Box Office Failures Week: Movie 43 (2013)

I have a weakness for movies like The Kentucky Fried Movie and Amazon Women on the Moon. Big huge paens to MAD Magazine stupidity, they’re the cinematic equivalent of Fiddle Faddle to me.

Then there’s Movie 43, a movie that took a decade-long odyssey to get made, as most studios rejected the script. The end result was shot over a several year period and included some actors who refused to appear and others, like Richard Gere, who worked hard to escape the project.

Movie 43 was the brainchild of Charles B. Wessler, whose career goes from starting way down here as a production assistant on the film Can I Do It… ‘Til I Need Glasses? — suddenly this is all making sense — and ends up all the way up here by producing Green Book.

Wessler then recruited three pairs of directors — South Park‘s Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Something About Mary’s Peter and Bobby Farrelly, and Airplane!’s David and Jerry Zucker — to make a third of the movie each. Yet weeks before shooting, writers Parker, Stone and the Zuckers backed out. The film ended up with thirteen directors and nineteen writers.

That said — the movie did make money. $32.4 million on a $6 million dollar budget, yet you have to consider that every single actor was working for scale. Therefore, we can’t even comprehend the true budget of this film.

What we can calculate is the vitriol and hatred that critics heaped on the film, crowned by it winning worst director, worst picture and worst screenplay at the 34th Golden Raspberry Awards.

Peter Farrelly directed the wrap=around story — as seen in the U.S. cut of the film — called The Pitch. Here, a writer not so subtly named Charlie Wessler (Dennis Quaid, and no, I’m not saying “who deserves better” because honestly, everyone involved in this movie deserves better and willingly made this movie) pitches his movie to producer Griffin Schraeder (Greg Kinnear). Somewhere in all of this, Common, Charlie Saxton, Will Sasso and the gigantic dome of Seth MacFarlane all appear.

Movie 43 feels like MAD TV the movie. You remember that show? It was the original home of Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele. And all I remember is that the audience would be reacting to the show as if Jesus himself had walked out on set, yet nothing funny ever really seemed to happen. Seeing Sasso in these segments — he was also on the show before he turned his John Madden impression into an industry — reminds me of just how grating those shows were.

In the U.K. and the Netherlands, another wrap-around called The Thread posits a world where Movie 43 is the most dangerous film ever made and its discovery destroys civilization. We should all be so lucky. Fischer Stevens shows up, thankfully not as a culturally inappropriate character such as the one he played in Short Circuit, but then again, with bad taste being thrown at you for this movie’s entire running time, why they didn’t go this route is beyond me.

Next is The Catch, which was the scene that was filmed to convince other actors to be in the film. There’s one joke: Hugh Jackman has balls on his chin. Somehow, Kate Winslet is in this as well, getting paid around $800 for a role that by all rights would have decimated careers in the past.

In Homeschooled, Liev Schirber and Naomi Watts homeschool their child but take it too far. I wish I could tell you there was another joke, but nope. That’s the joke.

Steve Carr, who fostered such cinematic turds as Dr. Dolittle 2 and Paul Blart: Mall Cop onto screens everywhere as if they were commodes, brings the fecal-obsessed story The Proposition, in which Chris Pratt and Anna Ferris (who were a couple at the time) basically take a dump upon one another.

Some day, I’m going to have a chat with Griffin Dunne about making Practical Magic, a movie that I have suffered through numerous times. I’m also going to discuss Veronica, the next segment, whereupon Kieran Culkin and Emma Stone graphically discuss their sex life in a rundown grocery store.

Steven Brill, who was the hatchet man called in to reshoot the movie Fanboys by Harvey Weinstein, directed the next sequence called iBabe. Yes, the force that made Little Nicky is here to do an overly long sketch about a robot girl (Kate Bosworth) whose internal fans cut off penises. This is probably the most embarrassing thing Richard Gere has ever done, I said, ignorant of the veracity of that urban legend.

Superhero Speed Dating has Justin Long and Jason Sudekis as Batman and Robin, trying to woo Kristen Bell as Supergirl, Uma Thurman as Lois Lane and Leslie Bibb as Wonder Woman. It’s a marvel of restraint and timing compared to the rest of the movie.

Machine Kids is a throwaway about kids who get stuck inside machines.

Elizabeth Banks directed the next part, Middleschool Date, which is a period piece. No, really, it’s a drawn-out tale of menstruation starring Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloe Grace Moretz and people who only two names like Jimmy Bennett, Patrick Warburton and Matt Walsh.

Have you ever wanted to watch Johnny Knoxville and Seann William Scott beat up a leprechaun played by Gerard Butler? Then you must be Brett Ratner and you made the next story, Happy Birthday.

