For Your Health: Tim and Eric On Their Billion Dollar Movie

We catch up with the cult comedy duo for a chat about their first feature movie -- satisfaction guaranteed.

by | March 2, 2012 | Comments

Even in the seen-it-all world of modern comedy, Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim’s brand of humor stands apart as odd — and quite unlike anything else out there. Since its debut in 2007, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! has cultivated an army of fans (and famous comedy friends) drawn to the duo’s nightmare landscape of TV surrealism, a carnival of comedy non-sequiturs and awkward freeze frames where all entertainment seems to have paused on loop in an alternate 1992. This week, they unleash Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie , in which Wareheim and Heidecker squander a billion dollars of studio money on three minutes of unusable footage and so — obviously — set out to transform a desolate suburban mall, where the last 30 years of consumer culture has gone en route to the abyss. Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis and John C. Reilly co-star, along with a phantom wolf, a Johnny Depp impersonator, and bountiful servings of shrim. Roger Ebert hated it, so you know it’s good. We sat down with Tim and Eric recently for a chat about the film.


I thought the studio would have put us all in Schlaaang Super Seats, pumped full of drugs for the optimal movie experience.

Eric Wareheim: [Laughs] They’d be more comfortable.

It’s scary, but they seem almost like a possibility in the near future.

Tim Heidecker: Well I think there’s a version of that that almost exists already, you know? Like the shock seats?

Like D-Box?

TH: Yeah the D-Box thing. We kinda heard about that and thought that we’d take it 10 steps too far.

I like that you’ve reinstated Jeff Goldblum to his rightful place as movies’ pre-eminent pseudo-scientist.

[Laughs]

EW: Yeah. He’s been an awesome supporter of us and he’s always been game to do something zany. He just gave the best performance.

Where did the idea for the movie originate?

TH: We met with Funny or Die, with [producer] Adam McKay and those guys, and just sort of talked in general terms about what kind of movie we wanted to make. We had some ideas about it being a Tim and Eric sort of odyssey, and we wanted to make a movie about movies; so there were these sort of general themes that we knew that we wanted to do in our first movie.

Was the mall always something you explore as part of that odyssey?

EW: It started out as a town and we had to change it to a mall over time, for budget reasons, but we’ve always been interested by malls, and mini-malls and stuff.

What is it about them? Your mall is a kind of gateway to Hell — it reminded me of Dawn of the Dead.

TH: Yeah, definitely. I mean, we grew up around malls and it’s a really great microcosm of the culture of America. You can have fun with different kinds of stores and the people who work there, and it just became this fun world to play around with.

Were there any movie inspirations for you, given you had to go from a short TV show to a 90-minute big screen comedy?

EW: We tried to — like everything we do — we tried to not look at other things. We looked at a couple of movies to not repeat what they’ve done. In the script there were a couple of things where our producers were like, “You know, this is sort of like this movie.” So we were very conscious of doing our own thing and not really taking too much from other movies.

You guys are fans of David Lynch, so it must have been a treat to have both Mr. Eddy (Lost Highway‘s Robert Loggia) and Leland Palmer (Twin Peaks‘ Ray Wise) as your villains.

EW: We were definitely aware of that, and we were honored that they would both be a part of it. Their performances in Lynch’s work is like what we wanted, you know — Loggia freaking out and Ray Wise just doing his creepy kind of thing.

TH: We’ve also worked with both of those guys on our show before, so in some ways it felt like they’re part of our troupe.

Do you have a favorite moment from Lynch?

EW: I just rewatched Twin Peaks and one of my favorite moments is when Leland — it’s, like, infamous — is singing and dancing with his wife along to the record player. It was just an eerie, awesome moment.

Along with the spiritual guru, did you get big entourages and weird star clauses now that you’re making a movie?

TH: [Laughs] No, it was a pretty bare bones operation making the movie. Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie is meant to be a pretty ironic title, considering the amount of money we really had. It was very independently made.

Did some people really walk out of the Sundance screening? Why?

