Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing was my favorite movie of 2013. I won’t claim that this was the best movie made in that year (Seeing as it wasn’t actually made in 2013 – zing), nor that it will necessarily keep that title as I watch more films from then. But as far as it being the most enjoyable experience I had seeing a movie in the theatre? Oh it’s hands down my favorite. I’ve been dragged to a lot of shit movies recently, and I want to say that’s more a symptom of the times than anything else. Lots of terrible acting, shit writing, and uninspired, though competent and extremely expensive, directing and computer effects. Lots of money on the screen and lots of me not able to care. But with Much Ado About Nothing, there was something different – finally. Here was a movie filmed in black and white on the cheap, based on a Shakespeare play, not starring any big name actors, and that had more energy and artistic chutzpah than I’d seen for a long while.
Not only did this film have a budget that didn’t make me weep for the third world, it was all filmed over only 12 days at Whedon’s home using his friends. Okay, fine, actors he’s worked with before, but come on, they’re friends. I love what this this lends the film, there’s an energy throughout it, this electrifying charm that cannot be bought with big budgets or created in a computer. A billion dollars isn’t needed to make a great movie, in fact I imagine it comes at a detriment to many directors. And can I just say, that it’s just pathetic that Whedon and Co. can make a beautifully shot, well acted, and highly entertaining movie in 12 days for no money, when so many directors when given a truckload of cash make a pile of garbage. Seriously, do it better Hollywood.
Let’s talk about the Shakespeare, it is a legit Shakespeare adaptation after all. So many film adaptations get caught up in “High” English of it all, where everyone talks like – well -like they’re quoting the Bard, and it all drags on as long as the stage play, as if they forgot they were making a movie. The actors here (None of which are Shakespeare trained as far as I know) relish in the Bard’s words. Every line is bawdy and laced with innuendo, every line is dripping with motive and cool malice, every line is full of humor and confidence. No one seems to fall into the trap of reciting the lines with a Kenneth Branagh level of pomp, a problem many actors fall into in Shakespearean films, and instead act as they normally might – y’know as if they were actually acting.
There’s so much more I could say about this, and perhaps I will in an episode of the podcast, but for the time being I’ll just close with this: With all the talk lately of Whedon’s Avengers 2 and big budget franchises, it got me thinking about my little favorite from 2013. In remembering this movie again in the midst of all the other sound and fury of traditional Hollywood schlock, the title began to take on new meaning for me. All this money poured into terrible (Or just mediocre) projects, sometimes won back sometimes lost – it’s all starting to feel like a lot of noise over not much of anything. Much ado about nothing even (Aah see what I did there?). Perhaps you overlooked this little gem in all the aplomb of the summer blockbuster season at the time. I suggest giving it a look if you did, it’s a beautiful little movie, and sometimes that’s what we need. A break from the bombast, a nice sit down with a little movie that surprises you.
Here, have a trailer: