“Meet The Spartans” is the worst cinematic experience of the century. If poisoned Kool-Aid were served at the snack bars showing this shit, I'm sure the aisles would be filled with bodies. Thanks to this extended trailer masquerading as a film, along with abominations like “Date Movie” and “Epic Movie,” the goodwill moviegoers had towards parodies is gone. Now, we approach these movies with wariness, wondering not if they're any good... but just how bad the latest will be. I recently attended a sneak of a new spoof that doesn't just reverse the decline, but stops it in its tracks. It was far from finished, but it didn’t matter. The audience had a great time and so did I. The film is called “Superhero!” Obviously, it’s a send up of every caped crusader picture under the sun, but the thing that makes it stand apart from all the other subprime vendor parody movies out there is that it’s produced by David Zucker, one of the men who gave us the original “Airplane!” “Superhero!” takes the conventions of the genre and exaggerates them. It’s like watching “Spiderman” in a funhouse mirror. While “Spidey” is the prime source material, “Fantastic Four,” “Batman,” and every other flick where you believe a man could fly is called on the carpet. Still, this isn't just a succession of dumb gags. The spirit is closer to “Hot Fuzz” where there’s a structure to the piece as well as genuine affection towards the genre being lampooned. It also helps that Craig Mazin, who wrote and directed, is an aficionado on comic book heroics. (He already directed the clever indie flick “The Specials.”) His spoof apprenticeship was spent working on two of the “Scary Movie” sequels with Zucker, but this time he’s on his own, front and center. The smartest thing he did was make an actual film, not an extended skit like all the other parodies stinking up multiplexes. This movie is technically adroit and while it helps to have some knowledge of the movies being parodied, “Superhero!” stands on its own. The plot, a novelty for these kinds of movies, follows the adventures of an average guy, played by Drake Bell, who accidentally becomes the recipient of superpowers. The movie adheres to the well established conventions of the genre: Guy gets powers, guy freaks out at powers, guy learns responsibility of powers and guy resolves to fights evil with them. The romance and villainy of the first and second “Spiderman” provide the template. Sara Paxton is funny and hot as the Mary Jane character. Chris McDonald will make it impossible for you to look at Willem Dafoe’s “Green Goblin” again with a straight face, if you ever had one. Brent “Data” Spiner is delightful as a whacked out scientist and the appearance of Leslie Nielsen as a city official was greeted by applause. Besides the mock-heroics occurring onscreen, you also get to watch Zucker and Mazin rescue the spoof genre. (It was wise to give the “Scary Movie” franchise a rest and mock fresh turf.) To start describing some of this movie's gags will destroy a lot of the fun and, to me, that would count as spoilers... so hopefully a trailer won’t give away too many surprises. I will say that one of my favorite sequences is a “ZAZ” style ridicule of the subway scene from “Spiderman 2,” that has a lot of the same technical prowess of the original as our hero, stuck to the front of the train, encounters everything imaginable in harm’s way. It proves the "Airplane!" escalation method still works. “Superhero!” like “Hot Fuzz” is a reminder that spoof movies don't have to suck when in the right hands. By virtue of sheer competence, this movie will do well. In “Superhero,” the good guys save the day on screen while behind the scenes, Mazin and company save the spoof genre. I look forward to seeing the finished product. I recommend that the ads for this film say: From People Who Had Nothing To Do With “Epic Movie” & “Meet The Spartans.” Derek Flint
Jan. 28, 2008, 9:44 a.m. CST
Sounds like a plant. Venus Flytrap?
Jan. 28, 2008, 9:45 a.m. CST
by I Dunno
and we wouldn't need any of this shit.
Jan. 28, 2008, 9:50 a.m. CST
Those were the days...
Jan. 28, 2008, 9:51 a.m. CST
Any Michael Bay movie.
Jan. 28, 2008, 9:55 a.m. CST
(aka a plant) Just kidding... maybe
Jan. 28, 2008, 10:05 a.m. CST
Sounds a hell of a lot like Meteor Man.
Jan. 28, 2008, 10:07 a.m. CST
by I Dunno
the travesty that is "Meet the Spartans". This cannot stand.
Jan. 28, 2008, 10:10 a.m. CST
by Gun Man
To see Mazin is off the set and emailing out stories about his own film. ALL of these parody films have blown -- ESPECIALLY the SCARY MOVIE ones Mazin had a hand in writing. How could his directorial opus be ANY good at all? Let's not forget he re-wrote DURING the strike, with the bullshit excuse that he was "the director contractually at that time" while others went hungry. Great guy. Here's to a film (along with MEET THE SPARTANS) I will NOT waste money on.
