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Movies in Fifteen Minutes

Jordan Gamble | Friday, September 26, 2008

The genre of movie spoofs has run rampant lately, and in that running has ultimately tripped, fallen, and died a sad, unfunny death. The Scary Movies 1 through 4, Disaster Movie, Meet the Spartans, Date Movie, the list goes on – they have all outstayed their welcome in theaters. Now that genuinly clever and funny cinematic spoofs have all but disappeared, whereever shall the parody lovers go?

A good refuge is a series of written spoofs at the “Movies in 15 Minutes” blog on LiveJournal (abbreviated “m15m”) – and they don’t require a two-hour trip to the theater or a DVD player. The blog’s author, Cleolinda Jones, started the script-style parodies on a whim in 2004 for her personal blog, but got such an enormous response through LiveJournal and the internet at large that she eventually got a book deal. The book’s slogan is the same as the blog’s: “The Biggest Movies Ever for People Who Just Can’t Be Bothered.”

The book has spoofs of the “classic” blockbusters, like Titanic, Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars, but Jones continues to focus on new releases for the blog. Every few weeks a new spoof will pop up, usually of a high-profile film like The Prestige, Wanted, or the newest Harry Potter movie.

Jones’s ribbing isn’t mean-spirited – it’s just spot-on. (Well, except for the spoof of The Happening. But how can you be “nice”-spirited about that?) So spot-on, in fact, that they just are not that engaging without a viewing of the actual movie. The entry for The Phantom of the Opera, for instance, would make little sense and probably be a bit disconcerting if a reader went in without any knowledge of the Joel Schumacher-directed, Gothic-cheese masterpiece.

Every entry is in the style of a film screenplay – although it often breaks down the fourth wall, including characters like “DISTURBED AUDIENCE,” or, in the case of the Harry Potter movies, “SCREAMING FANGIRLS.”

The blog’s title refers to the spoofs’ abbreviated nature, and when entire scenes in The Day After Tomorrow are summed up in one line, sometimes less is more where humor is concerned. (A sample: “Sam: HURRY! WE HAVE TO OUTRUN THE TEMPERATURE!” End scene.)

Continuity between spoofs with the same actors, like The Chronicles of Narnia and Wanted (both starring James McAvoy), is a regular occurrence. Every entry also comes loaded with screen captures from the movie paired with some of the more memorable one-liners from Jones’s spoof scripts. Standouts include battle scenes from 300 with captions like, “We have three hundred of the mansomest men to ever man something. What do you have?”

Though filmed spoofs can go for cheap sight gags, gross-out jokes and pointless celebrity cameos, the “Movies in 15 Minutes” actually use clever paraphrases of overblown dialogue, pop-culture anachronisms and various forms of internet speak to actually make you “LOL” – no, seriously, don’t try to read this in the library, because the constant yet barely suppressed laughter will surely get you kicked out.