Netflix recently released a new satirical dark comedy from co-writer/director Judd Apatow called Bubble. This movie revolves around a group of narcissistic actors who struggle to finish the latest chapter in a long-running action movie franchise at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While Bubble spotlights an all-star cast that includes Karen Gillan, Peter Pascaland Fred Armisen, it ultimately failed to impress many film critics. Collider’s Ross Bonaimefor example, said that Apatow “indulges his worst impulses in a movie that becomes little more than a collection of bits and ideas that don’t tie together in a worthwhile way.” Thankfully, there are much better films that make fun of Hollywood and its frequent tomfoolery.So without further ado, here are seven movies that you should watch if you like (or want something better than) Bubble.
We obviously can’t talk about Hollywood satires without talking about the 2008 smash hit Tropic Thunder. As one of the more light-hearted entries on this list, the movie is about a group of stuck-up actors who attempt to salvage the troubled production of a multimillion-dollar Vietnam War movie in a jungle when they soon realize that they are not longer just fighting a war on-screen.
Featuring an all-star cast that consists of ben stiller (who also co-wrote and directed the movie), Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr., Tom Cruiseand Matthew McConaughey among others, Tropic Thunder points out the dark tendencies in Hollywood (albeit in a jovial manner), such as how they’ll throw away leading men like garbage and how they try to justify casting white actors in roles meant for actors of color. In fact, Robert Downey Jr. as an over-the-top method actor who gets an experimental pigmentation-changing procedure to play a black character for a film within the film is one of the few times when blackface has ever been used for something other than plain old racism. He was even nominated for Best Supporting Actor the following year and probably would’ve won if Heather Ledger wasn’t nominated that same year for playing the Joker in Dark Knight.
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
Many people are likely familiar with this early 2000s stoner classic. If you’re not, the film is about two Jersey stoners, Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and kevin smith), who find out that the comic book characters based on them are getting adapted into a movie. Since they’re not seeing any profits from said movie and are instead getting dunked on by obnoxious internet commentators, Jay and Silent Bob travel to Hollywood to stop the movie from being made—but not without getting into a bunch of shenanigans along the way.
Even with its never-ending barrage of pop culture references and crass humor, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back did manage to successfully predict many infamous trends in Hollywood. Specifically, it criticizes how major studios make money off comic book films while almost never sharing profits with the people responsible for the source material and how people on the internet will badmouth creators who usually have no control over their creations. If that doesn’t work for you, then maybe the large lineup of recognizable celebrity cameos will.
Prior to winning an Oscar for writing Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mindscreenwriter charlie kaufman authored the metafictional dark comedy Adaptation.starring Nicolas Cage as a dispirited Kaufman who is struggling to adapt the Susan Orleans novice Orchid Thief. Cage also plays Charlie’s much more easygoing twin brother Donald, who is in the middle of writing his first screenplay of him.
The movie starts out as being about a screenwriter who wants to write a screenplay while his less experienced brother is doing so more efficiently. In typical Charlie Kaufman fashion, however, Adaptation. proves that a screenplay doesn’t have to move in one specific direction and takes the narrative to places that the average viewer wouldn’t expect at first glance. And if the movie and its satire about screenwriting begin to feel too complicated, then you can still appreciate the truly spectacular performances from Cage, meryl streepand Chris Cooper just to name a few. Cooper even won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his groundbreaking turn as eccentric Orchid Thief subject John Laroche.
If you wanted a more nightmarish version of Adaptation.look no further than the Coen Brothers‘ 1991 Palme d’Or-winning satire Barton Fink. The film stars John Turturro as a beloved New York playwright who is brought to Hollywood to write a screenplay but soon realizes that he has entered a world of unimaginable pain and suffering.
Whereas later Coen Brothers films such as Fargo and The Big Lebowski tend to focus on bumbling idiots whose stupid actions often put them in sticky situations, the titular protagonist of Barton Fink is just a regular guy who at worst has a narcissistic edge to him. But he goes down a dark and dangerous path simply because he did something that is far from unusual. Furthermore, Fink is expected to write a great script that he doesn’t even know how to write for an industry as oppressive and demanding as Hollywood. The Coens reportedly wrote Barton Fink after they experienced difficulties writing their previous feature, Miller’s Crossingso it makes sense that the former would be a psychologically terrifying yet profoundly eye-opening look at the internal conflict of a tortured screenwriter.
Another Hollywood satire by Joel and Ethan Coen, Hail Caesar! tells the story of a hard-hitting studio fixer named Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) who faces a new set of problems after Baird Whitlock (George Clooney), the lead actor in the studio’s exciting new biblical epic, is kidnapped and held for ransom. Other major players in the movie include Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand, tilda swinton, channing tatumand Jonah Hill as well as a breakout performance from future Han Solo actor Alden Ehrenreich.
what makes Hail Caesar! different from the other movies on this list is that even though it pokes fun at Hollywood, the film still pays so much reverence to the Golden Age of Film that it never comes off as cynical or discouraging. In fact, this movie is a nice change of pace from the stress-inducing insanity of Barton Fink. Also, if you ever wanted to see Channing Tatum singing and dancing in a sailor suit, then this is the film for you!
Cecil B. Demented
From the mind of John Waters comes the 2000 anti-Hollywood comedy Cecil B. Demented. this movie stars Melanie Griffith as a snobby A-list actress who is kidnapped and forced to star in an underground film from guerrilla filmmaker Cecil B. Demented (Stephen Dorff) and his equally insane crew of misfits.
Even though it takes shots at several mainstream movies such as patch Adams and Forrest Gump, Cecil B. Demented also pokes fun at the cult-like mentality of indie filmmakers who are shown as people who will literally die for cinema. And while it’s not strictly speaking a meta-comedy, this movie is worth the watch if not just to see future big-name actors such as Maggie Gyllenhaal and Michael Shannon take part in crazy, almost unthinkable antics.
If you ever wanted to see a satire of Hollywood that still feels like a movie made in Hollywood, then Robert Altman‘s ThePlayer is the film for you! this movie stars Tim Robbins as a deceitful studio executive named Griffin Mill who is in the midst of being replaced when a disgruntled screenwriter whose script he turned down begins sending him death threats. But which one?
Among its other themes and messages, ThePlayer points out that self-centered sleazebags like Griffin can retain high-level positions in Hollywood. At the same time, Altman eases audiences into this world with A-list cameos and an amazing tracking shot to open the film. not to mention, Vincent D’Onofrio is in the movie and he looks unrecognizable here.
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