Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Steven Brill
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
David J. Hodge
|Cinematography||Frank G. DeMarco
Matthew F. Leonetti
Newton Thomas Sigel
|Edited by||Debra Chiate
Patrick J. Don Vito
Jonathan van Tulleken
|Distributed by||Relativity Media|
|Running time||94 minutes
Movie 43 is a 2013 American sketch anthology comedy film co-directed and produced by Peter Farrelly, and written by Rocky Russo and Jeremy Sosenko among others. The film features sixteen 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 includes Kristen Bell, Halle Berry, Gerard Butler, Anna Faris, Hugh Jackman, Johnny Knoxville, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloë Grace Moretz, Seann William Scott, Emma Stone, 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 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 skits containing different scenes and scenarios.
- Produced and directed by Peter Farrelly and written by Rocky Russo, Jeremy Sosenko, and Ricky Blitt
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.
Alternative 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. 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 the naked women 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 porn site women were, causing Calvin to flip out, have visions, and find semen from his erect crotch on 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.
- The Pitch
- Dennis Quaid as Charlie Wessler
- Greg Kinnear as Griffin Schraeder
- 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 as Chinese Gangster #1
- James Hsu as Chinese Gangster #2
- Nate Hartley as Stevie Schraeder
- 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 Waiter Jake
- Anna Madigan as Abby
- Julie Claire as Pam
- Katie Finneran as Angie
- Jeremy Allen White as Kevin Miller
- Liev Schreiber as Robert Miller
- Naomi Watts as Samantha Miller
- Alex Cranmer as Sean
- Julie Ann Emery as Clare
- The Proposition
- Anna Faris as Julie (aka Vanessa)
- Chris Pratt as Doug (aka Jason)
- 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 as Tall lady
- Josh Shuman as Short man
- Super Hero Speed Dating
- Justin Long as Robin
- 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
- Katrina Bowden as Stacey
- 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
- Cathy Cliften as iBabe #1
- Cherina Monteniques Scott as iBabe #2
- Zach Lasry as Boy
- Middleschool Date
- Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Mikey
- Chloë Grace Moretz as Amanda
- Jimmy Bennett as Nathan
- Patrick Warburton as Steve (Nathan and Mikey's father)
- Matt Walsh as Amanda's father
- Happy Birthday
- Gerard Butler as Leprechaun #1/Leprechaun #2
- Johnny Knoxville as Pete
- Seann William Scott as Brian
- Esti Ginzburg as Storybook 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 as White guy #1
- Brett Davern as White guy #2
- Evan Dumouchel as White guy #3
- Sean Rosales as White guy #4
- Logan Holladay as White guy #5
- Mandy Kowalski as Cheerleader
- Eric Stuart as Narrator
- Elizabeth Banks as Amy
- Josh Duhamel as Anson
- Emily Alyn Lind as Birthday girl
- Michelle Gunn as Mommy
- Christina Linhardt as Party clown
- Find Our Daughter
- Anton Yelchin as Necrophiliac worker at morgue
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 funded a mere $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.
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 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.
"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 to be two sketches written and directed by Bob Odenkirk; one 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, and another starring Julianne Moore and Tony Shalhoub as a married couple being interviewed by a detective about their missing daughter. Both sketches were cut out of the final film. Producer Penotti said that the sketches would be seen on the DVD and Blu-ray Disc releases 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 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—actually has no meaning. Farrelly heard his son talking with friends about a film called "Movie 43", but when Farrelly discovered the film did not actually 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 widely panned by critics, some of whom considered it to be one of the worst films ever made. The film holds an average score of 18 out of 100 on Metacritic, signifying "overwhelming dislike", and a 4% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 75 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. 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."
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 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. 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."
Movie 43 was predicted to debut to less than $10 million, with the studio expecting $8–9 million. It took in $1,810,561 on its opening Friday, far below expectations, and less than the previous spoof film Disaster Movie.
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.
Awards and nominations
|2013||Golden Trailer Awards||Trashiest Trailer||"Unsee it" trailer||Nominated|
|2014||34th Golden Raspberry Awards||Worst Picture||All filmmakers||Won|
|Worst Director||All 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 Disc on June 18, 2013, in the UK, and US.
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- King, Susan (March 1, 2014). "'Movie 43' is named worst film of 2013 at the 34th Razzie Awards". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
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