Truth or Dare involves, well, truth or dare between Halle Berry and Stephen Merchant. You know, this week of failures has two Halle Berry movies in it. This one somehow beats out Catwoman, which speaks so, so much about this movie.

Victory’s Glory is directed by Rusty Cundieff, who turns in a cute tale of an all black basketball team against a team of all white guys. Terrence Howard makes it work.

Elizabeth Banks and Josh Duhamel are in love, except Josh’s cat won’t have her in the house in the final story, Beezel. It’s animated and James Gunn directed it, but somehow didn’t even get to edit the movie.

There were some scenes cut, like Bob Odenkirk’s Find Our Daughter, which has Tony Shaloub and Julianne Moore as the stars and The Apprentice, a movie in which a mortician has sex with a corpse and brings her back to life. Anton Yelchin, who died before his career could go past the Star Trek films, was in this segment.

Comedy is a touchy subject. Not every joke lands. But man, never have so few jokes landed so never, as they don’t say. I saw this in the theater and while I laughed at some of the incredulous moments, it soon turned into a clock-watching affair. Then again, it was a forced fun team bonding work experience, which never lends toward enjoyment. Subsequent viewings have only made me dislike this movie so much more.

My Amityville Horror (2013)

After years of silence, Daniel Lutz, Kathy’s oldest son speaks openly about what he experienced in the house on 112 Ocean Avenue. Did he witness the paranormal? Or was he an abused child Writer, director and producer Eric Walter really has the perfect subject here, as Lutz — while gruff  and profane — is a fascinating subject.

Consider this a reunion story. Now, the adult Daniel meets the people who came into his life in the media crazy 1970’s — Channel 5 reporter Marvin Scott, as well as various psychologists and parapsychologists, including perhaps one of the most famous of their number, Lorraine Warren.

Despite us doing an entire week on these films, Lutz lived this story and the aftermath as it played out not just in the media, but in pop culture. At one point, he disappeared into the desert, as he says, and left his family and the stories behind.

But childhood pain — much like ghosts — never really go away. Was his father a Satanist, a child abuser or just a man? Is Lutz a reliable narrator? Is the Devil real? I enjoyed how the film leaves all of these questions on the table and allows you to determine your own conclusions.

The Amityville Asylum (2013)

Andrew Jones is best known for his series of films about Robert the Doll, as well as producing remakes and reimaginings of films, like Night of the Living Dead: Resurrection and Silent Night, Bloody Night: The Homecoming.

Knowing what we know about the direct-to-video and streaming history of the Amityville films post-2005 — and we can also include the Canadian direct-to-video films as they have only minor ties to the original film — it was amazing that it took so long for Jones to make an Amityville-themed movie.

Lisa Templeton has started a new career at High Hopes Hospital — nice tie to the sign in the yard of the DeFeo family — but she soon learns that the issues of the facilities go beyond the paranoid ramblings of the patients and the strange staff that serves them. You know — there’s something supernatural going on, because we’re in Amityville, a town packed with cursed lamps, lumber, furniture and even stuffed monkeys.

Eileen Daly is in this film as well. She started Redemption Films with her then-boyfriend Nigel Wingrove and was even in their logo as Redemption’s Dark Angel.

Despite being set in Amityville, there’s little to no mention of Ronald DeFeo. That’s because the actor set to play him was turned away at immigration due to a screwed up work visa. The other inmates of the asylum are based on real people, such as Sadie Krenwinkel being a mix of Manson Family members Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel as well as Dennis Palmer being based on British criminal Robert Maudsley.

What’s even better than a movie being called The Amityville Asylum being made despite there not being an asylum in the actual town? In Germany, this movie was released as The Nesting 2: Amityville Asylum, as The Nesting had just been successfully re-released in that country.

Ape Week: Empire of the Apes (2013)

Somewhere past our galaxy, in a land where special effects can be downloaded from the web and inserted in After Effects, three female convicts find themselves stranded on a world of warlike apes. They must battle these gorillas and the warden that comes after them or face become concubines for these brutal primates.

Mark Polonia has been making movies since the 1980’s with titles like Amityville Death House and Sharkenstein. While Tubi may be a magical place where you can discover all manner of movies, you can also find movies like this, shot on digital video with credits that look like the PowerPoint that your family made to show off photos at some gathering like an anniversary party.

If the jungle looks like Johnstown, good news. It is Johnstown.

It does, however, answer the question of “What happens when a human does some Planet of the Aardvarking with one of the Planet of the Apes apes?”

You can watch this on Tubi.

