The Last Polka (TV Movie 1985) Poster

(1985 TV Movie)

User Reviews

Review this title
12 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
The first, and maybe the best, of the mockumentaries.
bolobill7 June 2003
Simply the best of all of the mockumentaries. Candy and Levy at their best. Makes one want to take up the gelkies (with a little Russian dancing on the side), have some cabbage rolls and coffee (mmm, mmm, good!), and try and forget the Plattsburgh incident. See it, if you can find it.
5 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Should be released on DVD
AlexisKuttmeov17 May 2004
A very funny effort. In 1986 I taped it from a rental store video and I am glad I did. I have now transferred it to DVD on my own but it would be great if it were released on DVD, digitally restored with a few special features. This "Mockumentary" features John Candy and Eugene Levy as the Shmenge Brothers, leaders of a popular polka band, and we are reflecting on their careers as they prepare to retire. Levy has gone on to appear in more of the same, but nothing he has done has gotten any better than the original.

If you like spoofs such as "Waiting for Guffman", "The Best in Show", "Spinal Tap" and "A Mighty Wind" you've got to see the granddaddy of them all, "The Last Polka"!
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
May be the funniest comedy you will ever see !!!
genjo197521 January 2004
I have not seen this movie since its debut on HBO TV and it is not available to order to add to one's collection of VHS movies. Definitely without doubt one of the funniest comedies you will ever see in your lifetime. I could not stop laughing throughout the entirety of the movie, a laugh with every breath. A classic by Levy and Candy, and an impossible to obtain movie physically. Since it was made for TV, it was never printed for resale, which makes it one of the cult classics and one of the most sought after comedies of all time. Many of the jokes and set ups used to direct this movie appear in latter years in other comedies. It seems The Last Polka and the Shmenge Bros. set a precedent no one can keep up to. If you ever get a chance to see it do so, you probably will never get a second chance to see it. I saw it in 1984, and have been looking for any copy of it since, or notification it will be broadcast on TV and in 20 years it has not been rerun on TV. I have a feeling this one is tied up somewhere in a vault in John Candy's estate collection. Perhaps, MUST SEE. The best are impossible to find.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
"SCTV"'s Shmenge Bros. in their own special!
cinefan12 October 1999
This was a made-for-cable (Showtime) comedy special starring John Candy and Eugene Levy's "SCTV Network" characters, polka stars Yosh and Stan Shmenge.

The film traces their rise to prominence from their childhood in native Leutonia to their final comeback concert. Along the way, we're treated to hilarious archival footage and interviews with those who worked with them and loved them, played by other "SCTV" luminaries like Rick Moranis, Robin Duke, and Catherine O'Hara. Later released on video. It's an excellent comedy special... a must for anyone who loved Candy and "SCTV!"
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
One of the Funniest Movies All-Time
dogengenjo17 February 2019
John Candy and Eugene Levy combined their epic genius of comedy wit, in writing and acting for a brilliant gem of a 10 star movie.

This movie has it been impossible to view and or find to buy and watch. Initially aired on HBO I have not seen this great classic since it aired in 1985.

The two Schmenge brothers, are shown from their humble roots, to household rockstar-like status, as polka accordion players.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Shmenge!
loufalce7 June 2010
"Mockumentary" film about the Shmenge Brothers, Leutonian American Polks musicians who deciede to call it quits after a long career. Beginning in 1944 in Leutonia, a fictional Eastern European country, the film chronicles their rise to the top of the Polka music scene . Eugene Levy and John Candy are in absolutely top form as the retiring Happy Wanderers. Film works like a dream because they underplay their roles in a deadpan style that is absolutely hilarious. In color and black and white, the excellent cast features regular SCTV members. The Polka music itself is first rate and for some reason it actually respects this ethnic musical genre. I can't really say if Levy and Candy are actually playing their own instruments, but they do manage to capture the cult like retiring Polka personalities in a way that is totally believable. Their funny outfits and the dead on Eastern European accents they speak with really hit the bulls eye. The Happy Wanderers themselves remind you of those acts that played on the old Lawrence Welk show in the 60s. They are so square they are cool.The Polka music itself is so good that it really got me hooked on it. I even heard "Cabbage Rolls and Coffee" at a real wedding-a Polish wedding ! Wonder if any of the guests were aware of the "joke". Even though Levy is fine as usual,he should have been in more movies-and I don't mean the "American Pie" franchise. Candy- a great talent that was wasted in too many bad movies really shines. You believe they are real and unless you are unaware of the set up, you may think that you are actually watching a real documentary. The "tribute" to Michael Jackson is priceless. All in all, I can't recommend this movie highly enough. It makes you feel good, it makes you smile and laugh and the music is great. Even the name Shmenge is funny. I understand that it is something of a cult classic. Its easy to see why. Shmenge!
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Please put this on DVD!
AustinKatAnne4 February 2004
The DVD of "A Mighty Wind" was so much fun I had to see what older comedies by cast members were available. This romp with Eugene Levy and John Candy was such a favorite, it's a shame it's not available. I would love to be able to see "The Last Polka" again, preferably on DVD. Wish it could appear in time for the 10th anniversary of the death of John Candy (he died in March 1994). I sure would like to see him polka-swinging with Eugene Levy once more.

