Movie 43

TRAGEDY TOMORROW

Main Cast: Dennis Quaid, Greg Kinnear

I had a rather unpleasant phone call with Joseph, my manager, about my booking as a replacement cast member in the Bug Tussle Civic Light Opera production of Cabaret. I had been led to believe I would be appearing as Sally Bowles, one of my signature roles over the decades, and was somewhat appalled to realize, on my arrival, that I was instead cast as the elderly spinster Fraulein Schneider. After haranguing him for a while, Joseph advised me to read the fine print on my contract before rather rudely hanging up and having all my attempts to reach him again to continue our argument go directly to voicemail. I have a feeling it might just be time to change management firms. I nearly threw my phone into the grease pit of the auto repair/dinner theater in which we are performing but then it occurred to me that it might be rather difficult to replace it here in Bug Tussle, Alabama so sent a spare hubcap that was near me sailing instead. I had to apologize profusely to Bubba Hyche after nearly beaning him with it. I hadn’t realized he was down there working on the transmission of an old Ford F-350.

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Proper editing requires proper tools

I pulled up my email on my iPad, found my copy of the contract and, after reading through it, smiled before heading off to rehearsal. Things were going to be just fine. My contract guarantees me star billing and the ability to rewrite the show to bolster my role to make sure it is the starring part. Cabaret is a lovely and meaningful stage piece but it, like every other musical, can only be improved by having have it revealed that Fraulein Schneider is the true owner of the KitKat club and moonlights as one of the KitKat dancers when she’s not busy scrubbing the floors of her boarding house. Don’t Tell Mama Maybe This Time will become a duet with Cliff, who is torn between Sally and Fraulein Schneider as an object of his affections. The Money Song will be reassigned from the Emcee to my character and I, of course, will sing the title number alone in a solo spot. If we can work the kinks out of these changes, I can see our radical and revised production moving on to far bigger venues and ultimately Broadway with me as the only above the title star.

I headed to the put in rehearsal where a brief phone call from my attorneys, Fajer and Hellmann, soon quieted any protestations from my fellow cast members or Mr. Edward, our director, and we were able to adjust the show in record time and will be ready for an audience in a day or two. I came back from rehearsal, feeling like I had a day well spent, lay down on my queen sized bed at the Super Eight, dropped a quarter in the Magic Fingers box, and began to relax while searching the iPad for a Netflix film to fill the next few hours before bed. I felt, after a rather exhausting day, that a comedy was in order, so I browsed through the Netflix listings under the genre finally settling on something called Movie 43 from 2013. It appeared to have an interesting and talented cast, so I settled in prepared to at least giggle a little bit. For the next ninety minutes, I didn’t laugh once although I did cringe roughly every two minutes.

Movie 43 is one of those sketch comedy anthology films that pops up from time to time, in the vein of Kentucky Fried Movie or Amazon Women on the Moon. Such films are usually ramshackle affairs, hit or miss, but with at least a couple of good belly laughs and a moment or two of interesting satire. This one, unfortunately, has no redeeming qualities whatsoever and may be, quite frankly, the worst film I’ve ever seen, and that comes from someone who once saw Freddy Got Fingered. The frame around which the film is built is a coked-up auteur filmmaker (Dennis Quaid) attempting to pitch a new project to a studio suit (Greg Kinnear). His initial pitch, which seems to be a rom/com in which Kate Winslet goes on a blind date with Hugh Jackman who has a spare scrotum and testicles hanging from his neck that no one but she seems to notice, is of course shot down leading to wilder and grosser and wilder and grosser ideas as Quaid attempts to sell the studio on a project. This leads us to be treated to implied incest between Jeremy Allen White (of Shameless) and his parents Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber; Chris Pratt and Anna Farris indulging in scatology; Richard Gere and Kate Bosworth arguing over an MP3 player shaped like a naked woman; Gerard Butler and Seann William Scott dismembering leprechauns; and Halle Berry and Stephen Merchant abusing themselves and each other in an unending game of truth or dare amongst other delights. The level of humor makes the more sophomoric comedies of National Lampoon seem like Ingmar Bergman.

I can’t even begin to think of what possessed the various stars to agree to appear in Movie 43 unless it was very large paydays for minimal work or some sort of major blackmail ring. I have heard that several of them, when they got final shooting scripts, demanded to be released but had relatively iron clad contracts so they put in their days and hoped no one would actually see the finished product. Each segment had a different writing team and director so stylistically the film is all over the map. None of them has any real redeeming positive features so if you’re interested in who’s responsible for what, you can look it up on IMDB.

There is room, in the world of movies, for collaborative and experimental films. There is room for dopey comedies. There is room for gross out humor. There is not room for pointless and poorly executed collections of claptrap whose only raison d’etre appears to be to make the audience shrink back in disgust and wonder what were they thinking. Even in the worst films, I can often find something to like. A decent performance, an interesting sequence, an unusual image: Movie 43 has absolutely nothing to recommend it and if you decide to put it on at some point to see what it’s all about, you’re on your own. I figure I took one for the team sitting through it. Zero Stars.

Gratuitous gun waving studio types. Gratuitous superhero voyeur. Gratuitous children in black and white. Gratuitous murderous cartoon cat. Gratuitous feces all over the road. Gratuitous menstrual blood. Gratuitous penis tattoo. Gratuitous racial stereotypes.

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