Aaron Seltzer

Friedberg and Seltzer

Prepare your groaning muscles for something long and painful. Ready? OK, here goes: Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer are working on a spoof of Taken. I hope you stretched beforehand. There are more details beyond that, and I will go ahead and list them. But chances are they’ll be lost amidst the ringing chaos currently plaguing your inner ear. The film will be titled Who the F#@k Took My Daughter?, and it’ll follow a gruff and Liam Neeson-like hero named Ryan Mills. Get it? It’s like Taken protag Bryan Mills, only without the “B,” and probably also without looking or sounding anything like Liam Neeson, as is tradition with the Friedberg/Seltzer movies. But (B)Ryan has a “particular set of skills,” and he’ll use those skills to rescue his daughter from the hands of a bunch of unseemly abductors, along with a zany cast of characters that will probably include a Kanye West lookalike and a little person in a funny hat. This is the fun part about a new Friedberg/Seltzer flick. For a brief period, human beings all across the Earth gain the ability to accurately predict the future. I’m calling it now: Who the F#@k Took My Daughter will be hated by everyone who sees it (to this day, the highest a Friedberg/Seltzer pic has ever scored on the Tomatometer is a whopping 6% — congratulations, Date Movie). It will also rake in a healthy profit, because there is no connective tissue between the part of the brain that […]

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The Starving Games

It seems best to convey reactions to the latest trailer for Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg’s newest Hollywood send-up, The Starving Games, by way of emoticon, simply because Friedberg and Seltzer seem like the emoticon equivalent of filmmakers (silly, useless, faddy, and devoid of actual emotion). That said, the best emoticon to describe this trailer is :/. Frankly, we’re disappointed in its flaccid attempts to integrate punchy pop culture references into its Hunger Games rip-off narrative. This trailer doesn’t even branch out beyond its “source material” until 36 seconds into its 2:27 runtime (and that’s not even for a spoofy moment, just a weird character break from their fake Katniss Everdeen). What the hell, parody dudes? Given our recent ripping of Seltzer and Friedberg’s career, it seems strange that we’d bemoan the lack of cheap shots in this latest trailer, but if those two can’t cobble together a film entirely made up of better pieces from better films, television shows, memes, and the like, no one can. The genre is dead. Even they aren’t amused anymore. When you need to start adding in animated Angry Birds for no good reason, it’s time to hang up the spoof mantel. Hollywood will mourn. But, until that final death knell, please enjoy our (sadly slim) comprehensive breakdown of all the cultural (and otherwise) references in the latest trailer for The Starving Games. Feel free to let us know any we might have missed.

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Friedberg and Seltzer

Somehow the news that spoof-teurs Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg are churning out yet another piece of their trademark low-hanging fruit with a Fast and Furious send-up called Superfast had so far eluded me, at least until THR posted a casting notice about the film’s newly-minted leads. Friedberg and Seltzer’s brand of parody doesn’t work for me (and never has), simply because their kind of amalgamation has never struck me as particularly smart or inspired. It’s dartboard filmmaking, scripts seemingly put together by way of a flying stick that determines when, where, and how various recent films get crammed into one “script.” Parodies can work, and work well – see Hot Shots, Spaceballs, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, or MacGruber for proof positive of that – but only if their enjoyment is not determined by how familiar you are with the films they are spoofing. Take a look at the features parodied in Seltzer and Friedberg’s Date Movie, which Wikipedia lists as including My Big Fat Greek Wedding, The Seven Year Itch, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Hitch, Meet the Parents, Meet the Fockers, Kill Bill, King Kong, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, When Harry Met Sally, Along Came Polly, and The Princess Diaries – this film was dated before it even hit the big screen (Along Came Polly? Really?). Basically, if a spoof isn’t funny on its own, it’s not funny. Friedberg and Seltzer’s films are not funny. They are, however, profitable.

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You know their resume by now: Date Movie, Epic Movie, Vampires Suck; writing and directing duo Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer are in the spoof business, and they’re famous for it because of how bad they are. Or, at least, they’re famous here on the Internet because of how bad they are. Out there in the real world their movies seem to be pretty well-liked, because each unfunny failure they churn out ends up raking in enough money at the box office to give them the chance to make more. The real world is a scary place. The cycle of abuse continues. Apparently enough teenagers used the release of Vampires Suck as an excuse to make out in the dark for it to be profitable, because Friedberg and Seltzer are getting yet another chance to regale us with their insightful take on the state of modern films. This time they’re going to be taking on The Hunger Games by releasing a parody film called The Starving Games.

