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Skip and Harry are framed for a bank robbery and end up in a western prison. The two eastern boys are having difficulty adjusting to the new life until the warden finds that Skip has a natural talent for riding broncos with the inter-prison rodeo coming up. Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
Stir Crazy was one of the first films I ever remember watching, it came out the year I was born and I always associate 1980 with the time I came into the world and Stir Crazy. I was about 3 or 4 and my grandfather rented the video (back in the early 80s, this was INCREDIBLY sophisticated). Even though it's pretty much an adult film, with swearing, nudity and adult themes, I found it to be hilarious at such a young age and I watched it few times. Over the years I've watched it more and more and I only just got round to buying the DVD a few days ago. And now, at 26, the film is still just as funny as it always was. There is not a single unfunny moment from the beginning to the end, even though the last act gets serious and suspenseful.
Gene Wilder and the late Richard Pryor play Skip Donahue and Harry Munro, two NYC losers who are making no money in their dream jobs of play-write and actor. Stuck with insulting service jobs they both get fired on the same day, at the same moment, for various reasons. Skip, the apparent ladies man and ever the delusional optimist, talks Harry into seeing it as their big chance to escape NYC and head for LA 'where you smile and they just POUR money on you'.
In their rusted, derelict combi, they make it as far as Glenboro, a hicksville backwater desert town, where they are promptly framed for bank robbery. Their lawyer is utterly useless and they are in jail before they know it, literally. Skip only realizes the seriousness of the situation as they are being shown into their cell. But when Skip shows he has undiscovered talents as a rodeo champ the crooked Warden forces him to compete in the annual rodeo competition, giving Skip, Harry and some others a chance to escape.
The chemistry between Wilder and Pryor is insane. Skip is innocent, optimistic, romantic and sees the good in everything. Harry is cynical and reactionary and is frequently the real victim of Skip's impossibly good-natured personality. Everything they say and do is brilliant and every scene has something special about it that you'll remember always. It's literally impossible for me to pick out one in particular as they are all as great as each other.
It's hard to believe that auteur actor Sidney Poiter directed this movie. I've never really seen in do a crazy, comedic performance, so for him to be so on-the-ball and humorous behind the camera is always a surprise when watching Stir Crazy.
There's so many things that Stir Crazy has going for it. It's not just a crazy comedy, it's also a character drama with wonderfully surreal and authentic moments (mass-mass-mass murderer Grossberger sining 'Down in the Valley' and proving to be as timid as a kitten being one of them).
If you don't find Stir Crazy funny, you're dead. And if you've never seen it...you're certainly no movie buff.
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