My Fair Munster
Married in 1865 Herman and Lily Munster had a love that was timeless.
With Universal Studios as producer, The Munsters were able to use classic monster images to which they added running gags, including the central theme that they considered themselves just an average, middle-class family to make a typical sitcom into a brilliantly campy classic.
Fred Gwynne as Herman Munster, Frankenstein’s monster/joke-cracking suburban Dad was electric. Yvonne De Carlo as a blood-sucking Donna Reedesque PTA Mom was inspired. Add cool cars, pets, a young werewolf, older vampire and of course, the family oddball, the ‘plain’ niece, Marilyn, and they had a runaway hit.
What I could piece together about The Munsters:
1313 Mockingbird Lane has been used in many TV series and movies in various forms including Desperate Housewives.
Spot was alleged to be a fire-breathing T Rex, not a dragon.
The Munsters and The Addams Family ran concurrently, 1964-1966. The Munsters had higher ratings, but was knocked out by Batman, in colour. Kapow!
Fred Gwynne and Al Lewis were in Car 54, Where Are You? together before The Munsters. Gwynne says “Car 54, Where Are You?” in the Munster Go Home! film.
Herman worked at Gateman, Goodbury & Grave Funeral Parlor. The spooky John Carradine played Mr. Gateman.
Fred Gwynne continued acting, including Jud Crandall in Stephen King’s Pet Semetary (I guess you could say Gage was his Achilles’ Heel) and who could forget his conversation with Joe Pecsi about the ‘yutes’ in My Cousin Vinny.
Pat Priest replaced Beverley Owen as Marilyn Munster after episode 13; the two were so similar most people didn’t even notice.
Butch Patrick played himself, dressed as Eddie Munster in The Simpsons in 1999.
Fred Gwynne’s costume weighed about 50lbs and filming in black & white they had to use violet face paint to catch the light.
The Munsters did have a certain built-in charm.
Robin Williams: His Last Laugh
Suicide isn’t a laughing matter. Neither is depression.
Have we lost the ability to see that line between genuinely mourning the loss of someone and using it to gain attention for ourselves?
Where to begin? The media are too obvious, they’re a well-oiled exploitation machine.
Social media is too often the Land of Shallow, where pictures, platitudes, Slacktivism, jokes, and memes are welcome, but anything of substance is frequently ignored or seen as annoying.
Yet it’s the memorials that confuse me the most.
What does wasting money on flowers, balloons, teddy bears and candles do?
Does it bring those lost back?
Does it stop the next accident, murder, or suicide?
No. It just mildews.
What a terrible waste.
Maybe it’s a form of pain behaviour. People need to show how much they care, show that they’re in pain.
- Take the money you would spend on items for a memorial and donate it to those in need.
- Help someone who suffers from mental illness get help or support.
- Help someone undergoing cancer or other treatments with extra expenses.
- Help society’s most vulnerable get enough food, shelter, dental care, eye glasses, medicine.
- Do something useful. Wouldn’t that show you care? Ease your pain?
Robin Williams chose to leave this world. I expect this loss is felt deeply by his family and friends, and to a lesser degree, by his fans.
If you’re actually upset about this, help someone who is struggling with depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction, and other forms of mental illness.
Maybe we wouldn’t need Suicide Hotlines or Kids Helplines or so many other band-aids if people would stop making so many hurts.
Be there to listen to someone (hint, turn off your cellphone while listening; seeing your head bent over your phone as you absently say uh-huh at maybe the right spots will probably just remind them of how messed up the world is).
Take the time to be in the moment.
I’ve been a fan of Robin Williams since I saw him as Mork (first on Happy Days then on Mork and Mindy).
I liked most of his work, funny or serious or seriously funny.
I was even one of the 10 (that number is an estimate, it might have been an even dozen) people watching The Crazy Ones, before it was cancelled.
It’s a distressing incongruity that many comedians use humour as a mask, a shield, a façade…That while they are making us laugh, making us forget our worries, making us remember that life is worth living they are haunted by inner demons.
Robin Williams was a frenzied mastermind of comedy, or sometimes a serene, gentle man, or an alien, a genie, batty bat, toymaker, spinach-eating strongman, hologram, penguin, robot, a scientist, DJ, doctor, wax figure, dreamer, camper, dad, soldier, psychologist, or whatever he needed to be; he was an actor, an entertainer.
