6 Buried Movies From Famous Talent ...That You'll Never See
Comic book nerds everywhere are still riding high on the Snyder Cut release, but it's the exception that proves the rule: Most of the time, a movie with a troubled production will come out and be forgotten. Of course, sometimes, it won't come out at all, whether because the copyright is too complicated to be worth it, the director doesn't want anyone seeing it, or something even stranger is going on. Take a look at some of the weirdest ones, kind of like the opposite of a film festival: A place to go and not see movies...
The Lost SNL Movie With Bill Murray Driving A Bus To The Moon
After years of Saturday Night Live being a more discussed political issue than goddamn Crimea, it can be easy to forget how exciting and funny it was when it began in 1975. There were only 3 TV channels to pick from when SNL's first season began, and that kind of anarchic, nerdy comedy just didn't make it on the airwaves. SNL helped people realize that a general audience would enjoy weird, specific comedy, which today is practically carved in stone over the entrance to the internet. It was such a smash hit that everyone involved got to write their own checks for a while.
That included Tom Schiller, who was in the original writer's room and directed a lot of their weirder pre-taped shorts. We'd compare his stuff to late '70s "Mmm, Whatcha Say" if that video weren't already 13 years old, you living mummy reading this article. But like The Lonely Island after him, Schiller wanted to make movies. He got his wish with Nothing Lasts Forever, a black-and-white comedy he made in 1983, featuring SNL regulars like Dan Aykroyd as a mean boss and Bill Murray as, yes, the conductor of a bus that goes to a mall on the moon.
The movie is an absurdist comedy featuring a fascist Manhattan that won't allow any artists into the city without applying for "a creative license," a secret cabal of hobos who run the world, multiple musical numbers spliced in from old movies, and Gremlins' Zach Galligan as a famous pianist who can't play a single note. The goodwill from SNL didn't go that far, and the studio flat-out refused to release the movie when they saw how absurd it was. Since then, those spliced musical numbers have meant the copyright issues are a little too complicated to ever officially release, but it's found its way out there, and this state of affairs might not last forever ... Hmm? Hmm? Yeah, moving on ...
Louis C.K.’s Perfectly-Timed Woody Allen Tribute Film
Next is another black-and-white movie by a former SNL writer set in New York City, but that's where the similarities end. Louis C.K. actually got his break as a writer and director, but he gave up directing almost entirely after being locked out by the studio on his movie Pootie Tang ... We here at Cracked know when a joke would be in poor taste, so please instead take a solemn moment with this picture of a poison dart frog.
Anyway, after years of enormous success performing, writing, and producing, C.K. decided the time had come to get back in the director's chair. The movie he made was called I Love You, Daddy, starring Chloë Grace Moretz as the daughter of a character played by C.K. himself. Moretz's character gets seduced by John Malkovich as a creepy old director known for perving on girls. The movie was meant to premiere on November 17th, 2017, but on November 9th, five women stepped forward with allegations of sexual abuse from C.K., and its release was nixed immediately.
This happened three and a half goddamn years ago, folks: A movie called I Love You, Daddy premiered at festivals and was going to compete for awards. It's easy to find reviews of it, reviews that almost universally compare it to the movies of Woody Allen. Is that a shining success or pathetic failure for film criticism as a form of journalism? You decide!
In any case, after the movie's release was canceled – in the literal way, not the bullshit way that you usually see whining about -- C.K. bought back all the rights to his movie with his own money, with the intent of shutting it away forever. Festival prints and review copies are still out there, but the writer/director/star of I Love You, Daddy would prefer it never saw the light of day again.
Jerry Lewis' Holocaust Clown Passion Project
On the subject of directors who never want anyone to see their passion projects, we have The Day The Clown Cried. It's by far the most infamous movie on this list, mostly thanks to its seniority: Legendary '50s and '60s comedian Jerry Lewis co-wrote and directed the movie in 1972. Even then, people didn't think it was so cool to make a movie about a clown in a concentration camp who entertains Jewish children before they're executed.
That on its own would be more than enough to keep the movie out of theaters, off DVDs, away from streamers, and even carefully avoided by the world's only remaining Blockbuster. But that's not all; apparently, producers of the movie weren't paying crewmembers and trying to pay them back only got the actual production sunk into a swamp of lawsuits, debt, miscommunication, and bad faith, which would luckily never happen with any movie ever again.
Film scholars aren't even 100% sure a complete movie exists, but in the half-century, since the movie was made, many people have managed to see partial or complete cuts, and Lewis himself donated his personal copy to the Library of Congress a few years before his death, with the agreement that no one would be able to see it at all before 2025. Even then, the other legal issues will probably make it seriously hard to find.
