Sunday, December 13, 2015

Movie Movie (1978)

Director: Stanley Donen

Writers: Larry Gelbart, Sheldon Keller

Composer: Ralph Burns

Starring: George C. Scott, Trish Van Devere, Red Buttons, Eli Wallach, Harry Hamlin, Ann Reinking, Jocelyn Brando, Michael Kidd, Kathleen Beller, Barry Bostwick, Art Carney, Chalres Lane, George Burns

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Starring George C. Scott...TWICE!

Plot: Three movie genres of the 1930s are satirized in this spoof of the traditional double feature. In "Dynamite Hands" a delivery boy turns prizefighter in order to raise enough money for his kid sister's eye operation. Later, however, he turns his back on his father-figure manager and librarian girlfriend when he is distracted by a flashy gangster and sexy night club diva. Intermission has a coming-attractions trailer for "Zero Hour," a World War I aviation drama. In the second feature, "Baxter's Beauties of 1933" a Broadway impresario hears he has only a month to live and is determined to mount one more hit on the boards. When his drunken diva of a star cannot go on opening night, he finds that the ingénue he chooses to replace her is his long-estranged daughter, whom he has not seen since she was a girl. All three stories feature the same cast in repertoire.

My rating: 5.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

The film opens with George Burns telling us he's not in the picture.  Classic.  EVERY movie should open with Burns.  The whole idea behind this picture is great and I'm for it 100% but the execution is all wrong.  It's rarely funny and it means to be hilarious.  The writing and some of the other aspects are spot on for emulating movies from the 30s.  Perhaps it would've worked better in black and white.  The performances are earnest but because nearly every joke falls flat it's hard to like it.   Both films (running at about 45 minutes each) succeed and fail in the same way and each feels like they're a full 90 minutes.  The biggest plus for the whole thing is not just seeing so many great actors fans of the era will recognize but the fake trailer in between the pictures is friggin' hilarious.  Scott is hamming it up (on purpose) and it's delightful.  There are some great laughs (albeit very few) in the dialogue but they're so few and far between that it was a chore to get through it which is a damn shame because I'm just the kind of cat this picture was written for.  I wanted to laugh my ass off but, instead, my ass was bored despite the talent that obviously worked very hard to make this picture.

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