We watch people on screens and think we know them. We don’t.
We don’t know what is in their heart, in their minds.
We don’t know what haunts them, or drives them, sometimes they don’t even know themselves.
It is sad when talent is lost, but instead of fake monuments that will die, or mold, or rot, why not do something that will help people, not just give you a chance to be on TV, something to talk about or post on social media.
I know it’s not popular, but do something real (not reality TV real but real real) and meaningful.
All In The Family…Guy
Toned down for American primetime, All in the Family still managed to rock TV land.
Based on the controversial BBC series, Till Death Us Do Part (created by Johnny Speight) and warmed up with The Honeymooners and The Flintstones, nothing had prepared us for Archie Bunker (played by the apparently sweet Carroll O’Connor).
Archie was a complicated guy.
Clearly bigoted and uncouth, he was also honest and hard-working, often expressing opinions people were thinking, but couldn’t go against the politically correct times to say.
He was also an excellent way to hold a mirror up to bigotry and prejudice without shoving it down people’s throats.
This show rammed through contentious and taboo subjects, including but not limited to: racism, homosexuality, rape, miscarriage, abortion, women’s liberation, menopause, breast cancer, impotence, the Vietnam War and more.
Archie was a scared man. His comfy chair world had been turned on its head.
He knew his place and everyone else knew their place. Until they didn’t.
Archie didn’t understand why everything he felt was right in the world, especially his world, had to change.
His long-suffering wife Edith (Jean Stapleton) was patient in ways no one, including their daughter, Gloria (Sally Struthers) could understand. Despite their many issues, it was clear they all loved each other deeply.
Gloria’s hippie husband, Mike/Meathead (Rob Reiner) highlighted the clash between The Greatest Generation (Archie as a WWII vet) and Baby Boomers, the struggle between the old guard and young people who wanted to change the world…Archie’s snug little world.
And then there were the spinoffs. The Jeffersons movin’ on up to the East Side.
Edith’s cousin, Maude (the incomparable Bea Arthur) visiting then getting a hilarious spinoff. And Good Times was a dy-no-mite spinoff from Maude. And more…
Taped in multi-camera format in front of a live studio audience, All in the Family never failed to break new ground.
I loved that they never used canned laughter. I’d prefer not to hear any laughter, but if I must, let it be genuine.
Family Guy pays tribute to All in the Family with its opening sequence of Lois and Peter playing the piano, and various other similarities…then again, the whole show is a pop culture fart. Of course, they’ve taken it much further, boldly going where even TV censors, after dying of exhaustion, knew they could go.
American Dad! (created by Seth MacFarlane, Mike Barker, and Matt Weitzman) is an absurd animated emulation, though since the All in the Family players were more caricatures than characters, it makes sense. And they added Roger and Klaus; who can complain?
All in the Family and its official and unofficial offspring influence so many; although, looking around the world today, I think a lot of the messages are being missed, or misinterpreted.
The Princess Bride
I would be hard-pressed to believe anyone who had seen this movie didn’t like this movie. I know, it’s seen as chick flick material, but I think it can’t be reduced to just anything. It is so much more. It has comedy. Drama. Love. Romance. Bad men. Good men. Giants. Revenge. Fire swamps. Death. Swordplay. Beauty. Villains. Bravery. Cowardice. Pain. Dreams. Hope.
Some Inconceivable Princess Bride info…
Billy Crystal ad-libbed a lot of his lines. Anyone surprised?
Apparently Cary Elwes thought Westley as the Dread Pirate Roberts/The Man In Black should have a mustache, to look more Errol Flynn-swashbuckling piratey guy. Not sure that really worked.
The Cliffs of Insanity are really the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, Ireland and matte paintings.
The Princess Bride has spawned parodies, parties, costumes, and of course, it’s inconceivable that people wouldn’t love to quote it.
William Goldman, the author of The Princess Bride also wrote screenplays for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All The President’s Men, A Bridge Too Far, Misery, Marathon Man (his own novel), and many more.
