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I love The Firesign Theater, so the other night when I was browsing
through the On Demand sections on TV and saw this movie listed and
featuring two of the troupe, plus other guys I generally like like
Harry Shearer and Fred Willard, I thought I'd check it out. After all,
it was free, so nothing would be lost monetary-wise.
I could only stand about 15 minutes of it, and then hurried up to fast-forward to the part with Shearer, which was bad as well. Definitely one of those lame late '70s curios that could have stood a lot better writing and laughs all around. It was just too weak to even be so bad it was still funny. Ah well.
This film opened in Seattle in 1978 as a bottom third of the triple bill in one drive-in (with a mini-ad), so I guess Arkoff at A.I.P knew he had a bomb in his hand. Part of the film is shot on video and transfered into film, so it's grainy looking. The rest of the film is on film, and you know you're in trouble when only 10% of the joke works. The title theme is annoying that it'll never leave your mind after seeing this film. The film is not on video, but it's on video in Japan. Maybe Japanese comedy fans might get 90% of the unfunny jokes. Big disappointment for any TUNNELVISION fans.
The plot of this film really only stands to showcase the acts of comedy groups that deserved better (The Credibility Gap, The Ace Trucking Co., etc. -- in their own acts, which have nothing at all to do with the "story"), and doesn't enhance anything, but makes it more annoying and grinding to watch. It would have been nice to see these comedians in something tolerable, but, unfortunately, we get this. A movie by a group of people who could have made a much better movie, but didn't. Still, on the note of the Credibility Gap, I own and sometimes watch this movie (fast forwarding, of course, to those key parts), and I can only really recommend this movie to fans of the actors in it; otherwise, save an hour and skip it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Continuing to review movies or TV specials featuring early appearances of "SNL"ers in chronological order, I'm once again in 1977 with the release of something called Cracking Up. There are two future cast members here: Harry Shearer, who joined for two non-consecutive seasons-1979-80 and 1984-85 (though he left mid-season), and Michael McKean, who joined near the end of the 1993-94 season and remained for the next one. At the time, they were both members of The Credibility Gap along with David L. Lander, who was also Michael's co-star on the popular TV series "Laverne & Shirley" at this time. Anyway, the sketches they perform are pretty funny with the highlight being a hilarious take on Abbott & Costello's "Who's on First" with Shearer as a rock promoter and Lander as a newspaper head of classified ads and involving the names of musical acts The Who, The Guess Who, and Yes. Their last sketch, however, is unevenly mixed with another one from another group that makes no sense. It has Shearer as Tom Snyder with Lander and McKean as guests and their material has some laughs but the "Impotent Lovers" sketch that's mixed there is for the birds. Another comedy troupe, The Ace Trucking Company, provides the only other funny material in this movie. Fred Willard was one of this group's members and he's very funny here as are the rest of his fellow players in sketches about getting a job with bosses who have involuntary movements, a diner that pretends to be a fine restaurant with a floor show, and a mattress store with the seller and a buyer mixing double entendres. Otherwise, you're stuck with a lame wraparound of an earthquake TV coverage and mostly unfunny TV ad spoofs. So on that note, this Cracking Up movie is recommend for the material I just cited. P.S. I was surprised by the number of people who appeared in this picture that also appeared in Tunnel Vision which I rewatched a few days ago.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
What do you get when you combine Ace Trucking Company, half of Firesign
Theatre, The Credibility Gap, The Tubes, film and video cameras, and
presumably, a lot of drugs? Chaos. The film is a revue of troupe comedy
sketches, some of which are brilliant, very loosely strung to the plot
of a massive earthquake. My guess is that a large amount of cocaine
convinced people that making the film was a good idea.
Fred Willard and Harry Shearer are already at the top of their form. Michael McKean and David Lander (Lenny and Squiggy) make their (addled by something) film debuts.
It was painful for me to sit though the main story and the many off-key sketches, waiting for the great pieces, although Bergman and Proctor's goofy Walter Concrete and Barbara Halter's characters were occasionally politically relevant enough to be hilarious; and I was not offended by the generous serving of gratuitous nudity.
The film is a scavenger hunt for diamonds in the rough.
This is a really bad movie. This is what happens when Americans get
influenced by Monty Python's Flying Circus and someone has a rich parent
that can sponsor this disaster of a movie.
The obvious rip-ofs starting with the animated intro are just annoying for me as a MPFC fan. To add to the disaster they try to add some naked people to make the whole thing funnier and the only thing I can say is "Benny Hill does this better!".
Dreadfully unfunny excrement featuring a handful of (later) truly funny folks (Edie McClurg, Fred Willard, Harry Shearer) who somehow survived this unpromising early-career mess. Hard to figure out what is going on here; looks like one of those SNL-inspired zip-budget sketch comedies (Groove Tube,Kentucky Fried Movie) of Seventies goosed up for mini-major studio distribution (American International) with gratuitous added footage (nudity, moronic storyline about post-earthquake LA) that has virtually nothing to do with scatter shot "comedic" skits. (Too bad they didn't edit in some laughs.) Film stock doesn't match and opening credits don't even list performers. Clearly aimed at undiscriminating drive-in crowd but there's not enough beer or weed the in world to make this steaming pile amusing.
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