People in our family still use that catchphrase: Cabbage rolls & coffee! MMMM, MMMMMM, GOOD!
4 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
3/10
Most all the reviews LOVED the film....I didn't.
MartinHafer28 January 2016
I was a huge fan of SCTV for many years--starting with their super- low budgeted half hour show. Throughout their run in syndication, network and cable TV, I watched the show. So, I was very familiar with the Shmenge Brothers skit. I was, however, a bit surprised when this led to a made for TV special "The Last Polka". I say surprise because this was not one of their better skits and it seemed as if the show got about as much out of the Shmenges as they could. Still, they decided to make this mockumentary. I watched it when it came out and was just thinking about it yesterday and so I decided to check YouTube...and found it. So is it worth looking for or not? And, more importantly, was it as slow and dry as I remembered?!

The title "The Last Polka" is obviously a takeoff on the documentary "The Last Waltz"--a super-famous film by Martin Scorsese. The film finds Yosh (John Candy) and Stan (Eugene Levy) announcing that they'll do only one more concert and then retire. The film consists of lots of fake interviewed with the boys and others as well as clips of them supposedly performing. It also purports to tell the history of the act and how they rose to fame(?).

The film was pretty much as I remembered it...long, slow and probably a bad idea in hindsight. The Shmenge shtick wore thin quickly and some portions could have used a HUGE editing (such as Rick Moranis' singing and the girls' group). As a small skit, the Shmenges worked...as an hour long bone-dry mockumentary it really didn't. After all, after a while, their bad clothes, terrible singing, polka music and weird accents is all you get...again and again. I would have much preferred a film about some of the other acts on the show...such as Guy Caballero or another Doug & Bob McKenzie film.

I loved "SCTV"...but I cannot bring myself to recommend this awful and misguided show. I think my score of 3 might be a bit generous. And, if you think I'm wrong try watching it (possibly again) on YouTube.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Spinal Tap was first
johnlippi9 April 2009
Spinal Tap was released in 1984, a year before The Last Polka. Nevertheless, it's mandatory in our family to watch and know this flick. in fact we make all of our significant other watch it as well. It's borderline sick, I know, but one must know the polka. They definitely give a nod out The "Last Waltz" for sure. Now it's finally on DVD. No need to break out the old dusty VCR for this one.

I think I may have become an actor to hide from myself. You can escape into a character. - John Candy

I thought to myself, Join the army. It's free. So I figured while I'm here I'll lose a few pounds. - John Candy

Who wants an orange whip? Orange whip? Orange whip? Three orange whips. - John Candy
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Nothing but Funny!
caa82110 August 2006
I like to look at the "time capsule" idea to illustrate certain words from our era, as we might put into, say, a cornerstone to be viewed by those a century later. Some pictures, descriptive materials, films or tapes, of JFK or Dwight Eisenhower, could illustrate the essence of "charisma" (for "anti-charisma," try Newt Gingrich). How about Sharon Stone and Tia Carrere for "sexy?" A tape of "The Last Polka" could simply be enclosed to illustrate "funny." Far-fetched, silly, over-the-top, but hilarious at every turn. And these amiable oafs and their nearly-equally-oafish supporting players provide more laughs and enjoyment in this film than most of the big-screen productions which cost 20- or 40- or 50-times as much to produce and market. Funny at a rating of "11" on the 1-to-10 scale.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
The Spinal Tap of Polkas
rusdee11 October 1999
If you like John Candy and Eugene Levy, and you think polka music ain't too bad, you'll enjoy "The Last Polka." The film is well written and Candy and Levy turn in great performances. How good is this project? I lost my wife's VHS copy and I've spent a lot of time searching to find a replacement -- so far, no luck.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
King of the Mockumentaries
schmelmiphartz25 October 2006
The king of the mockumentaries, The Last Polka is sixty minutes of Eastern European fun that you wish would never end. I consider this both Candy and Levy's best work.

For those of you comparing the film to similar, more recent movies such as Mighty Wind and Best in Show, please stop! Although both of those films are SCTV exploits, they pale in comparison to The Last Polka. These films sacrificed quality for quantity - they were both about 30 minutes too long!

In the Last Polka, each scene is funnier than the last because they didn't have time to bore the audience. Also - Christoper Guest was NOT involved, therefore, automatically making The Last Polka even more funny (Spinal Tap excluded, of course).

If you happen to be lucky enough to find this movie, it's a must see. Hopefully we will see this on DVD some day!
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed