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The Producers (1967)
Wall to wall insanity!
The Producers is one of those comedies where if you blink,you most likely will miss something.Just the kind you would expect when viewing the earliest works of Mel Brooks,in particular those works that involve Gene Wilder in his prime.The Producers is wall to wall insanity,just one ridiculous action and word after another,and if you love comedy in it's truest form,you will not cease to be entertained here.Oddly,as much as I love Mel's work in the 70's (Blazing Saddles,Young Frankenstein,High Anxiety,etc),this was my first ever viewing of this film,and I can't for the life of me figure out why it took me so long.All I can say is that it was well worth the wait.
A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
There are certain things that I just don't find any humor in whatsoever.The depiction of animals coming to any kind of harm is one,so I am forced to deduct points there.With that out of the way,I can't say I find much else wrong with this film.It's a comedy,and it made me laugh a time or two,so it's fair to say it did it's job.Jamie Lee Curtis,although her character isn't very likable,is her usual sexy self.She is paired well with,well,just about every man in the film: Kevin Kline,John Cleese,and she even kisses Michael Palin,which I have to admit I didn't see coming,but it was hysterical (suddenly his stuttering problem was healed briefly by the encounter).It was worth the ride,but whether or not I get on again is up in the air due to the above mentioned depictions,and may I add that vulgar language,which permeates the film,is something I've grown long in the tooth for.
When Harry Met Sally... (1989)
Great illustration of the real life quirky dating world.
I'm not huge on romantic comedies,but have enjoyed a few,but the ones I have enjoyed tend to be the ones that stray from the usual stereotypes that you associate with them.This is an example.It's dialog is more intelligent and funny.This is thanks,in big part to Billy Crystal,who has always had a clever way with words.This was developed,no doubt by his years as a stand up comic..The film has all the right ingredients for a classic romantic comedy..A funny,charming guy,a lovely and funny lady,a great supporting cast,and a truthful illustration of how quirky romance and dating really is.The real dating world is simply good fodder for a good romantic comedy film.Not all of them have been done well,but this one was.
The Polar Express (2004)
A dream,for the kid in you.
As a kid,I believed in Santa Claus,and that he lived at the North Pole,he ran a workshop where toys were made by elves,and that he delivered those toys on a sleigh pulled by eight tiny reindeer..I believed it all,not unlike any other kid.This film sent me into a dream like state,where I am that kid from long ago,and in this dream,I was a quiet little passenger,an up close observer of all that was transpiring,and at the end,when it was all said and done,I awakened from that dream.Thank you to all who made this film and brought forth that kid me who stays hidden all too often.This movie is a Christmas treasure.
"Earn more sessions by sleeving!"
Two guys like the same girl.One has a way with words,the other does not.The girl likes the latter guy,and the latter guy wishes to approach her but doesn't want to blow it with a bad choice of words.The two men work together,so he enlists his golden tongued boss to be his coach.It's a great premise for a comedy film,one tailor made for the comedic genius of Steve Martin..It is by far Martin's silliest film and one of his best..I mean,wall to wall silliness! You may look for a dramatic moment here and there,but there's none to be found.Martin is surrounded by a great supporting cast,who all worked equally as hard as he did to make it a gem of a comedy film.
The Odd Couple (1968)
Lemmon and Matthau at their best.
We all have differences with our friends,but those differences never become truly evident until we try to live with each other.Clashes will happen,sooner or later,and this point was never better illustrated than it is in this classic comedy.Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau always had great chemistry on screen,but never more so than they did here.Those who enjoyed the pair in the Grumpy Old Men films,will get a big kick out of seeing the two go at it in earlier days.It was the constant clashing that made them work as a team,if I dare use the term,because they were such great actors individually,that they probably wouldn't have preferred to be called such.Great comedy.
Born Yesterday (1950)
Take a Holliday.
Broderick Crawford was great.William Holden was great.The real treasure of this film was Judy Holliday.To play the dumb blonde to the absolute hilt and watch her character slowly become educated to the ways of the world thanks to Holden was a delight.Her character,by the end of the film,was more educated,yet she managed to hang on to that ditsy innocence that made her so appealing in the beginning of the film.This is a feel good story with Crawford as the gruff shady business man who happens to be Holliday's fiancé,who managed to keep Holliday's character in what he felt was her place until Holden,a man he trusted,craftily swept her away.Well done.
This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
Funny,underneath the bad language.
Having assigned myself to review this film,I knew pretty much what to expect from it by it's reputation and rating..I deduct points for foul language.It's just me.It's how I roll.Peel away all of that and you have a fairly funny "mockumentary" here.Rob Reiner did a fantastic job of bringing the film across as a real documentary,and Michael McKean and company as Spinal Tap were dead on.They had Ozzy Osbourne fooled into thinking it was the real deal,after all,so that alone says they did their jobs well.Did I laugh? In places,yes.Would I buy it? No,because I've grown to long in the tooth for films overrun with foul language,plus I have small kids.It was a nice visit,but it's doubtful I will visit again.
Raising Arizona (1987)
Wall to wall silliness..A joy to watch.
Normally,I have a problem with any film or TV series that depicts child endangerment,but Raising Arizona is the exception to this.At it's core,the story is a fairly serious one,but there is so much wall to wall silliness permeating the film that it is impossible to take seriously,so all is forgotten there fairly quickly.Each character has his or her own unique quirkiness which adds to the humor.It was perfectly casted with very well known actors and actresses willing to take a chance on these newcomers,the Cohen Brothers,who were still fairly new to Hollywood at the time.The gamble paid off.We have a winner here.
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
Definite inspiration for the modern day dark comedy
This is definitely the most off the wall and bizarre film that I have ever seen involving Cary Grant and very against type for it's era..Grant was great as usual in this very different setting.The film,I believe helped set the stage for the dark comedies to come in the modern era.I love how the two elderly spinsters are totally oblivious to the fact that they are doing wrong and Grant's discovery and reaction to this.Each character is colorful in his or her own way and lends much to the story.Most who are absorbed in modern film without much experience in watching older era films might take offense in regards to mental illness being used for laughs here,but it was a different time and that must be taken into consideration.Raymond Massey and Peter Lorre do a great job of lending a horror film touch in the middle of the laughs..I like it!