TH: Yeah. I mean, it was a midnight movie, so I’m sure there were a few people that wanted to go to bed. There’s a lot of people at Sundance that are older, rich snobs and are just people who didn’t know what they were getting into. It got to a point in the movie where they said, “This isn’t for me.” We don’t really think it’s that big of a deal.

And you didn’t have any problems with the censors and the grotesque bodily stuff in the movie?

EW: I can’t believe we got an R. We didn’t have to cut anything from the movie, which is kind of crazy.

Are you still offering the “Billion Dollar Movie Guarantee”?

EW: Definitely. You go to see the Billion Dollar Movie, and if you feel like you are not satisfied we’ll refund your money and I’ll personally come over to your house with a check, pay you the 10 bucks back, and I’ll also do any dirty dishes you have in the house — no matter what.

TH: You have to be able to prove that you didn’t enjoy it though.

How do you prove that?

TH: That’s the trick.

EW: It’s a long process to prove that you actually didn’t enjoy it.

TH: We have a legal team on our side.

EW: Polygraphs, and all that stuff. It actually ends up costing us a lot of money to prove that.

Nobody’s actually tried this yet, have they?

EW: No. Everyone’s satisfied.


Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie opens in select theaters this week and is also available to watch via iTunes, Amazon and video-on-demand.


