24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: MacGruber

Movie Club: Midnight 'MacGruber' fans sound off

May 24, 2010 | 12:42 pm

MacGruber They loved it.

Now, some might say, "What would you expect from people coming out at midnight to see 'MacGruber'?" True, but the praise and numerous "awesome" quotes were probably refreshing for a movie with some pre-release hype that took director Jorma Taccone by surprise. ("It was a little shocking to read how many people thought the movie was going to be 'It's Pat.' ")

Joining us Thursday was "MacGruber" cinematographer Brandon Trost (the guy in the black T-shirt). And, at least among the movie's earliest audience, Taccone didn't have much to worry about -- and he even had a few fans.

"MacGruber" scored a 57% on Rotten Tomatoes, ranking it fifth among "Saturday Night Live"-related film releases. The Times' own list of good, band and ugly "SNL" films didn't opine on this release, but our review rains down a bit of love:  "[Will Forte] handily establishes his gonzo comedy cred, especially when it comes to a useful celery stalk. Strategically if unsanitarily employed, it does the job of distracting MacGruber's targets. The same could be said for the agreeably diverting movie that shares his name."

Still, despite the enthusiasm of its midnight audience, the film grossed an estimated $4.1 million over the weekend.

Oh well, on to the next film. And here's a treat, readers -- you can help decide. As happens often during the summer movie season, two big films are coming out: "Sex and the City 2" and "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" will battle at the box office, and for our attention. Let us know in the comments which one we should see.

-- Jevon Phillips

Photo: "MacGruber" cinematographer Brandon Trost, Tony Pierce as MacGruber, and other filmgoers at the Pacific Theatre at the Grove. Credit: Jevon Phillips / Los Angeles Times

Movie Club: 'MacGruber' at midnight

May 20, 2010 | 11:56 am

His business is danger, and his intelligence is lethal. Yes, it's "MacGruber" -- and we're going to see the film midnight Thursday at the Pacific Theatres at the Grove in Los Angeles.

We know midnight crowds are usually enthusiastic, so we expect a healthy turnout to watch villainous Val Kilmer do bad and Will Forte, as the titular action-adventure hero from the "Saturday Night Live" skits, do oh-so-much good. "SNL" vets Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph should add some laughs too.

Last week, we went to "Robin Hood" at the Regal in downtown's L.A. Live and talked to moviegoers afterward. This time, expect to see at least one of us in a mullet, flannel and vest. The other will have a little video camera to capture your reaction, so if you see us out by that famous fountain, make sure to give us your two cents!

-- Jevon Phillips and Tony Pierce

SXSW 2010: 'MacGruber' wows them in Austin

March 16, 2010 | 11:27 am

At the MacGruber premiere at SXSW Monday night, director Jorma Taccone noted that there was still some postproduction work to be done, “but it's going to be good, you guys." The audience couldn’t have agreed more resoundingly.

It’s a minor miracle “MacGruber” even exists. A parody featuring a "MacGyver"-esque action hero who tries to defuse bombs with household items (and generally fails), the movie grew out of an unassuming "Saturday Night Live" skit after said skit became an online sensation.

Writers Taccone (himself a veteran of the viral-video sensation Lonely Island), John Solomon and Will Forte were able to come up with a storyline from only the barest bit of source material. Not that it matters.

The film plays as a loving parody/homage to '80s action films, full of ridiculous montages -- love-making, getting ready to fight, etc. -- a soft-rock soundtrack and ironic sense of self-seriousness.  There is something wonderfully daft about the film's sense of randomness as it takes ridiculous lines of dialogue (mostly unprintable here) and builds them into outrageous running gags.

It’s not spoiling anything to say that things explode a lot, to the delight of the SXSW audience. When the final countdown began at the film's climax -- with the skit's signature line, "Three minutes, MacGruber!" -- it brought down the house. 

The story, to the extent that it matters, finds MacGruber (Will Forte) trying to stop his longtime nemesis (Val Kilmer) from launching a stolen nuclear missile at Washington. There is a lot of talk about getting codes, little of it of actual consequence.

Cast members Forte, Kristen Wiig, Ryan Phillippe and Kilmer all came out for the screening. When taking the stage after the movie, Taccone asked if Kilmer was still there. Realizing the actor was not coming on stage, Taccone quoted a line from the movie: "Classic." (Prior to the screening, the director had noted of Phillippe, "I'm still very confused as to why he agreed to be in the movie.") Taccone and Phillippe also both noted that the film was shot in only 28 days, a remarkably tight schedule for an action comedy.

One questioner asked what became of a rumored cameo from Richard Dean Anderson, of course the original MacGyver. There’s talk of a lawsuit from Lee Zlotoff, the original creator of "MacGyver," and Taccone said the original script did feature a scene for MacGruber's father, but that it was cut.
"And that's all I'll say about that," Taccone added. Classic.

--Mark Olsen

Photo: From left, Ryan Phillipe, Will Forte and Kristen Wiig in "MacGruber." Credit: Greg Peters / Rogue Pictures

'Macgruber' adds time to its ticking clock

March 1, 2010 |  5:13 pm

Those hoping for a dose of "Saturday Night Live" '80s action satire on the big screen next month will have to wait a little longer.

Universal says that "MacGruber," the Will Forte-starring spoof of MacGyver, is moving back a month to May 21, confirming what sources have been saying for the past several weeks. (In other release news, the studio also said its "Fast Five," the latest installment in the "Fast & the Furious" franchise, would come out June 10, 2011.)

The MacGruber shift is the result of a bit of studio musical chairs. Warner Bros. recently moved the comic-book action movie "The Losers" from April 9 to June, then moved it back to April when executives fretted it would be bumping into "The A-Team."

But Warners didn't return the film to the original April 9 date, instead pushing it two weeks to April 23. That meant "MacGruber" was now  squarely competing with "Losers," a move that went straight into the maw of the young-male fan base. So the film is pushing to May.

The date Universal has chosen is a fairly open one with the MacGruber core audience -- "Shrek Forever After" that weekend and "Sex and the City 2" won't exactly play to the same crowd -- although it will now be coming out the week after "Robin Hood," an issue if some of the same people who remember MacGyver fondly are also interested in a swashbuckling Russell Crowe.

-- Steven Zeitchik


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