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Of course not a masterpiece, but it really is an oddball dark comedy and pretty ballsy for a teen heartthrob to make at the height of his popularity. I mean a big gag during the credits roll involves a mass murder! Soonafter a great gag involves a corpse!I saw it repeatedly at the theater as a kid & found the goofy monkey humor, sinister plot, sunny music, and weird jokes(villain doesn't like to be touched, "doing doing doing") irresistible. Seriously! If Will Ferrell made this exact same flick now it would be a monster! I've viewed it every few years since and it never fails to amuse and confound me. I'm puzzled why it hasn't come out on DVD. Robby should have stuck to comedy.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I love this movie so much! I first saw it in 1983, when I was 15. There aren't many movies that have both incredibly scary parts (I was young & sensitive!), as well as scenes that are so funny I just roll on the floor, cuz I can't stop laughing.I love the part when Pinsky is talking to Amy with Pizza in his mouth. He's scared because he heard something, & he's afraid the bad guys are coming to get him. He just sounds so funny, I start laughing just thinking about it! The occasional corpse freaks me out, but since I've seen it a hundred billion times, I can handle it. I don't want to write a spoiler, so I'll just say that one of my favorite parts is when Pinsky discovers... a man who's not feeling too well in his cab, & his reaction. Oh my god! I love the "Doing, doing, doing"! The music is great, the cast is great, it's one of my All-Time Favorites. This movie inspired a life-long crush on Robby Benson. Pinsky, Pinsky, Pinsky!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I've never understood how people can have the audacity to say that Ed
Wood made bad movies when there are films like "Die Laughing" out
there. I'll admit, I'm a "Harold and Maude" fan, and so naturally I
decided to see what else Bud Cort had made in his career. He was great
as Harold, he was fun in "MASH", I liked him a lot in Faerie Tale
Theatre's "The Nightingale" - pretty good track record, I thought.
I think the fact that this is the first movie he made after nearly dying in a car crash speaks volumes, really. No doubt there were hospital bills to pay, and the inevitable movie-making horse to get back on.
There are points in this movie where you can practically see the desperation written on his face. "I was in 'Brewster McCloud' you know..." His is a minor part, however, a very camp, over-the-top part, but a secondary one nonetheless. "Die Laughing" was a star vehicle for Robbie Benson - the latest in a long line of asexual, clean-cut 70s teen icons. Frankly, it could have been Andy Gibb or Lief Garrett in this movie. Robbie Benson manages to mug, gag, slapstick, and almost dribble his way through this. At one point, his mugshot is displayed, and my ex commented that either he was in some way mentally challenged or the photo was shot whilst he was experiencing an enema.
It never really gets better than this. The best actor in the whole thing is a monkey. Quite why a monkey appears in this movie is only revealed in the last fifteen minutes, by which time I'd already invested over an hour and was just waiting to see Bud Cort in spiky boots and 80s glasses, purely for comic relief.
Quite a lot of people must have had hospital bills to pay - Charles Durning, Elsa Lanchester, Peter Coyote - not lightweights when it comes to acting chops. Maybe there was something in the drinking water in the early 80s? But by far the most ludicrous point of all in this overlong, overstretched and preposterous pile of monkey business is having to believe that a late-Punk, early-New Wave rock audience would go nuts for a third rate John Denver sound-a-like, because yes - Robbie sings! There he is crooning about a barbershop quartet! Watch him warble about lurve just before he gets off with his ex-girlfriend's sister! See him win a talent contest with the power of schmaltz! "That man has KISS tickets all over his body!" he shouts to the audience, who five seconds previously were swooning to his special brand of Eezee-Lite Muzak.
I'd like to say that this was the one that MST3K missed - but I think even they had standards. And for that, we should be truly grateful.
This movie is lots of fun. The music makes it a great movie viewing experience.
This is one of those not-so-great movies technically, but is fun to watch every few years. The music *is* good (if you are receptive to Robby Benson, 1970's folkish material. The characters are interesting. The story is same-old, so watch it for the occasional scenes that will tickle your funny bone and charm their way into your subconscious. Watch it with your favorite SO, and soon you too will be repeating lines like, "Ya gotta KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK!" and "Pinsky!? Pinsky!? What Pinsky? Where Pinsky? ..... 'Minsky'!!!!" and of course, "Doing, doing, doing.."
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