Remember "Shazaam"? Well, you might be thinking of "Kazaam."
Remember "Shazaam"? Well, you might be thinking of "Kazaam."

Remember "Shazaam"? Well, you shouldn't

Getting nostalgic for childhood movies is nothing new on the internet. However, in the case of "Shazaam," it's a little more curious – mainly because "Shazaam" doesn't actually exist.

In a fascinating story by Amelia Tait of The New Statesman, large chunks of people across the internet are absolutely convinced that they remember seeing a film called "Shazaam," starring comedian Sinbad as a bumbling genie who grants wishes to two kids. It sounds like a movie that might've gotten the greenlight back in the '90s – and in fact, it did, except it was called "Kazaam," featuring Shaquille O'Neal as the bumbling (and, in this film's case, rapping) genie who grants a sad child some wishes. 

But hoards on Reddit insist that "Shazaam" also exists, like "Antz" to "A Bug's Life" or "Deep Impact" to "Armageddon" – despite the fact that there's no evidence of the movie. No poster. No trailer. No clips. No IMDB page. Sinbad himself has even taken to Twitter to say that, nope, he never did a genie movie. 

It's an absolutely bizarre case, and Tait's story is fascinating, going into the origins of the rumored movie, the creation of false memories and a crazy theory emerging from The Great Berenstain/Berenstein Bears Debate called the Mandela Effect involving parallel dimensions (seriously).

In short: It's bonkers – and a late entrant for one of the most interesting things you'll read all year. 

My theory on the whole ordeal? I think people's memories of a bunch of weirdly bland kids movies from that decade are smashing into one groupthink-created fantasy movie. There's obviously a lot of "Kazaam" in "Shazaam," from the basic plot setup to details like the kids wanting the genie to make their estranged parents fall in love again. But then your brain mixes in Sinbad, who starred in several bland – and bad – but still oddly memorable children's flicks like "First Kid" and "Jingle All the Way." And then there's the supposed pool party finale of "Shazaam," which reminds me of the water slide/pool party finale of the weirdly forgettable yet unforgettable "Blank Check." Maybe we've mashed a bunch of meh childhood movies into one Sinbad-led '90s epic.

Then again, the whole situation doesn't sound completely unbelievable. How many of us experience deja vu, that feeling that you're doing something that you know and feel you've done before? How many of us have moments that pop into our minds that we can feel fall somewhere a dream and a memory?

Either way, it's a terrifically wacky and weird film story – one of seemingly many that have come out in the last year and change. Last November, for instance, it was announced John Malkovich and director Robert Rodriguez ("Sin City") – in collaboration with Louis XIII cognac – made a movie, "100 Years," that's been locked up in a safe and won't be released until, yes, 100 years from now, on Nov. 18, 2115.

Then, at the Sundance Film Festival, a bunch of film critics began tweeting raves about "AbracaDeborah," a supposedly incredible selection featuring a breakthrough performance from Kristen Wiig ... that also doesn't exist. The innocent joke, however, actually convinced a lot of festival goers to do a double-take through their film guides and schedules to see how they apparently missed this gem. Eventually, the gag even made it to Wiig herself, who then mapped out a whole movie on the spot with "Ghostbusters" co-star Leslie Jones.

And then, just last week, Woody Harrelson – not in character as his out-of-his-mind role in "2012" – announced the world's first live movie, "Lost in London," a dramatic recreation of the night he got arrested in London for what began with a broken ashtray. What's a live movie, you may ask? Apparently, on Jan. 19 at 8 p.m., the feature-length film will be streamed directly into theaters at the same time as it's shot. If it goes well, it might just be a revolution in cinema; if it goes poorly, Harrelson says he will jump off Waterloo Bridge into the Thames River. So let's hope for the former. 

So yeah, 2016's been a weird year. And who knows what'll happen next year. I mean, according to Sinbad, we might have just gaslighted ourselves into getting that Sinbad genie movie, after all. 


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