Axeman (2013)

About the Author: Paul Andolina is one of my favorite people to talk movies with. If you like his stuff, check out his site Wrestling with Film. He’s doing an entire month of slashers with pro wrestlers in them as we speak.

Axeman is a 2013 slasher film about a group of old college friends who go to a cabin in the woods where they are being offed by the axeman, purported to be nothing more than local legend. The axeman is played by former NBA player Scott Pollard, whose hulking stature works well as a mad man who sometimes kills with an axe. He spends much more time using a knife, though.

I really wanted to like this one but its pretty standard fare as far as lower budget slashers go. Unfortunately, almost every character in this film is annoying with very few redeeming qualities, the couple of Tammy and Liz being largely the exception. I watched this film so I could check out the sequel which stars former WWF star Adam Bomb. This film also has a connection to the wrestling world in a roundabout way as the girl who plays Tammy, Jamie Bernadette is in American Satan starring Goldberg (WWE,WCW) Sinbad War of the Furies which stars John Morrison (WWE), and apparently filmed some scenes for L.A. Slasher which were deleted. L.A. Slasher features Batista (WWE) as a drug dealer. 

This film is not completely horrible, it is well made, the kills are great but it suffers from being a bit boring. I really didn’t care about any of the characters and was really just waiting around for the next kill. Everyone is drunk, horny, or both almost the entire run time. Randy, a sicko who can’t get laid who runs around videotaping everyone is the first to get killed and I almost cheered when he was offed. If there are people who actually act like him, I consider myself blessed for having avoided them so far in life. Tammy and Liz are likable although a bit over the top at times. Everyone is playing a stereotype dialed up to maximum levels. Darren played by Joston Theney who wrote, directed, edited and produced this film and its sequel was also a likable character until he got drunk and obnoxious although I think we are all wont to do that if we have imbibed too much. Everyone else I couldn’t really wait to get knocked off.

If you are a fan of slashers and will watch any and everyone you can find, you will find some fun with this film, especially the kills. However, at a staggering 105 minutes you may find yourself just fast-forwarding to each character’s demise. This film also stars famed scream queen, Brinke Stevens, as a sheriff, and another familiar face from Snake Outta Compton. Arielle Brachfeld, has a small part as a deputy as well. You can check this film out and its sequel on Screambox.

2019 Scarecrow Psychotronic Challenge Day 2: A Talking Cat!?! (2013)

DAY 2. SOMEBODY’S GOTTA DO IT: Something involving a less than desirable job must be done.

You gotta give it to David DeCoteau. Who else could have directed Sorority Babes In the Slimeball-Bowl-A-Rama, the surprisingly homoerotic Bigfoot vs. D.B. Cooper and this child-friendly film?

How does this tie into the theme? Well, Duffy the cat, improbably voice by Eric Roberts, has the worst job of all. He’s a people whisperer, doomed to fix the lives of some pretty dumb folks.

Yes. Eric Roberts is the voice of a cat. We’re going here.

Wealthy Phil Barber (Johnny Whitaker, Sigmund and the Sea Monster) just paid someone to decorate his home and sold his computer company so that he can spend more time with his male model son Chris. If you go through the woods, you’ll end up at the home of single mom Susan (Kristine DeBell, who debuted in the x-rated Alice In Wonderland and was the photographer for the April 1976 cover of Playboy by Helmut Newton) and her two children.

Can Duffy get these two adults together? Well, probably. But he has the limitation of only being able to speak to each person one time in his life.

This was shot in the same mansion as DeCoteau’s 1313 film series in 3 days. Actually, if you saw Jules Jordan’s Ass Worship 13, it’s that house too.

Eric Roberts spent 15 minutes recording his dialogue, which may have been around ten minutes too long.

Also, big chunks of the film are either establishing shots that last way too long to be establishing and b-roll footage that goes nowhere. There are 59 establishing shots in this 83-minute long movie. Just add that up in your head.

Plus, there’s a major plot point involving ruined cheese puffs. Sorry. Spoiler warning.

In short, it’s everything you want it to be.

If you ever wondered, what if someone made Look Who’s Talking Now? with less of a budget and the quite potentially certifiably insane Eric Roberts as a laconic housecat who survives getting hit by a cat, all shot so it looks like a softcore gay porn movie while a keyboard version of “La Cucaracha” plays repeatedly well good news. This movie was made for you. I have no idea who you are. I’m actually a little afraid of you.

You can watch this on Amazon Prime. You pretty much should right now.

Nightsatan and the Loops of Doom (2013)

Inhalator II, Mazathoth and Wolf-Rami are Nightsatan, doomed to wander the nuclear-irradiated fjords of Eastern Finland in the year 2034. Calling themselves Nightsatan, these synthesizer warriors work musical rituals in order to maintain what is left of their sanity in the face of the endtimes.