The Princess Bride by William Goldman is supposed to be an abridged version of the book, The Princess Bride by S. Morgenstern. S. Morgenstern is really a pseudonym as well as a tricky narrative device that Goldman used to layer his novel. Confused yet?
The Princess Bride is a classic representation of Bildungsroman, a literary genre that concentrates on the ethical and psychological development of youth as they make the transition to adulthood. The term was created by J.K.S. Morgenstern (hmmm, sounds similar to S. Morgenstern). Here’s a few coming-of-age books, movies, and TV shows.
Stand By Me, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,
Sixteen Candles, Mean Girls, Superbad,
Varsity Blues, Easy A, Napoleon Dynamite,
The 400 Blows, Somersault, Garden State,
Clerks, Running With Scissors, The Graduate,
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,
Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Harry Potter,
Slumdog Millionaire, Youth In Revolt,
Rebel Without A Cause, Pretty In Pink, Twilight,
War Games, Wuthering Heights, Precious,
The Breakfast Club, Juno, Boy, Winter’s Bone,
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Hamlet,
Prozac Nation, Now and Then, Boys Don’t Cry,
Freaks and Geeks, The Spectacular Now,
Trainspotting, American Graffiti,
Moonrise Kingdom, Say Anything,
Romeo and Juliet, My So-Called Life, Blue Lagoon…
Can you think of any others?
Remember the ROUS (Rodents of Unusual Size)? Actually people in costumes, with Rob Reiner doing the noises.
Look closely, above the sick Grandson’s (Fred Savage) bed is the hat Rob Reiner wore in This Is Spinal Tap; Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits) did The Princess Bride score and insisted on the subtle nod.
That was actually Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin fencing, both left and right-handed. The only stuntmen used were for the flips. Just in case you needed to be reminded how cool they are.
I’m frugal watching commentaries, they can detract from the entertainment of the movie; exceptionally so here.
Despite many gaffs, mistakes, continuity errors, and plot holes in this movie this is a beloved classic that’s been thrilling audiences for 27 years.
I can watch this movie from start to end or start watching it at any point. It’s that awesome.
I think in this film, ‘As You Wish’ simply means ‘I love you’.
Happy 40th Anniversary Blazing Saddles
To celebrate getting over 40,000 views on my blog I decided to say Happy 40th Anniversary to Blazing Saddles. Is it even possible that Mel Brooks’ nod to classic Westerns was released in 1974?
I saw this Mel Brooks masterpiece when I was around young – it was different times, people didn’t assume seeing comedy, even crude comedy was going to affect anyone. I didn’t understand half the jokes, so when I re-watched it later I was more impressed and hurt myself laughing.
Blazing Saddles takes satire to fine art status as Mel Brooks takes us back in time to the American Old West, circa 1874. He pokes fun at Hollywood’s version of the Old West, especially the racism by making a completely implausible scenario – a small Western town hiring a black sheriff, even by mistake and the mayhem that it caused.
Brooks was a pioneer in using offensive humour to mock people’s prejudices. He felt it could make people realize how silly intolerance was by making it funny. Still not sure everyone got the point.
Mel Brooks is a master at breaking the Fourth Wall before it became the cool thing to do. Known for throwing in anachronisms to amuse, bemuse, and possibly defuse any tensions his deliberate political incorrectness could cause, Brooks went to ye olde town in Blazing Saddles with various references like: WW II, Laurel and Hardy, Gucci, Academy Awards, Cecil B. Demille, and The Count Basie Orchestra playing April in Paris.
Gene Wilder and Cleavon Little are an amazing on-screen bromance; it’s clear in most scenes there are many private jokes and difficulty keeping straight faces.
I can never decide who makes me laugh the most, Harvey Korman, Madeline Kahn or Dom DeLuise or maybe the combination makes it so absurdly perfect.
Less Than 40 Fun Blazing Saddles Facts:
The now defunct Pickwick Drive-In Theater in Burbank, California became a ride-in theater as guests rode in on horseback for the Blazing Saddles première.
Mel Brooks is one of a small group to have every won EGAT – an Emmy, a Grammy, an Academy Award and a Tony.
Gene Wilder wasn’t the first choice for the Waco Kid, Johnny Carson among others turned it down and Gig Young became indisposed in early production with an elbow bending problem so Wilder was brought in.
Blazing Saddles was the first movie to have foreground music instead of background music.
