a stunning performance, stealing every scene he is in. Unfortunately he seems to have disappeared from the spotlight and never did much beyond the sequel. For all round laughs they do not come much better, and every kid should see this. When you grow up though, don’t hate it just because it seems childish and amateurish, love it as it should be loved.

Let us know in the comments what you thought of Problem Child!

Walk Of Fame Inductees September 2016

To check the dubious reasoning behind these posts, check the original here:

In this new series of posts I’ll be selecting a Star at random from every decade (who was born in that decade) starting from the 1880s up until the 1990s to be interred in this land of magic and wonder, who will for ever more see their name set in stone far beyond the places where Gods dare to tread. Each name will have a unique star placed and statue built-in their honour. Often accompanying these additions will be news of a new store or museum to go alongside those stars whose work is of particular genius, and you too can visit and see the place of your dreams, simply by closing your eyes….

1880sDouglas Fairbanks. For contributions to Cinema. One of the biggest stars of the silent era, Fairbanks was also a founder of both United Artists and The Academy, going on to be the first host of The Oscars. He is remembered for works such as The Mark Of Zorro, The Thief Of Baghdad, and The Three Musketeers.


1890sGroucho Marx. For contributions to Cinema, Television, and Radio. Arguably the most famous of the Marx brothers due to his distinctive mustache and walk, Groucho remains one of the most popular comedians of the 20th Century and continues to inspire imitators. He is remembered for works including Duck Soup, A Day At The Races, and You Bet Your Life. 


1900sHeather Angel. For contributions to Cinema, Television, and Theatre. A british actress who crossed the pond repeatedly with success, Angel is one of many stars unjustly lost to time whose performances are as worthy of respect and rewatching as any of her counterparts. She is remembered for works such as The Hound of The Baskervilles, Suspicion, and Peter Pan. 


1910sPat Buttram. For contributions to Cinema and Television. Pat Buttram was a mainstay on American Television for decades, his distinct voice giving character to many Disney favourites, and acting as a sidekick to more recognizable funny men and stars until he grew his own fan base. He is remembered for works including Disney’s Robin Hood, Green Acres, and Aristocats. 


1920sJack Warden. For contributions to Cinema and Television. One of Cinema’s most recognizable hard-ass character actors, Jack Warden was also one of the most successful, picking up two Oscar nominations. With a six decade career, Warden worked with and on many of the greats and always made a positive impact. He is remembered for works such as Heaven Can Wait, Problem Child, and N.Y.P.D.


1930s: Diana Dors. For contributions to Cinema, Television, and Music. Often unfairly referred to during her life and subsequently as the English Marilyn Monroe, Dors made many movies during her career, as well as recording a number of songs and appearing in multiple TV shows over the decades. While she was often known as much for her off-screen antics, whether true or fabricated, Dors is nevertheless remembered as a British icon for works such as The Unholy Wife, The Last Page, and Queenie’s Castle.


1940sAdrienne Barbeau. For contributions to Cinema, Music, Television, and Theatre. Barbeau started out as a dancer on Broadway, before up a Tony nomination and Theater World Award and making her way to the small and big screen. Finding her roles veering mostly into horror and sci-fi productions ensured that Barbeau has a cult following but her wife variety of performances means she is an actress which many continue to respect and admire. She is known for works including The Fog, Carnivale, and The Cannonball Run. 


1950sCiaran Hinds. For contributions to Cinema, Television, and Theatre. A long standing Northern Irish actor who has appeared on stage and screen since the mid-Seventies, Hinds has appeared in a wide variety of roles in many dramatic genres. He is known for works such as Game Of Thrones,  Munich, and Road To Perdition.


1960sChris Barrie. For contributions to Cinema and Television. A recognizable face thanks to his performances in cult British TV shows, Barrie started out as an impressionist before crafting characters of his own. He is known for works including The Brittas Empire, Red Dwarf, and Tomb Raider.


1970s: Helen Baxendale. For contributions to Television and Theatre. Baxendale is unique in that she is recognizable around the world despite not appearing in any movies of note – her TV successes ensuring her fame and respect. She is known for works such as Friends, Cold Feet, and Cardiac Arrest. 


1980sLucas Black. For contributions to Cinema and Television. Another child actor who has successfully transitioned to adult roles, Black still divides his time across the small and big screen and is known for works such as American Gothic, The Fast And The Furious Series, and NCIS. 


1990sChloe Bridges. For contributions to Cinema and Television. A talented child actress who has in recent years broken out into adult roles in a variety of shows and movies, Bridges has the potential to be a huge star. She is known for works including The Final Girls, The Carrie Diaries, and Nightlight.


In addition to the statues and stars erected in honour of the people above, the following attractions have also been created:

In honour of Chris Barrie’s induction, The Red Dwarf Museum: A Museum based entirely around the hit British comedy, featuring full scale renderings of all of spaceships from the show, other props, and the opportunity to spend time with all of your favourite characters, from Rimmer, Cat, Kryten, and Lister, to all of the assorted weirdos which pop up in other episodes.

In Honour of  Adrienne Barbeau’s induction, The Escape From New York Experience: An extreme laser tag game set in John Carpenter’s futuristic vision of New York. Select from various modes such as the favourite’Save The President and Escape’ within an allotted time, to the chaotic team tag games where you can battle with friends against other groups to earn a glorious victory.

Which attractions from your wildest dreams based on any of the people above would you love to see created? Let us know in the comments!