Here’s an exclusive club you won’t want to be a member of: The Rotten Tomatoes 0% Club. It’s an organization that boasts talents as famous as Antonio Banderas, Michael Caine And Hall Berryall of which earned their way headlining films that drew unanimous critical acclaim on the internet’s most popular film review aggregator.
Bobcat Goldthwait has been a card-carrying member of the 0% Club for 35 years thanks to his star entry Hot in the trot — and he’d be the first to tell you that the Talking Horse movie, which hit theaters on August 26, 1988, lives up to its reputation as one of the worst comedies of all time.
“I really had to die making this movie,” the comedian, actor, and filmmaker admitted to Yahoo Entertainment on the occasion of the film’s 30th anniversary in 2018. “It was such a frustrating process that landed me in comedy prison.” Aside from that stint in comedy prison, Hot in the trot Goldthwait also gave a 1988 Razzie nomination for Worst Actor — one of four awards the film received, including Worst Picture. Worse, the film’s pitiful $6 million grossing ended its post–police school career as a leading actor before it even began.
Of course, some comedies are just ahead of their time. It took more than two decades for Goldthwait’s infamous 1991 bombshell shake the clown — which he wrote, directed and starred in — to be recognized for the darkly hilarious provocation that it is. But the years have not been particularly kind Hot in the trotwhich remains an unsuccessful and unfunny mix of sports comedy and Reagan-era corporate satire.
In the film, Goldthwait plays the oversized adolescent Fred Chaney, whose cruel stepfather (Dabney Coleman) is only too happy to oust Fred from the family stockbroking business. On his own, Fred doesn’t have much business acumen, so it’s a good thing his late mother gave him a super-smart horse named Don who knows the stock market And how to talk about it in the voice of the late John Candy. Introduce The secret of my success meets sea biscuit meets stray… just, you know, not good.
According to Goldthwait, it wasn’t a good experience making the film either, especially given the way his fellow horseman was treated. One of his worst memories is of crew members hitting the horse’s mouth with a stick to make its lips move as if it were speaking. “It was awful,” Goldthwait admits. “Honestly, I wouldn’t do this film now because I have such an attitude towards animals. That poor horse – he knew he had to do things when I was around that he normally wouldn’t. They were like…” “Come on, Don.” And Don just tenses up [his mouth] every time he sees me.’”
Goldthwait was also quick to discover another danger of acting towards a horse: unexpected bathroom breaks. “The horse’s tail rose before it had to flee,” he recalls. “There was a horse hunter named Corky who caught it with a shovel without it falling to the ground.”
Goldthwait recalls a day when Corky missed his cue in spectacular fashion. “We were shooting this serious scene and I saw the tail go up. I look at Corky and he’s sitting on an apple crate and he’s not moving. The horse had diarrhea and just threw himself over the wall. It blew me up. Everything from.” the neck down. It was like a Jackson Pollock made of feces on the wall. The first AD [assistant director] was like, “Er, that’s it for today, ladies and gentlemen.” Not even like, “Let’s clean the wall and move on to the other set.” The film was canceled simply because the horse had diarrhea.
But Goldthwait doesn’t blame the horse for giving him the Jackson Pollock treatment. “Let’s not throw the horse under the bus,” he says, laughing. “You can blame me and the director – let’s leave the poor animal out of this.”
Fortunately, Hot in the trot has a happy ending on-screen and off-screen. The film’s failure convinced Goldthwait that he needed to refocus his talents behind the camera instead. “That movie probably started my directing career because I was like, ‘Wow, I’m powerless as an actor,'” he says. “That made me want to go straight out and make my own short film.”
This short film was made shake the clownwhich later spawned Goldthwait’s line of cult favorites like 2006 Remain2009the greatest dad in the world and 2011 God bless Americawho are all more creative in their comedy ambitions.
“Even back when I did it Hot in the trot“I was writing films or ideas for films and I just didn’t get any encouragement,” says Goldthwait of his late career as a director. “I’ve had managers who thought they were too weird.” As I wrote RemainMy manager at the time read it and called an emergency meeting, where he said, ‘That’s a well-written script, but I’m not sending it out because I’m afraid of what people are going to think about your sanity!’ It’s now funny but i fired the guy. I said, ‘You know what? Maybe I’m crazy, but that’s the kind of story I want to tell.’”
Hot in the trot can be rented or purchased from Amazon.
Editor’s Note: This story was originally published on August 23, 2018. It was updated to mark the 35th anniversary.