Jan. 28, 2008, 10:10 a.m. CST
Reprising his role from "Independence Day" then. But, maybe that isn't such a bad thing...
Jan. 28, 2008, 10:14 a.m. CST
It's kind of infuriating that both the MST3K "teams" (Joel's being Team A and Mike's being Team B, but anyone who watched the show knows there was a lot of bleed over,) are both independently trying to come back to the business of making fun of movies but neither is actually working towards a true MST3K revival. That's why I'm boycotting film crew, Cinematic Titanic and Rifftrax until this guys get it right and break the robot puppets back out!
Jan. 28, 2008, 10:15 a.m. CST
Seriously, it's comedy for morons by morons. Rarely done well.
Jan. 28, 2008, 10:22 a.m. CST
Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein sucked.
Jan. 28, 2008, 10:30 a.m. CST
I've been watching Threshold on the Universal HD channel (I actually like it - probably the best of those three "identical" series that came out that season (Surface and Invasion being the other two).<br><br> So I'm watching and as a big Veronica Mars (and lesser-so, Moonlight) fan, I can't help but watch Brent Spiner and it's like he's identical in both looks and mannerisms to Jason Dohring, albiet approximately 20-30 years older.<br><br> Anyone else notice this? It's creepy. They look alike, they sound alike; they even act alike.
Jan. 28, 2008, 10:31 a.m. CST
Bad parody is comedy for morons. And we've seen a lot of it lately. However, as Terry Malloy put it so well, good parody is smart, funny and clever...tweaking well-known genres and stereotypes in new and original ways. I'm hopeful "Superhero" rises above the more recent dreck and gives us something to enjoy.
Jan. 28, 2008, 10:34 a.m. CST
by I Dunno
Blazing Saddles was awesome. Young Frankenstein sucked a little but was OK. Robin Hood: Men in Tights and Dracula: Dead and Loving It sucked. <p>The more specific a parody movie gets, the more it sucks. When you get to the point where you're trying to parody some recent pop culture shit that everyone's going to forget about in a year, then you suck</p><p>As for MST3K, I just wish the Sci-Fi channel would give them their show back and pay for it by cutting back on a Platypus vs Aardvark movie or two.</p>
Jan. 28, 2008, 10:39 a.m. CST
Right on. But I still love Young Frankenstein and you can't take that away from me!!!
Jan. 28, 2008, 10:43 a.m. CST
My understanding is that Joel wanted to do something with MST3K again, but Jim Mallon, former producer, owns all the rights to the name and has burned bridges with everyone else involved in the show. Joel couldn't do anything MST3K related if he wanted (and I think he did) without Mallon's say, and Mallon reportedly held up Mike Nelson's other project, The Film Crew, for over a year, claiming it was too close to MST3K.
Jan. 28, 2008, 10:52 a.m. CST
...as evidenced by the fact that the Spartans piece of shit hot number one at the box office. I have no hope for Hollywood anymore. We're going to get so many more spoofs its gonna hurt more than watching Superman Returns in HD...and that would be torture..
Jan. 28, 2008, 10:57 a.m. CST
As far as I am concerned, YF is the greatest screen parody as it is SMART and does not pander to the least common denominator of filmgoer. It expects that you have seen and---GASP---liked/loved the original Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein. This is what dreck like Date Movie, Epic Movie, Spartans, etc. don't understand. Their idea of funny is simply throwing some inane, simplistic pop culture references on the screen and see which of the shit sticks! They do not have a heart.
Jan. 28, 2008, 10:58 a.m. CST
I was hesitant over how to react when hearing the news of 'John Rambo's expected box office victory- but when YAHOO news announced that Stallone's new 'arthritis-pumped' "mega-movie" fell short due to the unexpected ratings of 'Meet the SPARTANS'- For lack of a better phrase; I shit myself...(In a BAD WAY)-- God in HEAVEN WHY?!?!?!Kevin Sorbo in a mock movie? 'GOO-GOO GA-GA! AH!AH!'? *WE GET IT! BRITTNEY IS A BAD PERSON!* After you get your sin-stained checks for this abomination of a film- Might I recommend that you 'BLANK' movie writers go back to epitomizing Nickelodeon's standards... Peace.
Jan. 28, 2008, 11:06 a.m. CST
by Toby Wan
"The American audience 'are' stupid...." Bad English, man. I agree that Spartans sucked balls, though! I got pulled in the theatre after watching Rambo kick lots and lots of ass.....My buddies begged me to go watch it as a double feature Friday. In a drunken stupor, I said, "Sure, it can't suck THAT bad." I was wrong, it sucked worse that any movie EVER!!!!! The WORST FILM I HAVE EVER SEEN!!! DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME AND MONEY!!
