Movies are there to represent our culture, and a large part of our culture, incidentally, is movies. So, the makers of these movies (and sometimes TV shows) will often come up with fake movies. If you make up your own movies, you don’t run into lawsuits from the people who made them – because they don’t exist! Plus, fake movies can always be new. When Jerry Seinfeld and Elaine Benes talk about “that new movie” Prognosis Negative, it’s timeless. You could watch that today and relate. But when they talk about the hype surrounding The English Patient, the references will be lost on you. There are some fictional movies we’d rather watch in the real world than the latest big budget superhero fare or the thousandth Fast and Furious movie. Here are 10 fictional movies we wish existed in real life.
10. Angels with Filthy Souls
“Keep the change, ya filthy animal!” This fictional black and white gangster noir picture from Home Alone has somehow become a staple of Christmas with the family. In fact, that quote has even been plastered all over Christmas sweaters that people actually wear. John Hughes based the title of this fictional movie on a real noir from the ‘30s entitled Angels with Dirty Faces. In the Home Alone sequel Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, we see that this movie has a sequel of its own called Angels with Filthier Souls. Kevin McAllister uses these movies and their dialogue and sound effects to frighten people like the pizza delivery guy or the bellboys at a fancy New York hotel, so they do actually serve a purpose to the plot (even if in the second one, it’s the exact same purpose just rehashed, which is a little lazy and predictable and derivative). According to the production team, shooting the Angels with Filthy Souls segments were a breeze compared to the rest of the movie. “No children, a very simple shot plan, the exaggerated style of acting, the crazy action…Given the rest of the film, it was kind of a party!”
9. Chubby Rain
Bowfinger is a fantastically funny satire of how Hollywood works. Steve Martin wrote the script and also plays the title role of a down on his luck producer who decides to get an A-list actor in his movie, a science fiction thriller called Chubby Rain, by basically pointing a camera at him on the street and having the movie happen around him. So, if they needed a scene where he gets kidnapped, they would simply set up a camera near the actual actor himself and then kidnap him for real. When Bobby Bowfinger is trying to convince his crew that this is standard practice, he tells them, “Did you know Tom Cruise had no idea he was in that vampire movie ‘til two years later?” It actually works out surprisingly well, once we get to see the dailies and then later when we see the real movie up on the big screen. According to the writer of Chubby Rain, who also works as an accountant and as a part time receptionist, it’s called that because “when the aliens come down to Earth, they come inside raindrops, making the rain chubby. Chubby rain!” It wouldn’t be a great movie, but it would be fun to watch!
8. Arnold Schwarzenegger in Hamlet
It’s a shame that Last Action Hero isn’t more widely known. It’s a funny and satirical movie that pokes fun at the clichés and tropes of the action movie genre, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as himself and also as Jack Slater, the LAPD detective with his own action film franchise, in a movie within a movie (and a bunch of sequels within a movie). A bad guy escapes from the screen and sets about killing the real Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s an awesome movie, if flawed, with a lot of great cameos and in-jokes and fictional movies. In a parody of action stars who attempt to branch out into more serious material, Arnie stars in a film adaptation of the William Shakespeare play Hamlet in this movie. Except in the Danny character’s daydream version of the movie, he plays Hamlet as one of his typical, one liner quipping action roles like the Terminator or Conan the Barbarian. He lights a cigar and says, “Hey, Claudius…you killed my father. Big mistake.” Then he throws him through a window. An old man says, “Stay thy hand, fair prince!” and Arnie as Hamlet says, “Who said I’m fair?” before whipping out a machine gun and shooting everybody.
7. Who Dat Ninja
The role of Tracy Jordan in 30 Rock is clearly based on the actor who plays him, Tracy Morgan, since their names and careers are hardly different. Except Tracy Jordan is more of a movie star than Tracy Morgan is. Tracy Morgan tends to play supporting roles in movies like The Longest Yard or Fist Fight, or starring roles in smaller movies like Cop Out. But Tracy Jordan is as big of a movie star as someone like Eddie Murphy or Martin Lawrence. His fictional movies are a running gag throughout the whole run of the show, but only a handful of them recur enough to be considered among his most famous ones. He played the dual role of a black cop and a white cop in the tasteless comedy Black Cop White Cop. He played a streetwise, womanizing version of Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock Homie. But the one that gets mentioned the most is Who Dat Ninja. That seems to be his Beverly Hills Cop or his Big Momma’s House. That was obviously the blockbuster that made him a star. He has the poster hanging in his dressing room. We never get a further explanation of the plot or anything like that, but based on the poster, it’s about a ninja played by Tracy Jordan, and that alone is enough to entice.
6. Simple Jack
A website for this movie had to be taken down, after the stereotype-ridden portrayal of a mentally challenged guy became controversial. But that’s the point! Ben Stiller plays action movie star Tugg Speedman in the satirical comedy Tropic Thunder, and his movie Simple Jack was supposed to be a parody of when meathead action stars try to do straight drama and give embarrassingly terrible performances. An actor like Sylvester Stallone interpreting a character like Forrest Gump would end up being over the top and offensive. That’s the point! As true thespian Kirk Lazarus, the method actor played by Robert Downey, Jr. who dons blackface to play an African American soldier, points out, he went “full retard,” and that’s why the movie failed. Tugg explains, “There were times while I was playing Jack where I felt retarded. Like, really retarded. In a weird way, I had to sort of just free myself up to believe that it was okay to be stupid or dumb.” And as Kirk calls him “a moron” and “an imbecile” and “the dumbest motherfucker that ever lived,” a confused Tugg clarifies, “When I was playing the character.” It would certainly be interesting to see the full movie.
