Sunday, January 27, 2013

And starring ... everyone on the planet

Before there was the spectacularly unfunny film Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie, it had always occurred to me to wonder what it would take to make the most expensive movie ever made. Not to accidentally make that movie through epic mishaps and extremely poor planning, but to set out to do it.

A huge number of special effects and pricy locations would undoubtedly be part of it, but I also figured you'd have to hire every prominent actor you could think of, even to play the bit parts, at the full salary it would cost to get them.

That's kind of what Movie 43 did, though I suspect it didn't cost a billion dollars.

Think Valentine's Day and New Year's Eve had big casts? They've got nothing on Movie 43.

Here, why don't I list the names of the people who appear in this movie, just to stagger you:

Dennis Quaid
Greg Kinnear
Will Sasso
Seth McFarlane
Hugh Jackman
Kate Winslet
Liev Schreiber
Naomi Watts
Anna Faris
Chris Pratt
J.B. Smoove
Kieran Culkin
Emma Stone
Richard Gere
Kate Bosworth
Jack McBryer
Aasif Mandvi
Justin Long
Jason Sudeikis
Uma Thurman
Bobby Canavale
Kristen Bell
John Hodgman
Leslie Bibb
Katrina Bowden
Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Chloe Grace Moretz
Patrick Warburton
Matt Walsh
Gerard Butler
Seann William Scott
Johnny Knoxville
Halle Berry
Stephen Merchant
Terrence Howard
Elizabeth Banks
Josh Duhamel
Tony Shalhoub

And that's only the people I had heard of.

So, will there be anyone left to see this movie? Yes, there'll be you. Unless you are also in the cast and I just don't know it.

Is there any way that a movie like this can be anything but a disaster? If the critics are to be believed, no.

But it's not like all these people are part of one big plot. This is a sketch movie, not unlike sketch movies we used to get in the 1970s (Kentucky Fried Movie) and the 1980s (Amazon Women on the Moon). Neither of those movies were big hits with me, so I don't expect this one to be, either.

But I'd by lying if I said I weren't intrigued merely by the fact that all these people were willing to participate in the first place. KFM and AWOTM didn't have casts like this, not even close.

The actual making of this movie is not as hard as it may seem. Each actor had to commit to only one of 11 directors, and many of them probably shot for less than a week. It's kind of similar to how Cloud Atlas was more a feat of editing than a colossal exercise in logistics. 

Strangely, though, the 11 directors are not made up of more than a couple superstars. Again going only on the names I recognize, these 11 directors include Elizabeth Banks (debuting in that role, I believe), Steven Brill, Steve Carr, Griffin Dunne, Peter Farrelly, James Gunn, Bob Odenkirk and Brett Ratner. That leaves three names I don't recognize at all. And of these eight I do recognize, only two would be considered big names in comedy: Farrelly and Odenkirk, though Odenkirk's best appreciated career achievement may be the role of Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad, which is either a straight drama or the blackest of black comedies.

So I can only conclude that all these people were in it for the experiment. The chance to throw heaps and heaps of spaghetti against the wall, and if it flops to the ground like a wet mop, not to have to absorb any of the blame themselves.

Or maybe they collectively commiserated the loss of the sketch movie that was at least somewhat more prevalent in their childhoods, and decided to conspire to bring it back.

Or maybe they just wanted to cut loose. Two cast members in particular strike me as odd choices for this movie: Kate Winslet and Naomi Watts. In fact, less than a month ago, in a post about The Impossible, I commented that I didn't think Watts had ever appeared in a comedy. Let's hope this movie doesn't do for her Oscar hopes what Norbit did for Eddie Murphy's.

The pushing up of the release date of this movie (I'm pretty sure it was once slated for February) is the first thing that doesn't bode well for Movie 43. The second is its 18 Metascore. Yikes, that's a low score. It'd be the dog of the week if Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters didn't have the exact same score as of this writing.

So maybe I won't make this one of my first movies of 2013, as I had once thought I'd do. When I've got the resounding hatred of critics and a personal history of not really enjoying such movies to inform me, that's a pretty good reason to wait for DVD.

I'll set this meager bar for the movie, and see if it can exceed it: Just be better than Gary Marshall's aforementioned movies, with their ridiculously large casts.

And Naomi Watts? Be funny.


Nick Prigge said...

Oh, I'm still seeing it, critical consensus be damned. I'm seeing it this afternoon. Winslet & Watts in a comedy? It's all I've ever wanted (not really).

Also, I will surely live to regret this decision.

Don Handsome said...

I'm with Nick on this.
I don't think there is any possibility it would work in a home setting as this film would appear to need a raucous audience behaving badly to be enjoyable. I'm going to see it at the Worst Theater In Chicago and I'm going tonight (if all goes according to plan) as I'm convinced that the audience experience is what all the critics are missing.
I could be wrong, but it's now or never for me.

Vancetastic said...

I hope each of you will check back in here with your impressions of the movie. And to tell me if you ever figure out what the 43 signifies, if it signifies anything. (But, don't tell me what it signifies.)

Don Handsome said...

Ew. And sort of.

Nick Prigge said...

Stay away, Vance! STAY AWAY!!!

My eyes! Oh God, my eyes, the sights my eyes have been made to witness (sobbing).

Don Handsome said...

I know. If this movie can't work in a theater setting, it will never work. I can't believe I watched it. appears that the Movie 43 has much more significance in the UK version. Maybe I should hold judgement until I see that version...

Vancetastic said...

Thanks for being my guinea pigs, guys.

But let me ask you this: Were your audiences also not into it? When I saw what I considered to be one of the most hateful comedies I've seen in years (30 Minutes or Less), at least my audience was guffawing at it. Then again, I can't decide if it's worse that a movie appeals to some awful people, but not to you, or if it just appeals to no one.

Don Handsome said...

Oh my audience was IN TO IT. In the beginning more than the end...but still I'd say the were with it the whole way.

Nick Prigge said...

You know, my audience really wasn't with it. There were a few guys with it the whole way but even they were kind of tapping out by the end. Not to be an age-ist but my audience was also a lot older than I would have anticipated.