Jan. 28, 2008, 11:24 a.m. CST
think i'm passing on this genre for a few decades.
Jan. 28, 2008, 11:26 a.m. CST
Jan. 28, 2008, 11:27 a.m. CST
are you fucking high? I'll admit parody is pretty low, but the ones that were great, like Young Frakenstein, Blazing Saddles, Airplane...don't inundate you with a barage of references, one after the other. That's the new way to do comedy. Cram a bunch of references to specific movies within the genre you're parodizing in 80 minutes, throw in some bodily fluids, a few cultural references and you have a movie. The great movies loosely parodized the entire genre and the conventions of those genres. When you're working with such a loose frame work you're freed up to put in the good stuff that people remember...mainly the great lines the "excuse me while I whip this out", the "i take it black, like my men" uttered by a 10 year old. the modern parody film is dead.
Jan. 28, 2008, 11:27 a.m. CST
That excuse may work when you wake up next to a whale of a women, but even when you're drunk Meet The Spartans still looks (and sounds) like a piece of shit. You're whats wrong with America. BOOYAH!
Jan. 28, 2008, 11:31 a.m. CST
It's called Cinematic Titanic now, and it's just movie-mocking without the trapped-in-space premise.
Jan. 28, 2008, 11:53 a.m. CST
I posted this earlier - its oddly gone now. Anyway, how come half you guys who are panning this movie for 'non sequitur pop culture' comedy are also raving unabashed fans of Family Guy? Its the same dumb, uninspired, random pop culture garbage as Meet the Spartans, so I dont get how you can hate one and be a fan of the other.
Jan. 28, 2008, 11:58 a.m. CST
its in the mts thread.
Jan. 28, 2008, 12:11 p.m. CST
Telling us that this fellow was involved with The Specials isn't the best of news. One of the biggest problems with that film was that in a movie with superheros, people should, well, *use* their powers. The Specials was a marginal film at best. Hopefully his being a comic book fan is a recent thing, because if he was a fan back when then... well...
Jan. 28, 2008, 12:14 p.m. CST
Fuck, that was good. ZAZ were the best. My favourite spoof of all time must be Fistful of Yen in Kentucky Fried Movie. That just kills me every time I see it.
Jan. 28, 2008, 12:29 p.m. CST
Anybody remember that movie that was out a couple months ago? "Walk Hard?" There was a parody done right. Laughed my ass off, and it tanked. Get my point?
Jan. 28, 2008, 12:33 p.m. CST
I'm I the only one who recognized that TerryMalloy was being sarcastic?
Jan. 28, 2008, 12:38 p.m. CST
by Zakari Paolon
It doesn't mean I think Superhero! will suck, sounds not bad, but comparing it to Hot Fuzz is wrong, as Hot Fuzz was never intended as - nor does it ever feel like - a spoof. If anything it's an homage, a love letter.
Jan. 28, 2008, 1:28 p.m. CST
Should be the tag
Jan. 28, 2008, 1:29 p.m. CST
This year´s Little Mr. Christopher Lloyd
Jan. 28, 2008, 1:51 p.m. CST
Look, I have no desire to see Meet the Spartans...but quit acting like it's universally the "worst movie of all time." There are/will be shittier movies my friends. Lazy? Idiotic? Sure, but it made a bunch of money over the weekend--so SOMEONE that's reading this probably went and saw it!!! Why is that? Probably because that's the kind of crap the average casual movie fan digs. Is that right? Should people have better taste in movies? NO, that's why it's "personal taste" and not "Rabid AICN-fanboy taste."
Jan. 28, 2008, 2:05 p.m. CST
by Gungan Slayer
Is what I say!
Jan. 28, 2008, 2:33 p.m. CST
......."Rabid AICN-fanboy taste" is the one true opinion, dammit!
Jan. 28, 2008, 3:06 p.m. CST
by El Post-Modern Anchor-Baby
he said "adroit."
Jan. 28, 2008, 3:36 p.m. CST
by slappy jones
that hardly seems prime to be mocked when it was hilariously awful to begin with
Jan. 28, 2008, 3:41 p.m. CST
by slappy jones
is they don't say anything about the things they are spoofing...they don't comment on it or do anything clever or funny with it..they just chuck up a guy dressed like borat for no reason ..and then that is the joke. there is no actual punchline the entire gag is just to make you go "haha theres borat. I saw that film" or "haha hes nacho libre. i saw that film" and that is about as clever as they get. flying high actually took the piss out of its sunject matter. it truly spoofed it. it didn;t juts have a guy appear in a batman costume and thats it. if they did something like that they would normally have a great punchline. these modern day ones have no jokes...no cleverness. they are just loud, tiring lazy messes. There is no point going on about meet the spartans. the trailer was clear for all to see. if you like that type of thig
Jan. 28, 2008, 3:42 p.m. CST
someone beat me, i was gonna say that HOT FUZZ wasnt a spoof, but i got beat.... i still plan on seeing SPARTANS, it looks better than the first 2 scary movies, which i thought were horrible, i loved when zucker took over the scary movie franchise, it really gave it new life and comedy over the crude toilet and gay humor the wayans gave it...so hopefully superhero will be just as good....who knows
Jan. 28, 2008, 3:52 p.m. CST
when you make a post calling someone else stupid, it's imperative that you spell all your words right, and use proper grammar, otherwise your entire post is ironic and only serves to mock you, which I'm sure is not the intention. Anyway, your title should have read 'The American audience *is* stupid'. An audience is a single thing, despite it being a collection of people, in the same sense that a flock of birds is a single thing. The audience *is* stupid. The people in the audience *are* stupid. Retard.
Jan. 28, 2008, 4:04 p.m. CST
by The Funketeer
It was called Spider-Man 3
Jan. 28, 2008, 4:06 p.m. CST
Yeah, I said it.
Jan. 28, 2008, 4:19 p.m. CST
...it was a homage.
Jan. 28, 2008, 4:20 p.m. CST
Jan. 28, 2008, 4:21 p.m. CST
Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein obviously do not suck. I was trying to point out that Mel Brooks was not a lazy moron.
Jan. 28, 2008, 4:26 p.m. CST
Jan. 28, 2008, 5:01 p.m. CST
Take other people's ideas, then make them ridiculous. Instant comedy! So easy a 3rd grader can write it! And they often do.
Jan. 28, 2008, 5:26 p.m. CST
by Brians Life
Jan. 28, 2008, 5:58 p.m. CST
No, it wasn't balls to the walls mocking, but there was definitely a satirical tone to it. It was very clear that Wright and Pegg have a love for the buddy-cop movie, but they also recognize and gently tease about the shortcomings of the conventions in such flicks. And I agree that parody done well results in some of my fave comedies: Top Secret (as mentioned before... fucking genius), Airplane, Naked Gun, Young Frankenstein, the original Producers. This stuff is comedy gold people! The best part about a good parody is that no one learns and grows. I don't want that schmaltzy shit in my comedies!
Jan. 28, 2008, 6:09 p.m. CST
by Napoleon Park
The movie sounds good, the review was encouraging and helpful.<p> But technically, when the writer says: "I recently attended a sneak of a new spoof that doesn't just reverse the decline, but stops it in its tracks."... Um, if something is in a decline, wouldn't reversing it and getting better actually be better than simply halting the decline in its tracks? Just sayin', that phrase might have been through through better.<p>Okay, I'll read the talkback now.
Jan. 28, 2008, 6:52 p.m. CST
some redemption, surely you don't mean that.... i do and don't call me shirley lol
Jan. 28, 2008, 6:52 p.m. CST
Top Secret was AWESOME. So many great moments, and almost all of them are executed well. Watching it now, I still pick up new jokes in the background, years later. It shows that the filmmakers had a real love for the material, and that Val Kilmer had not yet been tainted by the forces of evil. Also it has a shot showing a commuter running to catch a train station (not a train.) Awesome.
Jan. 28, 2008, 7:25 p.m. CST
by Shut the Fuck up Donny
when he's working with the right material. I had the pleasure of seeing him at DragonCon last year with Frakes and McFadden, and he was pretty witty and knew how to work an audience. The problem is (from what I can tell) is that he is so terribly typecasted as Data that he has few roles offered to him. Since "he gotta eat," he takes them--and unfortuately they waste his potential. I'm not going to say he's a comedic genius, but I'm just saying if given the opportunity, he could do better than "Master of Disguise"-level humor.
Jan. 28, 2008, 7:59 p.m. CST
Teen movie I feel gets unjustly heaped into the pile of crap Epic/Date/Comeback/Spartan movies. Not Another Teen movie was funny as shit, its not an intelligent spoof like Fuzz, but it does what Epic/Date/Comeback/Spartans tries to do but successfully. Plus the people involved with Not Another started that title trend and have had nothing to do with any of those other movies, and people involved with those movies had nothing to do with Not Another. The director of Not, went on to direct that funny as hell Matrix 2 parody from the MTV awards. Thats pretty much all he does now. Hopefully he gets back to making movies. Oh also Not Another was an R like parodies should be.
