Tuesday, March 4, 2014

34th Golden Raspberry Awards Worst Picture Winner - Movie 43

This Sunday all of Hollywood's hottest stars, most venerated artists, most powerful producers, and most beautiful people all gathered to celebrate their year with an award show.  The 34th Golden Raspberries was not that show.  While the Academy Awards were there to reward the greatest in movie making magic, the Golden Raspberries had a different purpose:  to wallow in the worst of woeful filmmaking.  Two years ago to celebrate its win of Worst Picture, I watched "Jack and Jill", the double-dose disaster of Adam Sandler.  Last year the winner was "Twilight 5", which I had already watched, so no March special review was required.  However, this year, the winner is a movie simply called:  "Movie 43".

There have been times when the Golden Raspberries have been a little unfair and given Worst Picture to a few movies I feel were honestly misunderstood.  "Showgirls" is a masterpiece of intentionally awful filmmaking, "Rambo II" was a classic 80s action film, and I know I'm going to get heat for this, but I think "Freddie Got Fingered" is honestly a hilarious movie - it helps I saw that movie when I was ten.  When on Sunday the Razzies announced that "Movie 43" was the winner, my veins filled with frozen fear.  Already within a single year, "Movie 43" has become a legend of truly awful comedy.  I knew what was I getting into when I watched "Jack and Jill".  I had not read any reviews for "Movie 43" beyond that threatening Rotten Tomatoes score:  4%.  This was not merely going to be a bad movie-watching experience, watching this movie was going to be honestly threatening to my health.

Before I watched the movie last night, I had to prepare myself.  "Movie 43" was on Netflix, so easily available to be watched at any point.  However, this was a journey that needed to be taken properly.  When you're in a movie theater, there is no escape, you must focus on the movie, nothing else.  At home, you have ten billion different kinds of entertainment facing you in every direction.  I had to put away all those temptations of video games, honestly good movies, human interaction, and the Internet.  I had myself locked away in a room, tied down with ropes, and made sure my assistants would not come to my aid no matter what I said.  The experiment of Blue Highwind watching "Movie 43" had to happen with no interruptions, no distractions, and no chance of salvation.  I needed to stare directly into the abyss, into the pure illogical madness that is the truth of our universe, all summed with a single nightmarish failure of a comedy.  These are my findings:

Let me start by explaining what "Movie 43" is:  its a sketch comedy movie, in the vein of well-remembered collaborative films such as "Kentucky Fried Movie" or "Amazon Women on the Moon".  There is no plot really to speak of beyond a frame story involving Dennis Quaid breaking into a Hollywood producer, Greg Kinnear's office with a gun to pitch his sketch comedy concept.  (Perhaps a meta explanation on how the Hell this movie got made?)  Even then, after about an hour, "Movie 43" simply loses interest in its frame story, and dumps it anti-climatically, leaving the last two sketches to follow without explanation.  As for the title, as far as I can tell the number 43 refers to nothing in particular, though it is a prime number.

The production of "Movie 43" is actually a considerably more interesting story than the movie itself.  I suppose Peter Farrelly, one-half of the Farrelly Brothers who brought us such generally decent movies such as "Dumb and Dumber" and "There's Something About Mary", is the closest thing to the leading creative mind.  It began as an idea an idea thought up by frequent Farrelly collaborator Charlie Wessler, who wanted to make a modern sketch comedy movie... only make extremely dirty and horrible.  A few directors were signed-on, sixty sketches were written, but yet the movie still was not quite finished.  Instead they managed to make one sketch, this being an awkward dinner date between Kate Winslet and Hugh Jackman.  After that, using that single sketch made on the cheap, they were able to rope in a dozen other directors for the other sketches, and nearly every famous actor in Hollywood.

Both of you are Oscar nominees!  WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?

So "Movie 43" has all-star cast, every one humiliating themselves in just unimaginably awful comedy sketches.  There are more stars in "Movie 43" then there were at the Oscars on Sunday night!  To help you understand the scale here, let me list off:  Elizabeth Banks, Kristen Bell, Halle Berry, Kate Bosworth, Gerard Butler, Bobby Cannavale, Common, Kieran Culkin, Josh Duhamel, Anna Faris, Richard Gere, John Hodgeman, Terrence Howard, Johnny Knoxville, Justin Long, Seth MacFarlane, Assif Mandiv, Stephen Merchant, Chloe Grace Moretz, Chris Pratt, Liev Schreiber, Seann William Scott, Emma Stone, Jason Sudeikis, Uma Thurman, Patrick Warburton, and Naomi Watts.  I mean, Jesus Christ - I was worried you might show up in this movie too.  Its bad enough that fucking Batman has a sketch.  A lot, if not most, of those people are extremely funny who have done some at least some great comedy in the past.  And here they are... in the worst movie imaginable.

