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Poster for Supernova
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Director: Thomas Lee Run Time: 90 min. Format: 35mm Rating: PG 13 Release Year: 2000

Starring: James Spader, Angela Bassett, Robert Forster, Lou Diamond Phillips

Sponsored by MUBI; co-hosted by filmmaker and writer Steve Macfarlane

Supernova has found meme-era infamy thanks to its vintage theatrical trailer, which laid a classic Don “In A World” LaFontaine voiceover over “Fly” by Sugar Ray. The movie itself was unceremoniously dumped into theaters, credited to somebody named “Thomas Lee” – in reality, an amalgamation of directors who had suffered Supernova’s turbulent production saga. A now-legendary series of re-shoots and re-edits began with the firing of Australian filmmaker Geoffrey Wright (pre-production), the quitting of his replacement Walter Hill (who shot and edited a near-complete cut), who was then followed by horror director Jack Sholder, who was later fired. In the end, MGM called in board member Francis Ford Coppola to salvage the wreckage in post-production… yet somehow, Thomas Lee’s feature debut is even weirder than the trailer suggests.

While the original concept was a creepy, cerebral thriller in the tradition of Alien, only the gift/curse of hindsight makes it possible to see Supernova for what it really is: an Event Horizon ripoff that doubles as a sex comedy/erotic thriller in deep space, an insane distress signal blasted out by the pre-collapse studio system. Like Don said: “If you can’t stand the heat… Get out of the universe.”

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