‘The Brand new Testament’ is released in Irish cinemas this week, and tells the story of God’s daughter Ea. God exists and lives in Brussels, but is arrogant and mean, using humans as his own personal playthings. When Ea decides to sort things out and tells everyone their date of death, she goes down into the world to find 6 apostles, and make some changes for the better.
‘The Brand New Testament’ is a quirky and existential comedy that pokes fun at religion and the idea of God as a concept. Movies.ie has taken a look back over other quirky comedies and pulled together some of our favourite off-beat films.
EAGLE VS SHARK
Before ‘What We Do in the Shadows’, director Taika Waititi made his debut with ‘Eagle Vs Shark’, the story of Lily (Loren Taylor) and Jarrod (Jemaine Clement), two socially awkward people who manage to find love with one another, after going through much together, including getting their revenge on high school bullies.
‘Eagle Vs Shark’ is absurdly funny, mostly due to the lies that Jarrod tells himself to make his life seem better and more interesting, but also has a layer of tragedy underneath the surface, showing up the difficulties that socially awkward people go through in connecting with other people, often sabotaging themselves in the process.
DROP DEAD GORGEOUS
Late 1990s cinema was filled with dark comedies, and Michael Patrick Jann’s ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’ was no exception. Starring Kirsten Dunst, Ellen Barkin, Allison Janney and marking the film debut of Amy Adams, ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’ is the story of a beauty pageant in a small town, which turns deadly when it is clear that one of the contestants will go to any lengths to win… Even murder.
‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’ was not incredibly well received at the time of its release, but has gone on to become a cult classic, and beloved by fans around the world. On the surface, the film is a laugh riot at the bitchy antics hat happen in the pageant world, but it soon becomes clear that the film is also a comment on competitiveness among teens, and the not-all-that-new phenomenon of body shaming.
BEING JOHN MALKOVICH
Any one of the films penned by Charlie Kaufman could end up on this list, but we decided to throw way back to the early 2000s, with Kaufman and Spike Jonze’s first feature film, ‘Being John Malklovich’. The story follows puppeteer Craig Schwartz (John Cusack), whose life is not necessarily turning out the way he planned, that is, until he finds a portal that literally leads into the head of actor John Malkovich, and everything changes.
‘Being John Malkovich’ is an incredibly off-beat, but warm film about someone living their lives vicariously through someone else… In Craig Schwartz’s case, this just so happens to be literally through the eyes, and actions of a famous actor. The film deals with the notions of obsession and personality, as well as the idea that a celebrity somehow belongs to those that observe them.’FRANK
Lenny Abrahamson’s 2014 film ‘Frank’ focuses on Jon (Domhnall Gleeson), a man stuck in a dead end job, who dreams of making music. The trouble is, he has no idea how to start, and few engaging ideas for songs. When he encounters a band led by the enigmatic Frank (Michael Fassbender), Jon finds himself playing keyboard in the band, and on his way to a remote house in Ireland to record an album. It is not long, however, before Jon wonders if he has bitten off more than he can chew.
‘Frank’ is based on writer Jon Ronson’s time on the road with British entertainer Frank Sidebottom, but evolves into something more than that as the film goes on. Initially something of an eccentric since he spends all his time in public wearing a fake head, it is eventually revealed that Frank’s desire to hide stems from something deeper, something daker.
THEY CAME TOGETHER
Released to little fanfare in 2014, ‘They Came Together’ stars Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler in this absurd and hilarious Rom-Com. Molly (Amy Poehler) owns a small cupcake shop, which the company Joel (Paul Rudd) runs is trying to bulldoze to make way for a new development. In confronting their opposition to one another, Molly and Joel find themselves drawn together…
While ‘They Came Together’ sounds like a typical Rom-Com in which boy meets girl and they all live happily ever after, the difference is that the film gleefully sends up the typical Rom-Com tropes, turning the film into an absurd and hilarious comment on Hollywood romantic comedies, and the unrealistic expectations characters have in these glossy films. It should not surprise anyone to hear that ‘They Came Together’ was written by those responsible for the equally odd ‘Wet Hot American Summer’; Michael Showalter and David Wain.
Honourable mentions to… ‘Moonrise Kingdom’, ‘Office Space’, ‘Mistress America’ and ‘Mic Macs’.
Words: Brogen Hayes
‘The Brand New Testament’ is released in Irish cinemas on April 15th 2016. Watch the trailer below…