Jan. 28, 2008, 10:21 p.m. CST
All I want to know is if Anna Faris is in it. I must win her.
Jan. 28, 2008, 10:49 p.m. CST
Leslie Nielsen or Mel Brooks. I can't think of a single good spoof that did not have one or the other connected to it. I like Brent Spinner... as Data. That's it. Seems like a nice guy, but comedy is just not his thing. I'd like to see him try a seriously dark & evil villian. Nothing redeeming, just pure fucking evil. Some of his best work was as Lore.
Jan. 28, 2008, 11:32 p.m. CST
by Prof. Pop-Cult
Anybody here see the Howard Hughes bio, The Avatar? He was pretty decent in that. He should do more serious roles, and avoid the comical and high concept junk if possible.
Jan. 28, 2008, 11:32 p.m. CST
by Prof. Pop-Cult
TYPO. My bad.
Jan. 29, 2008, 2:29 a.m. CST
by Lone Fox
Directing 2 of the Scary Movies franchise was actually used as a recommendation in this review. Hilarious!
Jan. 29, 2008, 5 a.m. CST
You are scholar sirs. I bow down to your superb English skills. Give the man a medal. I, hahaha, foolishly wrote 'are' instead of 'is'...haha...boy do I feel dumb. Ahem. How is this, sir? THE AMERICAN AUDIENCE IS STUPID. Or, THE AMERICAN AUDIENCE IS FUCKING STUPID. How is that? Is that better?
Jan. 29, 2008, 5:31 a.m. CST
Airplane, Kentucky Fried Movie, Naked Gun, Hot Shots, even the last couple of Scary Movies had their moments (the spoof on Signs' home video footage of the alien, for example). Just referencing stuff doesn't make it funny like this Meet The Spartans garbage seems to think. There's a certain level of completely fucking retarded humour combined with wit and irony in the Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker and Proft flicks that I'll always enjoy. Even the dumbest of jokes are funny because we're laughing at just how dumb they are, and that's pretty hard to pull off.
Jan. 29, 2008, 6:47 a.m. CST
I have not heard of this.
Jan. 29, 2008, 9:56 a.m. CST
That's why "Meet the Spartans," "Epic Movie," etc. are so successful.
Jan. 29, 2008, 9:58 a.m. CST
"Airplane" and "Top Secret" were PG. The "Naked Gun" films were PG-13. And "Police Squad" was tame enough for prime-time network television.
Jan. 29, 2008, 10:04 a.m. CST
so i went to see rambo on saturday. the theater it was in was maybe half full (of people that fucking LOVED the shit out of, mind you). the rest of the multifuckoplex was full of 1) older couples seeing the bucket list (hey, what better way to face your inevitable death than by watching two stars do the same).... and people.. lots and lots of people going to see Meet the Spartans. not just that. EXCITED to see it. re-read that last sentence. they were... looking forward to seeing what amounts to sensory and mental gang rape. saddest part, a good chunk of them were college age. that's right. legally able to go see rambo no questions asked.... and they're lined up to see meet the spartans. these are people that not only watched all the scary movies, date movies, epic movies, skullfucking your mom movies. and thought 'dude, those movies are so fuckin funny, i hope spartans lives up to those comedy gold standards.' i have friends that love those movies and look at me like a dog smelling a fart when i bring up the comedy gold of Hot Fuzz. these movies (or anything with the name Wayan attached) is the reason why a lot of the general public don't appreciate the work screenwriters do. (WGA, distance yourself from these plague-bearers like you would if they wore Klan robes to award shows). point of this rant being: lowest-common-denominator garbage in any genre will always beat any halfway decent film at the box office, and that blood money will ensure the flood of shit never ends. wait and see. if SUPERHERO! is even a step closer to being enjoyable, funny, or entertaining then the last 15 years of spoof enemas it will bomb like the enola gay, and be outperformed by the latest Wayans vehicle, 'Fuck The Audience'. At least we're bringing democracy to Iraq.
Jan. 29, 2008, 11 p.m. CST
by lucky slevin
back up here. am i the only one that will stand up for Robin Hood: Men in Tights?
Jan. 30, 2008, 8:20 p.m. CST
ehhhhhhh whatever. Hot Fuzz was an R so booyah!
Jan. 31, 2008, 4:54 p.m. CST
Feb. 1, 2008, 1:22 p.m. CST
According to the trailer it's offically called 'Superhero Movie' Looks like they're not trying very hard to distance themselves from those other crapfests.