‘Movie 43’

Omnibus Mayhem

Look, some people like these movies where a bunch of directors get together and do short skits. Most people it seems hate them. I have a sot spot for ‘Amazon Women of the Moon’ to this day and ‘Monty Python’s Meaning of Life’ still gets me laughing. On the whole though, people are pretty hostile to this subgenre of comedy films and they hardly get made. If I think back, ‘Amazon Women on the Moon’ was from 1988 so it’s been like 25years between drinks.

People complain, they don’t get made. But I for one wouldn’t mind if they made more of these instead of those lame ‘Scary Movie’ type of parodies. The film business has changed greatly in the mean time, so it’s quite interesting to watch the shift in sensibility.

What’s Good About It

It’s got top talent in it, doing some seriously fucked up shit. Hugh Jackman and his scrotum on his chin skit essentially kicks off the aim-low, sinkerball-fest parade of shorts that really want to do away with good taste. This is great because Naomi Watts puts in a fantastic performance as the other half of an Oedipalised mother, while Richard Gere gets to do a pretty funny Tim Cook pay out. It’s crude, but crude is exactly where these actors need to be.

What’s Bad About It

Not every one of the shorts are good. Some are real stinkers, some are off, some leave you wondering about the people who wrote them. The Randy Quaid in Greg Kinnear’s office pitching bad movies framework doesn’t really go anywhere good.

I know it’s a weird to complain about sexism and racism when everything is up for laughs, but some of the sexist jokes really were naff, and Stephen-Marchant-As-Asian-Dude was not one bit better than Mr Yunioshi in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ – and that film is like 52years old now.

I also wonder about the sadness of skit featuring black American basketball players in 1959, about to take on a bunch of white kids. It’s pointed and funny but the fact that it’s pointed an funny indicates that maybe our society hasn’t come that far from 1959 except on the field of sport. It’s disappointing because it dovetails with the Stephen-Marchant/Mr. Yunioshi moment.

What’s Interesting About It

The overall effect of the movie is remarkably like ‘Amazon Women on the Moon’, which leaves you with a disjointed feeling. The Omnibus movie never works for critics and audiences  alike, pretty much for this reason. Still, I’d want to see more of these for the simple reason that this film has a silly joy of film-making pumping right through it. It’s fun to make movies, and the expense of making them and the effort it takes makes it so hard for film makers to just go out there and jam like musicians or do studies as artists would do.

So it’s good to watch something where you know they’re having a good time doing it.

These films offer scope for greater risk-taking than the feature films which are made under such stringent industrial supervision that they have no chance of surprising you. It’s really not a film for everybody but if you want to watch something very different from the controlled, smooth, media output of Hollywood machine, then this might be okay on a rainy afternoon. Then again, if your sensibility is too tightly wound around the narrative precision of the conventional Hollywood product, then probably not.

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