Madeline Kahn received an Oscar nomination for her role as Lili von Shtupp. So the Oscars used to be fun I guess. Love her song, I’m So Tired, cracks me up every time.
Brooks’ wanted Richard Pryor who was one of the scriptwriters to play the Sheriff, but the studio thought he wasn’t as well-known as Cleavon Little.
Trailblazing Brooks made this movie the first to have on-screen flatulence. Come on, all those beans and coffee, yer dern tootin’ those cowboys would have been tootin’.
There are 11 men sitting around the fire during the bean scene, Mongo is to the side or it could have been a dirty dozen.
John Wayne said he found the script funny, but declined to actually appear in Blazing Saddles. How cool would that have been?
I always thought Slim Pickens name was funny.
Gene Wilder had the idea and a few pages written for Young Frankenstein and approached Brooks with the idea during filming of Blazing Saddles. They worked on the script together while filming. Blazing Saddles was released February 1974 and Young Frankenstein December of the same year.
Mel Brooks received some hate mail about the horse being punched. He explained the horses were trained to fall, like horses in Westerns, they were acting horses, no one hurt the horses. Brooks always seemed confused because he thought everyone understood how much he loved animals.
He also received hate mail about using the ‘N’ word although he was assured by Richard Pryor, Cleavon Little and others he use it correctly. In retrospect Brooks says he would reconsider using it, but found it interesting he only got hate mail from white people about the word.
Anyone remember how many flavors of ice cream Howard Johnson’s Ice Cream Parlor sold?
How about what snack Hedley Lamarr purchased at the theater? I had to look this one up.
What is most or least favourite of this movie? Mine is when Cleavon Little/Bart takes himself hostage; I think it changed comedy forever.
“Back off, man. I’m a scientist.” ~Dr. Peter Venkman
Ghostbusters was 30 years ago? Wow.
This is probably one of the best movies of all time.
Definitely one of the best comedies of all time.
Certainly one of the best paranormal comedies of all time.
I also believe this movie stands the test of time.
Bill Murray gives one of his most hilarious performances ever.
John Belushi was supposed to play Dr. Venkman, but when he died Bill Murray was brought in. Slimer was affectionately known as the ghost of Belushi on set.
The party scene with Rick Moranis (Louis Tully/The Keymaster) and his guests ad-libbed the whole scene. Bill Murray ad-libbed most of the movie.
Ghostbusters was originally titled Ghost Smashers.
The whole cast is out of this world.
30 years. That doesn’t seem possible.
I may have to go watch this again.
Don’t cross the streams.
Who you gonna call?
SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED
Safety Not Guaranteed is one of the best quirky indie films few people have seen. Cleverly demonstrates that you don’t have to spend millions on a movie for it to be entertaining.
In 1997, Senior editor/writer Jon Silveria wrote a joke ad as filler in the Backwoods Home magazine. It became an internet sensation and inspired this 2012 film in which a writer and two interns go to a small town to answer the ad. The story they get isn’t the one they expected. Is it ever?
I guess we’re all looking for something. But what we’re looking for or what we find isn’t always what we need. And sometimes when we stop looking we find exactly what we need or just what we want, at least in that time.
At the risk of spoilers I’ll just say this movie reminds you life is too short not to enjoy some serious goofiness. And remember, some dreams may fade in time and scope, but replaced by others, at least that’s the hope.
The cast includes: Aubrey Plaza (Parks & Recreation, Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World, 30 Rock, etc.), Mark Duplass (The Mindy Project, Zero Dark Thirty, etc.) and Jake Johnson who I will always think of as Nick from New Girl (also in Neighbors, The Lego Movie and next year’s Jurassic World), Mary Lyn Rajskub (24, 24:Live Another Day, 2 Broke Girls, etc.), Karan Soni (1600 Penn, Touch, The Neighbors, etc.), Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars, Deadwood, Heroes, Frozen, Fanboys, etc.) and more.
The thing I enjoy most about indie films is they take chances big budget films aren’t going to even think of, like bravely trying to give this a Hal Ashby feel by shooting the whole film with a Sony F3 camera using old Panavision lenses. Does it work? You decide.
The most important factor in this film…would you answer the ad?
