Spoofs

In the grand tradition of movie-making teams like Jim Abrahams and David Zucker, Keenen Ivory Wayans and his entire family, and Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer (okay, maybe not those last two), comes a new duo of creative types hoping to make a mint and produce laughter by spoofing the works of others, Sacha Baron Cohen and Phil Johnston. THR reports that the duo has just sold a pitch to Paramount that will see them making a spy comedy in the vein of a silly James Bond. Think Rowan Atkinson’s Johnny English character, but less…something, and more…I don’t know. Okay, so just think Rowan Atkinson’s Johnny English character. According to sources at the studio, this still untitled comedy will tell the story of a spy who “is forced to go on the run with his long-lost brother, a moronic soccer hooligan.” Six years ago Cohen was coming off of his hit series Da Ali G Show and its subversive and successful feature film spin-off Borat, and he seemed like he was pretty much the most vital and progressive comedian working in films. But since then his career has taken a huge downswing because of disappointments like Brüno and his recent mess of a movie The Dictator. I guess the big question here is, given Cohen’s sudden downturn in quality output, is there any reason why we should be excited for him doing a spoof of spy movies?

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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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Drinking Games

It’s been almost a decade since the first Johnny English movie tore up the box office internationally and fizzled on American soil. But with that international success, it was inevitable there would be a sequel. Though, the spy film genre has changed with the Bourne films and James Bond reboot redefining its style, as well as the spy spoof movies (including the first Johnny English and the entire Austin Powers franchise) a thing of the past. That didn’t stop Rowan Atkinson from reprising his role as bumbling MI-7 agent Johnny English in the sequel Johnny English Reborn, which had similar success overseas and similar failure here in the U.S. Still, fans of Atkinson’s comedy should enjoy this new installment in the series. And for those who aren’t sure if they’ll enjoy it, try watching it with a martini, shaken, not stirred.

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Back when The X-Files was on the air it was a cultural phenomenon, and Gillian Anderson was one of the biggest stars on the planet due to her portrayal of Dana Scully, the skeptical one. Ever since it went off the air though, Anderson has been doing things like… well, international press tours for the new Rowan Atkinson slapstick Johnny English Reborn. No disrespect to Mr. Atkinson, but schlepping somebody else’s physical comedy vehicle has to be seen as slumming it for somebody who once enjoyed as high a profile as Anderson. It should come as no surprise then, that she’s using her current media platform to start beating the drum for a third X-Files film. While appearing on the Australian morning show Sunrise, Anderson said of a third X-Files film, “I hope it will happen, there’s talk of it. I don’t know who’s writing it but I hear there’s something going on.” If a third X-Files movie was made, it would be the first time the property got attention since 2008’s The X-Files: I Want to Believe, which isn’t that long ago, but that movie was the first time the franchise had been revisited since the television show whimpered out in 2002 after a couple of readjustments in the cast and declining ratings. I Want to Believe was supposed to go into production right after the show ended, but spent six years in developmental hell when all was said and done. That’s not to say that getting a third […]

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Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as EruditeSmurf007 and NostalgiaFiend238 in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, the pair rewatches the trailer for The Smurfs in an attempt to figure out why something that harmless needs to be modernized. Weren’t they cute and lovable before? Does a movie like that really need to fake appeal to a snarky teenage audience or should children and their parents be enough? Who is responsible for Smurfette flashing her panties at everyone and who on the production thought pop culture references would buoy a terrible film? In shorter terms, why can’t certain film productions get childhood icons right?

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Thanks to the talents of Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, the label “spoof” has lost all respect in the cinematic world. Often credited as “two of the writers of Scary Movie” (both as a joke and warning sign), Friedberg and Seltzer devolved the spoof film using an arsenal of pop culture references, bathroom humor and non sequiturs. Keeping it classy was never the goal. While their rampage through genre and cultural phenomena may never end, spoofing doesn’t have to live with shame either. Plenty of filmmakers have figured out ways to satirize the movie world and tell their own stories at the same time — it’s the movie-going public that’s afraid to use the dreaded s-word. Let’s suck it up and admit the truth: these ten films are hilarious, well-made and spoofs through and through:

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It’s a rare thing that two films would define a genre, but that’s exactly what Airplane! and The Naked Gun do for spoofs. They are the ultimate in that brand of comedy, simultaneously showing how funny drama can be and how difficult mining the laughter truly is. It’s an even rarer thing that a single actor would so thoroughly define a particular brand of storytelling. Leslie Nielsen made people laugh by not laughing. It’s a trait not shared by anyone else in the comedy world. Yet Nielsen consistently took every absurd situation he found his characters in, treated it with life or death certainty, and delivered punch lines without even seeming to notice them.

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danceflick

Find out if Dance Flick is more like Don’t Be a Menace or, hell, like White Chicks.

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Let’s see how many more genres we can spoof this year…

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