The fun thing about the internet is that everything is ripe to be rediscovered or experienced for the first time. All the stuff you were obsessed with twenty years ago can come back in style and go viral in unexpected ways. Is it baffling and often inexplicable? Sure, but you can’t tell me that seeing a bad CGI Brad Pitt get bounced across cars like a game of Pong didn’t brighten up your day.
That’s right: The new nostalgic discovery of social media this week is the 1998 film Meet Joe Black. A remake of Death Takes a Holiday, the romantic drama follows Death himself as he takes on the form of a very handsome man and experiences human life with the family of a billionaire mogul whose time is almost up. It’s an agonizingly long 180 minutes that looks and sounds beautiful but is mostly pretty dull and drawn out. It’s not Pitt’s finest hour either, but maybe this moment is. This is what went viral, an 80-second clip of a rom-com style meet-cute and contemplation of lost love that ends like THAT!
This is the most bonkers one minute of a movie that I have ever seen pic.twitter.com/wjRxHlIBO4— Rose O'Shea (@ladyastronauty) April 11, 2019
Would you prefer it in gif form?
That moment itself is hilarious enough, but the whole clip is a fascinating microcosm of the film: The overly drawn out emotions, the director’s inability to know when to call ‘cut’, Claire Forlani looking so beautiful and Brad Pitt with his hair ever so floppy. It’s like a rom-com parody played completely seriously.
Twitter came alive with precious memories about the film, which was something of a critical and commercial flop in its day (making just under $143m from a $90m budget). This was the film you had to see if you wanted to watch the first trailer for Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. But it was not without its own charms.
MEET JOE BLACK was the first movie I reviewed, ever. For my high-school paper. I remember quoting this exchange. Somehow, it has always stayed with me. pic.twitter.com/9SHEKJQ9b0— Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) April 11, 2019
But if you wanted to watch it at home, you needed the two cassette edition.
Never forget! pic.twitter.com/8RkV1BJe2f— :Mallory: (@TheLadyStranger) April 12, 2019
As Death, Brad Pitt is obsessed with peanut butter.
Not nearly enough attention is being paid to how much of MEET JOE BLACK’s three grueling hours are devoted to Death’s obsession with peanut butter. (Seriously.)— Mike D’Angelo (@gemko) April 11, 2019
“Hi I’m Joe Black. You’re going to die! But first let me eat peanut butter and screw your daughter.”— Daniel Bentley (@DJBentley) April 12, 2019
And then there’s this.
if the cgi brad getting hit by what felt like five? cars wasnt enough, theres this beauty pic.twitter.com/B3pLFQWAPz— Ceire (@_Ceire_) April 11, 2019
For me, Meet Joe Black is a fascinating film, albeit more in an abstract sense than the finished product, which looks good but is WAY too long. It’s a good summary of Brad Pitt’s career in the ’90s, when he was the most famous man on the planet not called Tom Cruise. He was a teen heart-throb and total sex symbol, but he didn’t do a lot of roles intended for that demographic. Sure, he’s pure lady eye candy in Meet Joe Black, but the film itself is aiming far more for Oscar style prestige than teen girl poster legacies. It’s got a lot in common with Titanic in that regard. By 1998, he had his first Oscar nomination for Twelve Monkeys and was making films like The Interview With the Vampire, A River Runs Through It, Legends of the Fall and Seven: All serious dramas for adults with lofty ambitions and awards-adjacent qualities. The following year, he’d make a little film called Fight Club. So it’s sort of strange that we talk a lot about his Angelina Jolie uber producer period as his resurgence as a character actor because he was always working within those parameters when he was baby faced and hunky. He just needed a few more wrinkles to get there properly. And peanut butter, apparently.
I can’t wait to see what random movie becomes a viral hit next week. Anyone taking bets?
I’m watching Meet Joe Black for the beginning 🤣 pic.twitter.com/oUThqKNKng— 👯Danceypants 💖 (@Pinkdiscoball77) April 12, 2019
Header Image Source: Getty Images.