Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Great (film) Debates vol. 73

Stupid is as stupid does, but stupid can also be pretty darn funny.

What is your favorite “stupid” comedy?



Panelist: Tennessee Jed

Probably Animal House followed by Christmas Vacation. "It's so nice to be back here at the Death Delayed Club. We'd like to do a little song called Shama, Lama Ding Dong. So here 'tis." - Otis Knight.

Panelist: T-Rav

Scary Movie 4. I haven’t seen the first three, but I was aware of them, and for me, number four came just prior to the point at which those spoof movies became really ham-fisted and ridiculous. Plus, anything which makes fun of Tom Cruise gets points from me.

Panelist: BevfromNYC

Okay, I just love stupid, mindless comedies, though I can’t think of single one right now.

Panelist: AndrewPrice

Stupid and I aren't great friends, but I'll go with Dodgeball which was a lot of fun. Alternatively, I'm going with the entire Scary Movie franchise.

Panelist: ScottDS

Trapped in Paradise, starring Nicolas Cage (at his crazy best), Jon Lovitz, and Dana Carvey. It tells the story of the Firpo brothers – restaurateur Bill and his two idiot brothers, Dave and Alvin – who rob a bank on Christmas Eve in the town of Paradise, PA. Due to a snowstorm, they find themselves stranded and treated wonderfully by the townsfolk, including the bank manager and his family. The cast includes some familiar faces, including a hilariously deadpan Richard Jenkins as a harried FBI agent.


Comments? Thoughts?

78 comments:

Floyd R. Turbo said...

Old school: Duck Soup

Middle School: It's A Mad (x5) World

1970s: Animal House

1980s: Pee Wee's Big Adventure (genius)

1990s: Dumb and Dumber... still gets me every time

2000s: Super Troopers (with an Hon. Mention to Rat Race)

ScottDS said...

Jed -

It's the "Dexter Lake Club." :-)

I love Animal House and I showed it to a friend recently who'd never seen it - he liked it, though he felt it wasn't constructed very well. (Some of the editing isn't great and it's obvious they had a low budget.)

He did, however, marvel at how many movies have copied from it over the last 30 years!

"What are you studying?"
"Primitive cultures!" :-)

ScottDS said...

Floyd -

I'd hardly call Duck Soup a "stupid comedy." Maybe it's a thin line but when I think "stupid," I think of Ernest Goes to XYZ, or Porky's, or Tommy Boy. (Or better yet, Black Sheep.)

Having said that...

Mad World is very good, though it's one movie I wish I liked just a little bit more. The physical gags are excellent but I never found the movie as "funny" as others seem to do.

Pee-Wee's Big Adventure and Animal House are ScottDS family classics.

The first ten minutes of Super Troopers are genius... and the rest ain't too shabby, either. :-)

Floyd R. Turbo said...

point taken on Duck Soup... smart/silly

ScottDS said...

Speaking of the Marx Brothers, the one movie of theirs I've come to appreciate is Animal Crackers. I didn't enjoy it as much as a kid but now that I'm older, I get more of the wordplay and references.

"Still, on the other hand, water is water. And east is east and west is west, and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce, they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now, uh... you tell me what you know." :-)

I showed Duck Soup to a friend (same one mentioned above) and he thought the following:

-Groucho's material hasn't aged a day, yet...

-Zeppo didn't register, and...

-Harpo and Chico were just sadistic, but I personally think it's because they make life miserable for the lemonade vendor for no reason... usually, their schtick works better when the other person deserves it

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, That's a good list. I forgot about Rat Race, that's a fun movie!

Love the Marx Brothers!

AndrewPrice said...

Scott and Floyd, I have to say that I share Scott's view that I wish I liked Mad World just a little more. It's good, but it's lacking somehow. I'm not sure how though. Maybe it's just that it doesn't really take any chances?

Anonymous said...

I love 'stupid' comedies.

Give me gross out humour, screwball comedy, farce, piss takes etc etc.

