Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Allow Penn Jillette to critique Hollywood's best (and worst) magicians

Illustration for article titled Allow Penn Jillette to critique Hollywoods best (and worst) magicians
Screenshot: Arrested Development

It might be silly to believe in real-life magic, but it’d be even sillier to believe in movie magic. So, regardless of popping in to see a magician movie, one about wizards, or even biopics about real-life magicians, you should know that what you’re seeing is less smoke and mirrors and more some form of CGI. It’s all for fun and games, right? Well, that’s not stopping Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller from dissecting the magic tricks of onscreen magicians. You’d be surprised to find out which one is his favorite of all time though (hint: it’s pretty recent and rhymes with Pant-Ban).

Of course, debunking magic tricks and absurdities is Jillette’s expertise. In addition to being massively successful magicians in Las Vegas and beyond, Penn & Teller had their own series called Penn & Teller: Bullshit!. In this video, he serves up some great burns too, like how Hugh Jackman’s magic trick in The Prestige would never work in an actual magic show. Or how Teller, his magical partner in crime, has wanted to do that plant trick in The Illusionist for a while but Jillette will not allow it. Magic might be Jillette’s day job, but, if he gets bored, he could easily transition into professional Tom Cruise heckling.


Alani Vargas is an entertainment writer and A.V. Club contributor. Her work also appears on Showbiz Cheat Sheet, INSIDER, Bustle, Refinery29, and Elite Daily.

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