Theatrical release poster
|Distributed by||Relativity Media|
|Box office||$32.4 million|
Movie 43 is a 2013 American anthology comedy film co-directed and produced by Peter Farrelly, and written by Rocky Russo and Jeremy Sosenko among others. The film features fourteen different storylines, each one by a different director, including Elizabeth Banks, Steven Brill, Steve Carr, Rusty Cundieff, James Duffy, Griffin Dunne, Patrik Forsberg, James Gunn, Bob Odenkirk, Brett Ratner, Will Graham, and Jonathan van Tulleken. It stars an ensemble cast that is led by Elizabeth Banks, Kristen Bell, Halle Berry, Gerard Butler, Leslie Bibb, Kate Bosworth, Josh Duhamel, Anna Faris, Richard Gere, Terrence Howard, Hugh Jackman, Johnny Knoxville, Justin Long, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloë Grace Moretz, Liev Schreiber, Seann William Scott, Emma Stone, Jason Sudeikis, Uma Thurman, Naomi Watts and Kate Winslet. Julianne Moore, Tony Shalhoub and Anton Yelchin are also featured in cut scenes released on DVD and Blu-ray.
The film took almost a decade to get into production as most studios rejected the script, which was eventually picked up by Relativity Media for $6 million. The film was shot over a period of several years, as casting also proved to be a challenge for the producers. Some actors, including George Clooney, declined to take part, while others, such as Richard Gere, attempted to get out of the project.
Released on January 25, 2013, Movie 43 has been widely panned by critics, with Richard Roeper calling it "the Citizen Kane of awful", joining others who labeled it as one of the worst films of all time. The film won three awards at the 34th Golden Raspberry Awards, including Worst Picture.
Movie 43 is a series of different sketches containing different scenes and scenarios.
The film is composed of multiple comedy shorts presented through an overarching segment titled "The Pitch", in which Charlie Wessler (Dennis Quaid), a mad screenwriter, is attempting to pitch a script to film executive Griffin Schraeder (Greg Kinnear). After revealing several of the stories in his script, Wessler becomes agitated when Schraeder dismisses his outrageous ideas, and he pulls a gun on him and forces him to listen to multiple other stories before making Schraeder consult his manager, Bob Mone (Common), to purchase the film. When they do so, Mone's condescending, humiliating attitude toward Schraeder angers him to the point that, after agreeing to make the film "the biggest film since Howard the Duck", he confronts Mone in the parking lot with a gun and tries to make him perform fellatio on the security guard (Will Sasso) (Wessler had gotten on the lot by doing the same thing) and kill him if he does not make the film. Wessler tries to calm Schraeder down with more story ideas to no avail, but Mone pulls out a gun and shoots Schraeder to death. The segment ends with it being revealed that it is being shot by a camera crew as part of the movie, leading into the final segments.
The structure of the film released in some countries, like the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, differs. Instead of a pitch, the films are connected by a group of three teenagers searching for the most banned film in the world, Movie 43, which will ultimately lead to the destruction of civilization. Calvin Cutler (Mark L. Young) and his friend J.J. (Adam Cagley) make a video in the style of MTV's Jackass and upload it on YouTube where it instantly reaches over 1,000,000 views. This turns out to be an April Fool's prank from Calvin's younger brother Baxter (Devin Eash), who cloned YouTube and hyper-inflated the views while working on his science project. Calvin and J.J. attempt to get revenge. They tell Baxter of a film that's so dangerous it will cause the annihilation of the world. The movie is known as Movie 43. While J.J. and Baxter look for Movie 43 on Google, Calvin retrieves Baxter's laptop and loads it with viruses from porn sites, and masturbates to a strip tease video on the porn sites in a bathroom. Baxter finds hundreds of results for Movie 43 on a website referred to by him as a dark corner of the Internet. They find the sketches starting from the 43rd search on the list of results. As he and J.J. keep watching videos, they are interrupted by a man known as Vrankovich (Fisher Stevens) and a group of Chinese mobsters (Tim Chou and James Hsu) who are tempted to find Movie 43, even going as far as to take J.J.'s classmate Stevie Schraeder (Nate Hartley), film executive Griffin Schraeder's oldest son, hostage. Vrankovich warns them that if they find Movie 43, civilization will be left to ruins. They ignore his claims and keep searching. They eventually find the real, the one and only Movie 43, which turns out to involve Baxter as a profane commando who leads a group of recruits to survive after the world has ended. As Calvin finishes ruining Baxter's laptop, their mother (Beth Littleford) enters, wearing the same shirt and shorts that the woman in the strip tease video wore, causing Calvin to flip out after realizing that he had masturbated to a video of his mother. He also has visions, and finds semen from his erect crotch on his hand causing him to stare at his hand in shock and horror. Afterward, a deadly earthquake rumbles and mankind is lost. However, a few years later the only survivor, a crippled Calvin, finds Baxter's laptop still working despite viral infections. He watches the last remaining skits on the laptop. This version of the film was released in the U.S. as part of the Blu-ray Disc of Movie 43 as an unrated alternate cut of the film.
