Look, let’s just get this out of the way right now: MACGRUBER is a masterpiece, and is, on most days, my favorite comedy of the last decade. Directed by Jorma Taccone of The Lonely Island fame and starring Will Forte, MACGRUBER first took life as a sketch on Saturday Night Live. Essentially a spoof of MACGYVER where the lead was wrecklessly incompetent at his job, MacGruber would consistently fail to disarm an explosive device in increasingly absurd ways in a series of vignettes that would air over the course of a single episode of SNL. After an appearance in a series of Super Bowl ads for Pepsi in 2009, an odd-at-the-time decision was made to turn the sketch into a feature length film. But rather than rehashing the premise, Taccone and Forte (with John Solomon as a third co-writer) turned the film into a deconstruction of the biggest tropes of 80s action films, as well as one of the oddest, most demented movies in recent memory (Val Kilmer’s villain is named Dieter von Cunth, in case you were wondering where this was going). Also, the film featured various WWE wrestlers as MacGruber’s crew of elite murderers, so the film’s really hitting all of my pleasure points.
Last year the film screened, for reasons I still don’t really understand, at the Virginia Film Festival in Charlottesville, which meant that I had to take a field trip to see it. The most surprising part of the event was that over ¾ of the audience had never seen the movie before, or were even unfamiliar with its premise, which made for a great, slightly uncomfortable viewing and subsequent Q&A experience, as many in the room were unprepared for just how much screentime Will Forte’s butt receives. Recently the film was featured at Art of the Title, where Taccone and title designer Ryan McNeely spoke about the origins of the film and the process of creating the beginning and end title sequences for the film.