Screen Junkies’ YouTube channel produces a great series titled Honest Trailers, which does a masterful job of putting famous movies and TV shows on blast.
Whether it’s massive plot holes, bad acting, questionable creative decisions, behind-the-scenes drama, or anything else, Honest Trailers has it covered. The trailers have epic voice-over work, cleverly assembled footage, and hilarity.
Read on to find a ranking of the best episodes to date.
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1. The Happening
What’s happening? So many people in this movie talk about something happening. But no one really knows what’s happening.
Some of the best bits of the Honest Trailer: the discussion about Mark Wahlberg giving a “Donnie Wahlberg-level performance” as a science teacher who’s “so inquisitive, he phrases everything like a question.”
The main villain of this movie? Gently. Rustling. Leaves.
And just wait for the starring section and Honest Trailers’ signature alternate title to cap it off. It’s all so apropos and laugh-out-loud funny. The Happening is the low point of M. Night Shyamalan’s slump and is indubitably No. 1 here.
2. Every Wes Anderson Movie
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more incisive sizzle reel of Anderson-isms in one place. The quirky indie director is one of the most innately recognizable auteurs in cinema history.
One of the most truthful moments at least for yours truly: It really is hard to figure out when to laugh at a Wes Anderson FILM. And even in liking his work, there’s a certain ambiguity and tendency to forget what happens.
Maybe it’s because many of Anderson’s plots feature “disaffected” protagonists, similar love storylines and “meticulously planned” plans that go wrong!
If you don’t love this episode, wait for the “association game” at the end of the trailer. It’s the secret sauce that pushes “Every Wes Anderson Movie” way up the rankings.
3. Honest Trailers – Honest Trailers (Written by a Robot)
As indicated by the title, a robot wrote this. However, the way the creative team cut together footage to match the irreverent AI script is absolutely brilliant.
There’s really no way to set this up or explain it. No point in spoiling any of it. Suffice it to say, a certain amount of faux hubris is involved to put out something like this — and Screen Junkies rose to the occasion.
Aside from The Happening, I didn’t laugh out loud more consistently at any of the trailers than this one. But the end of Wes Anderson’s puts this at No. 3.
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4. Mission: Impossible
YouTube features all kinds of fun-poking content at the Mission: Impossible franchise, but this Honest Trailers outline of the first four films is quite something to soak in.
The trailer outlines the “impossible” formula in grand detail, from the MacGuffin plot device to assigning missions to an agent who can simply decline to take them and much more.
Tom Cruise keeps topping himself with every movie since the third one. With Ethan Hunt going stronger than ever, it’ll be fascinating to see how inventive Mission: Impossible gets as the blockbuster series (presumably) comes to a conclusion soon.
5. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
One of the best things Screen Junkies ever did for this series was promptly switching voice-over artists. Their Honest Trailer voice man is the best in the business.
But the way they reintegrated his predecessor into this edition, playing on The Force Awakens plot parallels with A New Hope was ingenious. Their contrast works well, as Old Voice-over Guy played the grumpy O.G. Star Wars fan, while the bass-voiced angel advocates for the new Episode VII.
It’s a great back-and-forth argument about the strengths and weaknesses of the 2015 smash hit. Definitely worthy of a top-five spot.
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6. Doctor Strange
This trailer lays out how Doctor Strange is damn near the same plot as Iron Man. The personality of the protagonist? Genius, wealthy and condescending. Then, a life-threatening injury forces them to adapt and change. After that, a complication totally changes their perception of the world and/or reality.
Ultimately, the hero saves the day against someone with similar powers, but evil.
A genius idea to come from this episode: A Strange cloak-Aladdin magic carpet crossover. It could happen with Disney owning Marvel! Considering Doctor Strange is about to get all caught up in the multiverse, maybe there’s room for a little rug to cross paths with Strange’s cape!
7. Every Christopher Nolan Movie
The Nolan-verse breakdown is similar in format to the Wes Anderson one, but that compilation is hard to top.
Nevertheless, Honest Trailers takes Nolan to task for his strangely-named lead characters, obsession with time, and tendency to articulate deep feelings in a not-so-realistic way.
The YouTubers acknowledge that it’s hard to poke holes in one of the modern era’s most brilliant filmmakers. However, there are some illuminating digs in here many casual fans probably wouldn’t be conscious of otherwise.
Wait, is that a form of…Inception?
Hard to believe this show premiered all the way back in 2004. As a result, there is some dated humor and content in it that may not have aged as well as you’d think.
Honest Trailers‘ takedown of Entourage might be higher in these rankings if it didn’t make me spontaneously close out of YouTube. Yes, agent Ari Gold is supposed to be a terrible human in a lot of ways, but these clips really lay that bare.
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Also, the pack of dudes led by movie star Vincent Chase isn’t the most redeemable character. They’re the ultimate toxic bros. Like, way more than I remembered upon initially watching the iconic series.
If you’re an Entourage fan, this Honest Trailer may make you scared to revisit it!