And if so, where in time (or should I say when) would you go and why?
I’m a laugh addict. Movies, TV, books, people (not usually at them, more like, if they make me laugh), to be honest, I’m even satisfied with smiling. I have the laugh lines to prove it. Which brings me to Mel Brooks, bad man having contributed to these aforementioned lines.
One of the worst offenders is still Young Frankenstein starring Gene Wilder (whom I wished to marry when this movie came out, now I’d go for friendship).
You’d think after all these years I’d get tired of it yet I don’t.
It’s impossible to explain how hilarious this doting spoof on Mary Shelley’s classic, Frankenstein is, but I’m chuckling even as I type.
As time marches on, 40 years later, watching this has become bittersweet with the passing of so much of its brilliant cast.
Props created by Kenneth Strickfaden for the 1931 film Frankenstein were used as most of the lab equipment in this film.
The ‘Walk This Way’ gag in the movie was the inspiration for Aerosmith’s hit, Walk This Way.
Cloris Leachman improvised a scene in which Frau Blücher (add horse whinnying here) offers “varm milk” and Ovaltine to Dr. Frankenstein/Fronkensteen.
Gene Wilder came up with the idea for YF and pitched it Brooks while filming Blazing Saddles.
Wilder and Brooks agreed the latter couldn’t actually be in the movie because Brooks’ charisma always managed to break the fourth wall whether or not he played himself. But he did provide all the sound effects. It’s good to be the movie King…
Wilder fought Brooks to keep the “Puttin’ On The Ritz” (written by Irving Berlin, made famous by Fred Astaire) bit in; thank goodness he won.
Young Frankenstein was not only filmed in black and white for effect, Brooks used unusual techniques like iris outs, wipes, fades to black, and old-fashioned opening credits.
As a gag, Marty Feldman furtively moved his character’s hump from shoulder to shoulder to see if anyone would notice so they added it to the film with lines like, “Didn’t you used to have that on the other side?”, and “What hump?”.
Gene Hackman, who played tennis with Wilder asked to be put in the film. So, not just blind luck…
Madeline Kahn, Marty Feldman, and Peter Boyle also starred in the mind-numbingly funny Yellowbeard with the astonishing Graham Chapman.
Gene Wilder always had trouble not laughing during scenes. I understand.
Now – Put…the candle…back!
A Million Ways to Die in the West
This is a light snack with a long title.
Not going to change the world, but it did brighten mine.
Found myself laughing out loud as I read this at the bookstore. Yes, that’s where I read this. As much as I enjoy MacFarlane’s work paying close to $30 for a book or almost $20 for an ebook (yes, I live in Canada where we have Universal Healthcare, but pay more for everything else) isn’t in my Broke and Obscure budget.
Adapted from the screenplay (written by Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin, and Wellesley Wild), this comical jawin’ ya to death of the Old West is chock-full of anachronisms and absurdity including, but not limited to: the fake fight scene; the prostitute girlfriend who won’t have sex (not with her boyfriend anyway) because she’s saving herself for marriage; a Parkinson‘s joke (just another way God mysteriously shows that he loves us); and the stick-hoop-games-will-ruin-the-youth bit.
Had a few problems reading this book. My fault really, kept hearing Albert’s voice as Stewie and there was a cute guy all in black nearby reading a Star Trek mag at the bookstore. Both obvious concentration blockers.
Full of cheeky MacFarlane humour, my fav example, when they’re talking about why Indians are always attacking and so mad – What’s their problem, we’re basically splitting the country 50/50 with them. I know, they’re so selfish. I love when humour is used to point out social truths or injustices or stuff.
The cast looks flabbergastic – Seth MacFarlane as Albert, the sheep farmer, also Liam Neeson, Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Sarah Silverman, Neil Patrick Harris (moustache!), Gilbert Gottfried, Giovanni Ribisi, Bill Maher, Ralph Garman, Rex Linn…
Like all MacFarlane’s work we see how watching too many TV shows and movies affect the brain. No complaints, I get every reference so obviously I have the same issue. This one has a Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles feel.
As a fan of Western books, TV, movies, etc. I thought the line about something else to kill them so they should just wear coffins as clothes was brilliant.
So if you can’t wait for the movie coming out May 30, 2014, this companion novel should help tide you over.