From classics like Animal house and Porky's to the Vacation movies. On to more modern films like Dodgeball, Dumb and dumber, Happy Gilmore, Supertroopers, to the American Pie films.

There's something about Mary, Van Wilder, Grandma's boy, Roadtrip, the Harold and Kumar movies.

The list goes on, I own quite a few on DVD because they are movies I can watch multiple times. They don't take too much time or effort to sit back and enjoy and I get a good laugh and even after I've seen them a few times the anticipation of the laugh is half the fun.

Scott.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I do like a good number of them, but the most recent ones (Apatow+) leave me cold. I just don't see the humor in what he does. But I agree about most of the ones on your list.

On Supertroopers, I actually like Beerfest better -- even though it's probably not a funnier film objectively speaking. I just like it better.

K said...

I remember being at the first show of Pee Wee's Big Adventure and watching a number of people walk out. Made me feel so "cutting edge". :)

The other comedy I really liked was "Zoolander" but I'm not sure it's silly enough for this thread.

I haven't had much luck with "silly comedies" in the last decade or so. Laughter is derived from surprise, and when the joke is always "I can't believe they did something so tasteless" the surprise tends to be a rather weak tea.

Substituting fecal matter for cream pies and testicle crushing for pratfalls isn't surprising, it's just a linear extrapolation.

OW! My Balls!

tryanmax said...

I really like Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, though the sequel was a huge let-down. Haven't seen the Christmas one, yet. Van Wilder is also high on my list.

The Scary Movie films are ridiculously consistent for a franchise. (My favorite scene comes from the opening of SM2 with the priest at the piano leading the WASP family in Mystikal's "Shake Ya Ass." Who the hell thinks of things like that!?) High hopes for SM5 this spring!

While I totally appreciate Animal House's legacy, I don't care for the movie itself much. It's sorta the film equivalent one of those really influential bands that isn't very aesthetically pleasing itself. From that same era, though, I really love The Jerk. There were a number of movies from that time that tackled racial issues head on and so simply couldn't be made today, but The Jerk is the epitome, IMO.

I also have to admit love for Dumb and Dumber which came when I was 14, so it's more a case of perfect timing. And what can I say, I'm a dude, if I see the Stooges on TV, I put down the remote.

ScottDS said...

Anon/Scott -

I, too, love stupid comedies though I seem to have developed a threshold when it comes to specific gags (mostly involving bodily fluids). If it's done well, then no problem, but most of the time, the filmmakers are reaching for low-hanging fruit.

On the other hand, I was genuinely surprised by how much I enjoyed Grandma's Boy. I mean... really REALLY surprised. Sometimes having no expectations helps!

ScottDS said...

K -

Zoolander is perfect for this thread and I'm a fan of it as well.

(I saw it at the on-campus theater when I was at FSU and when David Bowie walked out to judge the walk-off, the place went nuts!)

It's one comedy that I hope gets a sequel one day and every six months, Ben Stiller says they're working on one. We'll see...

ScottDS said...

tryanmax -

It's not just you but I can't believe the love the Scary Movie franchise is getting on this website! :-D

I mean, I thought the first was okay but the second one was awful and the third and fourth films just showed how far David Zucker had fallen since The Naked Gun years.

But I'm in no position to judge, considering some of the stupid comedies I like. So I'll be quiet now. :-)

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

See my comments to tryanmax above re: the Scary Movie franchise. :-)

I also enjoyed Dodgeball - Ben Stiller can be hilarious when he's playing over the top. When he's playing a nebbish, that's when it gets exasperating after a while.

Oh by the way, not to get too un-PC, but a friend of mine pointed out something with Trapped in Paradise: he told me, "This movie breaks the retard quotient!"

When I asked him what he meant, he said, "A lot of comedies have one character who's mentally deficient, but this movie has three: Dana Carvey's character, the Paradise sheriff's son, and the sheriff's deputy's sidekick... three for one!"

Jason said...

