The Principals: Jim Abrahams – Director / Writer (writer), David Zucker – Director / Writer (writer), Jerry Zucker – Director / Writer (writer), Martyn Burke – Writer (writer). Starring Val Kilmer, Lucy Gutteridge, Peter Cushing, Omar Sharif, Michael Gough, and others.
The Premise: Nick Rivers (Kilmer in his first role) is an American rock and roll star who is touring East Germany and he gets mixed up in a scheme… oh screw it. It’s a Abrahams, Zucker Brothers movie. Hundreds of sight gags, satirical jabs, and other funny shit happens in a film that wasn’t a hit upon release but a comedy to be reckoned with in a big way.
I might even go on a limb and say it may be my favorite “ZAZ” movie. Which is saying something…
Is it Good: It’s glorious. Seriously, as I’ve grown older and watched this probably twenty times all told, I’ve found a new thing to laugh at each time. I remember when I first saw it as a kid I expected Airplane!, which was one of my favorite films ever. I recall feeling that many of the jokes missed. Not the case at all, I was just a dumb kid and the frame of reference for this film is much broader than that of their earlier classic as well as the Naked Gun flicks.
Going from Casablanca
to Elvis Presley movies to war films, this one requires a little more
of a knowledge base to fully appreciate but it actually has a decent
narrative underneath all the jokes. It is nothing less than one of the
best comedies of the 80’s and a film that bears fruit upon each
Utterly quotable and featuring an amazing and diverse lead performance from Val Kilmer, it’s required for anyone who hasn’t caught on to this, having skipped directly from Airplane! to The Naked Gun.
This reminds me of my friends and their delusions who insist their phone can compete with my iPhone.
Is it Worth a Look: It is worth dozens of looks. Seriously, if you watch this movie every five years for the rest of your life your only issue is figuring how to make the other 1824 days fun enough to compete.
Many pre-teen erections were born from this woman.
Random Anecdotes: I don’t think I was into self-touch when the movie came out but I am pretty damn sure Lucy Gutteridge would have been involved if I had been. The underwater fight scene and reverse film scene are not only majestic but also technically phenomenal. You think about comedies today, you rarely talk about the craft behind it. Stuff like these flicks and Young Frankenstein really showcase that film can still be an art form in a mainstream comedy.
Cinematic Soulmates: The Naked Gun, Airplane!, Kentucky Fried Movie, any Chick Fil-A commercial.
The Tally So Far: