How to Eat Fried Worms (film)

How to Eat Fried Worms (film)

Infobox Film
name = How to Eat Fried Worms,

caption = "How to Eat Fried Worms" movie poster
director = Bob Dolman
producer = Mark Johnson
Philip Steuer
writer = Bob Dolman (screenplay)
Thomas Rockwell (book)
starring = Luke Benward
Adam Hicks
music = Mark Mothersbaugh
Robert Mothersbaugh
cinematography = Richard Rutkowski
editing = Janice Hampton
Frederick Wardell
casting = Stephanie Corsalini
distributor = New Line Cinema
released = August 25, 2006
runtime = 84 min.
language = English
website =
imdb_id = 0462346

"How to Eat Fried Worms" is a 2006 film based on the 1973 children's book of the same name by Thomas Rockwell. It was produced by Walden Media with New Line Cinema. Development began in 1998 and theatrical release for the U.S. and Canada was 25 August 2006. The DVD for the film was released on 5 December 2006.


Billy Forrester (Luke Benward) has moved from his town with his parents (Tom Cavanagh and Kimberly Williams-Paisley) and his little brother, Woody (Ty Panitz). After they move to their new house, Billy says he does not want to go to school because he'll be "the new kid", but his dad tells him he will make new friends and everything will be okay. When he arrives at school, Joe Guire (Adam Hicks) and his gang, Benjy (Ryan Malgarini), Bradley (Philip Daniel Bolden), Plug (Blake Garrett), Techno Mouth (Andrew Gillingham), Donny (Alexander Agate) and Twitch (Alexander Gould) stare at him and call him Billy F. Plug and Bradley eventually steal his lunch box. They come back to the classroom, acting normal. Billy sits in back of Erika (Hallie Kate Eisenberg), an unusually tall girl who people make fun of. At lunch, Billy is about to eat when Plug tells him "have a delicious lunch". He opens his water bottle and pours out a pile of live earthworms.

Sickened, Billy almost vomits before regaining strength. Then, confident, he throws a worm right into Joe's face.

After school, Joe and his gang catch up with Billy as he rides home from school. Billy, infuriated, gets angry at Joe. Joe shoots back, and eventually they make a bet: Billy must eat ten worms in one day without throwing up, and the loser has to come to school Monday with worms in their pants. Billy, outraged, knows he can't squeeze out of the bet, so he accepts with a confident tone.

The next day, Saturday, Billy knows that he will eat ten worms and frightfully tries to get ready. Billy was teamed up with a boy named Adam Simms. After eating the first worm, Billy slowly becomes more confident with each worm he swallows. After Billy eats the fourth worm (two from the Brown Toad Bloater Special), two of Joe's gang, Twitch and Techno Mouth (along with Adam who finally "wants" to be on Billy's team) quit Joe's team and become Billy's new friends.

After Joe cheats in an attempt to keep Billy from eating the final worm in time, Benjy, Donny, Bradley and Plug join Billy's team. After eating the last worm - thirty seconds before the deadline - Billy and his team shout in victory. Joe's big brother, who has been watching, attempts to bully and humiliate Joe for losing. Billy and the rest of the boys stand up for Joe and Joe's big brother backs off.

After thinking it over that night, Billy returns to school the next day. He explains to Joe that the second worm was eaten by their principal after it was accidentally put in his omelet at a restaurant. Since they both lost the bet, they both put worms in their pants. The film ends with (as shown in order in the movie) Benjy, Techno Mouth, Bradley, Plug, Donny, Twitch, Adam, Erika, Joe, Woody, and Billy, shown as Wormboy instead, are shown in scenes from the movie and in colored sketches of them dancing with them and everyone in Billy's school cheering and jumping in happiness.



"How to Eat Fried Worms" had a long filmmaking history,Kit, Zorianna. (June 21, 2000) Hollywood Reporter "Nussbaum has line on 'Worms'." Volume 363; Issue 30; Page 1.] from before 1998 through 2006. Initially, Universal Pictures selected Thomas Schlamme to direct the movie based on a screenplay adaptation by John August. The rights to the movie were sold in exchange for the cost of development and the rights ended up at Nickelodeon Films in 1998. In November 1998, the film was in development. [Churnin, Nancy. (November 30, 1998) The Dallas Morning News " [,+based+on+Thomas+Rockwell%27s+book+about+being+the+new+kid+at+school. 'Babe' director squelches rumors.] " Section: Today; Page 3C.] Three months later, in February 1999, Schlamme indicated that a film version of the children's story How to Eat Fried Worms still was in development. [Chetwynd, Josh. (February 26, 1999) USA Today "Six directors who make series shine." Section: Life. Page 9E.] In April 1999, August indicated that he still was working on adapting the books "How to Eat Fried Worms" for Nickelodeon. [Dretzka, Gary. (April 9, 1999) Chicago Tribune "Give the credit -- or the blame -- to to 'Go's' screenwriter." Section: Tempo. Page 2.] By June 2000, Nickelodeon had selected Joe Nussbaum to direct "How to Eat Fried Worms", which would have made Worms Nussbaum's feature directorial debut. At this same time in 2000, Bob Dolman had taken over rewriting the screenplay. Five years later, in May 2005, casting began for the movie and Dolman was noted as being the writer and director of "How to Eat Fried Worms." [Back Stage West (May 26, 2005) " [ Currently casting.] " Volume 12; Section: 22; Page 36.] Dolman officially was announced as the director on June 1, 2005.Market Wire (June 1, 2005) " [ New Line Cinema and Walden Media Option and Greenlight Gran Via Productions and Imagine Entertainment Film "How to Eat Fried Worms." Bob Dolman Tapped to Direct and Write Screenplay for Adaptation of Thomas Rockwell Classic.] "]


Shooting for the film started late July 2005 in Texas. [Adalian, Josef. (July 27, 2005) Daily Variety " [,%22+BWCS-repped+Johnson+just+began+production+on+helmer+Bob+Dolman%27s+%22How+to+Eat+Fried+Worms%22+for+Walden+Media+and+New+Line. Par TV tunes in pic player.] " Section: News; Page 1.] In August 2005, the offices of Eat a Worm Prods., the producers of "How to Eat Fried Worms," were located at 400 Nueces St. in Austin, Texas. [Daily Variety (August 12, 2005) " [,+Austin,+TX+78701,+(512)+469-1760,+Fax:+(512)+480-0260)+7/25,+Austin,+TX. Film production chart] " Section: News; Page 8.]

The movie was filmed in a variety of location in and around Austin: Zilker Elementary School, the Travis Heights neighborhood and Stacy Park, the Northwest Hills neighborhood, Austin Studios, Blue Hole swimming hole in Wimberley and the Austin Diner. The 1st Unitarian Church, which played Woody’s pre-school; the Onion Creek Country Club, where the parents played tennis; and Highway 21 in Bastrop County (Billy’s queasy stomach).

The film opened in the U.S. and Canada to 1,870 screens on 25 August 2006 [ [ How to Eat Fried Worms @ Box Office Prophets] ]

A recurring question regarding the production of the film is whether any of the actors in fact ate real worms. Kimberly Williams-Paisley (Mrs. Forrester) indicates that the worms eaten in the movie were not in fact real worms: "I had a great time making 'How to Eat Fried Worms.'... The movie's got a lot of messiness in it. One of the kids had to put a real worm in his mouth. And one of the other kids actually threw up from all of it." [The Sun Herald (July 25, 2006) " [ Say what?] " Section: B; Page B5.] Luke Benward (Billy "Wormboy" Forrester) later indicated that he put a live worm in his mouth for about 10 seconds for one scene.Bitting, Diane M. (August 17, 2006) Lancaster New Era " [ How to Eat Fried Worms - and build an acting career.] " Page A5.] A press release subsequently was issued to indicate that no worms were harmed in the filming. The movie did use real worms that were kept in temperature-controlled containers, but used gummy worms and other gelatin forms as fake edible worms. The real worms were considered stunt worms who had rubber worms as stand-ins in those situation where it was important to "keep the (worm) stars out of the heat for as long as possible to preserve the energy of their performances."


The film opened in the U.S. and Canada to 1,870 screens on August 25, 2006 [ [ How to Eat Fried Worms @ Box Office Prophets] ] The DVD was released four months later, on December 5, 2006. [Washington Post (December 7, 2006) " [ DVDs Available Now.] "]

Box office

The film debuted at number 11 with $4 million in U.S and Canada. It closed seven weeks later with a total of $13 million in U.S. and Canada. [ [ HOW TO EAT Feet WORMS @ Box Office Mojo] ]


* The Filthy Critic gave the film four out of five "fingers" for its realistic portrayal of how children really act.
* Rotten Tomatoes shows the film as being rotten with a 58% rating.
* Metacritic gave the film a metascore of 56 (mixed or average reviews).

ReelViews' James Berardinelli gave a mildly positive review (2 1/2 stars out of 4) but thought the potential audience too narrow: "It's aimed at pre-teen males and doesn't make many concessions to members of other demographics." and went on to say:

"How to Eat Fried Worms" belongs to a vanishing breed - live action family films. Even the best of the genre (like Holes and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) don't draw large audiences, so mediocre productions like this one face an uphill struggle. [ [ How to Eat Fried Worms A Film Review by James Berardinelli] ]

The Boston Globe's reviewer - Ty Burr- gave it a 2 stars out of 4 and said when comparing the book to the movie:

There's a kid named Billy, and he eats worms on a dare, and that's about all the movie has in common with its source. Truth to tell, that's all the movie needs to have in common with its source. "This is really disgusting," my 9 -year-old's friend whispered to her during the screening. Then he added , "But I like it."
From a parent's viewpoint, two feet higher off the ground, "How to Eat Fried Worms" is lackadaisical stuff, easily the least of the unpretentious children's book adaptations produced by family-oriented Walden Media (Because of Winn-Dixie, Hoot, Holes). [ [ How to Eat Fried Worms Movie Review The hook of `Worms' is boy gross-out appeal by Ty Burr] ]

Differences from the book

Though the movie and the book share the conceit about a bet between boys to eat earthworms, the nature of the situation differs significantly. In the book, the characters consist of four boys who are friends hanging around during the summertime. Billy has to eat fifteen worms in fifteen days, and the terms of the bet are fifty dollars, which Billy intends to use to buy a mini-bike. Many of the movie's subplots--that Billy is new in school, that Joe is a bully, that Billy has a weak stomach, and that Joe threatens him with a Death Ring--do not appear in the book. Unlike in the film, Billy's parents eventually find out about the bet, which Billy ultimately wins instead of tying. All the worms Billy eats in the book are nightcrawlers, and Erika, the girl who helps Billy in the film, is not introduced until the book's sequel, "How to Fight a Girl".


* [] Accessed June 18, 2008.

External links

* [ How to Eat Fried Worms] at [ Walden Media Fans] ( [ Forum] )
* [ Official Movie Site]
* [ "How to Eat Fried Worms"] at Metacritic

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