This is a pretty broad category, but if I was to pick one from the spoof/parody genre, I'd like to bring up National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1 mostly because that one tends to get lost. It's a spoof of the first three Lethal Weapon flicks as well as a bunch of others and even has Bruce Willis in a cameo! Plus it features Tim Curry and William Shatner for good measure.

ScottDS said...

Jason -

You're right. Spoofs today are so awful that perfectly decent ones like Loaded Weapon have gotten lost in the shuffle.

It's all about William Shatner... as General Mortars! :-)

BIG MO said...

Favorite "stupid" comedies? 2012 and Showgirls.

Oh, wait...

Hmm...

Na, never mind. I'll stick by my answers.

AndrewPrice said...

K, I agree about Zoolander, that was another good one.

I also agree about the last ten years. It's just not interesting or surprising to see them just keep trying to make the same old jokes nastier. Plus, there's no sense of timing anymore either. How long was the vomit take in Bridesmaids? It felt like half an hour of the same joke.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I've been really impressed with the Scary Movie franchise, because they have been very consistent and I've enjoyed each of their films -- I agree about that scene, plus when the mother starts hitting her with the newspaper. LOL!

It's amazing to me how different that franchise from the "___ Movie" franchise (Date Movie, Epic Movie, etc.). Those are pure garbage.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I agree about Stiller. When he's over the top, he's funny, when he tries to play more normal (like in Tower Heist), he's awful. Also, some of his movies just fall flat -- like Starsky & Hutch.

The Scary Movie stuff is a lot of fun.

AndrewPrice said...

Jason, Loaded Weapon was good. I didn't care for Basic Instinct or whatever the other one was at the time.

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

That would be Fatal Instinct and I watched it again recently for the first time in years - it's actually not bad!

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I seem to remember it being very "pro forma." It felt like they were doing a parody by the numbers, always choosing the most obvious way to play a scene to make it funny rather than actually finding something to parody within the films they were parodying. In that regard, it reminded me of films like Spy Hard.

T-Rav said...

Hm, I didn't really think of Dodgeball as a stupid comedy. Otherwise, I would have gone with that because it is really funny. But I think it fights just shy of the "stupid" category.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I guess stupid is in the eye of the beholder? I guess I equate films with characters who couldn't exist in real life with "stupid." Thus, for example, each of the people in Ghostbusters is actually a fairly normal person, but they are just quirky. But several of the characters in Dodgeball are not possible in the real world... though the story is much more realistic than something like Airplane, so maybe Dodgeball is on the border?

Anonymous said...

Well, I've gotta chime in my two cents for a guilty pleasure.
I'm gonna say, "Ernest Goes to Camp."
Yes, I'm aware of the subplot involving the evil mining corporation. Yes, I'm aware of the good guys invoking Indians as one with nature like rabid environmentalists. But...
All the sights and sounds of the movie really do a great job of bringing back memories of summers at Boy Scout camp, and, IMHO, is best viewed in May, June, and July. (Those pesky 'back to school' sales in August always dampen the mood.)
Plus, the late Jim Varney as Ernest P. Worrell really does a great job as the ultimate, good-meaning 'lovable loser.' Here, I think, it just works.

-Rustbelt

AndrewPrice said...

Rustbelt, I'm not an Ernest fan, but I have enjoyed his films when I've seen them. I can definitely see the appeal.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, maybe. Though I think it's nearly certain that there is a real "Steve the Pirate" out there somewhere....

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Probably true.

Outlaw13 said...

Tommy Boy: Bees!

Happy Gilmore: Love when Bob Barker kicks his butt.

Super Troopers: I'm going to pistol whip the next person that says "shenanigans"

Where do movies like Groove Tube, Kentucky Fried Movie and Amazon Women on the Moon fall? Personally of that bunch I think Kentucky Fried Movie was the best.


"Pee-Wee's Big Adventure and Animal House are ScottDS family classics" This is the first time in history that Animal House has been referred to as a "family classic". :)

AndrewPrice said...

