Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, which starred action movie legend Sylvester Stallone as an adult cop still under the thumb of his doting mother, is rightfully regarded as one of the worst movies ever made. Not only did Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel give the movie a thumbs down and call it "dimwitted" and "lacking in even the smallest morsel of redeeming value," but Stallone himself deemed it to be the worst movie he's ever worked on.
The worst film I’ve ever made by far… maybe one of the worst films in the entire solar system, including alien productions we’ve never seen… a flatworm could write a better script then STOP! OR MY MOM WILL SHOOT. In some countries – China, I believe – running STOP! OR MY MOM WILL SHOOT once a week on government television has lowered the birth rate to zero. If they ran it twice a week, I believe in twenty years China would be extinct.
While the movie is famous among connoisseurs of famously bad films, what some may not know is that this movie was part of a practical joke. In fact, it was none other than the Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who pranked Stallone into headlining a movie so bad that the Washington Post called it "your worst nightmare."
Conan The Barbaric Prankster
During this year's Beyond Fest, which held a double feature of Predator and The Running Man, Hollywood legend #ArnoldSchwarzenegger held a candid Q&A session. Here, he elaborated on a prank he pulled on #SylvesterStallone, getting the Oscar nominated star involved with one of the worst comedies ever made.
"...I read the script. It was so bad. You know, I’ve also done some movies that went right in the toilet, right? That were bad. But this was really bad. So I went in – this was during our war – I said to myself, I’m going to leak out that I have tremendous interest. I know the way it works in Hollywood. I would then ask for a lot of money. So then they’d say, ‘Let’s go give it to Sly. Maybe we can get him for cheaper.’ So they told Sly, ‘Schwarzenegger’s interested. Here’s the press clippings. He’s talked about that. If you want to grab that one away from him, that is available.’ And he went for it! He totally went for it. A week later, I heard about it, ‘Sly is signing now to do this movie.’ And I said, [pumps fist] ‘Yes!'”
At the height of their popularity, Schwarzenegger and Stallone were locked in an intense competition to become the number one action star working in Hollywood – leading to the Rambo star's "violent hatred" of Schwarzenegger. Now, decades after the hatchets and machine guns have been buried, Schwarzenegger couldn't help but cringe at the memory of the things he and Sly said to one another.
"I’m so glad we straightened out our mess because it wasn’t pretty. We were attacking each other in the press relentlessly. We called each other names and called out our weak points, and it was so competitive. It became so silly that all of a sudden it became a competition about who has the most muscular body. So I said, ‘Sly, forget about that now. Because there’s only one seven-time Mr. Olympia, and it’s me!’
The actor even revealed that the large weapons and body counts that have become synonymous with their characters were a byproduct of their publicized celebrity spats. While it may have made sense back then, Schwarzenegger thinks that the size-measuring contest was ridiculous in hindsight.
"It was a competition of who had the biggest gun, and then who uses the biggest knife. Do you remember the Rambo knife became so big it was like a sword? No one has a knife like that! But Stallone had one built, so I had to come in with a bigger one. This is how it went. Who has the most unique killings? Who kills more people on screen? Who makes more money at the box office? Who has less body fat when he goes into production? All of this shit started happening, and it didn’t stop! It was unbelievable.”
The two finally reconciled when Planet Hollywood first opened its doors in 1991. With Bruce Willis of Die Hard fame, Schwarzenegger and Stallone supported the project, and Planet Hollywood turned into one of the biggest restaurant chains of its time. The restaurant's opening gave Schwarzenegger and Stallone the chance to set their differences aside, thus leading to one of the most enduring friendships in Hollywood.
Since then, the two icons have been poking fun at their old rivalry, with Schwarzenegger's character in The Last Action Hero joking that Stallone's best movie was The Terminator, and Stallone wondering how Schwarzenegger became president in Demolition Man. Later on, the two would share the big screen in The Expendables, and also teamed up for Escape Plan. As Stallone put it, their unlikely friendship brought out the best in the both of them.
"There's never been two more competitive people. But we moved on with our lives and started to mellow a little bit and we actually became really good friends."
Their lasting friendship, however, has yet to give Stallone an excuse to forgive Schwarzenegger for tricking him into starring in a movie where he had to wear a diaper in public while surrounded by cops.
What did you think of Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot? Share your thoughts in the comments below.