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Beth (Kate Winslet) is a single businesswoman who goes on a blind date with Davis (Hugh Jackman), the city's most eligible bachelor. When the two arrive together at a restaurant, Beth is shocked when he removes his scarf, revealing a pair of testicles dangling from his neck. Over dinner it confuses her that Davis fails to acknowledge his anatomical abnormality, and that nobody seems to be surprised by it. When two friends of Davis (Roy Jenkins and Katie Finneran) come by, one of them convinces him to give Beth a kiss. Davis agrees, but when he kisses her, his neck-testicles are dangling near Beth's mouth, causing her to scream and budge out of the kiss.
Having recently moved, Sean (Alex Cranmer) and Clare (Julie Ann Emery) have coffee with their new neighbors. The neighbors, Robert (Liev Schreiber) and Samantha (Naomi Watts) have a teenage son, Kevin (Jeremy Allen White), whom they have home-schooled. Sean and Clare begin inquiring about the homeschooling, and the numerous manners in which Robert and Samantha have replicated a full high school experience within their home, going as far as hazing, bullying, and giving out detentions, are revealed. They believe the experience should be as awkward as possible, like "real high school". This includes throwing parties that exclude Kevin, Samantha instigating Kevin's "first kiss" and Robert revealing romantic feelings for Kevin. Visibly disturbed, the neighbors end up meeting Kevin, who says he is going out and gives them the impression that all is fine: until he reveals a doll made of a mop with Samantha's face on it, referring to the doll as his girlfriend.
Julie (Anna Faris) and Doug (Chris Pratt) have been in a relationship for a year. When he attempts to propose to her, she reveals to him that she is a coprophiliac, and asks him to defecate on her in the bedroom. Urged by his best friend Larry (J.B. Smoove) and others to go along with it, he eats a large meal and drinks a bottle of laxative prior to the event. Wanting foreplay, Julie is angered when Doug wants to finish, and she runs into the street. Chasing after her, he is then hit by a car and graphically evacuates his bowels everywhere. She cradles him and apologizes; covered and surrounded by his excrement on the road, she exclaims that it is the "most beautiful thing" she has ever seen and accepts his marriage proposal. (In the end credits, Julie and Doug are mistakenly renamed Vanessa and Jason by Rocky Russo, Jeremy Sosenko, Steve Carr, Peter Farrelly, and Charles B. Wessler).
Neil (Kieran Culkin) is working a night shift at a local grocery store. His ex-girlfriend, Veronica (Emma Stone), comes through his line and the two begin arguing, which soon turns into sexual discussion and flirtation as they lament over their relationship; unbeknownst to them, Neil's intercom microphone broadcasts the entire explicit conversation throughout the store, where various elderly people and vagrants tune in. After she leaves in tears, the customers agree to cover his shift while he goes after her.
A developing company is having a meeting in their headquarters over their newly released product, the "iBabe", which is a life-sized, realistic replica of a nude woman which functions as an MP3 player. The boss (Richard Gere) listens to his various workers (Kate Bosworth, Aasif Mandvi and Jack McBrayer) argue over the placement of a fan that was built into the genital region of the iBabe, which is dismembering the penises of teenage boys who attempt to have sex with them. The board members then agree to strongly emphasize the dangers of the product via its new commercials.
Robin (Justin Long) and his cohort Batman (Jason Sudeikis) are in Gotham City at a speed dating establishment seeking out a bomb threat by their nemesis, Penguin (John Hodgman). While Robin attempts to connect with various women through speed dating including Lois Lane (Uma Thurman) and Supergirl (Kristen Bell), Batman encounters his ex Wonder Woman (Leslie Bibb) and attempts to stop Penguin from detonating Supergirl, who later turns out to be the Riddler (Will Carlough) in disguise, which Batman already knew and was screwing with Robin, who kissed "her" moments before unveiling.
A faux-Public service announcement about children stuck in machines and how adults' criticism of these particular machines affect the feelings of the children stuck inside the machines. This commercial was paid for by the "Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children Inside Machines".