Somehow I expected even more sheep jokes.
PINKY & THE BRAIN
Subtle, silly, witty, snort-your-beverage-of-choice-up-your-nose-genius.
The theme song will be in my head forever. Although I was never quite sure which one was the genius and which one was insane. Each night they tried to take over the world and failed, but kept trying. Quite a lesson in perseverance.
This sadly only ran for 65 episodes (and I have them all!!!), but it will run through our hearts and brains forever, leaving tiny little paw prints that leave tiny little ouchies…
This isn’t a show of half measures, people either love it or hate it or possibly just miss out on its brilliance altogether.
My fav lines were always when Brain (voiced by the astonishing Maurice LaMarche) would say, “Pinky, are you pondering what I’m pondering?”
Pinky (voiced by the talented Rob Paulsen) would usually have some bizarre answer like:
“I think so, Brain, but…but burlap chafes me so.” or
“I think so, Brain, but this time, you put the trousers on the chimp.” or
“I think so Brain, but pants with horizontal stripes make me look chubby.” or
“I think so, but what if the chicken won’t wear the nylons?” Or
“I think so, Brain, but if they called them ‘Sad Meals’, kids wouldn’t buy them.” or
“Well, I think so, hiccup, but Kevin Costner with an English accent?”
“I think so, Brain, but me and Pippi Longstocking… I mean, what would the children look like?” or
“Well, I think so, Brain, but if Jimmy cracks corn, and nobody cares, why does he keep doing it?”
And it’s all funnier in his Cockney accent and throw in a: narf, zort, poit, and a troz and you’ve got yourself a lot of laughs.
THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW
Still one of the funniest shows ever to grace the small screen.
Went with the Wind still cracks me up; a classic. Loved As the Stomach Turns.
Never did get the Tarzan call though. And never thought Mama’s Family was even slightly funny.
Some of the best moments were the cast’s inability to keep a straight face, especially Harvey Korman. There was so much ad-libbing you could just see some cast and guests trying to keep up. I’m giggling thinking of Tim Conway as the old man.
Amazing guest stars over the years, so funny to see Steve Martin and Betty White together.
Madeline Kahn, Shirley McLaine, Vincent Prince,
James Stewart, Bob Newhart, Roddy MacDowall,
Jerry Lewis, Rich Little, Paul Lynde, Ricardo Montalban,
Debbie Reynolds, George Carlin, Shirley Jones,
Jonathan Winters, The Smothers Brothers, Sonny & Cher,
Barbara Eden, Leonard Nimoy, Robin Williams, Alan Alda,
Dick Van Dyke, Buddy Ebsen, Rock Hudson, Janet Jackson,
Kenneth Mars, Wayne Rogers, Telly Savalas, Phil Silvers, Maggie Smith,
Jean Stapleton, Sally Struthers, Sammy Davis Jr., Don Adams and so many more.
Jeeves and Wooster
Understandable this clunky British 1930s era comedy isn’t for everyone…but isn’t that a shame? You really don’t know what you’re missing, then again, if you don’t know, you’re probably not missing it and are ok with that.
Jeeves and Wooster is a lenient, laconic, laughable dance. Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry onscreen are pure magic. Their chemistry is flawless.
Jeeves and Wooster are like:
Pasta and sauce.
Cake and ice cream.
Oil and vinegar.
Tomato soup and grilled cheese.
Hot chocolate and whipped cream.
Chips and salsa.
Cabbage and tomato.
Peanut butter and banana.
Peanut Butter and jam.
Peanut butter and bacon.
They’re peanut butter and chocolate.
Oops, I’ve gone off on a peanut butter tangent. But you get the point. Things that could be great separately, but are superb together.
Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry are fantastic on their own, but together, they’re a magnificent treat that’s timeless.
Hugh Laurie plays Bertie Wooster, an upper class British twit who gets himself in one scrape after another. He’s not a bad guy, he’s just kind of oblivious. Stephen Fry plays his long-suffering pragmatic, perfect, and always prepared valet who keeps Wooster’s escapades in check, or at least, he tries. The P.G. Wodehouse books these were adapted from are worth a read as well.
Gentle, carefree merriment.
