Just as you can’t have a Sith master without a Sith apprentice, you apparently can’t have a new Star Wars trailer without Meet Joe Black. In a crazy cosmic coincidence, the 1998 Brad Pitt drama started trending on Twitter the day before the first teaser for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker premiered at Star Wars Celebration in Chicago and blasted social media into hyperspace. Here’s why that’s so appropriate: 20 years ago, the first-ever trailer for Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace premiered in front of Meet Joe Black, giving the movie a notable box office bump... for a night, anyway. The Martin Brest-directed movie finished with a disappointing $44 million domestic gross.
So how did this largely forgotten movie re-enter our galaxy at the same time as Star Wars? Credit goes to Upright Citizens Brigade comedian, Rose O’Shea, who re-discovered the movie on Netflix and clipped its craziest scene for posterity.
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
Some context: Based on the 1934 film, Death Takes a Holiday, Meet Joe Black features Pitt as a young man who dies in a sudden, violent and unintentionally hilarious traffic accident only to return to Earth as the personification of Death. Once back on terra firma, Death promptly moves in with a billionaire (Anthony Hopkins) and his single daughter (Claire Forlani) and helps them sort through their personal issues.
Clocking in at nearly three hours, Meet Joe Black was largely ignored by critics and moviegoers upon its theatrical release in 1998, but O’Shea single-handedly brought it back to life on Twitter.
I saw Meet Joe Black on VHS in 1999, and it was during this specific scene that I first realised that really bad films can often be more entertaining than really good films. https://t.co/8TOrWLm0mQ— Ryan Coogan (@theothercoogan) April 11, 2019
Man, Twitter's really trying hard tonight to make me think about putting in my DVD of MEET JOE BLACK for the first time in probably 15 years.— Nat Brehmer (@NatBrehmer) April 12, 2019
As someone who knew nothing about the movie MEET JOE BLACK until 10 minutes ago, I am delighted by this pic.twitter.com/I6LlJvVNDo— Maddie Whittle 🤷♀️ (@maddiewhittle) April 11, 2019
Meet Joe Black is trending in on Twitter in 2019 because people who went to see it when it was first released in 1998 are just leaving the theater now.— Frank Conniff (@FrankConniff) April 12, 2019
Meanwhile, critics who reviewed the movie the first time around took a moment to educate newbies about its shortcomings.
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
Things to know about “Meet Joe Black”:— Janet Maslin (@JanetMaslin) April 11, 2019
—is 170 minutes long
—includes the line “What a lovely name, Joe!”
—makes Brad Pitt say “The taste of your lips and the touch of your tongue—that was wonderful.”
—needed 4 credited screenwriters to come up with this stuff.
Unlike the Bird Box Challenge, Netflix’s Twitter account was only too happy to encourage the meme-ification of Meet Joe Black.
So glad this fully insane and perfect moment in movie history is making the rounds again. https://t.co/EsgnPBbY3B— Netflix Film (@NetflixFilm) April 12, 2019
The film is Meet Joe Black – and yes – it's on Netflix.— Netflix Film (@NetflixFilm) April 12, 2019
Tired: Interview with the Vampire Brad Pitt— Netflix Film (@NetflixFilm) April 12, 2019
Wired: Burn After Reading Brad Pitt
Inspired: Meet Joe Black Brad Pitt
And, inevitably, the conversation circled back around to Star Wars, with many remarking on The Phantom Menace/Meet Joe Black connection as The Rise of Skywalker trailer took over Twitter.
Maybe it's because #MeetJoeBlack was just trending the day before the teaser trailer for @starwars #TheRiseofSkywalker dropped...but I felt compelled to create this GIF#StarWars #TheRiseOfJoeBlack pic.twitter.com/SJbXLqelPh— Nelson Carvajal (@nelsoncarvajal) April 12, 2019
At the midnight premiere of THE PHANTOM MENACE at Toronto's venerable (and now shuttered) York theatre, someone waited till the last possible second before the Lucasfilm logo and said, loudly enough for all to hear, "I can't wait to see the trailer for MEET JOE BLACK."— Adam Nayman (@brofromanother) April 12, 2019
Every dude in the theater who had stuck around only to see The Phantom Menace trailer (again) laughed so hard at this. (Myself included). Around the 3rd hour of Meet Joe Black, one of them yelled “Hit him again!” https://t.co/e4kjhkZXHv— Pablo Hidalgo (@pablohidalgo) April 12, 2019
Let’s all recreate 1999 and watch Meet Joe Black immediately after watching the new Star Wars trailer. https://t.co/aj8kYlkoDq— Robert Luke!!!!!!!!! (@OhNoRobertLuke) April 12, 2019
New #StarWars trailer is great, now back to that Meet Joe Black scene tho.— Jesse Lasky (@JesseLasky) April 12, 2019
Meet Joe Black is currently streaming on Netflix. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens in theaters on Dec. 20.
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