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Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)
We're men..... We're men in tights.......
This review contains *minor* spoilers.
OK... So this isn't young Frankenstein or Blazing Saddles, but overall, it's a pretty funny Mel Brooks Movie. It is a send up of Robin Hood movies in general, but specifically "Robin Hood Prince of Thieves" in the same way that "Spaceballs" was a sendup of the Star Wars movies.
We get the usual Brooks schtick here.... Jewish jokes, (Brooks doing a cameo as "Rabbi Tuchman", Richard Lewis muttering "Trafe" when Robin drops a pig on the table)("Trafe" is a yiddish word for something that is non-kosher) , references to (then) current events and movies, (Dave Chappelle in his movie debut, being roughed up by the royal guard, and saying... "I hope someone is making a video of this", and the archer aiming at Robin from "Ye olde folio depository.) There's even a tribute to "Blazing Saddles", but I won't give that one away. (One other thing..... Only Mel Brooks could find a way to fit a "Malcom X" reference into a Robin Hood Movie.)
There's Brooks standard breaking of the "4th wall", (cameramen and crew obviously visible and part of the movie), and Robin announcing.... "Prepare for the fight scene." AND, there's even a big slap in the puss to Kevin Costner when Elwes says.... "Unlike other Robin Hoods, *I* can speak with an English accent." (Trivia note: Out of all the actors who have played Robin Hood, Elwes is the only British actor to do so.)
The musical numbers are fun, (We're men, (MANLY MEN!), we're men in tights....... We roam around theforest looking for fights.......) and even though the movie is a bit dated now, (it came out in 1993), it still has enough humor to hold one's interest. Sure, some of the jokes are going to be clinkers, (lend me your ears!!!) but overall, the movie holds up well. The movie recently came out in DVD as a Mel Brooks box set. One can only hope that it will come out as a single DVD soon, hopefully with some great extras. It's not a Brooks classic, but it's one that I really enjoy.
Peterson sinks another "Das Boot"
Wolfgang Peterson is good at sinking ships, (Das Boot, The Perfect Storm, and now "Poseidon.") with flash and flair. However, this version of the original Irwin Allen classic is severely lacking in character development. (Allthough it is *FAR* better than the NBC mess a few months ago....) The original, while not perfect, had a story to it.... It had characters, and it had actors to back it up. We had Gene Hackman, Roddy McDowell, Ernest Borgnine, Jack Albertson, Maureen McGovern, (who had a hit song from the movie), and the affable Shelly Winters, who chewed up the screen with gusto every time she was on. This time, to hold up the movie, we have Kurt Russel, Richard Dreyfuss, who plays an aging gay man who looks like your typical New York Jew right out of central casting, (Please don't think I'm being racist here, but OY!) and Emmy Rossum. Poor Emmy.... She went from an Oscar nominated performance as Christine in "Phantom of the Opera", to this movie.
Don't get me wrong, I do care for the characters.... I believe Emmy Rossum when she says that she cares for her son.... It's just that Peterson puts in too many whiz-bang special effects and action, and not enough character development. The ship flips in the first few minutes, without even giving us any real time to really get to know the characters.
This film is shorter than the original, and I think Peterson could have given us at least a little more time to build up the backstory, instead of rushing from one action scene to the next. It almost felt like a Wile E. Coyote cartoon, where as soon as he's out of one mess, he's in a worse one. It's a watchable movie, but it feels like mostly sizzle, and hardly any steak.
The John Larroquette Show (1993)
Funniest in it's first season.
I really liked this show during it's first season. It even had a local connection for me. The outside of the "bus station" was actually the historic railroad passenger terminal here in Sacramento.
The show was funniest in it's first year, because it showed him trying to balance recovering from alcoholism while managing this madhouse of a bus station on the graveyard shift. The alcoholism made for some very dark, (but very funny) humour.
A good example of the dark humour is when a robber is holding a gun on Larroquette and the black food counter owner (can't remember the character's name), the black guy says to the robber, "Shoot him (pointing at Larroquette) he's white." Larroquette responds "No. Shoot him (pointing at the black guy). You'll do less time." Edgy, but funny!
After the first season, they almost completely discarded the "recovering alcoholic theme" making it an OK show. But without the dark comedy of the alcoholism theme, it made it just another sitcom.
The show "held on" for one more year, and then pretty much floundered after that.