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As we all know, making stale jokes that have already been made by everyone else is the key to comedy. That’s why Carlos Mencia was so popular. Spinning that same theory into box office cash (albeit not huge piles of it) Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer plan on hitting audiences again with a spoof on Avatar called The Biggest Movie of All Time 3D. Cutting. Edge. Instead of taking the easy, cynical view, perhaps it would be more advantageous to hope for the best here. After all, Friedberg and Seltzer have produced their fair share of movies by now, and even though they’ve fallen into a formula that works for them, maybe they’ve learned enough along the way to craft something that works for a broader comedy audience. Perhaps they’ll populate the movie with long-form humor as well as cultural references and easy jokes. Mayhaps they’ll use their expertise to go in a startling direction just as audiences thought they had them pegged. Peradventure this movie would be their coming out party as two of the most adventurous filmmakers of our modern time. See? That’s how it’s done. Feel free to leave your best Avatar jokes in the comment section. [Coming Soon]

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Culture Warrior

Had Leslie Nielsen never been cast in Airplane!, he still would have had a decent working career. He certainly never would have gone down as one of the great entertainers, but the man would have had work. After all, he did have a few noticeable (if not entirely notable) dramatic roles in genre fare ranging from Forbidden Planet (1956) to Prom Night (1980, the same year as Airplane!). But Nielsen did co-star in Airplane!, delivering one immortal line after another, which later catapulted his persona into legendary synonymy with contemporary cinematic parody. Jim Abrahams and the Zucker brothers may have been the minds behind what exactly the movie parody came to be, but Nielsen was undoubtedly the face and the voice. There is a reason that Leslie Nielsen happened.

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Vampires Suck

This is what I don’t understand about the works of Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg, the genius writer/director team behind the last decade’s run of spoof movies — Disaster Movie, Meet the Spartans, Epic Movie, and the like. They aren’t focused. Some of their jokes — about one in every four — are funny. The over-arching problem with their movies is that instead of lampooning one subject, like sword and sandals movies in Meet the Spartans, they feel the need to throw in every possible pop culture reference. Thus, we get Britney Spears being tossed into the pit of despair. It’s tragically unfunny. Enter Vampires Suck, their latest sure thing. It’s a spoof of Twilight — that includes Lady Gaga. You see the disconnect here?

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Because you asked for it: these two are still making movies and sending them to theaters where children and unsuspecting people might accidentally see them.

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decade-worstmovies

There were a lot of bad movies released during the past decade. That’s not anything that distinguishes the aughts from any other decade before it, but then most of these movies were bad in the usual, torturous ways.

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Three Bad Hollywood Trends

Julian Shapiro gets angry and pinpoints exactly what’s destroying Hollywood – and Hollywood’s million-dollar potential for success – for audiences everywhere. And you won’t like him when he’s angry.

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Kim Kardashian and Vanessa Minnillo are the only saving graces of Disaster Movie

Just like we saw the collapse of torture porn in 2007, we are very likely seeing the collapse of the spoof movie in 2008.

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Amy Winehouse takes a drink in Disaster Movie

After the horrors that were Date Movie, Epic Movie and Meet the Spartans, I can’t imagine anyone would willingly sit through Disaster Movie while sober.

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5 Reasons Why Uwe Bolls Postal is Better Than Meet the Spartans

Ask anyone on the web and they will tell you that nothing could be worse than an Uwe Boll movie. At this point, having seen Boll’s latest film Postal, I must disagree. There are worse out there — and their names are Friedberg and Seltzer.

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Disaster Movie

Disaster Movie appears to be a spoof on films such as The Day After Tomorrow and An Inconvenient Truth, but you wouldn’t know that from this new trailer, or the new poster.

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Disaster Movie Poster

I’m still waiting for someone to make Ghetto Movie, which will star Jack Black as a young Hispanic man, just trying to make a life in the hoods of Orlando, Florida.

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Hello? Mom? Can you get me out of this awful movie?

The only way to top this is if Uwe Boll titles his next film The Worst Movie Ever!

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Jonah Hill and Michael Cera in Superbad

Directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer (Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans) are back at it again, already planning their next parody. So which movies will feel the wrath? Superbad along with this summer’s Hancock, Sex and the City, and The Love Guru are among the unfortunate victims, but will you be among the unfortunate viewers.

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published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B
published: 12.12.2014
D+


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