Outlaw, I think Scott has a slightly skewed sense of "family classics." LOL!

I loved Kentucky Fried Movie. That was hilarious! And you are right, when Bob Barker kicks his butt in Happy Gilmore, it's hard not to laugh.

I haven't seen Groove Tube.

ScottDS said...

Outlaw and Andrew -

Not "family classic" as in "fun for the whole family," but it's a constantly-quoted and -referenced movie in my household. My dad saw it in the theater when he was in college and he passed his love of that movie to me and my brother. :-)

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

I always thought Kentucky Fried Movie dragged a little too much at times, but if you ever get your hands on the DVD, PLEASE listen to the audio commentary - it's one of the funniest tracks ever recorded.

Landis later directed segments of a similar movie titled Amazon Women on the Moon which I haven't seen in years.

ScottDS said...

Rustbelt and Andrew -

The Ernest movies were an integral part of my childhood. (Figures...) I haven't seen Camp in years but Ernest Goes to Jail was always my favorite.

And my hat is off to the late, great Jim Varney who really was a very good actor.

I also remember his Saturday morning series, Hey Vern, it's Ernest. :-)

Alex said...

Oh man, so many good ones already mentioned...the Ernest films (I was always partial to Goes to Jail), Happy Gilmore, Zoolander, Super Troopers...good, albeit stupid, stuff. I have to add some: I am ashamed to say that Joe Dirt cracks me up. Airplane!, but that's kind of an obvious one. Kudos to Tryanmax for mentioning the Three Stooges (deceptively sophisticated comedy, actually). Can't say I dig the Scary Movie franchise. I liked the first one when I was eighteen or whatever, but the second was so bad I swore off Wayans brothers-related anything for good. Seriously, f*** the Wayans brothers.

I'm with a lot of commenters regarding the increasing nastiness of movies. I'm with Scott and sort of draw the line at bodily function humor. It bespeaks of a complete lack of comedic writing and a typical Hollywood (and, in keeping with the overarching theme of this blog, leftist) penchant for wallowing in filth just for the purpose of shocking "squares." While I'm at it, f*** Hollywood. Why do I even watch movies, anyway...?

ScottDS said...

Alex -

Because some of them are pretty good! :-)

And from everything I've read, I doubt filmmakers have a political agenda at work when trying to outdo each other in the gross department. I leave that speculation to the intellectuals with absolutely nothing better to do.

I think many creative types simply want to see how far they can go. Mel Brooks once said, "If you're gonna walk up to the button, just push the button!"

Let us remember Hanlon's Razor: "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." Stupidity in this case = lazy writing.

I mentioned above that I like a good gag done well but too many aren't done well - it's just shock for shock value. And the importance of the foreign market means we don't get witty scripts anymore because verbal humor doesn't translate.

Alex said...

Scott,

Indeed, Hanlon's Razor is something I should keep in mind when discussing movies ;)

Backthrow said...

STRANGE BREW, EASY MONEY and THE MAN WITH TWO BRAINS. 1983 was a good year for some quality big-screen stupidity, in contrast to the House & Senate majorities' low-quality, off-screen stupidity in that same era.

ScottDS said...

Alex -

Here's an example: after listening to literally hundreds of hours of Kevin Smith podcasts and interviews... the guy knows how to do a gross-out gag... I can safely say he's the least political person on the planet. ;-)

I know one of the items on the Communist subversion list has to do with corrupting culture or something like that but there's also a danger in ascribing motives where none exist.

Besides, the people who make "stupid comedies" don't exactly get tons of respect from the establishment - in a way, they're more like you and me than, say, Spielberg.

Alex said...

Scott,

Kevin Smith is a good example. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back was a teenage favorite, as were Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy and Dogma.

And I appreciate what you're saying re: corrupting the culture. Believe me, I'm not witch-hunting here or looking for things that aren't there; perhaps my earlier post read more political than I intended. I was absolutely trying to go more for the laziness angle.

