THE SPOILS BEFORE DYING
Starring Michael Kenneth Williams, Maya Rudolph
and Kristen Wiig
Available on DVD as of June 7, 2016
“The Spoils Before Dying” showcases an all-star cast including, Michael Kenneth Williams (12 Years a Slave, RoboCop, “The Wire”), Maya Rudolph (“Saturday Night Live,” Bridesmaids, Big Hero 6), Kristen Wiig (“Saturday Night Live,” Bridesmaids), and Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense, Pay It Forward). Produced by Funny Or Die with executive producers Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Nate Young, Andrew Steele and Matt Piedmont, “The Spoils Before Dying” was written by Andrew Steele and Matt Piedmont (who also directed). “The Spoils Before Dying” is the second book, based on fictional famous author Eric Jonrosh’s (Will Ferrell) first best-selling epic novel The Spoils of Babylon. Season two from the “Spoils” franchise premiered on IFC on July 8, 2015, and includes six half-hour episodes.
The series centers on Michael Kenneth Williams as Rock Banyon, who becomes the prime suspect in the double murder of his occasional lover Fresno Foxglove (Maya Rudolph) who is found dead with another man. Panicked, Rock splits for Mexico where he reunites with his one-time big band singer Delores DeWinter (Kristen Wiig). With 72 hours to clear his name or fry in the electric chair, Rock and Delores embark on a dangerous quest for the truth that takes them into an abyss of sex, drugs, betrayal, and of course, jazz. While his world crumbles, Rock’s hard-charging manager Alistair St. Barnaby (Haley Joel Osment) pressures him to record a mainstream jazz album.
Funny Or Die can pretty much do no wrong in my opinion. Following up on the 2014 The Spoils of Babylon, The Spoils Before Dying is another total win. If you haven’t seen the first season in IFC, imagine a Sin City narrative combined with the Rodriguez/Tarantino Grindhouse schlock and add in the compressed timing of an SNL Digital Short (sort of, each episode is 30 minutes). Tough in our age of binge-watching, you can happily run through the entire series in the time it would take you to watch any other film, half as fun. The mock commercials stuck into the episodes are as completely tongue-in-cheek as the rest of the production. The performances are off the rails hilarious. Will Ferrell reprising his role as Eric Jonrosh is pure insanity. His oftentimes linear thinking combined with overindulgence and narcissism is pitch perfect. Michael Kenneth Williams is a breath of fresh air as he takes on his role with (almost) complete seriousness. We all knew Maya Rudolf has a set of pipes on her, but I had no idea that Kristen Wiig can sing. And when I say sing, I really mean SAAAANNNNNGGGG. The songs are unapologetically ridiculous AND maintain gorgeous melodies. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Haley Joel Osment, who steals each scene he appears in with total commitment and one over-the-top accent. With appearances by Tim Robbins, Kate McKinnon, Molly Shannon, Michael Sheen, Chris Parnell, Tim Meadows, to name a few, you simply cannot go wrong with this series. The Spoils Before Dying is now available in DVD. Check out the trailer below!