Nathan (Jimmy Bennett) and Amanda (Chloë Grace Moretz) are watching television after school at Nathan's house as their first "middle school" date. When they begin to kiss, his older brother Mikey (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) enters the living room and makes fun of them. Amanda then discovers she is menstruating and tries to hide it, and when Nathan sees blood on her pants, he panics and believes her to be bleeding to death, causing a debacle, which would later have Nathan and Mikey's father Steve (Patrick Warburton) and Amanda's father (Matt Walsh) involved. Amanda calls them out on their stupidity and feels embarrassed to know that she's getting her first period in front of them and they don't know what to do about it. When she leaves with her father, Nathan yells that the process of keeping the lining of her internal organs intact by inserting his erect phallus into her vagina is much too complicated and Mikey agrees. Steve cheers them up by farting in front of them. As Mikey goes to the bathroom, Nathan and Steve watch a game on television, which has a very graphic Tampax commercial in which a girl gets eaten by a shark due to her menstruating.
Another faux-commercial involving two women who go swimming in the sea. As the women submerge into the water, a great shark suddenly appears and eats one of the women. A tagline appears, reading: "Tampax. Now Leak-Proof"
Pete (Johnny Knoxville) captures a leprechaun (Gerard Butler) for his roommate Brian (Seann William Scott) as a birthday present. After tying the leprechaun up in the basement, they demand he give them a pot of gold. The obscene leprechaun threatens that his brother is coming to save him. When he arrives, Brian and Pete are shot at but ultimately kill both leprechauns. At the end of the segment, Pete reveals he has also caught a fairy (Esti Ginzburg) who performs fellatio for gold coins.
Donald (Stephen Merchant) and Emily (Halle Berry) are on a date together at a Mexican restaurant. Tired of typical first dates, Emily challenges Donald to a game of truth or dare. She dares him to grab a man's buttocks, and he follows with daring her to blow out the birthday candles on a blind boy's cake. The game rapidly escalates to extremes, in which both of them get plastic surgery and tattoos, and humiliate themselves. When Donald and Emily arrive back at Emily's apartment, they praise their date. Donald tries to kiss her, but she rejects him, claiming she's not attracted to Asian men (which he was surgically altered to resemble). It is revealed that she was joking and invites him to have sex with her as she shows him her enlarged breasts.
Set in 1959, Coach Jackson (Terrence Howard) is lecturing his all-black basketball team before their first game against an all-white team. Worried about losing the game, the timid players are lectured by the coach about their superiority in the sport over their white counterparts, which he expresses vulgarly. When the game ensues, the all-white team loses miserably yet rejoices in a single point they earn.
Played mid-credits, Amy (Elizabeth Banks) worries that her boyfriend Anson's (Josh Duhamel) cat, Beezel (an animated cartoon), is coming between their relationship. Beezel seems to detest Amy and anyone who comes between him and Anson, but Anson only sees Beezel as innocent. One day, Amy witnesses Beezel masturbating to summer vacation photos of Anson in a swimsuit. Beezel attacks her and violently urinates on her. Anson still finds his pet innocent but Amy threatens to leave if he doesn't get rid of Beezel. Caring more about his relationship, Anson agrees to find a new home for him. That night, from a closet, Beezel tearfully watches the couple make love (whilst sodomizing himself with a hairbrush and dry humping a stuffed teddy bear). The next day when it comes time to take Beezel away, he is nowhere to be found. Amy goes outside to look. Beezel then runs her over with a truck and attempts to shoot her to death with a shotgun, but she chases him into the street and begins beating him with a shovel, which is witnessed by a group of children attending a birthday party at a neighboring house. When Anson approaches to see what is happening, Amy tries to explain Beezel's motives. Beezel acts innocent and Anson sides with his cat. The children of the party then attack and murder Amy for beating up Beezel, stabbing her with plastic forks. Anson grabs Beezel, as Beezel again fantasizes about French kissing his owner.
In this segment that was cut from the film, Maude (Julianne Moore) and George (Tony Shalhoub) are looking for their breast-flashing daughter Susie (Jordanna Taylor) with the help of the private eye (Bob Odenkirk), who is behind the camera with only one clue which is a small video that features their daughter. The scene was included as an extra on the DVD and Blu-ray release.