A CHRISTMAS STORY
30 years since we first heard Ralphie‘s teacher, Mom, Santa, basically everyone tell Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley) he was going to shoot his eye out with the Red Ryder BB Gun he so desperately wanted for Christmas…
30 years since Flick got his tongue frozen to the flagpole…
30 years since the neighbour dog ate the Parkers’ Christmas turkey so they went out for Chinese food…
30 years since The Battle of the Lamp when Ralphie’s parents fight over the lamp shaped like a woman’s leg wearing a fishnet stocking that Mr. Parker (The Old Man) had won that came in box marked Fragile or “Fra-gee-lay. That must be Italian”.
What is it about this movie that people love?
Because it portrays a simpler time?
It’s authenticity, haven’t we all had or heard conversations just like in this movie?
Waiting in line to see Santa?
Evading or fighting bullies?
Wanting something soooooooo badly?
Or the flat tire scene?
Flick with his tongue on the flagpole cause, well, he was triple dog dared to do it?
The heroic narration of the film with classical music to punctuate the epicness?
The pink bunny PJs which make Ralphie believe his Aunt Clara thinks he’s perpetually 4 years old and apparently, a girl? Or is it all of this and more?
Whatever it is, it works. Still funny after 30 years.Mrs. Parker: Randy, will you eat? There are starving people in China!
Randy: [groans and shoves spoon into his mouth]
My Mom, also Mrs. Parker used to tell us to eat our vegetables because children were starving in Africa…I was more than willing to send them my peas.
NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION
It’s beginning to look a lot like dysfunctional Christmas…
How best to describe Christmas Vacation? Tacky. Crass. Vulgar. But oh so funny. If you’re not a fan of Chevy Chase, you probably won’t like it, after all, it’s a star vehicle, as with all the other ‘Vacation‘ movies.
Randy Quaid is brilliant or well, what’s the opposite of brilliant? Eddie.
Anyone recognize Rusty (this one, also played by Anthony Michael Hall, Ethan Embry, etc. in the various Vacation movies) – Johnny Galecki, Leonard on Big Bang Theory.
If you haven’t watched this several times in a lifetime, I’d say you’re missing out or maybe you’re the wise one.
Mr. Bean? Goofy human, man-child, alien or just well, best not to think about it too much. As long as he wears a turkey on his head, who cares?
Way too many hilarious moments to even try to discuss…you either really love Mr. Bean or you just don’t get it.
I’m just glad he’s not driving near me or swimming in the same pool…
I refuse to believe Blackadder was 30 years ago due to the insinuations, age wise and all. Yet there it is. Loved this show. Laughed so much it actually physically ached. Was also watching lots of Monty Python at the time. I place my very deep laugh lines squarely on the Brits, too witty.
The Blackadders (all played by the rubbery brilliant Rowan Atkinson) appear to be cursed. Possibly due to their horrible asinine unscrupulicity and their continued association with the dim-witted Baldricks, servants all played with sinister simplicity by Tony Robinson.
I don’t think they ever really explained how either line propagated because they always seemed to be single with no progeny. Perhaps it’s best not to know.
I’m always torn between Blackadder II and III as my favourites. The rest are hilarious, but there’s something special about II and III. Love the chemistry between Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, also seen in their Bit of Fry and Laurie stuff and then Jeeves and Wooster.
Hugh Laurie as the Prince Regent is still one of my all time fav parts for anyone in a comedy. I look at him and think, socks.
Blackadder even tackled Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and transformed it as only they could.
Blackadder: Back and Forth, the 2000 special was a little forced, but had lots of funny bits, even punching Colin Firth as William Shakespeare.
The unique blend of ribald and clever make Blackadder worth the deep laugh lines.
Republic of Doyle
ARMY OF DARKNESS
Army of Darkness (aka Evil Dead 3: Army of Darkness) is a continuation of Evil Dead II where our, er, hero Ash is trapped in The Middle Ages in some bizarre, frenetic, hilarious, cheesy stuff.
There are a couple of endings, depending on where you watch it. I prefer the ending where Ash oversleeps, but the S-Mart ending (where he has to fight the shoppers, undead, whatever, hard to tell the difference most days I’m guessing) was seen as more positive by Universal. Director’s cut has both alternate universe endings.
