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Clifford Skridlow teaches at a small Chicago college run by his father. Conned into managing four prostitutes by their pimp, who skips town to escape the mob boss known as Mom, Clifford draws on his course in medieval literature in his quest to save the women from Mom. Written by
In this move, Aykroyd presents a fresh look at what makes a man tick, his desires, feeling, emotions and passions. Aykroyd plays Clifford Skridlow, a somewhat nerdish college professor who is timid and mildly neruotic. This character speaks to a lot of us as we walk our way through life, often unnoticed and unsatisfied with our interactions with others. Longing for nothing but happiness, we weave our way through the obstacles of life much as Clifford rushes through the quad on the way to class, taunted and laughed at by the students surrounding him. But this isn't just another movie designed to identify with unsatisfied loners.
While enjoying dinner at an Indian Restauraunt (symbolizing the social and cultural diversity of humanity), Clifford is picked out by a local pimp to act as a scapegoat to avoid debt to Mom, of the infamous Mom's Limo Company. How many times have you been picked by those more successful than you to take the blame? It's getting a little to real at this point, as the action picks up it's pace. Clifford must invent an inner personality to cope with the feelings of rejection and hatred, and the character Doctor Detroit is born. He embodies all that Clifford wishes he could be, suave, feared, respected, wealthy, and adored by women. The metal hand on his left arm is a not so subtle attempt to portray the desire of the weak to be strong.
The strong reference to Nietzsche's idea of men rising up from the ashes and becoming a strong race of supermen cannot be ignored at this point, and it's clear that this is more than just a silly comedy. With his newfound alter-ego and inner strength, the doctor conquers evil and saves the day. In a triumphant final speed, the Doctor retires his inner personality encouraging the gathered crowd to be strong and find their own inner selves, while returning to a life of a normal, unknown man.
But what will happen to him? Why did he choose to let his inner self die? Was this a sacrifice, or a lack of courage? What would Nietzsche think about this complex analysis? This movie will leave you asking these any many questions. Highly recommended, especially as an introduction to other great works such as Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil.
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