Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Peter Farrelly
Jonathan van Tulleken
|Produced by||Charles B. Wessler
|Written by||Steve Baker
Matthew Alec Portenoy
Elizabeth Wright Shapiro
Jonathan van Tulleken
|Narrated by||Eric Stuart
|Music by||Christophe Beck
|Cinematography||Frank G. DeMarco
Matthew F. Leonetti
Newton Thomas Sigel
|Editing by||Debra Chiate
Patrick J. Don Vito
Sandy S. Solowitz
GreeneStreet Films Inc.
Witness Protection Films
|Distributed by||Relativity Media|
|Running time||94 minutes (US)
90 minutes (UK)
Movie 43 is a 2013 American independent anthology black comedy film co-directed and produced by Peter Farrelly, and written by Steve Baker, Rocky Russo, and Jeremy Sosenko among others. The film features fourteen different storylines, each one done 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 includes Halle Berry, Gerard Butler, Anna Faris, Hugh Jackman, Johnny Knoxville, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Seann William Scott, Emma Stone, Kristen Bell, and Kate Winslet among others.
The film took almost a decade to get into production as most studios outright 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, immediately 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 universally panned by critics, with the Chicago Sun-Times calling it "the Citizen Kane of awful", and many others referring to it as one of the worst films ever made.
The Pitch 
- Produced and directed by Peter Farrelly, written by Steve Baker, Rocky Russo, and Jeremy Sosenko, and co-edited by Sam Seig
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 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 and tries to humiliate him. Wessler tries to calm Schraeder with more story ideas to no avail, and the segment ends with it being revealed that it's being shot by a camera crew as part of the movie, leading into the final segments.
Alternate version (The Thread) 
- Directed by Steven Brill and written by Rocky Russo and Jeremy Sosenko
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.
The Catch 
- Produced and directed by Peter Farrelly, written by Bill O'Malley, Rocky Russo, and Jeremy Sosenko, and co-edited by Sam Seig
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.
- Directed by Will Graham and written by Graham and Jack Kukoda
Having recently moved, Anna and Sean 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. Anna and Sean begin inquiring about the homeschooling, and the numerous manners in which Robert and Samantha have replicated a high school environment within their home, going as far as hazing, bullying, and giving out detentions, are humorously revealed. They also throw high school parties and Samantha simulates Kevin's "first kiss" with him. 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.
The Proposition 
- Directed by Steve Carr and written by Rocky Russo & Jeremy Sosenko
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.
- Directed by Griffin Dunne and written by Matthew Portenoy
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 humorously 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.
- Directed by Steven Brill and written by Claes Kjellstrom, Jonas Wittenmark, Tobias Carlson, Rocky Russo, and Jeremy Sosenko
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 emphasise the dangers of the product via its new commercials.
Superhero Speed Dating 
- Co-edited and directed by James Duffy and written by Will Carlough
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 arch 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. (Early during production, this sketch was formerly titled "Robin's Big Speed Date".)
Machine Kids 
- Written, co-edited, and directed by Jonathan van Tulleken
A faux-commercial about kids 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.
Middleschool Date 
- Directed by Elizabeth Banks and written by Elizabeth Shapiro
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 Amanda's fathers (Patrick Warburton and Matt Walsh) involved.
- Directed by Patrik Forsberg and written by Patrik Forsberg & Olle Sarri
Another faux-commercial; this time it now involves two women and Tampax as the two women are swimming in an ocean and a shark suddenly appears and graphically eats one of the women.
Happy Birthday 
- Directed by Brett Ratner and written by Jacob Fleisher
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.
Truth or Dare 
- Directed/Co-directed by Peter Farrelly and Patrik Forsberg, produced by Peter Farrelly, written by Patrik Forsberg and Greg Pritkin, and co-edited by Sam Seig
Donald (Stephen Merchant) and Emily (Halle Berry) are on a date together at a Mexican restaurant. Tired with 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 slowly escalates to extremes, in which both of them get plastic surgery and tattoos, and humiliate themselves.
Victory’s Glory 
- Directed by Rusty Cundieff and written by Rocky Russo and Jeremy Sosenko
Set in 1959, Coach Jackson (Terrence Howard) is lecturing his basketball team before their first game against an all-white team. Worried about losing the game, the timid players are lectured by Coach Jackson about their superiority in the sport over their white counterparts, which he expresses vulgarly. When the game ensues, the all-white team loses miserably and rejoices in a single point they earn.
- Co-written and directed by James Gunn
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, Beezel tearfully watches the couple make love from a closet (whilst sodomizing himself with a hairbrush). 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.
- The Pitch
- Dennis Quaid as Charlie Wessler
- Greg Kinnear as Griffin Schrader
- Common as Bob Mone
- Charlie Saxton as Jay
- Will Sasso as Jerry
- Odessa Rae as Danita
- Seth MacFarlane as himself
- Mike Meldman as himself
- The Thread
- Mark L. Young as Calvin Cutler
- Adam Cagley as J.J.