ScottDS said...

Alex -

No worries at all!!

Unfortunately, we live in a world where:

a.) everything, no matter how trivial, is political and newsworthy, and

b.) people (not on this site!) take a very black-and-white view of this stuff and like to use guilt by association way too often

Tennessee Jed said...

I was away this weekend, but see some pretty good ones {stupid comedies, that is.} Dodgeball, Dumb and Dumber, Happy Gilmore. For what it's worth, Dumb & Dumber is the one Jim Carey that I still laugh at. He has done some very funny comedy, but for whatever reason, a lot of it no longer makes me laugh. Of course the "Vacation" franchise has also been one that over the years, has made me l.m.a.o.

Scott, I like my version of the name of Otis' club better even if it was wrong ;)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I haven't seen KFM in 20 years, so it's hard for me to say. I recall thinking it was really funny throughout.

AndrewPrice said...

Alex, I think the way Hollywood is trending is a bad thing. Their films are becoming too generic, too uninteresting, too political, and the comedy is too nasty. Even when it isn't gross out humor, it tends to be really abusive these days.

AndrewPrice said...

Backthrow, I love Strange Brew! That and Police Academy were always on my television growing up.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, The two Jim Carrey movies I still like are Truman and Ace Ventura (the first only).

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I just saw that Spielberg is developing Kubrick's Napoleon as a miniseries. I do have to admit that makes me happy.

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

As you know, I'm a fan of the Police Academy movies, at least a handful of them. Believe it or not, there was a Saturday morning Police Academy cartoon series, which was recently released on DVD by the Warner Archive. I have vague memories of it, though my brother and I had the action figures!

Re: Napoleon, I saw that too and my fingers are crossed. It could be excellent! God knows there's enough research material out there to work with.

Oh by the way, here's another take on the sad state of the effects industry, written by a veteran ILM guy.

I've been an effects buff since I was a little kid, which is why I've taken a special interest in this situation.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Are you a fan of the Police Academy movies? I wasn't aware of that. :P

We'll see how the whole Napoleon thing goes, but I am hopeful. Generally, Spielberg tells a good story and hopefully (1) he learned from the criticism of Lincoln and (2) Kubrick's notes will rein in some of his worst instincts.

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

That's why I said, "As you know"!

(By the way, if you ever hear a character in a movie start a sentence like that, it's basically the writer holding up a sign that says, "We couldn't figure out how to do more eloquent exposition, so we'll just have this guy say what the other characters know!")

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, True. That is definitely one of those moments where you know that exposition is coming.

Anonymous said...

Scott,

I'd never heard of Grandma's Boy, all I knew about it was that it was an Happy Madison movie (Adam Sandlers production house) so I thought it must have been average at best but I loved it. But most of Adam Sandlers comedies have a heart to them, they may contain plenty of low brow toilet humour and even some nastiness, but in the end they have a heart. I don't mind the bodily fluids jokes myself (There's Something About Mary did it great), but some people don't have the skills to make it work in the movie so I take each one on it's merit.

Dam how could I forget Kevin Smith's movies, I fell watched Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back on Wednesday with some mates, that movie along with Mallrats are great stupid movies. Police Academy was great, but the sequels got worse and worse exponentially.

Andrew, I too prefer Beerfest to Super Troopers but I forgot about it (I would love those guys to make Weedfest). They (Broken Lizard) also made The Slammin' Salmon which was set in a restaurant, it stared Michael Clarke Duncan as the former Heavyweight boxing champ and restaurant owner, it doesn't seem to get as much love as their other movies but it is great.

I liked the first Scary Movie, but the sequels, while great in places really didn't do too much for me. I have no desire to see them again.

Scott.

shawn said...

Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid It's Steve Martin's best and splicing in all those classic movies was a stroke of genius. Now I think I need a cup of his famous java.

Runner-up would be Airplane!.

ScottDS said...

