Something which the world seems to be in short supply of right now, is tolerance for the differing opinions of others. That is just as true in the world of politics as it is in the world of film. This unfortunate consequence of ‘fanboy’ culture is seen clearly in cases like the petition to shut down review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, created after their verdicts on Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman failed to satisfy the more vocal supporters of those films.
This way of thinking is unhealthy, and in the spirit of acceptance I say it should be avoided if at all possible. However, there is a filmmaking duo out there whose combined body of work is enough to break even the gentlest of spirits: Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. After an all-too-brief absence, they’re headed back to the spotlight. With this in mind, please temporarily disregard the advice I just gave and watch me spiral into hypocrisy, as I state definitively that any positive opinion of films from this poisonous pair is outright wrong.
Friedberg and Seltzer specialize in spectacularly low-brow parodies, best known for such gems as Meet The Spartans, Epic Movie, Disaster Movie, Date Movie and Vampires Suck. The duo hardly have a monopoly on bad comedies, but the films they offer to audiences are particularly aggravating by their sheer laziness. It’s one thing to tell a joke that doesn’t land, but the fact of the matter is that Friedberg and Seltzer don’t attempt to write any in the first place. Rather, their films consist of absolutely nothing but pop culture references disguised as jokes.
In this sense, the films which they are responsible for are quite literally parasitic. They feed off the creativity of far more talented people, before excreting a cheap and dull amalgamation of those existing ideas while bringing precisely nothing new to the table. This practice isn’t too far away from a money-making scam, with the absolute minimum amount of money and effort put into producing a shoddy product sold to a mostly unsuspecting public.
The pair have made themselves a substantial amount of money in the past using this swindle, but for a short period it seemed as though their time was up. Not since Vampires Suck, 2010’s abysmal Twilight spoof, have Friedman and Seltzer produced anything that gained significant commercial success. That might be set to change.
Their upcoming film is set to shamelessly exploit the popularity of the most famous movie franchise in the world: Star Wars. The full title of the upcoming garbage fire is Star Worlds Episode XXXIVE=MC2: The Force Awakens The Last Jedi Who Went Rogue, a name with all the subtlety that the movie is likely to have.
Although Star Wars has been parodied numerous times before, most notably by Mel Brooks in the 1987 film Spaceballs, the complete lack of effort consistently shown by Friedman and Seltzer make this upcoming spoof a sure-bet to be crowned worst of the bunch. Perhaps the most infuriating part of all this is the ludicrous statement made after the film’s announcement by Paul Hanson, CEO of film studio Covert Media who will be abettors in this latest crime against cinema.
Jason and Aaron are a powerhouse duo who have proven time and time again that they are fully tapped into what audiences love.
Translation: They have proved time and time again that casual movie-goers can be easily duped into seeing terrible movies, providing the marketing is good enough. Critics and audiences alike have expressed disgust for the absence of artistic integrity in these productions, but due to some dirt cheap budgets they almost always turn a profit regardless.
Their fearless take on pop culture has us beyond thrilled to tackle the world’s most popular franchise with the two of them leading us into a galaxy far, far away.
Translation: Swap the word ‘fearless’ with ‘shameless’ and immediately things start to make more sense. Additionally, be aware that the ‘thrill’ which is allegedly being felt by all at Covert Media, is more to do with all the money the company is about to receive from unsuspecting Star Wars fans.
To be frank, it’s depressing that a pair so unconcerned with making quality films continue to get work, while a vast number of aspiring filmmakers find themselves shut out of the Hollywood machine. It’s more depressing that when this film is unleashed on audiences some time in the next year or so, it is likely to turn a rather substantial profit. And the most depressing is that if it accomplishes that, we will undoubtedly see more Friedberg and Seltzer “comedies” put into production.