- Devin Eash as Baxter Cutler
- Fisher Stevens as Vrankovich/Minotaur
- Tim Chou and James Hsu as Chinese gangsters
- Nate Hartley as Stevie Schrader
- Liz Carey as Sitara
- Beth Littleford as Mrs. Cutler
- The Catch
- Hugh Jackman as Davis
- Kate Winslet as Beth
- Roy Jenkins as Ray
- Rocky Russo as Jake the waiter
- Anna Madigan as Anna
- Julie Claire as Pamela
- Katie Finneran as Angie
- Alex Cranmer as Sean
- Julie Ann Emery as Clare
- Naomi Watts as Samantha Miller
- Liev Schreiber as Robert Miller
- Jeremy Allen White as Kevin Miller
- The Proposition
- Anna Faris as Julie
- Chris Pratt as Doug
- J. B. Smoove as Larry
- Jarrad Paul as Bill
- Maria Arcé as Christine
- Aaron LaPlante as Friend
- Kieran Culkin as Neil
- Emma Stone as Veronica
- Arthur French as Old man
- Brooke Davis and Josh Shuman as Old men
- Super Hero Speed Dating
- Justin Long as Robin
- Katrina Bowden as Woman
- Jason Sudeikis as Batman
- Uma Thurman as Lois Lane
- Bobby Cannavale as Superman
- Kristen Bell as Supergirl
- John Hodgman as The Penguin
- Leslie Bibb as Wonder Woman
- Will Carlough as Riddler
- Cathy Cliften and Cherina Monteniques Scott as iBabes
- Zach Lasry as Boy
- Richard Gere as Boss
- Kate Bosworth as Arlene
- Jack McBrayer as Brian
- Aasif Mandvi as Robert
- Darby Lynn Totten as Woman
- Marc Ambrose as Chappy
- Middleschool Date
- Jimmy Bennett as Nathan
- Chloë Grace Moretz as Amanda
- Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Mikey
- Patrick Warburton as Dad
- Matt Walsh as Amanda's dad
- Happy Birthday
- Seann William Scott as Brian
- Johnny Knoxville as Pete
- Gerard Butler as Leprechaun #1/Leprechaun #2
- Esti Ginzburg as Fairy
- Truth or Dare
- Halle Berry as Emily
- Stephen Merchant as Donald
- Sayed Badreya as Large man
- Snooki as Herself
- Caryl West as Waitress
- Ricki Noel Lander as Nurse Elizabeth
- Paloma Felisberto as Bachelorette party girl
- Jasper Grey as Patron
- Benny Harris as Blanco the bartender
- Zen Gesner as Stripper
- Victory's Glory
- Terrence Howard as Coach Jackson
- Aaron Jennings as Anthony
- Corey Brewer as Wallace
- Jared Dudley as Moses
- Larry Sanders as Bishop
- Jay Ellis as Lucious
- Brian Flaccus, Brett Davern, Evan Dumouchel, Sean Rosales, and Logan Holladay as White guys
- Mandy Kowalski as Cheerleader
- Eric Stuart as Narrator
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,” says 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 says 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 says he then began working out a deal with a studio for the project, but the project didn't 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,” claims 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 tells The Hollywood Reporter. “It takes a lot of balls to make something that is not conventional.” Relativity funded a mere $6 million for the film, but no other studio would sign on. "Other potential backers", Farrelly says, “didn’t believe it could happen — a movie with Kate Winslet for $6 million?".
The film officially began shooting 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 principal photography, writers Parker, Stone, and David and Jerry Zucker backed out of the project.
The film has 13 directors and 18 writers tied to it, each one co-writing and directing different segments of the fourteen different storylines. Farrelly directed the parts of the movie with Halle Berry and Kate Winslet.
Casting and filming 
Wessler spent years recruiting actors for the film. Many turned down the project because they were asked to work for scale. “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 says. “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 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. The actor 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 weren't so affable. In fact, some stars hedged: Richard Gere, a friend of Wessler’s, said yes — though he wouldn't be available for more than a year. So Wessler waited him out. He thought the idea of his sketch was too 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.
“They clearly wanted out!” says 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 says 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 was to be a sketch directed by Bob Odenkirk that starred Anton Yelchin as a necrophiliac who worked at a morgue and had sex with the dead female bodies that was shown at a test screening of the film, but was cut out of the final film. Producer John Penotti said that the sketch will be seen on the DVD and Blu-ray of the film.
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 weren't completely aware of what other sketches would be included in the film, which features 13 vignettes tied together by a story of a mad screenwriter (Dennis Quaid) pitching ideas to a movie producer (Greg Kinnear). Penotti says many of the actors didn't 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 says.
The title of the film which was first believed to be referencing the number of actors in the film, Movie 43 actually has no meaning. Farrelly heard his son talking with friends about a film called “Movie 43” — and when Farrelly discovered the film didn't 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," says Entertainment Weekly senior editor Thom Geier. “January is usually where movies go to die,” Geier says. "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 says. Advertising also took place on the adult website PornHub.
Critical response 
Movie 43 has been universally panned by critics and named as one of the worst films ever made. The film holds an average score of 19 out of 100 on Metacritic, signifying "overwhelming dislike", and a 4% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 71 reviews with the consensus stating: "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.
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 says 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 criticizes Movie 43 for what he calls "female humiliation", saying that although the men are jerks and such, 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.
Box office 
Movie 43 was predicted to debut to less than $10 million, with the studio expecting $8–9 million. It took in $1.8 million on its opening Friday, far below expectations, and less than the previous spoof film Disaster Movie. The opening weekend total came to $4.8 million. Relativity says that they have already covered all costs with international pre-sales deals and a deal with Netflix.
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- Official website
- Movie 43 at the Internet Movie Database
- Movie 43 at AllRovi
- Movie 43 at Box Office Mojo
- Movie 43 at Rotten Tomatoes
- Movie 43 at Metacritic
- Movie 43 Soundtrack