My top five favorite comedies of all time go in the following order: #5. Airplane #4 Monty Python and The Holy Grail #3 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas #2 Anchorman and coming in at #1 is The Big Lebowski. That last one is a perfect comedy that has only gotten better and better over the years. I've been chasing the dream that another comedy would be that funny and that finely crafted for almost 20 years. I've often thought that if anyone was going to duplicate that magic it was going to be the guys that wrote and directed it to begin with…the Coen Brothers. Unfortunately (and fortunately), The Coens are masters of many different genres and making a bizarre, screwball comedy is one that they don't do very often. When I saw the trailers for Hail, Caesar it seemed to hit all the sweet notes and I was so excited. I'm sad to report that my hunt continues and I may have to wait another 20 years.
Despite my enthusiasm, something felt wrong about this movie from the first signs of advertising. All the trailers had moments that were really funny but none of them pointed to a real story. I chalked that up to the Coens wanting to keep a sense of mystery as to what it was about. Turns out I was wrong because the movie really isn't about much of anything. It takes place in the the early '50s in an era of Hollywood that is often romanticized. This was when actors and actresses worked for studios and only did movies for those studios. In return, those studios found films for them, made them stars and took care of them personally…even covered up their shady personal lives. That's where Hail, Caesar starts when a prized performer, played by George Clooney, is kidnapped and Josh Brolin's character, as a studio executive, has to find him.
Yes, there are hilarious scenes that involve really talented actors like Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel, the Harry Potter films), Scarlett Johansen, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill and an amazingly adorable performance from Alden Ehrenreich (Stoker, Blue Jasmine). Every single cast member is quirky and funny in their own way. The problem is that half of them are unnecessary for the little story there is and the Coens even knew it, which is why they give up on half of them and leave their conclusions hanging in mid-air. It's as if they simply needed more big stars or didn't feel like there were enough weirdos in it so they just started throwing darts at a board with plots and character traits and then added them to the script.
When you hear about the history of this movie, that makes sense though. Clooney, who starred in the Coen brother's O Brother, Where Art Thou, Burn After Reading and Intolerable Cruelty, had an inside joke with them. Whenever a reporter asked if he was going to do another film with them he would reply, "oh yeah, we're working on a film called Hail, Caesar now." He would do this just to mess with reporters but after a while the Coens thought they should actually make a film with that title. So what started as just a joke turned into this semi-mess of a film. When you're master filmmakers, however, even something that starts as a joke is still worth watching.
Hail, Caesar was a disappointment but that might be a very personal thing for me. I was hoping I'd be able to finally lay to rest my search for another Big Lebowski but sadly, that journey still goes on. I love it when the Coens make screwball comedies but I don't think we'll see another one from them in a long time. That's fine because they make dramatic thrillers just as well (No Country for Old Men is one of my favorite crime dramas of all time too). Word 'round the campfire is that their next project is a bit of both genres and is about vicious crimes committed in suburbia by ordinary people in the '50s. I think that sounds great but what doesn't is that it might be directed by Clooney instead and his track record as a director isn't so hot. In the meantime, we have Hail, Caesar to remind us that big casts and genius filmmakers don't always make greatness.
Not to worry. While it's not clear if Mattel has actual plans to diversify Ken, a clothing company in England called Lyst commissioned an artist to come up with a line of Ken dolls to match the new Barbies.
And I must say, even though it's only a drawing, it's pretty impressive...
Some folks are already saying Coors Light wins the Super Bowl advertising contest.
Not that there is one, but it seems like that's something to talk about, especially if your team didn't make it to the big game.
The thinking is that their ad for the Super Bowl shows women doing some kick-butt things in the same commercial as men doing kick-butt things - none of which involve drinking beer, by the way - while some smooth-voiced announcer talks about how we all have mountainst to climb.
This is ground-breaking?
It's a decent ad, but I don't see this one as being any better than any others I've already had a sneak peek at.