Seriously, whoever made this movie is inside my head. Imagine Warriors of the Wasteland infused with the music of Goblin or John Carpenter, then turned into an art project.

Our boys — or whatever they are — in Nightsatan end up saving a fierce warrior woman twice from a musical tyrant and her android son. Along the way, there’s plenty of synth, cannibalism, nudity and gore.

How can one even explain Nightsatan themselves? Coming from Turku, Finland, they’re at the forefront of the post-apocalyptic laser metal genre. You can learn more about the band at their official site. You can also buy the soundtrack here.

Everything they do is inspired by Italian post-apocalyptic movies. I have no idea why I am not in this band as their lead singer. That should tell you how I feel about this movie — it’s completely and utterly awesome. Recently, I shared with someone that I was sad that I feel like I’ve seen every great post-apocalyptic film and will never have a first-time viewing experience again. Nightsatan and the Loops of Doom happily proved me wrong.

You can watch the full film right here, but a warning. It’s totally Not Safe for Work.

Escape Plan (2013)

Despite the teaming of Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Escape Plan underperformed at the U.S. box office. So how have there been three of these films? Simple. International box-office success, as this movie debuted in first place in several foreign markets, with the total international gross more than doubling its $50 million budget, leading to a worldwide gross of $137.3 million.

Ray Breslin (Stallone) is a former prosecutor, businessman and skilled structure engineer, but he’really knownwn for being the world’s best escape artist. As part of Breslin-Clark, he poses as an inmate to test supermax prisons from the inside out. His goal? Keeping criminals in jail, because back when he was a lawyer, his wife and child were killed by a convict he put away that escaped.

Breslin and business partner Lester Clark (Vincent D’Onofrio) get a multimillion-dollar offer from CIA agent Jessica Mayer, who wants them to test a top secret prison where several prisoners have disappeared. They’re not told where this prison is, but Breslin allows himself to be captured. However, things go wrong right away, as his tracking chip is removed and he has no idea where he is.

Now, he’s under the control of Warden Hobbes (Jim Caviezel) and meets fellow prisoner Emil Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger). Together with Javed, a Muslim prisoner, they start to create an escape plan — but soon learn that they are on a cargo ship in the middle of the ocean.

This movie is packed with interesting supporting players. Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson plays Hush, Ray’s best friend and technical expert. Sam Neill is a prison doctor. And former soccer star Vinnie Jones is the lead guard.

Escape Plan was directed by Mikael Hafstrom (1408) and was written by Jason Keller and Miles Chapman, who has written all of the Escape Plan films. It’s way better than the next two films in the series, but that kind of goes without saying, right?

Grudge Match (2013)

Raging Bull was played Robert De Niro. Rocky by Sylvester Stallone. Now, in Grudge Match, they play two old boxers stepping back into the ring for one more fight.

Although this movie is set in Pittsburgh — Kim Basinger hilariously mispronounces CONSOL several times, which I know for a fact they hate — it was really filmed in New Orleans.

As a Yinzer, I find this incredibly upsetting. There are so many errors, like how there are signs for Pepsi Max in CONSOL, which is untrue. The now PPG Paints Arena only sells RC Cola. During the national anthem scene at a monster truck rally, a Winn Dixie sign shows up. There are none in this area. And in Pennsylvania, car dealerships can’t be open on Sunday. Come on, Hollywood, redd up your films and stop being such jagz n’at.

Henry “Razor” Sharp (Stallone) and Billy “The Kid” McDonnen (De Niro) were both famous boxers from Pittsburgh who have one loss on each of their records — courtesy of one another. Before the rubber match, Razor retires with no explanation, costing Kid a huge pay day.

Decades later, Razor is struggling to make ends meet and working on a shipyard. Promoter Dante Slate, Jr. (Kevin Hart), wants Razor to provide the motion capture  for a boxing game, but Razor won’t trust the man, as it was his Slate’s father’s bad investments that left the aging boxer destitute.

However, Kid is now a successful car dealership and bar owner who says yes right away. Razor only agrees because the $15,000 payday will cover the overdue health bills for his trainer, Lightning Conlon (Alan Arkin).

While clad in greenscreen suits and mocap balls, the two boxers get into a huge brawl, ruining a studio and going viral when the video is posted. Slate decides to promote a final match between the two, called Grudgement Day, presented by Geritol.

At the press conference, Razor sees his ex-girlfriend Sally Rose (Basinger), who cheated on him with Kid and gave birth to a son named B.J. (The Punisher himself, Jon Bernthal) before getting married to someone else.

