While watching TV the other night, I caught a commercial for a film set to be released this Friday, "Meet The Spartans". Now, I hadn't even heard of this film, but what I saw was beyond terrible. In fact, this was beyond plain-old "Norbit"-level terrible. This was one of those rare cinematic abortions that only hit once in a blue moon, like the coming of a comet.
Now, I would outline the plot of this film here, but see, from what I've gathered based on footage from the trailer and commercials, along with life experience (I'll get to that later), there is no plot. For those of you who've seen the "South Park" episode about "Family Guy", where the point is made that the latter show is nothing more than a bunch of non sequiturs haphazardly strung together...well, that's what "Meet The Spartans" looks like in a nutshell. Evidently, this is supposed to be a parody film, but the problem is, there is a way to do a parody film well, and many more ways to do one badly. Then, there is a way to create one so hideously awful that watching it could induce hemmoraging, liver failure and all other manner of terrible, terrible physical maladies.
Now, the point could be argued that since the film has yet to be released, I haven't seen it, and so am unqualified to comment upon how bad it is. However, I would like to negate that argument with two of my own.
1. Watch the trailer, and tell me with a straight face that this looks like a good movie.
2. The co-directors of this film are Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, who were responsible for the recent parody films "Date Movie" and "Epic Movie".
Now, I have not seen "Spartans" or "Epic Movie", but I was unfortunate enough to see "Date Movie", and I can safely say that these two might be the worst directors in Hollywood today. And yes, I am making this statement with Uwe Boll in mind. They are just that bad at what they do. "Date Movie" was a series of awkward, desperately unfunny bits attempting to parody films that, after a while, failed to even stay within their theme. It was supposed to be a spoof of romantic comedies, and yet, there were (awful) jabs at "The Lord Of The Rings" and "Kill Bill", among others. Now, with "Spartans", they've used "300" as a template to parody anything and everything they can get at. The thing is, films like "Airplane!", and even the "Scary Movie" series, work because their comedy is not limited to incessant cross-referencing. The Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive" kicking on in the middle of a seedy bar for a dance-off in "Airplane!" is funny. To compare, in "Date Movie" there is a sequence where they "poke fun" at "Wedding Crashers" by having a lame Owen Wilson lookalike pop into a scene and say "Is it too late to crash the wedding?" That's it. That's their entire joke. Does that sound lame to you? Now, imagine 90 minutes of those random, misguided attempts at humor, and you have "Date Movie". From what I was told, "Epic Movie" was more of the same, and now, we have "Meet The Spartans" on its way.
You may now be wondering why these films are allowed to exist, if they're really this bad? Easy. 20th Century Fox is run by shrewd, shrewd people, who know how to exploit audiences. All three of these films have been, or will be, released in either January or February. These are known in Hollywood as "dump months", the post-Oscar, pre-spring season where major studios dump off films that are almost always terrible, and are shoved into theaters to make some money and then be off the release schedule. The problem is, these hideous excuses for comedy make money. "Date Movie" and "Epic Movie" both debuted at #1 at the box office their release weekends, and went on to haul in total domestic grosses of $48.5 million and $39.7 million, respectively. By employing D-list actors, these movies cost next to nothing to make, and then make 40% or more of their total gross on their opening weekend, because this time of year, there's no competition.
In most cases, I can't do anything but rant in vain after such films have gotten away with the murder of quality filmmaking, but this time, I have a chance. Thus, I implore you, dear reader, do not pay to see "Meet The Spartans". It's not too late to fight the trend. Have plans for a film this weekend? How about "Juno", "Rambo", "Cloverfield" or any of the quality Oscar-caliber films still in release? I won't discriminate. For every ticket you don't buy, we are one step closer to getting rid of these travesties once and for all.