Top 10 Movies Within Movies

Filmmakers love taking cheap shots and making appreciative nods towards the wonderful world of cinema. Here are some ingenious ‘in-movie movies’ which sadly won’t be getting optioned by Hollywood executives anytime soon.

10. Good Will Hunting 2: Hunting Season (Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back)

Written by and starring Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, Good Will Hunting was released to near unanimous praise when it hit the screens in 1997 and grossed $225 million on a $10 million budget. Damon stars as a South Boston labourer who has an unrecognised genius and, with the help of a therapist, reevaluates his life and learns his true potential. Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob cinematic spin-off sees Damon and Affleck (who are buddies of the filmmaker) doing a sequel for a paycheque. Like in the original movie, the two friends find themselves having another run in with pompous intellectual Clark but, instead of taking him down with some verbal sparring, Will turns to the more silencing words of a shotgun.

9. Asses of Fire (South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9St7rLLBC4A

South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut saw the foul-mouthed boys finally leap to the big screen. Their favourite Canadian comedy duo, Terrance and Phillip, launch a new movie called Asses of Fire which is a profanity laden musical featuring hits like ‘Uncle Fucka’. With obscene phrases taking the school by storm, their parents pressure the US government to wage a war against Canada for corrupting their children. A cautionary tale of censorship, South Park was a critical and box office success, grossing over $80 million – but Asses of Fire would probably gross twice that.


8. Hamlet (Last Action Hero)

Released in 1993, Last Action Hero is a comedy-fantasy starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as Jack Slater, an LA police officer in the ‘Jack Slater’ series of films. Danny is a young film fan who, with the help of a magical ticket, is transported into the film itself. He tries desperately to persuade Slater that he is indeed just an actor, but to little success. During the movie we see a slew of fictional films, including a cigar smoking, skull smashing, uzi wielding adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

7. Nation’s Pride (Inglorious Basterds)

Quentin Tarantino’s war genre effort Inglourious Basterds saw Brad Pitt leading a band of Jewish American soldiers during WWII on a mission behind enemy lines to assassinate Nazi Germany’s leadership, including Hitler himself. A key plot point revolves around the film Nation’s Pride; a Nazi propaganda film praising a German sniper who killed 250 men. Tarantino hired Eli Roth to direct the segments which included scenes with more than 300 extras. Roth shot the film over two days, accumulating and editing down the footage to roughly the 5 minutes shown.

6. Fake Purse Ninjas (Bowfinger)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6RCnrd6F6g

Frank Oz’s Bowfinger stars Steve Martin as a down on his luck aspiring filmmaker who dreams of making his ultimate movie. Rallying together a ragtag team, he sets out to shoot his project using Hollywood’s biggest star Kit Ramsey (played by Eddie Murphy). But he does so by relying on the ‘talents’ of his brother Jiff. At the movie’s end, we see a glimpse of ‘Fake Purse Ninjas’: a mad kung-fu flick involving a counterfeit warehouse ring and a deadly army of ninjas.

5. Machete (Grindhouse)

Featured in the Tarantino/Rodriguez B-movie throwback Grindhouse, Machete was a fake action flick starring Danny Trejo as a Mexican federale who gets hired by the DEA and CIA to do the jobs that are too dangerous for their own agents. However, after being double crossed, he decides to right the wrongs by going on a killing spree. Machete is the only film featured on our list to actually get made into a full-length feature – but the jokey premise got worn out pretty fast with the longer running time.

4. Satan’s Alley (Tropic Thunder)

Ben Stiller wrote, directed and starred in the action-comedy Tropic Thunder. The Hollywood satire follows a group of actors shooting a war film who accidentally get dropped into a real life conflict in the jungle. Revolving around a group of prima dona actors, the film opens with a bevy of fictional trailers which including clips from Simple Jack and Satan’s Alley. The latter stars Robert Downey Jr and Tobey Maguire as a pair of monks who test their faith when they fall in love. A riff on Oscar-bait films, this would probably get a few nominations at the prestigious award ceremony if it were ever made.

3. Angels With Filthy Souls (Home Alone)

Perennial Christmas comedy Home Alone stars MaCaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister; a spunky young kid who fends off two burglars when he is accidentally left behind after his family goes away on vacation. The anti-home invasion classic was the highest grossing comedy of all time until it was finally surpassed by The Hangover, and one of the film’s most iconic scenes sees Kevin watching fictional mob flick Angels With Filthy Souls and using the hammy dialogue to scare the crap out of the pair of wannabe thieves.

2. Stab (Scream 2)

Wes Craven revitalised the slasher genre when he released Scream to great praise, so a sequel was inevitable. Craven again used the opportunity to turn the genre on its head as Scream 2 pokes criticism at the media’s obsession with grisly murders. As would probably happen in real life, Hollywood options the killings for a movie – Stab – and, during the films preview, a copycat killer wearing the infamous ghostface costume begins a murder spree.

1. Werewolf Women of the S.S. (Grindhouse)

Grindhouse was a throwback flick from Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez which was made as a homage to classic grindhouse movies of the 70s. The two directed a feature film each, which was segmented by trailers for fake films. One of which was Werewolf Women of the S.S., written and directed by Rob Zombie. The fictional film revolves around a Nazi scientist plot to create an ultimate army by merging lycan blood with women. If all that isn’t enough, Nicolas Cage makes an appearance as Fu Manchu and his hammy histrionics make it a shame that a feature length film was never made.