The second segment that was cut from the film follows Wayne (Anton Yelchin), a shy apprentice mortician who is secretly a necrophiliac at the hospital he works at. One night, a body he's having sex with is brought back to life from the pressure of his thrusts. His supervisor Bob (Shane Jacobson) suddenly walks in and mistakenly believes that Wayne has performed a life-saving operation of some kind. The staff at the hospital and the media congratulate him while a news reporter asks what he did to save her. Unable to conjure an answer, one of the cops on scene tells everyone else they can just watch the security tapes to find out. As they rush to the security room, Wayne is given a personal thanks by the girl (Maria Volk) he revived, upon which he responds with an awkward "Your Welcome". Unlike Find Our Daughter, this segment was not included in the DVD or Blu-ray release and instead premiered at the 2014 LA Comedy Festival.
Wessler first came up with the idea for an outrageous comedy made up of several short films in the early 2000s. "It's like Funny or Die, only if you could go crazy," judged Farrelly, "because with Funny or Die, there are certain limits. And we just wanted to do that kind of short and go much further than that." Charlie Wessler affirmed that he "wanted to make a Kentucky Fried Movie for the modern age".
Wessler then recruited three pairs of directors—Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Peter and Bobby Farrelly, and David and Jerry Zucker—to sign on to write and direct one-third of the project each. He then began working out a deal with a studio for the project, but the project did not stick. "They ended up calling me about a month after we started negotiating the deal and said 'we can't do it' because they had political pressure to not make R-rated movies that were marketed to teenagers," claimed Wessler. He then went to multiple other studios, but, according to Wessler, "no one could understand what [he] was trying to do".
In 2009, Peter Farrelly and producer John Penotti took their pitch—along with about 60 scripts for the vignettes—to Relativity Media. At that meeting, Wessler, Penotti, and Farrelly presented one short that they already had shot, starring Kate Winslet as a woman going on a blind date with a seemingly successful and handsome Hugh Jackman. "They just looked at me and said, 'Go for it,'" Wessler told The Hollywood Reporter. "It takes a lot of balls to make something that is not conventional." Relativity provided $6 million for the film, but no other studio would sign on. "Other potential backers", Farrelly revealed, "didn't believe it could happen—a movie with Kate Winslet for $6 million?"
The film officially began principal photography in March 2010, but due to its large cast, producer/director Farrelly told Entertainment Weekly that "This movie was made over four years, and they just had to wait for a year or two years for different actors. They would shoot for a week, and shut down for several months. Same thing with the directors. It was the type of movie you could come back to." Shortly before shooting, writers Parker, Stone, and the Zuckers backed out.
The film ended up with thirteen directors and nineteen writers tied to it, each one co-writing and directing different segments of the sixteen different storylines. Farrelly directed the parts of the movie with Halle Berry and Kate Winslet.
Wessler spent years recruiting actors for the film. Many turned down the project. "Most agents would avoid me because they knew what I wanted to do—what agent wants to book their big client in a no pay, $800-a-day, two-day shoot?" he said. "The truth is, I had a lot of friends who were in this movie. And if they didn't say yes, this movie wouldn't have gotten made." In the end, most of the actors were willing to take part because the film only required a few days of their time and often allowed them to play a character outside of their wheelhouse.
Hugh Jackman was the first actor Wessler cast. He met the star at a wedding and then called him some time later and pitched him the short. Jackman read the script and agreed to be a part of the film. "He called me back I think 24 hours later and said, 'Yeah I wanna do this,' which I think is, quite frankly, incredibly ballsy. Because you could be made a fool of, or you could look silly, and there will be people who say, 'That's crazy; he should never have done it.'"
John Hodgman, who plays opposite Justin Long in one sketch, signed on with no knowledge of the project. Long, Hodgman's co-star in the long-running series of Apple's commercials, asked him what the project was, and he then signed on, without still knowing too much. Hodgman said, "I got an e-mail from Justin that said, 'I'm going to be dressing up as Robin again. Do you want to dress up as the Penguin?' And I said yes. Without even realizing cameras would be involved, or that it would be a movie."
Others were not so affable. In fact, some stars hedged: Richard Gere, a friend of Wessler's, said yes—but also said he would not be available for more than a year. So Wessler waited him out, convinced his sketch was good. Gere eventually called Wessler and told him he was free to shoot, on just a couple of conditions: They had to do it in four days, and they needed to relocate the shoot from Los Angeles to New York City.
