Gladiator is the 162nd episode of Screen Junkies comedy series Honest Trailers. It was written by Spencer Gilbert, Dan Murrell, Joe Starr, and Andy Signore. It parodies the 2000 epic historical drama film Gladiator. It was narrated by Jon Bailey as Epic Voice Guy. It was published on August 16, 2016, to coincide with the theatrical release of Ben-Hur (2016). It is 4 minutes 45 seconds long. It has been viewed over 3.5 million times.
"The most well-executed pro wrestling story of all time, complete with a kickass man of the people supported by chanting crowds, fighting an evil authority figure who cheats to win, that ends with them beating the crap out of each other in front of a screaming crowd." ~ Honest Trailers - Gladiator
From Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe -- when that still meant something -- comes the sword-and-sandal movie that was so successful, it gave us Troy, Alexander, two Hercules movies, a Clash of the Titans remake, and another Ben-Hur. Greeeeeeat. Gladiator.
Return to the high point of Rome's sophistication for a film made during the low point of our own, where Limp Bizkit ruled the charts, Mission: Impossible II ruled the box office, and this movie won Best Picture. I mean, don't get me wrong, it kicks ass, but the early 2000s do not deserve our nostalgia.
Russell Crowe stars as Maximus, the role that made him so famous, he thought he could get away with this (shows Russell Crowe and TOFOG singing in a colosseum in the music video for "Weight of a Man").
Maximus: Are you not entertained?!
No, no I am not.
Watch Max take on every challenge in his life with calm, stoic acceptance; calm, stoic dirt-rubbing (shows clips of Maximus rubbing dirt on his hands); or calm, stoic wheat-petting (shows clips of Maximus running his hand over wheat), in this one-note performance that won him Best Actor, but damn if that one note doesn't get me pumped!
Commodus: Do you have a name?
Maximus: My name is Gladiator.
Thrill as Maximus gets captured, trained, and forced to do battle in what's basically a human Pokémon league, as he seeks revenge on the off-putting weirdo Joaquin Phoenix who, in this movie, plays the off-putting weirdo Commodus. Witness one of the most disturbing performances ever, as the evil emperor shows off his many daddy issues...
Commodus (to his father): I search the faces of the gods...for ways to please you.
Commodus: Stay with me tonight.
Lucilla: You know I won't.
Commodus: Then kiss me.
Commodus (watching Lucius Verus sleep): He sleeps so well because he is loved.
Ewww. He's basically Jaime Lannister if he couldn't fight, or command an army, or bang his sister, or really do anything else right.
Enjoy a confusing mix of real history and fake stuff they kinda just made up, featuring a real Roman emperor (Marcus Aurelius) who suffers a made-up betrayal by his real son (Commodus), who tries to kill this made-up general (Maximus), who goes on to win real gladiator games. But when this real emperor fights this fake gladiator, which really happened, they pretend he died in the arena when really his wrestling partner strangled him in the bath. Hey, it might be fake, but it's still a hundred times more real than 300. (shows a goat man from 300) Why is a goat there?!
So strap in for the most well-executed pro wrestling story of all time, complete with a kickass man of the people, supported by chanting crowds, fighting an evil authority figure who cheats to win, that ends with them beating the crap out of each other in front of a screaming crowd (shows clips comparing Gladiator with a wrestling match between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Vince McMahon, ending with a crowd at the colosseum chanting Maximus' name). Hell yeah! Maximus 3:16 says:
Maximus: My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius...
Maximus: ...commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions...
Maximus: ...loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius...
Maximus: ...father to a murdered son...
Maximus: ...husband to a murdered wife...
Wrap it up.
Maximus: ...and I will have my vengeance...
I got things to do.
Maximus: ...in this life or the next.
Yeah, we're gonna have to work on your catchphrase, Max. No way that fits on a T-shirt.
Starring Spartacrowe (Russell Crowe as Maximus Decimus Meridius), Emperor Dumbledore I (Richard Harris as Marcus Aurelius), Joe-a-quinn Phone-ix (Joaquin Phoenix as Commodus), Caesar Flickerman (David Hemmings as Cassius), Watto (Oliver Reed as Antonius Proximo), and Little Caesar's (Spencer Treat Clark as Lucius Verus).
Mad Maximus: Fury Rome
This movie's so good, you'll forget Hans Zimmer basically reused its music for Pirates of the Caribbean. Hans, bubbie.
- Screen Junkies have produced Honest Trailers for several other historical movies including Braveheart, 300, Robin Hood (2018), Pearl Harbor, Forrest Gump, The Revenant, The Greatest Showman and Titanic. For more, see list of Honest Trailers.
- An Honest Trailer Commentary for this episode was recorded and was available on the Screen Junkies Plus until the website/app was discontinued. Screen Junkies don't currently have any way of releasing the video.
Honest Trailers - Gladiator has a 97.8% approval rating from YouTube viewers. The Playlist wrote that the Honest Trailer was like a "loving poke in the ribs" from Screen Junkies. The Playlist noted that Screen Junkies "like the movie, but also lightly mock Crowe’s particularly stoic performance that doesn’t modulate all that much, Joaquin Phoenix’s weird/creepy turn, and a narrative that has all the nuance of a pro-wrestling story." SlashFilm wrote "this Honest Trailer is right to point out that the early 2000s were full of some pretty awful junk." Nerdist made a similar comment, noting "sometimes it feels as though Gladiator gets unfair criticism because it won the Academy Award for the best movie, but as this trailer points out the early 2000s weren’t exactly brimming with mankind’s finest work." Time highlighted the Honest Trailer for pointing out the film's plot "is eerily similar to that of a WWE showdown." EW appreciated the Honest Trailer for addressing the issues of historical accuracy in the film.
Production credits Edit
Voiceover Narration by Jon Bailey
Title design by Robert Holtby
Edited by Bruce Guido
- ‘Gladiator’ Honest Trailer: The Most Well-Executed Pro Wrestling Story of All Time- Slash Film article
- Are You Not Entertained By The ‘Gladiator’ Honest Trailer? - Uproxx article
- GLADIATOR’S HONEST TRAILER IS THE BOTTOM LINE BECAUSE MAXIMUS SAYS SO - Nerdist article
- The Hilarious Honest Trailer for Gladiator Proves It's Really Just a Pro Wrestling Story - Time article
- Honest Trailers Presents Ridley Scott’s ‘Gladiator’ - Geeks of Doom article
- Gladiator faces off with Honest Trailers - EW article
- Honest Trailer For ‘Gladiator,’ Featuring Russell Crowe’s One Note Performance That Won Him An Oscar - The Playlist article