Kid’s trainer Frankie Brite (LL Cool J) is barely helping him, so he connects with B.J., who is a coach at Pitt, and gets in shape. As for Razor, he’s blind on one eye and everyone wants him to call it all off. However, he needs this one last fight, as Kid took everything he loved away from him — boxing and Sally.

There’s a great moment here where a montage recreates many of the Rocky training scenes, including Stallone dragging a truck that has the name Road Hawk on it, which is a nod to his role as Lincoln Hawk in Over the Top. And hey — it’s Rich Little as an announcer!

The big battle is actually pretty great. It’s shot well and is particularly brutal at the end, given that this is a comedy. It’s actually pretty much a feel good picture, something we rarely feature on our site, so enjoy it while you can. People will be getting devoured and stabbed again soon enough.

Grudge Match was directed by Peter Segal, who was also behind the camera for Second ActGet SmartTommy Boy50 First Dates and The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps. As for Stallone, this movie earned him a Golden Raspberry nomination for Worst Actor (along with Bullet to the Head and Escape Plan), but he lost to Jaden Smith for After Earth. He’s been nominated 14 times and won it four times:

  • 1984: Rhinestone
  • 1985: Both Rocky IV and Rambo: First Blood Part II
  • 1988: Rambo III
  • 1992: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot

He was also nominated for:

You can watch this on Tubi.

Doomstar Requiem: A Klok Opera (2013)

Thanks again to Paul Andolina for sharing a second musical with us. If you like his stuff, check out his site Wrestling with Film

Metalocalypse was a cartoon about the fictional band Dethklok that aired on Adult Swim. It premiered in 2006 and saw its incomplete conclusion in 2013 with an hr long rock opera titled Doomstar Requiem: A Klok Opera.

Metalocalypse was a huge thing to me, I remember patiently awaiting its premiere on Adult Swim, its second season beginning my first year of college, the Dethalbums, and even going to their concert when they toured with Mastodon. I made friendships because of this show and my love for metal deepened with every episode.

It would be hard to recap all the seasons before the Klok opera so I’m not going to attempt that. Instead I’ll just review it as it is, a rock opera like television had never seen before and possibly never will again. 

Doomstar Requiem picks up where season four left off with Magnus Hammersmith kidnapping Toki and Abigail. The rest of Dethklok, Nathan Explosion, Pickles, Skwisgar Skwigelf, and William Murderface are pretending to not miss Toki and have been spending the time since his disappearance getting totally shitfaced and partying around the world. Meanwhile, Dethklok’s manager Charles Offdensen is attempting to find Toki by using Dethklok’s enormous capital and their army of Klokateers. Their results are less than stellar. 

The Church of the Black Klok is assisting Offdensen and eventually the band grows a pair and sets out to rescue Toki from the grasp of Magnus and the Man with the Silver Face. They encounter old friends, disenchanted musicians, and a bunch of druggies along the way.

This hour-long special has a bit of everything, it has Metalocalypse‘s usual humor peppered with heavy parody of metal culture, awesome animation, and amazing music. If someone told me that this is how Metalocalypse would go out, I wouldn’t have been surprised at all as it is an emotional journey filled with slick beats and sick riffs.

The music in Doomstar Requiem runs a gamut of styles, from pop, lullabies, orchestral music, and blistering metal. There is even an extended fantasy sequence where Toki remembers his audition to join the band that includes a lengthy duel guitar solo. From beginning to end it absolutely captivated me with it’s visual and audial presence. 

The special was never released on home video in the United States but did receive a DVD release in Australia albeit the cursing is censored. It doesn’t hurt it much because they don’t say the F word nearly as much as they did in previous seasons. I did manage to track it down and I’m very happy to have a complete collection of Metalocalypse, finally. It was released as an album as well worldwide and it is definitely worth picking up.

Unfortunately, the creator of Metalocalypse only got to do this one special which ends on a cliffhanger. Adult Swim refused to allow him to complete his vision with one more special but Small released a sequel to his Galaktikon album that many believe to hold the key to fate of Dethklok albeit in a cryptic manner since Adult Swim held all the rights to Metalocalypse and Dethklok. I like to believe that in some alternate reality somewhere Metalocalypse saw a complete conclusion but I am satisfied with what we do have. 

The songs in the special are all amazing but some of my favorites are “The Birth,” “Abigail’s Lullaby,” “How Can I Be A Hero” and “Do It All for My Brother.” If you are a fan of the show you have probably already watched this but if you are not a fan I suggest giving it a watch. Perhaps it’ll inspire you to track down the seasons and fall in love with the show.