Tag Cloud

cinemax Red Carpet golden globe awards Infographic Dark Horse Comics Neflix football Crunchyroll Sundance TV pirates of the caribbean rt archives BAFTA spain indie Winter TV new star wars movies Drama 79th Golden Globes Awards rotten Vudu Crackle Esquire Super Bowl USA Network Pirates japan archives Best and Worst Exclusive Video Sci-Fi video Black History Month MTV comic Mudbound king arthur Sony Pictures comics IFC docuseries Family Calendar Grammys dc festivals screen actors guild DC streaming service feel good ViacomCBS Lionsgate A24 TCA 2017 crime drama king kong LGBTQ CMT cancelled TV shows Bravo a nightmare on elm street theme song comic book movie Year in Review Fantasy TV renewals international FX on Hulu New York Comic Con TCA Awards Fox Searchlight 2016 Set visit best anthology Image Comics TCM Ghostbusters Spring TV Nat Geo Shondaland USA San Diego Comic-Con Cosplay satire australia Oscar Best Actor Awards RT21 nfl First Reviews TLC X-Men Arrowverse Country south america Television Critics Association tv talk scary movies HBO FOX stop motion comedies Amazon South by Southwest Film Festival Hulu boxing 1990s Animation video on demand 21st Century Fox award winner kids Spike Ovation japanese canceled TV shows rom-coms green book Mystery films high school 45 Masterpiece dceu FX social media worst movies 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards kaiju ESPN romantic comedy Britbox reviews blockbusters Discovery Channel PBS The Purge vs. christmas movies supernatural BBC America Instagram Live Pop TV TCA Winter 2020 Mary poppins royal family Rocketman SXSW crime biography NBA mission: impossible monster movies ghosts Baby Yoda richard e. Grant venice Alien Disney Channel Podcast Oscars vampires LGBT Syfy YouTube Red Kids & Family Cannes Polls and Games sports FXX DGA TruTV Paramount Network target robots batman nbcuniversal latino YouTube Premium Anna Paquin sequel cats Photos sequels Reality Competition HBO Go festival President superman animated VOD casting PlayStation war Nickelodeon Tags: Comedy unscripted Tokyo Olympics AMC Plus Comedy zombies scorecard live action See It Skip It 94th Oscars psychological thriller adventure adaptation women TCA Writers Guild of America composers MGM Film Festival ABC Family spinoff Musical HFPA discovery SDCC Avengers TV Land BBC legend GIFs art house spider-verse HBO Max disaster biopic Television Academy 72 Emmy Awards E3 Prime Video Summer Lucasfilm Universal Pictures finale foreign blockbuster Extras asian-american 20th Century Fox Netflix AMC Sneak Peek wonder woman Paramount Plus diversity halloween Starz Music leaderboard Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Stephen King Pet Sematary Action reboot stand-up comedy Logo binge universal monsters BET Christmas comiccon directors game show National Geographic WarnerMedia Warner Bros. jamie lee curtis space Rom-Com Song of Ice and Fire CNN Biopics 007 young adult 93rd Oscars Endgame cooking based on movie worst Toys Funimation Freeform mockumentary Mary Tyler Moore Star Trek Hallmark Christmas movies fast and furious Creative Arts Emmys MCU scary Tumblr independent cancelled TV series jurassic park Marvel Studios superhero obi wan justice league golden globes Hear Us Out Trivia spy thriller Fargo slashers 90s aapi Wes Anderson marvel cinematic universe documentary spanish Disney Plus serial killer 2021 italian Turner Academy Awards Opinion revenge Comic-Con@Home 2021 YA politics all-time popular Best Picture VICE indiana jones adenture french Shudder versus El Rey spider-man The CW prank trailers Comedy Central boxoffice screenings TV One classics Chilling Adventures of Sabrina true crime Horror new york Mindy Kaling Premiere Dates scene in color APB Reality DirecTV olympics MSNBC ratings telelvision saw E! Lifetime Lifetime Christmas movies DC Comics news live event obituary Tarantino Schedule action-comedy RT History book adaptation TV rotten movies we love natural history Tubi 2017 Film critics WGN remakes halloween tv mutant The Witch Ellie Kemper transformers 99% breaking bad hidden camera Binge Guide Captain marvel elevated horror OneApp Brie Larson comic book movies Emmy Nominations Peacock 4/20 dexter basketball The Academy Travel Channel TV movies lord of the rings hollywood facebook period drama 2020 VH1 technology heist movie A&E aliens Thanksgiving cancelled television Acorn TV 71st Emmy Awards Legendary harry potter Quiz Adult Swim hispanic heritage month Epix talk show OWN Teen rt labs critics edition sitcom deadpool quibi Black Mirror Fox News NBC hist Comic Book BBC One zero dark thirty Best Director Sundance Now criterion dramedy TBS Character Guide Disney streaming service miniseries Nominations hispanic Broadway television Trailer Rock TNT science fiction movie Marvel historical drama Certified Fresh Showtime CBS Sundance travel Awards Tour Election Walt Disney Pictures dark CW Seed The Walking Dead ABC ITV Pride Month spanish language Western die hard anime The Arrangement SXSW 2022 Marvel Television dreamworks IMDb TV BET Awards streamig chucky genre Comics on TV Hallmark Amazon Studios series Countdown CBS All Access Chernobyl romance Trophy Talk Superheroes cancelled Apple TV+ Martial Arts Interview Heroines twilight IFC Films renewed TV shows YouTube Disney+ Disney Plus Tomatazos zombie Star Wars fresh dragons political drama Columbia Pictures slasher GoT know your critic Holiday mcc laika NYCC singing competition gangster cartoon Pacific Islander rt labs toy story Apple Spectrum Originals concert medical drama canceled Amazon Prime Video critic resources game of thrones 24 frames teaser stoner blaxploitation strong female leads doctor who black werewolf sopranos godzilla Turner Classic Movies ABC Signature ID Classic Film sag awards 73rd Emmy Awards black comedy movies emmy awards parents Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Actress Superheroe 2018 cults History Netflix Christmas movies Apple TV Plus Mary Poppins Returns comic books franchise Pop thriller Cartoon Network SundanceTV trophy streaming movies Rocky children's TV Video Games posters documentaries GLAAD The Walt Disney Company Women's History Month Pixar Universal TIFF marvel comics Elton John American Society of Cinematographers psycho joker Fall TV cars child's play mob free movies crime thriller Holidays Emmys docudrama 2019 streaming First Look Food Network crossover DC Universe new zealand name the review cops police drama Disney book PaleyFest razzies Winners Paramount nature Valentine's Day Marathons witnail Musicals debate toronto Amazon Prime Box Office what to watch Watching Series james bond 2015 dogs suspense kong