Yesterday, SCARY MOVIE 5 oozed its way into cinemas and to celebrate… to acknowledge said release, we looked at the Top Five Movie Parodies (now see here) and it was a right laugh.
But today, we don’t just scrape the bottom of the barrel, we kick it over and investigate the turds beneath. For today, we look at The Top Five Worst Movie Parodies. We say five, there’s tons of them here, in fact the Top Three encompasses thirteen films.
This won’t be easy, so I just want to say good luck. And we’re all counting on you.
5. NOT ANOTHER NOT ANOTHER MOVIE
dir. David Murphy (2011)
You may not have heard of this, but I can assure you it’s extraordinary. NANAM is a comedy about parodies, and while it could have been a scathing attack on the slew of awful ‘Movie’ movies (more on them later), it becomes one of them. It may consider itself a devastating satire, but spoofing spoofs is tricky. When SCARY MOVIE came out, people mused as to why they were parodying SCREAM. It was a movie about a movie about movies and we, the audience, got caught in a hall of mirrors, where the jokes got less funny with every reflection.
NOT ANOTHER NOT ANOTHER MOVIE stars Burt Reynolds, Vinnie Jones, Chevy Chase and Michael Madsen, four men who are now famous for being considerably worse than they used to be (even Steve Martin cringes at them) and they play various people making a terrible spoof movie. It’s like a rotting onion, layers and layers of smelly despair. More on rotten onions later.
4. SHRIEK IF YOU KNOW WHAT I DID LAST FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH
dir. John Blanchard (2000)
A spoof of SCREAM. Sound familiar? To be fair, SIYKWIDLFTT did come out the same year as SCARY MOVIE, and for all we know, this film may have been finished by the time The Wayans Brothers even considered making theirs. They are well known for working extremely fast, often bringing new ideas on set mid-shoot and getting skits filmed and canned so fast Ed Wood would get wood. In fact, their ‘WASSSSUP’ gag from the first film made it to the UK before the Budweiser adverts that inspired it, causing many Brits to assume the commercials copied the film and not the other way around.
But that’s SCARY MOVIE. SIYKWIDLFTT stars Tom Arnold and Coolio. It’s pointless.
3. All the Leslie Nielsen spoofs post 1995
SPY HARD dir. Rick Friedberg (1996)
2001: A SPACE TRAVESTY dir. Allan A Goldstein (2000)
SCARY MOVIE 3 dir. David Zucker (2003)
SCARY MOVIE 4 dir. David Zucker (2006)
SUPERHERO MOVIE dir. Craig Mazin (2008)
BIG FAT IMPORTANT MOVIE/AN AMERICAN CAROL dir. David Zucker (2008)
STAN HELSING dir Bo Zenga (2009)
Ahhh, now this is just upsetting. Nielsen has proven himself to be one of the greatest comedy stars in the history of cinema. And much like Gene Wilder, he owed a lot of his star power to parodies in particular. His alter-ego of Frank Drebin is as much a beloved comic character as Chaplin’s Tramp or Sellers’ Clouseau, and his pitch-perfect deadpan expression and delivery in the face of such anarchy is the stuff of Keaton (that’s Buster, not Michael).
To see him transfer that character to the woeful SPY HARD and 2001: A SPACE TRAVESTY is a sad sight. But those directors are emulating THE NAKED GUN films. Badly, but their heart is in the right place. So for the actual director of those films to do so badly by the star is horrible. Zucker took the reins for SCARY MOVIE 3 and 4, and bought in the grand daddy of parody himself to play the president. They’re poor, but they ain’t nothin’ compared to his send up of Michael Moore, MY BIG FAT IMPORTANT MOVIE aka AN AMERICAN CAROL. Using the framing device of Dickens’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL, Zucker writes and directs a film so fiercely right wing that it features, actually CONTAINS tiny-faced, frothing hate merchant Bill O’Reilly. There’s nothing wrong with lampooning lefties, as right wingers get it all the time (though deservedly so). Fair play. And Michael Moore is a pompous balloon ripe for popping. However, getting Nielsen to play Osama Bin Laden in a shocking piece of Republican propaganda is a sign that the director of AIRPLANE! has fallen further from grace than any other film maker. SUPERHERO MOVIE is shite as well.
