Please, please tell us you’re among the millions of viewers who’ve been watching Honest Trailers, the hilarious YouTube series from the Screen Junkies channel. Each instalment looks at a successful movie and imagines what the trailer would say if wasn’t contractually obliged to big up the film. It’s become so popular that loads of the films are now chosen by fans of the series. Anyway, here are five of our favourites.
After identifying that Tom Hardy, who plays Max in this desert chase film about a group of women fleeing from an oppressive dystopian society, only “kind of stars” in a narrative mostly focused on Charlize Theron’s character, this Honest Trailer laughs gleefully at Mad Max: Fury Road’s endless inconsistencies. Like, maybe there wouldn’t be a water shortage if the characters didn’t waste it so wantonly?
Best gag: “Introducing… Tom Hardly in the movie”
50 Shades of Grey
A gift to satirists, this sleek adaptation of EL James’ much-derided but outrageously successful erotic novel about a woman seduced by a millionaire with a penchant for S&M. After mocking the movie’s not-so-sexy scenes about “emails, texting, contracts, contract negotiations and non-disclosure agreements”, the trailer decimates lines from the book that didn’t even grace the movie, such as: “I feel the colour rising in my cheeks again. I must be the colour of the Communist manifesto.”
Best gag (not that kind): Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) is introduced via the words: “Speaking of buttonholes…”
This stripper drama starring Channing Tatum is all sweetness and light, right? Nope! This trailer plays on the darkness – drug addiction, violence, betrayal – that lie beneath the apparently frothy film. See? Honest Trailers are perceptive and funny.
Best gag: Apparently this is for you “if you lover strippers but wish you could see all the mundane details of their daily lives… thong buying, crumpled bill straightening, loan applyling”. Hell yes! Just take our money, dammit!
Wolf of Wall Street
Martin Scorsese’s banker-bashing crime epic revelled in excess, leaving plenty of material to poke fun at. It’s suggested that Matthew McConaughey, who puts in a cameo and won that year’s ‘Best Actor’ Oscar for Dallas Buyers’ Club, only shot his scene to retroactively mock lead actor Leonardo DiCaprio – or “Leonardo NoOscaro” – for missing out on the gong. Ouch!
Best gag: “From Martin Scorsese, the legendary director if that movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio, that other movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio… and also these movies starring Leonardo DiCaprio, comes Wolf of Wall Street, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.”
It’s a bit spoilerific, this one, though probably all Honest Trailers work better when you’ve seen the actual film. And this one really gets to the heart of the matter, describing David Fincher’s macho drama as a “high budget movie that has an anti-capitalist message but features tons of product placement, a spin-off PlayStation game, a graphic novel sequel, collectors’ editions and, of course, officially licensed soap.”
Best gag: We’re invited to join Brad Pitt and Ed Norton’s characters “on a quest to save us from all first world problems”.