Either the actors were aggressively manipulated into a week or work, or actually thought a brief cameo in a silly movie would give their resumes some edge, or this entire entire is a huge meta-prank created by Hollywood, and we, the world, are the victims.

I sure feel like a victim having seen "Movie 43".

Fun fact:  George Clooney reportedly told the producers of this film to "go fuck themselves" when they asked him to do a sketch.  That is a man with self-respect.

And the crazy thing is:  nobody really is giving a careless performance.  Most of the sketches were clearly put together in the span of a week or less.  I would be shocked if Richard Gere gave more than two days of his time into this production.  Most of these shorts simply had the actors walk on set, maybe a bit of make-up work, and then they would disappear.  And for whatever reason they all really gave it their all, they all really put effort into putting stupid ugly gross-out humor work.

The most work-intensive short had to be the one between Halle Barry and Stephen Merchant, which required hours of make-up work and lots of sets.  And seriously, I'm saddened to see just about everything to be involved with "Movie 43", but for some reason it hurts the most to see Stephen Merchant here.  Everybody else has had their bad movies*, but this is more or less Stephen Merchant's first time on the big screen, and it had to "Movie 43".  Stephen Merchant seems like a nice guy, he deserves better than this.  Actually the entire universe deserves better than to be put in Yellow-Face for the whole human race to stare at uncomfortable, but Stephen Merchant especially did not need this in his life.  If I ever meet him, I have to buy him a beer.  He needs lot of alcohol to recover from this stain on his career.

Then again, "Movie 43" does seem like exactly the kind of movie 
Wheatley from "Portal 2" would write.

So anyway, I still have not really begun to review "Movie 43", and the fact of the matter is that... there isn't much to say.  Only two of the dozen or so sketches are even remotely funny, and barely anybody comes away looking at all graceful.  The first sketch between Kate Winslet and Hugh Jackman is actually about how Hugh Jackman has a pair of balls on his neck.  That's the joke.  He's got balls on his neck.  This goes on for about ten minutes, with nothing else to contribute other than Kate Winslet freaking out that he has balls on his neck.  Now I am imagining some kind of intelligent twist, like Winslet is completely fine with it and they get married, but no.  Its just ball jokes... on a neck.  They fall into the butter dish on the table, they end up on her shoulder when they pose for a picture, they shrivel up when it gets cold.  Nothing happens except for ball jokes.

And that sets the tone for most of the movie, really.  Every sketch has exactly one idea and the joke is bloated and stretched beyond all reason.  Most of the time it is not in any way clever.  So here's sketch where Chloe Grace-Moretz gets her first period while she is hanging out at her boyfriend's house (that poor girl just cannot stop getting her period in 2013 movies).  In comes huge vaginal blood stains on the couch and blood streaks on the wall.  A home-schooled son is given a complete high school experience by his parents, who decide to psychologically torture him by bullying him.  Then his mom - and later his dad - both try to take his virginity in the most awkward way possible.  Anna Faris begs Chris Patt to take a shit on her, and this is treated as some kind of major romantic moment.  In comes ten minutes of shit jokes, each one as unfunny and cringe-worthy as the last.  If these are the sketches the filmmakers chose to make, I cannot imagine the other forty or so others that were left unfilmed.

Watching this movie is like being strapped to an electric chair sometimes.  Hideous sights and sounds flood into your brain, all without charm, wit, or logic.  Movies are not supposed to be painful, right?  I fucking dare you to watch these sketches without wishing you have never been born.

Also Batman.  
So this post is now officially Batman Movie Batdown Week 92...
Yay... ._.

I can only commend my lovely Planet Blue assistants, who ignored every one of my screams of pain and agony.  By roughly an hour in, my voice became too hoarse to scream any more, so I had attempted to gouge out my own eyes with my teeth.  This morning every one of my assistants have committed suicide, unable to live with the guilt.  I lose more assistants that way...