Bruce Campbell (Weird Science, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, Xena, Hercules, Bubba Ho-Tep, Spiderman, Evil Dead I & II, Charmed, Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!, American Gothic, My Name Is Bruce, Burn Notice, Fargo and well, everything) is an amazing, under-rated actor. Superb comedic timing and just really cool.
A perfect Halloween treat or trick depending on your point of view.
Shaun of the Dead
One of the funniest movies every made. The British have such a unique sense of reality vs reality, it makes their comedy dark and delicious, but never dank.
A buddy/romcom film with so much heart the zombies are a delightful side note.
There is no way to describe how witty, silly, droll, sweet, and stunning a masterpiece this is without showing the movie.
Plenty of pop culture zaps, tons of dysfunctional family and friend interactions while trying to fight zombies, and too much energy to contain.
This film sets the gold standard for any zomcoms to come.
Lots of nods to George A. Romero’s zombie flicks, including the title.
Romero, flattered and impressed, offered Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright cameos in 2005’s Land of the Dead.
They’re zombies, see if you can find them.
Flight of the Conchords
This show was so over the top, but so funny.
This witty (some might say witless) New Zealand-based twosome generated by Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement describe themselves to being New Zealand‘s 4th most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo, but they are so much more and less.
One or both or three or none of the actors may have also appeared in: Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Men In Black, Dinner for Schmucks, The Muppets, Star Trek After Darkness, Man of Steal, Ironic Man 3, Diagnosis: Death, etc.
The allegedly impromptu musical numbers are awesome, Frodo Don’t You Wear That Ring, I Told You I Was Freaky, A Kiss Is Not A Contract, and The Humans are Dead are so painfully curious and catchy.
Kristen Schaal (The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) was scary and hilarious as their Number One Fan.
Rhys Darby (remember him as Jim Carrey’s quirky boss in Yes Man?), was outstanding as their manager.
Some of my fav TV scenes of all time took place in Murray‘s (Rhys Darby) office during band meetings.
This show is a rare treasure that the world wasn’t quite ready for just yet, but I will keep it in my brain.
What About Bob?
I think What About Bob? is one of the funniest movies ever made.
Never ceases to crack me up.
Bill Murray is delightful as the multi-phobic, charming psychiatric patient, Bob Wiley, and Richard Dreyfuss is fantastic as Dr. Leo Marvin whose inflated ego makes him a bad doctor, father, and husband.
Bob follows Dr. Marvin on vacation and it becomes the ultimate anti-buddy film.
I just need to think the words, Baby Steps or Death Therapy or even see a goldfish and I get an internal chuckle.
The greatest lessons of this movie? Everyone has something to offer and lighten up, have some fun.
I will warn you, prepare yourself for sore ribs from laughing.
EXCUSE ME, I BELIEVE YOU HAVE MY STAPLER…
Nothing mocks and understands work like the 1999 comedy, Office Space. Written and directed by Mike Judge, it focuses on a group of people horribly dissatisfied with their jobs.
OS is for anyone who has ever worked in an office or any job they hate. Viewers recognize the despair, the defeat, the boredom, and can almost smell the regret and unfulfilled dreams in the recycled office air.
Best irritating boss portrayal in the history of movies goes to Gary Cole as Bill Lumbergh.
Best creepy, obsessive (don’t touch his red Swingline stapler), mumbling worker goes to Stephen Root as Milton, actually, Office Space is based on Judge‘s Milton cartoon series.
Ron Livingston is perfection as Peter Gibbons, a discontented computer programmer. Also, Mike Judge as Stan, manager at Chotchkie’s restaurant giving Jennifer Aniston’s character a hard time, as well as David Herman, Ajay Naidu, Diedrich Bader, John C. McGinley.
There are so many fantastic lines and scenes, just see the movie, bask in its ingenious satire.
When the co-workers are having to look up money laundering in the dictionary, that’s when you fully realize how pathetic they truly are.
This movie wasn’t a hit, but it’s so hilarious and showed people Judge was more than just Beavis and Butt-head.
And who hasn’t wanted to do exactly what they did to the photocopier.
Bob Porter: Looks like you’ve been missing a lot of work lately.
Peter Gibbons: I wouldn’t say I’ve been ‘missing’ it, Bob.