Another Nice Mess (1972)
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It was silly, politically incorrect, and, for me, very enjoyable. I don't believe that Nixon, if he saw it, was amused. At 60 minutes, it moved right along, much like the Laurel and Hardy features it emulated. Rich Little did a perfect Nixon as Oliver Hardy impression, and if you are a Laurel and Hardy fan, you would probably get a kick out of it.
I would buy it, if it came out on DVD, but I have a feeling that it will never see the light of day again.
1/18/16 All these years later, I found the full film on youtube. https://youtu.be/0sImm2R6amU Enjoy.
The only thing I ever knew about this film was that, sometime around 1972, Rich Little appeared on the Tonight Show and told Johnny Carson a little bit about the making of the film. He also told how, as a gag, he, in full makeup, was in the back seat of a limo that pulled into a gas station for refueling. Mimicking Nixon's voice, Little then threw a mock temper tantrum much to the amazement of the gas station attendant.
I never, ever heard of Another Nice Mess having any release whatsoever. I remember, also, that I'd swear Little referred to the film's title as Another FINE Mess. Maybe there was a last-minute title change?
Anyway, I'm hoping for an eventual DVD release.
Over the years, I asked several rare film web sites to search for it. I even contacted some of the people who helped make this movie, but I had no luck.
....that is until the last couple of days. I found it yesterday on ebay. I guess that since the copyright expired, it is now public domain.
I remember rumours at the time that it was withdrawn from circulation by CREEP, but judging by the comments on this page and others, it was just a lack of audience. Shame, for I remember sitting in the cinema and laughing myself sick.
You can get it for $3.99+postage on EBay, or you can go direct to atlasdvds-dot-com/cad where it's a fiver.
It's been 33 years since I saw this flick, so much of it has faded from memory... but a few vivid memories last... like a photo on the cover of the Washington Post(?) of the Vice President of the United States flipping a bird to the world.. seems even more relevant today! I wish I could get a copy of this flick and some of the other great Nixon send ups... like Pat Paulson's cleanup in the Smothers Brother's Sword in the Stone skit.
Now I'm off to order a copy of Nasty Habits from the amazon dot place.
NIXON: "Tit for a tat."
AGNEW: "...And a sh*t to that."
People only watch this movie to see the debut of Steve Martin. I think that's a shame, because people should try to enjoy it not as the first ever Steve Martin role, but as a movie unto itself. It's a good movie. It captures the spirit of seventies comedy- and the deep resentment which the populace had toward that rat of a president. Here, we see the beginning of political satire- the world could not make fun of Trump today if anti-cultural hi jinks like this hadn't been made. It should be released on DVD- people should see this. It's incredible.
Steve Martin should not be the reason you watch this- of course, I saw it just for him- but after watching it, I realized what a fool I had been. He's only in there for five seconds- he only gets one line- and you can barely even see his face. Why watch this movie just to see Steve Martin? The other comedians in this movie are just as funny- they do a great job. Everything about this film is top notch. If you watch it, and consider it a Steve Martin film, and you see Steve Martin as being a main character- then it's a colossal disappointment- but, if you watch it as just a comedy, Steve Martin or no Steve Martin- then it's great. It's a pip.
You might expect this thing to have biting political satire, tons of references to little things, little details about Nixon and Agnew- you might expect hard biting intellectual satire, or highbrow humor. It doesn't have anything intellectual about it- the humor is stupid and dumb- but it's not supposed to have sharp humor. It's not supposed to be cutting edge. It's just a goofy thing. It's based on Laurel and Hardy- that's your first clue that it's not going to be cutting edge- it's a slapstick film, and it's not meant to be anything but that. Nixon gets poked in the eye, Spiro gets conked on the button with a brick- followed by the Don Martin-esque sound effect- this is not for snobs. This is for people who like slapstick. Simple, low class humor which can be understood by even a dullard. This is by no means cutting edge- it's a wacky trip through insanity. But you can see why it was made- the seventies were hard times, and comedy was needed, and there were two clowns in the white house, with lots of similarity to clowns- so the Smothers decided to make the obvious connection to Laurel and Hardy. It's as simple as that. And if you don't get it, then you don't have a grasp of what slapstick is.
The pairing of these two- Spiro and Nixon- has incredible charisma, and it's inherent from the very beginning, when Nixon slaps his hand on the book, that it's going to be a very fun buddy comedy. And it lived up to its expectations. Everything about it is top notch. I even began to like Nixon for a moment. And that's hard to do.
This film is criticized too much- and the Smothers Brothers are jerks to recant their own creation- it was amazing. The conflict was resolved easily- there was almost no conflict at all- and that's nice to see- a simple film with no real conflict. The conflict is resolved just by dropping a bomb into a mailbox. Overall, this film- a gem- reminds us that presidents have lives too, and that they're only human, and they get pies in their faces and bricks thrown at their heads just like we do. Go watch it- you'll be glad you did.