"They clearly wanted out!" judged Farrelly. "But we wouldn't let them. The strategy was simple: 'Wait for them. Shoot when they want to shoot. Guilt them to death.' It didn't work on everyone." Colin Farrell initially agreed to be in the Butler leprechaun sketch—as Butler's brother, also a leprechaun—but then he backed out and Gerard Butler did the sketch by himself. Farrelly said that when he approached George Clooney about playing himself in a sketch (the gag was that Clooney is bad at picking up women), Clooney told him "No fucking way". There were two sketches cut from the film that were originally shown during a test screening; one that starred Anton Yelchin as a necrophiliac mortician who worked at a hospital and had sex with the dead female bodies, and another starring Julianne Moore and Tony Shalhoub as a married couple being interviewed by a detective about their missing daughter. Producer Penotti said that the sketches would be seen on the DVD and Blu-ray Disc releases of the film, however only the latter was included in the release.
Because the filmmakers worked around the stars' schedules, the filming of the whole movie took several years. While so many A-list actors were on board, most were not completely aware of what other sketches would be included in the film, which features thirteen vignettes tied together by a story of a mad screenwriter (Quaid) pitching ideas to a movie producer (Kinnear). Penotti said many of the actors did not ask many questions about what else was going on in the film. "They were attracted to their script, and as long as that tickled their funnybone, that was enough," he revealed.
The title of the film, Movie 43—first believed to be referencing the number of actors in the film— has no meaning. Farrelly heard his son talking with friends about a film called "Movie 43", but when Farrelly discovered the film did not exist, he cribbed the name.
Relativity did little to promote the film and none of the cast members did any promotion of the film. The film was not screened for critics in advance. "The slapdash title, the lack of promotion and advance screenings, the release date—none of it bodes well," opined Entertainment Weekly senior editor Thom Geier. "January is usually where movies go to die," Geier argued. "And to go by the trailer—the only option—the content seems dated." A red-band trailer was released on October 3, 2012. Farrelly was optimistic: "Kids, teenagers, 50-somethings who still smoke pot—they're all going to find something here," he asserted. Advertising also took place on the adult website Pornhub.
Movie 43 was critically panned. Some critics considered it to be one of the worst films ever made. The film received an average score of 18 out of 100 on Metacritic, signifying "overwhelming dislike". Rotten Tomatoes gave it 4% rating based on reviews from 75 critics, with an average rating of 2.2/10, and the site's consensus states: "A star-studded turkey, Movie 43 is loaded with gleefully offensive and often scatological gags, but it's largely bereft of laughs." Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a D rating.
Brian Gibson (Vue Weekly) describes Movie 43 as "An execrable waste cooked up by a hell's kitchen of directors and writers. It's death-of-laughter by committee. Its title? Because it's like one of those many asteroids out there—a dismal chunk of rock hurtling through an empty void, without purpose." IGN's Gregg Katzman gave the film a 1/10, with the main criticisms being its unfunny jokes and the waste of its all star cast, and the only positive being its sub two hour running time. It would go on to tie with Scary Movie 5 for worst movie of 2013. In his guest review for Roger Ebert's website, Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times outright panned the film, giving it zero out of four stars, calling it "aggressively tasteless", and going so far as to say "Movie 43 is the Citizen Kane of awful". He wrote that the film has nothing in common with The Groove Tube and The Kentucky Fried Movie, two "very funny and influential" sketch-comedy films. He additionally criticized Movie 43 for what he calls "female humiliation", saying that although the men are "jerks, idiots, dolts and fools", the women have it even worse. Robbie Collin of The Daily Telegraph described Farrelly's film as "the work of a confused man thrashing around in an industry he no longer understands". Peter Howell of the Toronto Star gave the film zero out of four stars and called it the worst film he had ever seen. Elizabeth Weitzman of the New York Daily News gave it a negative review, saying, "As a film critic, I've seen nearly 4,000 movies over the last fifteen years. Right now, I can't think of one worse than Movie 43."
The opening weekend total came to $4,805,878, opening in seventh place. At the end of its run, closing in the United States on March 14, 2013, the film had grossed $8,840,453 domestically and $23,598,535 internationally for a worldwide total of $32,438,988.
|2013||Golden Trailer Awards||Trashiest Trailer||"Unsee it" trailer||Nominated|
|2014||34th Golden Raspberry Awards||Worst Picture||All filmmakers||Won|
|Worst Director||10 of 13 directors||Won|
|Worst Screenplay||All screenwriters||Won|
|Worst Screen Combo||Entire cast||Nominated|
|Worst Actress||Halle Berry (also for The Call)||Nominated|
|Naomi Watts (also for Diana)||Nominated|
Movie 43 was released on DVD and Blu-ray on June 18, 2013, in the UK, and US.
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