Featured at the beginning and end of Austin Powers in Goldmember, the fictional movie Austinpussy is a sort of biopic of the title character. It’s like a movie within a movie about a so-called secret agent who is still active when the movie is getting made. The Austin Powers movies aren’t going for realism, to be fair. And the movie within a movie looks incredible. It has great production value and cinematic visuals. Austinpussy is an Austin Powers movie directed in the style of a genuine James Bond action thriller by one of the greatest cinematic minds of our time, Mr. Steven Spielberg, and starring Tom Cruise as Austin, Gwyneth Paltrow as the female lead Dixie Normous, Danny DeVito as Mini Me (perfect casting), John Travolta as Goldmember, and okay, Kevin Spacey isn’t cool anymore, but still, before all that stuff came out about him, he was the perfect guy to play Dr. Evil in a fictional Hollywood take on the Austin Powers mythology. And with a plot that plays on all the action movie tropes, like the motorcycle badass who removes their helmet to reveal they’re actually a woman, this movie would be awesome!! If only we got to see more than its opening and closing scenes…
4. Prognosis Negative
This movie gets mentioned all the time in Seinfeld. It’s one of the most popular movies in their fictional universe. The title is taken from an early screenplay written by Larry David. Despite the fact that a lot of producers enjoyed it, with one saying it was the funniest script that he had ever read, David couldn’t get the movie made in the real world, so he got it made in his twisted Seinfeldian world instead. It was David’s Prognosis Negative script that first got him in touch with Robert Weide, the documentary filmmaker who would eventually get his show Curb Your Enthusiasm off the ground at HBO. An interview on NPR revealed that the original screenplay for Prognosis Negative was about “a single guy who is unable to commit to a relationship. He finds out an ex-girlfriend has six months to live and decides it’s perfect – he can commit without worrying about the long term consequences.” It sounds promising, and with David at the helm, this could’ve been a comedy classic in the ‘80s. A fake poster for the movie that went viral cast Hugh Jackman in the lead role alongside Amber Heard and Terence Howard, directed as a gory body horror movie by David Cronenberg.
3. Good Will Hunting 2: Hunting Season
Some of the funniest examples of a fictional movie are the ones that are sequels or prequels or spin-offs of an existing movie in the real world. A great example of that is in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, which is rammed with terrific movie parodies, referencing everything from The Fugitive to Scooby Doo. One of the highlights in the movie is Good Will Hunting 2: Hunting Season, the fictional sequel to Good Will Hunting, in which Matt Damon and Ben Affleck reprised their roles from the movie that gave them a career. Director Gus Van Sant also makes an appearance, flicking through a wad of cash while his actors go through their scenes. There was a rumor back in the ‘90s that acclaimed indie filmmaker Kevin Smith had helped his actor friends Matt Damon and Ben Affleck our with their script for Good Will Hunting that would eventually win them an Oscar, but this is what Good Will Hunting as written by Kevin Smith would really look like. There would be shotguns and lines like, “I guess you’re just not that good…Will Hunting,” and “Applesauce, bitch!” It’s a brilliant satire of the kind of forced sequels that drag out a premise.
All the fictional movies in the filmography of Adam Sandler’s exaggerated screen counterpart George Simmons in Judd Apatow’s Funny People could feasibly be actual Adam Sandler movies. He’s basically just playing himself in this movie, except with leukemia and the notion that he’s wasted his life doing stupid movies, rather than just continuing to do them shamelessly. One perfect example summed up in one short scene that Apatow shot specifically for this movie sees Sandler competing in a hot dog eating contest and being told by his son, “This won’t bring Mom back!” I mean, come on. Right? And there’s the “Mrs. Doubtfire with a merman one.” But clearly the best one of all is this one where he asks a wizard to make him young again and then the wizard turns him into a baby and his son is played by Justin Long, who now has to look after him. That’s a movie that could actually exist. It’s so dumb and high concept and it basically writes itself. Jonah Hill’s stammering explanation of it is utter perfection. “That movie’s the best, ‘cause you’re a man, then you’re a baby, and then you learn to be a man, once you be…You need…It takes becoming a baby to learn how to become a man.”
1. Hitch 2: Son of a Hitch
The fictional movie Hitch 2: Son of a Hitch from the world of Parks and Recreation doesn’t get much of an explanation, but we can gather just from that title that it is a sequel to Hitch starring Will Smith’s real life son Jaden Smith as his title character’s son. To be honest, what with Will Smith casting his son to star alongside him in all of his movies these days, and all the nostalgic revivals of old movies and TV shows, this movie will probably happen in real life. It’s one of the many fake movies named in the seventh and final season of Parks and Rec, which was set in 2017, but made in 2014, so they were predicting a future that actually turned out to be a lot more sinister than they expected. This one is perhaps the most enticing of all the fake movies mentioned throughout this season. It only gets a title, but it’s so high concept that you can guess the premise just from that title alone. There’s even a dumb pun in the title, and we all know that that’s what Hollywood likes to do when naming its sequels. And the first Hitch grossed over $368 million at the worldwide box office, so why not?