You know, for a movie that doesn’t really have a plot, per se, this was a remarkably good film.
I laughed hysterically, I enjoyed it, but I don’t need to see it again. And I’m not even sure the big screen added that much.
The film follows the day in the life of Hollywood film studio executive Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) in the Golden Age of 1950’s Hollywood. He deals with problems like directors not liking miscast, an unwed actress trying to conceal her being pregnant, and, of course, one of his star actors being kidnapped. None of these things seems to really go with the others, and it makes for a bizarre mesh of fairly random plot lines. The whole thing comes off more as the pilot for a sitcom that would follow Mannix’s insane life in old Hollywood…but no, it’s just one film.
Now of these random scenes most are hilarious. Many of the jokes require that you know older films to get the jokes (for instance a lot of pot shots are take at the melodramatic nature of such spiritual films as The Robe, Ben-Hur, and Spartacus) but frankly if there was genre popular at the time, this movie makes fun of it. It’s like a spoof of That’s Entertainment if such a thing were possible. The spoof on the typical song and dance number of the era is particularly over the top, and I still can’t believe they made some of those jokes.
I’m actually fairly certain I missed a lot of jokes. But as funny as it was, and it was funny, I just have no desire to ever see it again. Usually the Coen Brothers are either hit or miss, with movies you could watch over and over (O Brother Where Art Thou) or films you wonder why this was even made (The Lady Killers), but Hail Caesar was in that odd middle ground of it’s worth seeing one time but not more than that.
Acting wise I wouldn’t call any of these performances spectacular…nobody did a terrible job but none of this will go in anyone’s best acting credentials.
And while here at Elementary Politics we like to delete into the deeper side of film…there wasn’t much to do with that. Yes it showed most Hollywood stars to be idiots, big shock there. It both simultaneously made fun of the idea there was a threat from communist writers in Hollywood while also showing that Communists are blithering idiots.
It’s funny. You should see it at some point…waiting for Netflix won’t ruin anything.
Final Grade C+/B-