In the 39 years since it went on the air for the first time, Saturday Night Live has seen its talented cast, writers, and production staff go on to conquer Hollywood and forever change the landscape of modern comedy filmmaking. Some of the movies they made were classics, some were pretty good, a few were downright awful and excruciating to watch, and most were simply blah. But at least they saw a legitimate release in one form or another so that viewers could make their own judgments.
Such wasn’t the case with Nothing Lasts Forever, an oddly endearing science-fiction romantic comedy adventure written and directed by Tom Schiller, a filmmaker beloved for making such classic SNL short subjects as La Dolce Gilda and Don’t Look Back in Anger who would later go on to direct over 500 humorous television commercials for his own company, Schillervision. Despite having never received an official release in theaters or on home video in the three decades since it was originally scheduled to premiere and subsequently buried by its home studio, the film has found its way in full onto YouTube.
You can watch Nothing Lasts Forever here below.
Budgeted at $3 million, Nothing told the story of a struggling young New York man (Zach Galligan, before he was cast in the lead role of Gremlins) whose act of kindness towards a tramp sets him forth on the adventure of a lifetime, culminating in a trip to the moon via a bus conducted by Bill Murray. In the process of this unique mission, he finds love with a lovely woman played by Lauren Tom, the prolific live-action and voice actress best known to fans of Futurama as the voice of Amy.
Original movie poster
The film also co-starred film and television acting legends Sam Jaffe (The Asphalt Jungle) and Imogene Coca (National Lampoon’s Vacation), stand-up comedy icon Mort Sahl, and Murray’s fellow SNL alum Dan Aykroyd as Galligan’s gun-toting boss. John Belushi was also supposed to appear in Nothing, but he died of a drug overdose six weeks before the start of production. Lorne Michaels, the famed Saturday Night Live producer who encouraged Schiller to write his own original movie script in the first place, produced Nothing Lasts Forever for MGM and the film was set to open September 1984, but shortly before its theatrical debut, the studio pulled the film from their release schedule and apparently buried it for all time.
Despite having never received an official release, Nothing Lasts Forever managed to build up a small cult following thanks to sporadic theatrical screenings organized by Schiller and Murray and bootleg DVDs sourced from rare European television screenings of the film. Legal issues over the use of clips from films of the 1930s and 40s have indefinitely held up a DVD and Blu-ray release and the financial woes MGM has been suffering for many years most likely has resulted in a lack of interest at the studio in getting those issues finally resolved.
The story of the film’s making and eventual unmaking is chronicled in the book Nothing Lost Forever: The Films of Tom Schiller. Maybe with a resurgence of interest thanks to the bootlegs and the love for the film everyone involved with its making has MGM will one day soon license this wonderful and charmingly bizarre comic fantasy to a company like Shout! Factory or the Criterion Collection for its first official release on home video. If the longer director’s cut of Clive Barker’s Nightbreedcan be unearthed and fully restored for a Blu-ray release, then anything is possible these days.