Anon/Scott -

I got into Kevin Smith when I was in high school and Dogma made me an instant fan, but his last few movies (especially Zack and Miri) disappointed me, however listening to his podcasts has made me a fan all over again. Smith seems to be enjoying himself in that world, with filmmaking pushed to the side, though he still has one or two projects up his sleeve.

Taking each movie on its merit is the right way to go - it's always dangerous to generalize, or to make one blanket statement about an entire genre. :-)

The first Police Academy is very dated and not constructed very well - there's a stop and start quality to it. The second and third films are still pretty good, though.

ScottDS said...

shawn -

I saw Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid for the first time a couple years ago and I had no idea what to expect. I enjoyed the hell out of it! It must've been a logistical challenge to match all the sets and wardrobe. (Not enough Barbara Stanwyck footage!) :-)

Anonymous said...

Scott,

I'm obviously a few years older than you and my first KS movie was Clerks (it was that long ago I cannot remember if I was in high school or not). But I liked all his earlier stuff and I saw Zack and Miri without even knowing it was a KS movie, I liked it (didn't love it) and when I found out KS made it I was a little disappointing by it (I ignore Red State and Jersey Girl).

I haven't really listened to much of his podcasts, I've seen about three of his live chats/Q&As on dvd and I really liked them. I try to judge things on their merits, but you cannot give everything a fair go, so I usually try and judge if I'll like something before I'll bother trying it.

I liked the first Police Academy movie, it is far from perfect but I saw it at the right time and age so it stuck with me more than if you saw it at a different time. I liked some of the sequels (or parts of them) but they lacked something to me (maybe originality or timing) and didn't measure up to the first one.

Scott.

AndrewPrice said...

ScottAU, I've never heard of The Slammin' Salmon. I'll have to look for it. I did enjoy Club Dread, but not as much as Beerfest. It has its moments though! :)

The first Scary Movie was the best, but I still like the rest. I'm a big horror fan, so these are right up my alley in terms of parody.

djskit said...

Nacho Libre...it was just so bizzare, my wife and I laughed the whole time. Jack Black, not being Jack Black.

rlaWTX said...

This is such a "guy" question... :)
Not a "stupid comedy" fan in general...
I remember liking Hot Shots when it came out, but not Part Deux nor Men in Tights.

The only other thing I can come up with would be Galaxy Quest.

ScottDS said...

djskit -

Nacho Libre was okay - it was done by the same couple who did Napoleon Dynamite and they have yet to top that film. They also did a movie titled Gentleman Broncos which is just... bizarre. :-)

ScottDS said...

rla -

Yep, it's certainly a "guy" question!

The second Hot Shots! film is actually pretty funny IMHO - I actually prefer it to the first one. It's funny to see a serious actor like Richard Crenna in a comedy, but still playing it straight.

I don't know if I'd call Galaxy Quest a "stupid" comedy - it's actually smarter than that. :-)

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

The Slammin' Salmon is... okay. It's not great but it's worth watching for Michael Clarke Duncan - he's a force of nature in the movie.

Koshcat said...

When I'm in the mood, I love these kind of movies. When I'm not, they are trying. Some of my favorites I can watch over and over:

Airplane
South Park
Team America
Dumb and Dumber
Wedding Crashers
Naked Gun
Christmas Vacation
Meet the Parents

Commander Max said...

Stupid movies?

For me one of my favorites is "Young Einstein".
"It electrifies music, just what we need."

Scott, I used to know a guy(around the sci-fi model boards) that was a supervisor for Rhythm and Hues. One of the last things I heard from him there was a huge shake up in the spfx world. He didn't elaborate on it, this was several years ago.
It's really sad how the spfx guys have been treated over the decades.

ScottDS said...

Max -

Yeah, the FX business is definitely in a state of flux. I've already suggested to Andrew that it'd make for a good story.

I'm sure some right-leaning blogs will complain about how "those Hollywood types" want more subsidies but in every interview I've read, the people working in the FX biz would prefer NO subsidies in order to keep the playing field even.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, Excellent list! I really liked the first Naked Gun but not the later ones.


