He he, the Coen Brothers. Their movies always provide me with so much amusement. They may not have achieved FARGO status in the last decade, but they don’t need to. An enjoyable movie is an enjoyable movie. When their latest outing was announced, I won’t lie, I got a little giddy. There was something so special to see them make a movie where George Clooney gets kidnapped in a Roman soldier outfit. Plus, Josh Brolin in a comedy. That doesn’t happen often, but it sure is a treat when he is, so I was pretty stoked to see this one. Found a time to see it before my shift at work started and sat down ready for a good time. This is my honest opinion of HAIL, CAESAR!
Set in the backdrop of the 50’s, Hollywood producer and occasional fixer Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) is a well-respected man in his line of work, which has him overlooking a rather hyped film the studio is making, titled HAIL, CAESAR!: A TALE OF CHRIST, starring one of the world’s biggest stars, Baird Whitlock (George Clooney). But things take a rather sudden turn when Baird is drugged between takes and is kidnapped by men disguised as extras on the film set. The men are part of a larger group calling themselves The Future and want $100,000 for the super star’s safe return. So begins a desperate game of discretion to round up the money, while Baird discovers that there may be more to his captors than meets the eye.
FUN FACT: When Brolin is slapping Clooney… yeah, that was real. Brolin really slapped Clooney multiple times. Clooney’s reaction was genuine. For proof, skip ahead to the :30 mark.
In true Coen Brothers fashion, they didn’t disappoint. I swear, it’s like watching a Muppets movie for adults.
Brolin was so enjoyable to watch on screen. If anyone recalls from the trailer, he’s carrying that leather suitcase and trying to escape from Tilda Swinton, he does this funny little run. I can’t explain why I think this is so funny to me. Maybe it’s because Brolin has more drama roles under his belt, playing intense and serious characters. I mean, this man is THANOS from the Marvel franchise! This guy threatened to bathe the star-ways in Ronin the Accuser’s blood! And now… he’s trotting away with a suitcase full of money trying to save Clooney’s life, it just tickles me. But never mind a half second of a shot that only happens once, I just love the choices Brolin makes. Tell me if I’m going crazy or something, but… did Brolin sport a Mid-Atlantic accent? I would swear on God’s porcelain throne that he did. I don’t know, I just loved everything about him.
And Clooney, holy shit, I just wanted to adopt Baird Whitlock. He is such a lovable doofus. I mean, the guy wakes up and takes his abduction like a learning experience, gets roped into joining the Communist party, and agrees to play along with everything. All the while still dressed like a Roman soldier with his sword glued to his side, often thwarting his attempts to easily sit in a chair, it’s just hilarious to watch.
And oh my god, all those detours. Ralph Fiennes as an film director trying to direct an actor clearly out of his element. This could have easily gotten stale really fast, but there’s always something new the character has to tell the actor to stop doing. It’s just one line, but this actor just can’t get it right. Plus, I love the ultimate punchline where they just change the line entirely to better suit the man’s vocal capabilities. Channing Tatum’s tap-dancing number, mostly pointless, completely entertaining and well-choreographed.
Time for my shout outs to actors I love to see in movies, of which there are a few in this film.
The first goes out to The Author himself, Patrick Fischler as one of the Communist kidnappers. For those of you who don’t know, I’m a big fan of the TV show ONCE UPON A TIME and Fischler was a villain of last season. I may not have been a fan of the character, but I loved Fischler’s performance and energy.
Another shout to one of my favorite scenes in the movie, the original Thunder God himself, Christopher FUCKING Lambert! The moment I recognized him, I had to bite my lip to prevent myself from squeeing. Huge fan of the first MORTAL KOMBAT movie and the first HIGHLANDER, always a treat to see him in film. Pretty rare nowadays. Please do more work Lambert. Movies just aren’t the same without you.
Speaking of HIGHLANDER, CLANCY FUCKING BROWN!!! How in hell these two legends share the same movie but don’t share the same screen time… bad Coen Bros. *wrist slap* But speaking of Brown, did anyone think it just a little too much of a coincidence that the Bikini Atoll was referenced in the movie? You know… because Spongebob? Brown voices Mr. Krabs? Takes place in Bikini Bottom… which takes place beneath the Bikini Atoll? *pushes up my nerd glasses*
Now, to the Voyager’s favorite doctor, Robert Picardo. Big fan of STAR TREK: VOYAGER, and occasionally see him a bunch of other movies and TV shows, you can count on Picardo to classy up a scene, which he beautifully does in his scene here with the Coen Bros, debating on Jesus and God. Hilarious stuff there.
But now a moment of silence for the best cameo, the late and great Wayne Knight… … … It’s sort of a pun, by the way. His appearance in the film is brief and probably one of his last films, and he doesn’t really utter a line. It’s just him drugging Clooney’s character and him reacting to how long it takes for the character to drink the concoction. This man reminds me how much he will be missed. God speed, you glorious comedian.
Yeah, this had a lot going for it. The detours were what made this movie as well as the brief appearances of all these wonderful TV actors makes this a standout for me. Like I’ve said before, it’s no FARGO, but it’s entertaining nonetheless.
My honest rating: 4/5