Perhaps most shockingly, "Movie 43" is not entirely laugh-free.  If you're stupid or twelve or a stupid twelve-year-old**, I am sure you will love Richard Gere standing dumbfounded as he cannot understand why teenager consumers would try to fuck his new iPod invention, the iBabe, an MP3 Player in the shape of a naked woman.  (More than a few of these sketches make no sense at all, that was one of them.)  But even if you are not a moron, there are a few funny sketches.  And even within truly unfunny sketches there are the occasional funny lines:  "you shit on a prostitute, you poop on the woman you love".  Gerard Butler as a furious coarse-mouthed leprechaun is a ridiculous enough concept that you have to laugh about it.  The problem is that even when "Movie 43" does manage to score a funny line, such as the Black Humor PSA about saving the little orphan children who live inside snack machine, I couldn't laugh.  Because just before it, I had been grimacing and grinding my teeth in pain.  This is a movie so aggressively un-funny that it kills most of its funny parts.

 But really, the only sketch that is worth watching is the very last one, one stupidly placed after the end credits, directed by none other than James Gunn, director of "Super".

Everybody else who made "Movie 43" are posers.  They have crude humor and disgusting concepts, but its all thrown out in extremely unsophisticated ways.  Just saying the words "shit on my chest" is not funny, its gross.  They had no idea what they were doing, and it is painful to watch them try.  James Gunn, however, is the real deal.  He's made a career out of the lowest and grossest of human nature.  "Movie 43" is like a kindergarten graduation ceremony compared to "Tromeo and Juliet".  His final sketch, Beezel, features a cartoon cat fighting for attention from live action his owner against his owner's girlfriend, who suspects something might not be right about this adorable creature.  This is filmed like a cheesy sitcom, only with James Gunn's usual completely deranged take on things.  The cat is actually a psychopath with a cartoon shotgun, and the girlfriend's attempts to fight him off lead her to enrage a little girl's birthday party, furious that a woman would attack a cute kitty.  So the kids stab her to death.  And then all of a sudden I discovered what laughter was again.  Thank you, James Gunn.  You are one of the true heroes.  

The rest of the assholes who made "Movie 43" should be buried alive in a sarcophagus structure, similar to the Chernobyl reactor concrete shield, along with every copy of this film.  For the good of humanity, every person, including myself, who have seen "Movie 43" should take a vow of silence, and never again speak of this monstrosity ever again for as long as we shall live.  And I won't.  I have seen Hell in its raw form, and it was called "Movie 43", the worst movie of 2013.


- Elizabeth Banks:  "Spider-Man 3"
- Kristen Bell:  "Pootie Tang"
- Halle Barry:  "B*A*P*S", "Catwoman", "X-Men 3"
- Kate Bosworth:  "Superman Returns" (You were the worst part of that movie, honey.)
- Gerard Butler:  "Law Abiding Citizen"
- Terrence Howard:  "Dead Man Down"
- Hugh Jackman:  "X-Men 3", "X-Men Origins: Wolverine"
- Johnny Knoxville:  "The Dukes of Hazzard", "The Ringer"
- Justin Long:  "Alvin and the Chipmunks", "Alvin and the Chipmunks 2", "Alvin and the Chipmunks 3"
- Asif Mandiv:  "The Last Airbender"
- Chloe Grace Moretz:  "Carrie"
- Liev Schreiber:  "X-Men Origins: Wolverine"
- Seann William Scott:  "The Dukes of Hazzard", "Southland Tales", "Cop Out"
- Emma Stone:  "Gangster Squad"
- Uma Thurman:  "Batman & Robin"

And you know what?  Out of all of those movies... I would watch any of them over "Movie 43".

** Honestly, if you are twelve and stupid and want something to laugh at, try "National Lampoon's Offensive Movie", another sketch comedy film but one which had a fraction of the budget of this yet is a million times more funny.

Or go for a classic, "Freddie Got Fingered".

1 comment:

  1. Not too long ago, a terrible "comedy" known as Miss March attained reviews similar to Movie 43 and was my least favorite film of that year, making Transformers 2 look watchable in comparison. I actually wanted that one to sweep the Razzies that year in hope something so abhorrent would never strike again. Then this came out, and I hated it even more. Watching this one win Worst Picture feels like redemption.