The Real-Life Cuckolding Movie From The Writer Of Pulp Fiction
Roger Avary was Quentin Tarantino's collaborator and best buddy when they broke into the industry, and they co-wrote Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. They split up after that, and while ol' Q.T. went on to indulge all his most specific movie nerd fantasies, Avary had a more pure interest in the blood and titties side of things, which is why his next collaborator was famed author and Millennial yeller-abouter, Bret Easton Ellis.
Avary adapted Ellis' novel The Rules Of Attraction, which is exactly what you'd expect from a book about college students by the American Psycho guy. For better or worse, the movie perfectly brought across all the sex, violence, sex, amorality, sex, drugs, and sex in the book because Avary was committed to immortalizing every moment of it.
There's a subplot in the book about a character named Victor backpacking through Europe before he goes back to school, which he mostly spends looking at classical architecture ... Nah, just kidding, it's another bang fest. Avary shot the whole thing on the DL, making the actor playing Victor actually walk around Europe and seduce women in character, to the point that, in his words, "We'd end up at the hotel room with these girls and I'd be shooting this stuff thinking,' This is insane ... and ethically questionable." For a little peek into this guy's ethics, he wrote his last movie in prison for manslaughter, where he went after tweeting too much about being in jail, and he was worried this was over the line.
The movie on this list isn't The Rules of Attraction itself, but Glitterati, an entirely separate movie Avary and Ellis assembled out of that European footage. Theoretically, it's a partial adaptation of Glamorama, another Ellis novel starring the Victor character, but in practice, it's a guy seducing married women and his buddy filming it. "You can't really show Glitterati in public," Ellis said in an interview. "I don't even know if they got permission from a lot of the people in it [...] think it would ruin marriages." Given that a movie where the same thing happens to Rudy Giuliani is currently up for Oscars, though, who can really say?
Danny DeVito’s Bloody, Apocalyptic Horror Movie
Speaking of Pulp Fiction, there's another unsung creative force behind the movie: Danny DeVito. No, seriously, the movie flat-out wouldn't exist without him, and he was taking a real gamble on Tarantino and Avary's idea. But that's just DeVito's deal: His reputation as an avatar of chaotic energy isn't just from Always Sunny and too many memes to count; it's from being a fearless creative force who's been taking chances for decades.
That lovely image just above is from "The Blood Factory," a horror project DeVito spearheaded back in 2009, back when everyone was still figuring out how the whole internet video thing worked. To borrow a meme people still used around that time, the plan was:
STEP 1: Use Danny DeVito's production company, as well as his star power, to create short, gory horror videos.
STEP 2: ???
STEP 3: Profit!
The Blood Factory never turned out much (never bled out much?), and one of his last projects originally intended for the website was a full-on feature-length horror movie that he was probably intending to put in theaters if the website didn't work out, a decade before everyone had to make the opposite decision. He directed the movie, called St. Sebastian, in 2011. It was going to star Lance Reddick, William Fichtner, and Constance Zimmer, and DeVito's description of the movie sounds, to use the film industry term, goddamn metal:
There's two guys: one's a drug dealer, who's shot in the stomach, and one's a cop who shot him, and he's shot in the stomach. They're in this hospital, the nurse is taking care of them because there are no doctors, everybody split because it's apocalyptic, the city's under siege [...] They don't know, really, why they're there, and during the movie they're given clues, and finally they find out.
So why don't you get any results when you type "ST SEBASTIAN ENDING SCENE" into YouTube (that's right, we have your search history, thanks for clicking that "Accept" button)? The short answer is that releasing a movie can be as hard as making it. This was done completely independently, financed entirely by DeVito's production company, and so he would have to work out the distribution and release rights all by himself. The only driving force to deal with all the Hollywood red tape would be pride, and Danny DeVito is a man with a lot to be proud of already.
Robert Rodriguez’ Sci-Fi Movie Taking Place (And Due For Release) in 2115
All the other movies on this list have one thing in common: They were made with the intention of being seen like any other movie. That's not exactly the case with 100 Years, though: Just as intended, the only copy is currently sitting in a time-locked safe set to open in November 2115, presumably so it can emerge and claim dominion over the wastelands.
The movie was made as a publicity stunt for a cognac company because their most expensive stuff is made from grapes that grew in the ground a century ago. They picked John Malkovich to star in the movie and write it, calling him "the greatest actor of his generation," which is a terminally on-brand choice for an expensive wine company.
Robert Rodriguez directed the movie, along with some trailers that are the actual ads for the cognac, and the real reason this whole silly operation happened in the first place ...
… but we're told they have nothing to do with the actual movie to preserve the surprise for the people of the 2110s.
Rodriguez has made a lot of odd movies in his career -- his three most recent releases are a sequel to Sharkboy And Lavagirl, a movie his kid wrote that he made for $7,000, and that one with the huge-eyed girl playing rollerball. A movie set to come out in 94 years feels right at home in that crowd, though we wouldn't be averse to joining a team of cat burglars who plan to open that safe and steal the movie.
Top image: Troublemaker Studios