Max, Young Einstein was a lot of fun.

PikeBishop said...

Scott: I agree with you on "Mad Mad World." I realize comedy, gender roles and what we find funny has changed, but my ex and I rented it about ten years ago, and it left me totally underwhelmed.

Many of the cameos of famous clowns are just that (Three Stooges in one shot as firemen), Jerry Lewis throws a passing insult.

The female characters are awful Merman as the stereotyped mother in law battle axe, Dorothy Provine who spends a lot of the movie screaming for her idiot brother "Sylvester." Sid Caesar and Edie Adams trapped in the basement (My ex, said, "Let me guess, he's going to get angry and hit things over not being able to get out of the basement." Pretty accurate statement). Dick Shawn's idiot stoner/Beatnik character has aged poorly. I never, never, never cared for the scene where Jonathan Winters destroys Ray and Irwin's Garage (two innocent characters like the Lemonade Guy in the Marx Brothers movie someone mentioned above. Even the classic hook and ladder scene wasn't as funny as I remembered it from watching it on New Years Eve on CBS seemingly every year during the 70s.

Oh well.

Koshcat said...

I don't think I have seen Mad Mad World in a long long time. When I was a kid I thought it was funny.

ScottDS said...

Pike -

From what I've read, there's an even longer version of Mad World that once existed where the Stooges had a bigger role. But yeah, what good is a cameo if it's one 10-second shot?

I was the one who mentioned the lemonade vendor and yeah, it's not as fun watching someone get beat up who doesn't deserve it. Humor is humor but we're still human beings with a sense of fairness.

I don't mind Ethel Merman - some archetypes are timeless IMHO. :-D

ScottDS said...

Koshcat -

It's worth watching again. It's long, but never boring, but it just isn't as funny as its reputation suggests.

AndrewPrice said...

I don't like the Ethel Merman stereotype at all. It's pure annoyance without the slightest trace of insight or humor.

PikeBishop said...

Andrew: We agree.

What do you think of the Jonathan Winters/Ray and Irwin's garage scene? I never liked it even as a much younger man.

AndrewPrice said...

I'm not a big fan of the Jonathan Winters character at all. Again, I see him as primarily angry rather than zany. And I think him tearing up the garage feels fake to me. It feels like something you would only see on film. To me, that's the biggest sin a comedy can commit -- to feel "staged."

I have the same problem with them all climbing on the fire escape and then the ladder in the end. It never feels natural. It feels like a bunch of actors who need to get to specific places to make the scene work rather than characters who have stumbled upon a bad situation.

Commander Max said...

I really enjoyed, "It's Mad Mad Mad World". I agree Andrew the end does seem a bit contrived. Or perhaps it's one too many gags.

One of my favorite scenes in the film is not long after Durante kicks the bucket(he just sailed right out there). All of the principals are discussing what to do.
Buddy Hacket says..."except you lady, you can just DROP DEAD".
Winters then says, "We all agree on that."

I really miss that old form of comedy. I really do not find much funny these days. I figure they need to bring back Vaudeville, nothing will tighten up a comedian faster that having rotten food thrown at them.

Backthrow said...

I've liked IT'S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD since childhood, but it's always been more 'fun' than 'funny' to me... basically an epic action movie infused with mild humor. I think one of the problems was producer/director Stanley Kramer, who was more at home making serious/preachy 'message' movies than comedies. What the film needed was someone like Frank Tashlin or George Marshall calling the shots. Imagine how amazing MAD WORLD would be with *that* kind of comic sensibility guiding things.

AndrewPrice said...

Backthrow, I agree, it's the kind of movie that is pleasant and you feel good watching it, but you don't really laugh at it. They needed to take a lot more chances for that to happen. And I think that if it didn't include every big comedian of the era, the film itself would have been forgotten.

tryanmax said...

I don't know why I forgot The Love Guru the other day. I won't defend it, I will just say I enjoy it.

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