Hail, Caesar!: A Disappointment for Me, But Maybe Not You
Apparently, I don’t care much for Coen Brother films. I like very few of them, The Big Lebowski being the main exception. I’ve seen quite a few of their films, and am never really all that satisfied with them, yet I always return for me. Hail, Caesar! was no different. For me, this was the first ‘big’ film of 2016 and I was legitimately excited for it. The cast looked incredible, the trailer was comical, and the look and style seemed like the quirkiness I often like in certain films, looking at you Wes Anderson. So we went to see it last night, on opening night! We got our popcorn and sodas, sat down and I was ready to be entertained, but for me, the entertainment barely ever reached a level I found to be satisfying. In fact, when the movie was over, I could honestly say I hated it. But that doesn’t mean you would necessarily…
In case you aren’t even sure what the film is about, it takes place in 1950’s Hollywood and stars Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) as a Hollywood “fixer” whose job is to help keep the movie studio’s stars in line. The current production of the film Hail Caesar!, which stars famous actor Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) provides a difficult challenge for Mannnix when Whitlock is drugged and kidnapped by a group named The Future. Mannix then must collect $100,000 and rescue him Whitlock before word gets out about the kidnapping and the film production is shut down. Throughout Mannix’s journey, we see him interact with many of the other movie stars in other current productions on the lot and this is where we see the many cameos listed in the trailer.
Now, I didn’t exactly know what to expect for this film. I was hoping it was be very funny, a bit corny and ridiculous, and incredibly entertaining, but for me, it wasn’t. The basic plot alone is similar to The Big Lebowski, but lacks the same charm and comedic-ness of the characters we meet in Lebowski. The script is dry and was clearly lacking in story and plot. The movie is filled with cameos by great actors, such as Scarlett Johansson and Jonah Hill, but unfortunately, they barely have any lines in the movie. It really felt like they’re just there because… Perhaps so they could say they were in a Coen Brothers’ film, or, just to add more scenes to a film that liked in story. Whatever the case, it doesn’t make the scenes less enjoyable.
The acting in Hail, Caesar! is great on all accounts. Brolin is wonderful to watch in all of his scenes, Clooney pulls off the goofy, bad actor very well and is entertaining whenever we see him. And Channing Tatum does an excellent job during his musical number scene! (Probably one of the best scenes of the film.) The movie knows exactly what it is and has a style that is followed to the T throughout the film, even if it seemed like they were trying to be a Wes Anderson film. But for me, the script lacked and the comedy was just not where I hoped it would be. That’s not to say I didn’t laugh a couple times, but overall I found the film to be a bit boring.
Now with all of this in mind, I think you’ll be surprised with my rating of the film. This film is for a very specific audience, I think. Within our group, our opinions of it mixed, mine being the most negative, another very positive with a few critiques, and some in between. The film itself isn’t ‘bad’, it just isn’t for me. If you are a big Coen Brothers fan, go see this movie and judge for yourself how you liked it. You’ll probably really enjoy Hail, Caesar!, but for me, I’ll stick with The Dude.