If you've been browsing the cable airwaves, you might have noticed the 1993 film The Meteor Man has been playing on Showtime, usually as late-night filler material. Although it's 15 years old, it didn't even stand up for 15 minutes at the box office, grossing only $8 million dollars despite a wealth of talented actors. If you really want to torture yourself, strap yourself in Clockwork Orange-style and try watching it. We dare you. Or just check out the full story behind the movie that makes Blankman seem bearable by comparison.
- Robert Townsend (Hollywood Shuffle) both wrote and directed this movie, although he faded from the limelight once it tanked. He went on to direct a Disney Channel movie called Up, Up and Away, which was also about superheroes.
- The plot follows a fairly straightforward comic book route, having mild mannered Jefferson Reed Jefferson Reed gain powers after he gets hit by a meteor. However, they went a bit overboard with his powers.
- The meteor gave Jefferson the following powers: super strength, super speed, the ability to fly, telekinesis, laser vision, x-ray vision, freezing breath, the ability to heal quickly, the power to talk to animals, and the power to make plants grow quickly. Oh, and he can also absorb everything in a book by touching it, but only for 30 seconds, which is probably one of the lamest powers ever created.
- There's actually a scene where Meteor Man clears out a vacant lot, plants grass seeds, using his meteor powers to make it rain, and grows a field of giant vegetables and tomatoes. All to the tunes of cool, light jazz. Ouch.
- There's also a scene where the lead villain and the Meteor Man both absorb a book about "ladies modeling" and they have a vogue-off. Yes, you can't make this stuff up.
- This was Don Cheadle's fifth movie, and isn't usually listed in his filmographies or bios. He sports a blond hairdo throughout the film, and chews up a fair amount of scenery.
- James Earl Jones stars as Earnest Moses, and is dressed in an oversized baseball jersey for the whole movie, and check out his high fade haircut. It's pretty embarrassing to watch the voice of Darth Vader try and imitate Radio Raheem from Do The Right Thing.
- Not that Bill Cosby was the greatest actor to grace the silver screen, but in this film he stars as a mostly mute homeless man (he barks at dogs near the end) who gets the same powers as Meteor Man, and comes to the triumphant rescue at the end of the flick.
- Robert Guillaume of Benson fame also stars as Jefferson's dad Ted, and Marla Gibbs, better known as Florence from The Jeffersons stars as his mom. In Up, Up, and Away, Marla stars again as his mom, and Sherman Helmsley (Mr. Jefferson) stars as his dad.
- Even LaWanda Page, better known as Aunt Esther from Sanford & Son makes an appearance as a sassy nurse. Townsend really enjoyed mining older TV shows to fill the roles in his projects.
- Eddie Griffin plays Jefferson's best friend Michael, although he actually chews up less scenery than usual. Since it was only his fifth film, he hadn't hit his wisecracking stride yet.
- Frank Gorshin, who played The Riddler on the old Batman tv show and Bele on Star Trek: The Original Series, portrays big baddie Byers, in probably one of the worst roles of his life. Sometimes, there is shame in taking a job for the paycheck.
- Sinbad and Luther Vandross both have small roles in the film, and you can imagine what the combined box office power of a comedian and a classic singer would have done, if only it had been marketed properly.
- Marvel Comics produced a six-issue limited series based on the movie, where Meteor Man encounter Spider-Man. Seriously, Meteor Man meets Spidey.
- Meteor Man could see through walls with his X-Ray vision, but for some reason when he looked at people, he could see through their clothes, but not their underwear. Behold the power of a PG rating! In the scene below, you can watch as Meteor Man battles a crackhouse full of underwear clad workers, unites the Crips and the Bloods, and grows the magic field. Endure it if you can.