‘Movie 43” is a genius idea in theory.
Step one. Write 12 short films and combine them into one feature film.
Step two. Gather well know actors and directors.
Step Three. Make money.
This seems like an infallible plan that is sure to storm the box office, but there was one thing that is missing — a director, writer, or producer can never lose sight of whom he or she is writing; if a target is never established, then the battle is already lost.
I am not going to tell you that “Movie 43” is not an amusing film. Quite the contrary, it is a raunchy and hilarious and completely over-the-top comedy extravaganza, and I thoroughly enjoyed the watch. However, if I wanted to laugh continuously for an hour and a half, I would just watch stand-up comedy.
A film needs a story; without a story, a film is just flashing pictures and talking actors. This is the prime reason why “Movie 43” is a broken film. It lacks everything that makes a good story. As an audience member, I did not care about one single character. Their impression upon my memory was so frail and faint that I do not even remember their names, nor do I care to discover them.
Along with failed character development, the composition of the film as a whole is sloppy and cavalier. It felt like a stereotypical student film in which everyone was too scared to tell the director, “This does not work!” Yes, individually, these scenes are hysterical, but as a whole, they are completely unconnected and meaningless.
What the final product of “Movie 43” proved was that no matter how many “A-list actors” you have, or how witty and amusing your jokes are, you can never forget the fundamentals of filmmaking. You have to find a character, give him a story and drive that story into the hearts and minds of the audience. You cannot do this with a bunch of fancy actors and gimmicks; an audience needs a story to be entertained and captivated.
Throughout the years, many things have changed in the film industry, but every great film has a story that will always be remembered, and without a story you have nothing. I do give “Movie 43” credit for attempting to change the way films are created and perceived, but no one reinvents the basics of filmmaking, and “Movie 43” is no exception.
James T. Ealum III, a native of Albany, has studied to be a screenwriter at Full Sail University Film School, where he earned a bachelor’s degree and worked on three films. At Darton College, he majored in theater, where he acted, stage managed and performed lighting design. He plans to earn a master’s degree in creative writing.