The only thing I love more than movies are movies about movies.
“Hail, Caesar!” follows the day in the life of Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin), a 1950s Hollywood “fixer” who must deal with the issues created by the actors of his studio. George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand, and Channing Tatum all co-star as Joel and Ethan Coen write and direct.
If you know anything about me, or simply have read my Twitter bio, then you know I am obsessed with two things: movies and 1950s Los Angeles. So perhaps I am a little biased when I say this movie is a whole lot of fun and a wonderful look into the magic of the film industry, even if the lack of any true plot or main characters may leave some (not me, but some) desiring more.
I have wanted to see this movie for over a year, and it was actually one of my top 10 most anticipated films of 2016. The cast is probably what draws the eyes of most people, with big names like Clooney and Tatum, and even Jonah Hill (more on that in a second), but I think this movie was made as a love letter to the Golden Age of Hollywood and movies in general, so those people like me who have a passion for film may get more out of this than a casual film-goer.
That’s not to say there is nothing in “Caesar” that non-Hollywood lovers can enjoy. Channing Tatum has a tap dancing musical number while dressed in a sailor’s outfit that slapped a big, goofy smile on my face. Ralph Fiennes and Alden Ehrenreich (the real show-stealer here) exchange in arguably the film’s most entertaining scene as director and under-qualified actor who can’t agree how a line should be said. But that actually may be where the film’s “flaws” start to show.
The film follows Brolin dealing with multiple problems with multiple actors (most of the film takes place in a single day), so really every name that is not his or Clooney’s on the poster is merely an extended cameo, and that may annoy some viewers. For me it was fine, we got to see the behind-the-scenes of several genres of films, and for the most part the constant moving around works. However when someone like Jonah Hill receives top billing and gets his name in the trailer, only to appear in one scene and deliver two lines, some audience members may feel a bit duped.
“Hail, Caesar!” really is one of those films that was made for fun, and simply to be had fun with. If you love movies, old time Los Angeles, or the making of film, then this is your ticket to a great time. It isn’t hysterical, and the mystery of who abducted Clooney that every trailer and commercial painted as the film’s main storyline actually isn’t all that intriguing, but I would be lying if I said this movie didn’t fill me with a sense of wonderment and nostalgia, and remind me why I fell in love with movies in the first place. If you don’t go in expecting a hilarious comedy with fully dedicated performances from every actor from the poster, I really think you’ll have a ball with this movie.
Critics Rating: 8/10