The Laziest Movie Sets of All Time

Movie locations without the "location."
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Movie locations without the "location."
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Movie locations without the "location."

Man on a Ledge is the latest film from noted Na’vi Sam Worthington and noted Steve Carell seducer Elizabeth Banks. This isn’t some artsy fartsy title. The movie is literally about a man on a ledge. The set designers may not win an Academy Award, but we applaud such simple, straightforward filmmaking. More movies should take place in a single setting or small space. Multi-location shoots are for chumps. Here’s our list of the laziest (in a good way) movie productions. 



Phone Booth

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Photo Courtesy of Everett Collection | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2010

The movie has one titanic problem: When’s the last time you saw a real phone booth? They could have called this movie Dirigible Repair Shop and it would be just as relevant. As you can guess, the movie takes place in a phone booth as Colin Farrell is held captive by the sneaky, gravelly voice of Kiefer Sutherland. What it lacks in locales, it makes up for with tension and constant whispers from your friends, “Why doesn’t he just use a cell phone? Where’s his cell phone? Is this Die Hard 3? Can we watch Die Hard 3?”

Devil

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Photo Courtesy of Universal Pictures | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2010

This movie takes place inside an elevator, and it’s a shame we didn’t make the film ourselves. We can only imagine the pitch meeting:

US: So six strangers get on an escalator.

HOLLYWOOD: That’s awful. You are horrible.

US: But wait! What if instead of an escalator, it’s an elevator? And one of them is the devil and everyone watching the movie can pretty much tell who the bad guy is right away.

HOLLYWOOD: Yes! You’ve done it again, guys! Yours is a creativity that knows no bounds! [hands money bag over] Bravo! Bravo!



Tape

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Photo Courtesy of Everett Collection | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2010

Motel rooms are great settings for movies and awkward threeways. In this Richard Linklater film, Uma Thurman, Ethan Hawke and Robert Sean Leonard play former friends who share a motel room and reveal deep secrets about their past. Also, there’s a tape. What’s on the tape? We’re not telling…because we forgot. Maybe it’s a killer mix tape that opens with Queen and ends with more Queen.

My Dinner With Andre

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Photo Courtesy of Everett Collection | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2010

We all know about it, but few have actually witnessed this little plotless film experiment in which two actors have dinner at a restaurant and talk for two hours. It’s the go-to punch line for jokes about simple movies and even popped up as the premise for an entire episode of Community this year. Come for the Wallace “Inconceivable” Shawn performance and stay for the banal conversation as you desperately wait for Shawn to say something hilarious. (Spoiler alert: He never does.) Here’s to hoping for a remake staring Amy Poehler and Dan Aykroyd grabbing some tex mex.



Open Water

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Photo Courtesy of Lionsgate | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2010

This one handily wins the laziest production award. They used the ocean, not a water tank, and real sharks rather than mechani --- holy shit, they used real sharks?! They can do that?

Frozen

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Photo Courtesy of Everett Collection | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2010

When your role in Gossip Girl is the best thing you’ve got going and you’ve unsuccessfully pled Iceman’s case for X-Men: First Class, respectively, what are two young actors to do? Make a stuck-on-a-ski-lift horror classic, obviously. In addition to ruining that Christmas Story icy pole scene forever...

...Frozen taught us all the valuable lesson of springing for ski passes. Because bribing a lift attendant ends in frostbite. And wolves. (And sometimes, just sometimes, it ends in true love. Just ask our uncle.)

Exam

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Photo Courtesy of IFC Films | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2010

Here, filmmakers capitalized on the pure terror of standardized testing by locking eight job candidates for a super-secret corporation in a windowless room with one question to answer. And that question: Can soap be dirty? (Kidding. That’s a question best left unanswered.)

Buried

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Photo Courtesy of Lionsgate | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2010

If nothing else, this movie proved that Ryan Reynolds is a lot more interesting trapped in a coffin than trapped in a latex green body suit. Come to think of it, watching him trapped in Jason Bateman’s body was also pretty terrible, so maybe he should stick to “coffin” and “Nixon-era America” for things he’s allowed to be trapped in. “Closet” is always an option, too. But only if R. Kelly’s little person comes with.

Lifeboat

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Photo Courtesy of Everett Collection | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2010

The granddaddy of all cheap sets, the entirety of this classic Hitchcock movie takes place…in a phone booth! (And we’re back to the beginning again. Thanks for tying this list up nice and neat for us, Alfred.)