Have you ever watched a comedy and found yourself laughing, even though it wasn’t that funny? Maybe, for some weird reason, you felt obligated to laugh. Maybe you had a sneaking suspicion that the jokes were actually funny, and that the movie was actually entertaining. Maybe you laugh and find it entertaining because the movie is directed by two oddball brothers that have made movies you loved in the past. I don’t know if you have ever experienced this, but that is exactly how I felt when I saw Joel and Ethan Coen’s “Hail Caesar!”
“Hail Caesar!” is set in the early 1950s and shows many of the day-to-day activities of a Hollywood studio. The movie follows Eddie Mannix—played by Josh Brolin—as he deals with all kinds of shenanigans such as a pregnant, unmarried actress, an actor that can’t act and most importantly, big-time movie star Baird Whitlock being kidnapped and held for ransom. Mannix must deal with all of this while being courted by a new company to take a “better” job.
You would think all this chaos would create an interesting plot, but it doesn’t. Much of the movie is made up of long, drawn-out scenes that “comedically” show how Old-Hollywood movies were made. “Comedically” is in quotes, because you probably have to be over the age of 40 to actually get the jokes. This movie was definitely not aimed at high schoolers, so I don’t recommend any Chattahoochee students seeing it, unless you know a lot about Old-Hollywood. If you do, then go ahead.
So far, I’ve made it sound like “Hail Caesar!” was pretty boring and hard to sit through. That isn’t entirely true. There were some parts that people of all ages will enjoy—yes, even high schoolers. The studio is making a movie called “Hail Caesar!” starring Baird Whitlock (before he got kidnapped), which is about a Roman who changes his ways after meeting Jesus Christ. To make sure the film is accurate, Eddie Mannix brings in a rabbi, a Catholic priest, a Protestant preacher and an Eastern Orthodox clergyman. The debate about religion and the divinity of Christ that ensues is hilarious, especially when Mannix unsuccessfully tries to intervene and steer the conversation elsewhere.
Another funny part of the film is when Baird Whitlock’s kidnappers (disgruntled Hollywood writers who are also communists) talk to him about their communist views. Whitlock is still confused and unaware of his situation as they debate about history and economics, which leads to some witty and well-timed remarks by Whitlock, who is played by George Clooney.
Overall, “Hail Caesar!” is a pretty dull movie for young people, with only a few scenes that are entertaining. However, those scenes aren’t good enough to make up for the film’s other shortcomings, so I recommend skipping this movie.