Oh, Behave! ‘Austin Powers’ At 20

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"Austin Powers" turns 20. We’ll take a shagalicious walk down memory lane. Groovy, baby.

Comic-Con fans dressed as characters from the Austin Power's movies pose for a photo on day two of Comic-Con International held at the San Diego Convention Center Friday, July 22, 2016, in San Diego. (Denis Poroy/Invision/AP)
Comic-Con fans dressed as characters from the Austin Power's movies pose for a photo on day two of Comic-Con International held at the San Diego Convention Center Friday, July 22, 2016, in San Diego. (Denis Poroy/Invision/AP)

Twenty years ago this month, "Austin Powers" hit the big screen. Mike Myers playing the over-the-top James Bond parody cryogenically frozen in the swinging 1960s and thawed to a whole new world in the 1990s – which he has to save from the also frozen and thawed Dr. Evil, also Mike Myers. The movie was ludicrous, wonderful, zany and, it turned out, very long-lasting. It brought back “groovy, baby.”  Ushered in “shagedelic.” And stuck. This hour On Point, "Austin Powers" once more, at 20. — Tom Ashbrook


Garen Daly, film critic and producer of the Boston Science Fiction Film Festival. (@garendaly)

Ryan Parker, senior reporter for the Hollywood Reporter. (@TheRyanParker)

John Di Domenico, "Austin Powers" fan and professional impersonator of both Austin Powers and Dr. Evil. (@Johnnyd23)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Hollywood Reporter: 'Austin Powers' at 20: Mike Myers, Jay Roach, More Spill Secrets in Shagadelic Oral History — "When it was released May 2, 1997, there was no reason to think Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery would be a worldwide sensation. Test audiences gave it piddling scores. Its premiere at the Chinese Theatre was such a sleepy affair, nobody even bothered to take Seth Green's photograph ('It felt like it wasn't happening,' he recalls)."

Variety: Yeah, Baby! ‘Austin Powers’ Shagged Its Way to Theaters 20 Years Ago — "The nothing-is-sacred philosophy was one reason for the films’ success, but it also applied to other aspects of the trilogy — including marketing. When the second 'Austin Powers' movie opened in summer 1999, movie fans were feverish about the opening of 'Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace,' since it had been nearly 20 years since a new 'Star Wars' film had appeared. Rather than compete, the New Line team made a joke of it, opening 'Spy Who Shagged Me' with a teaser trailer that included the line, 'If you see one movie this summer, see ‘Star Wars.’ But if you see two movies, see ‘Austin Powers.’ '"

Collider: Does ‘Austin Powers’ Hold Up 20 Years Later? — "So the fandom surrounding Austin Powers feels like a thing of the past, but how does the actual film hold up all these years later? Surprisingly well, actually. Myers and director Jay Roach’s heavy focus on simple yet perfectly executed sight-gags maintains laughs throughout, and while the pop culture-related jokes don’t land near as heavily as they once did, Myers and Co. were smart to scatter them few and far between, which means the comedy remains evergreen."

Your Groovy "Austin Powers" Stories

"Back when that movie came out, my father-in-law had passed away and we had a memorial service and there was a huge reception afterwards, and we got to the evening and we were back home and everybody's kind of tired and stunned, it's a little bit bittersweet. We're sitting around kinda quiet and then someone said, 'Is it alright if I put this move in?' And my mother-in-law said, 'Yeah sure put it in.' Because we're all movie buffs. And we put in Austin Powers, three generations of it, and everybody's just howling and in tears for like however long that movie lasted. It was just the most remarkable juxtaposition to a day that I can imagine." — Rick in Blue Hill, ME

"Wow, I wasn't expecting of being hit with memories of grade school, which is when I first saw Austin Powers. I overheard my friends in gym class talking about and I rented the VHS from Blockbuster and watched it in the basement, not even understanding half the jokes. But even the whole time from the beginning, of him being thawed out and taking a long bathroom break in the very beginning, just the whole movie was so hilarious, even at that age. I remember keeping the volume down during the Jacuzzi scene, because I knew if my mom heard it, she'd wonder what the heck was going on. My father and I still have an ongoing gag where every time we see each other, and we give a hug, he says, 'Come, come Scott.' And we give each other an awkward hug reminiscent of Dr. Evil." — Kevin in Queens, NY

"I have a lot of fond memories of this movie. I was an American attending college in Scotland at the time, and I saw it in the states before it came out in Britain, and I remember introducing it to my friends and they loved it. And we were at a party, but not everyone had seen it yet. My friends had seen it — we were in Scotland at the time — and we were quoting from the movie, but not everyone at the party had seen the movie yet. And they thought my friends were crazy, because they were quoting, they were saying like, 'Do I make you horny, baby? Do I?' And what the other people at the party didn't realize was this was from a film." — Shelia in Brooklyn, NY

"When my husband and I were dating, he wanted to take me to see the movie and I, with my highbrow ways, said absolutely not, that's too lowbrow and I'll never laugh to that. And I reluctantly went to the movie and, I mean, we were just laughing hysterically through the whole thing and I thought, what is this witchcraft? Ya know, why am I laughing at this? And I think it's because it was just a completely different way that the comedy takes you. You don't expect it. You can't have any preconceptions of where you're going." -- Kathleen in Nashville, TN

"I lost my dad kind of young and he was as funny as anybody got, and I grew up with his humor and sharing everything he thought the same. I'm 65 now, so I was fortunate enough to live through all of those wonderful movies, straight and comedic. So my son is now 19, and I swear that when he was a year old, I sat him in front of the television as best I could and since then we've watched every Austin Powers movie together." — Bill in Newton, MA

This program aired on May 12, 2017.


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