2. THE ONION MOVIE aka NEWS MOVIE
dir. Tom Kuntz/Mike Maguire (2008)
This could have been so good. We love The Onion, as it’s one of the finest satirical websites out there, consistently providing terrific online sketches and articles, happily skewering right wing nutters and poncy liberals in equal measure.
The movie, however, is a mess. It was filmed in 2003 and released in 2008, during which time, directors Tom Kuntz and Mike Maguire distanced themselves from the project, as did The Onion itself. THE ONION MOVIE features so highly because it’s such a darn waste of potential which, appropriately, brings you to tears. But tears of disappointment and sadness give way to hot, salty eye floods of rage induced by…
1. All the films directed by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer
DATE MOVIE (2006)
EPIC MOVIE (2007)
MEET THE SPARTANS (2008)
DISASTER MOVIE (2008)
VAMPIRES SUCK (2010)
It cannot be stressed enough how phenomenally bad these films are. Friedberg/Seltzer are to comedy what Chris Brown is to feminism, and have done irreparable damage to the ‘spoof’ as a genre. The problem is, they don’t actually spoof anything. They see something; another film, an Amy Winehouse video (Look! She’s got bad teeth! He’s British or something! Haha!), an overweight person and they think ‘Let’s put that in our film.’ And they do, and they expect you to laugh at it. Regardless of if it makes any sense, or has any comic potential whatsoever. There’s a bit in VAMPIRES SUCK, yeah? Where Bella and Edward are in the woods, and he throws something, yeah? And there’s Alice from Tim Burton’s ALICE IN WONDERLAND, yeah? And it hits her in the head and she falls down the hole like she does in the film. Why? Buggered if I know. I guess they saw ALICE IN WONDERLAND and thought ‘Ooooh! People will recognise that, let’s put it in our film.’ ‘Really?’ said Comedy. ‘But this is a TWILIGHT spoof, what’s ALICE IN WONDERLAND got to do with TWILIGHT?’ ‘Fuck you, Comedy,’ said the directors. ‘People will know what it is.’ ‘That doesn’t make it funny,’ replied Comedy, with despair in her voice. Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer then proceeded to murder Comedy.
I wouldn’t mind quite so much, if they were in any way humorous. But I’ve had cancer scares with more laughs than these poxy films.
Their first film, DATE MOVIE, has the privilege of having terrifically funny actors like Fred Willard and Alyson Hannigan, but instead of giving them ANYTHING to work with, they stick her in a fat suit and say ‘HA! LOOK AT FAT WOMAN! LOOK!’ They also have Napoleon Dynamite. A character from an existing comedy. Why would you reference another comedy? Which is much MUCH better? Why would you spoof something that’s already intentionally funny? They do it again in EPIC MOVIE when they spoof BORAT. They SPOOF… BORAT! They include Transformers, Shrek, Ghost Rider and Britney Spears in MEET THE SPARTANS, a send up of 300. Those pop culture references have zero to do with 300, but you’ve heard of them, so in they go. Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer do not know what they’re doing.
Or maybe they know exactly what they’re doing. Leeching off other people’s creativity, seeing something, ANYTHING, that somebody else has created, they transplant it into their own poorly thought-out excuse for a film, and THEY laugh at it, while the audience look around wondering where the jokes are. Yet, inexplicably, people do pay to see these films, so they keep getting to make them. Did you know that VAMPIRES SUCK made two million dollars more on it’s opening weekend than SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD? I know. I know.
Despite critics driving a stake through the heart of that particularly awful film, it did well commercially and now we have THE STARVING GAMES to look forward to. Yup, these two clowns are spoofing THE HUNGER GAMES, so we can expect One Direction to be crowbarred in there. Why? Because they’re current and you’ve heard of them. And that is the state of the modern parody. Thanks to Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer.
Surely you can’t be serious?
We are serious. Very serious indeed.
SCARY MOVIE 5 is in cinemas now. Read our review right here.
For The Top Five Movie Parodies, click here.