Airplane! Review

It’s time to review what is considered to be one of the funniest films of all time. Some even call it The funniest of all time. I can safely say that it lives up to the reputation and I actually would agree with the title. Of course, in a film with so many jokes, there are obviously ones that fall flat and others that are crude/annoying. Fortunately, the positive ones outweigh the negatives and this is definitely a film that I’d recommend checking out.

The film starts off with a cab driver named Ted. He’s hit a rough patch in life since he got traumatized by the war and his friends don’t respect him anymore. He decides to stop moping though and gets on a plane that his former friend Elaine is on so they can reconnect. She is less than thrilled about this, but has no time for him. The plane has been stocked with poisoned food that is causing everyone to hatch eggs. She must now think quickly or the plane is going to crash and everyone aboard will die. There’s also a mad bomber to think about along with a suicidal person, a lady wit a gun, a shifty guy with a crowbar, and more. Fortunately, the world’s greatest pilot has been called out of retirement to help guide them down but can he pull it off?

Airplane is one of those films that has dozens of gags a minute. Something is always happening. While there is one obvious joke going, there are always a few subtle ones in the background. The best scene in the film is certainly the pilot’s entrance as he walks in and beats up a bunch of people who were trying to sign him up for their various groups. He wasn’t having any of that and the guy promoting Jehovah’s Witnesses seemed to have gotten punched particularly hard. Needless to say, one of them was wise enough not to approach the pilot. He had a job to do after all. The retired pilot was certainly the best character, he kept everyone on their toes and certainly wasn’t messing around.

Ted wasn’t a bad main character but he’s mostly oblivious to all of the jokes. He doesn’t do anything funny so much as he helps some of the other jokes succeed by existing. I definitely don’t blame Elaine for leaving though since Ted definitely didn’t take the past war situation very well at all. Elaine is a little naive and doesn’t seem to be very smart so I can’t say that she is my kind of character either. Of course, these characters are all meant to be rather incompetent and not very smart to help make the movie funnier. The two characters did a good job in their roles even if they weren’t super likable like the retired pilot.

There are a few other supporting characters. They aren’t notable so much as there jokes can be memorable. One character that fell flat was the guy who would just act random the whole time. He would comment on someone gaining weight and always seemed rather loopy. His jokes never worked. You also had the normal pilot and a basketball player. I liked the Basketball player as his joke worked well.

Now while the jokes were very funny, the humor is also what holds the film back somewhat. We get a pretty iffy scene with the rubber pilot as getting air back into him can be somewhat dicey. The ebonics talk was also a little tricky if you could understand what they were saying as opposed to the sub titles. I can understand it somewhat myself so…yeah. There was also a scene with a dog attacking someone for a little while which could be a little dicey depending on how you look at it. Finally there’s the pilot’s conversation with the kid that was risky. The romance is pretty bad as well. This is intentional, but it doesn’t make it any less bad.

These negatives are fairly mild though so they don’t hurt the film too much. They shave off one star, but that’s all. This is still a film that I’d recommend checking out. There are just too many laughs not to watch it. Before this film, the Cat in the Hat is probably the film that I thought was the funniest and possibly Pixels as a guilty pleasure. I’ve never laughed so hard on the inside during a film before that one, I was shaking in my seat. I dunno, Sandler is like a movie that’s so bad it’s good. The writing wasn’t good, but it was funny. The two don’t necessarily have to be connected.

There isn’t really much of a soundtrack in this film but some nice themes do appear as jokes. I believe the Jaws theme may have played at one point. They also intentionally used the wrong sound for the plane the whole time which is a pretty nice detail. One of the more underrated scenes that was fun was when the two people over the intercom are arguing about where to leave your stuff in the Airport. It’s very subtle at first and is gradually brought to the forefront by the end of the scene.

Mentioning all of the jokes wouldn’t make for much of a review though so I’ll stop there. It’s more fun to watch the film and find them out for yourself. There’s not much more of a plot or characters to talk about either so this is more of a shorter review. Watch out for the flashback since it adds some more dimensions to the characters and squeezes in a Star Wars reference along the way. As I said, the film is quite clever.

Overall, Airplane is more hit than miss. You’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you end up not watching it. The film is basically timeless and has aged quite well. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the amount of jokes we get during the film and it’s so unrealistic and unreasonable that it works. I can’t imagine that a sequel/spinoff/prequel could ever hope to match its greatness, but I’d like to see the studio try some more options. We need more good parody films like this one. I wonder if any film will ever surpass this one with humor or if I’ll die with this one still at the top. It’s definitely something to think about.

Overall 6/10


Dr. Strangelove Review

It’s time to look at a critically acclaimed political film. This one takes a pretty interesting look at the good ole Cold War days and our tensions with Russia. Back then it was all about getting the bigger weapons, but we all know that such a build up can only have negative results. This film points that out with America’s half thought out attack protocols and it leads to a very tense atmosphere where all of the characters are wondering what to do about this. It is definitely a well made film.

So, the long and short of it is that one of America’s generals is fed up with the whole thing. He wants to wipe Russia off the map and nobody’s going to stop him. He orders his men to execute the order where they are to fire a nuke at Russia. The command was given as if it was a critical red scenario meaning that the homeland was taken over so this was a last act of retaliation to ensure that Russia died alongside the U.S. Naturally, this was not the case at all, but the pilots had no way of knowing that since they were already in the air and set about to complete their mission. This was a suicide mission so they would not be able to return to see its effects anyway. The President finds out about this and gathers all of the top ranking officials to decide what to do about it.

The problem? There is nothing they can do about it. The order cannot be taken back due to radio silence and there is no way to override it. The President can tell Russia about it, but that will demand retaliation so the U.S. would also blow up. That means there are two ways this can go down. 1. The U.S. alerts Russia to their impending demise so they fire their own nuke and we both die. 2. U.S. keeps silent and Russia dies before they can retaliate, but then we will be known as villains around the world. It’s a tough call.

The cast of characters is of a reasonable size. We’ve got the President as a main character which is always cool. The flaw with this guy is that he’s very timid and I can’t imagine someone like that winning the oval office. He has a hard time talking with Russia since they end up being more aggressive and his whiny disposition makes it hard to sympathize with him. I’m sure this president did a pretty good job during the term, but he wasn’t cutting it. He’s a decently humorous character if you keep in mind that this is a parody though. Turgidson is a pretty charismatic character and one of those guys who gets a lot of witty lines, but is actually a bad character if you think about it enough. He is a little too enthusiastic about implementing a terribly selfish plan at the end of the film to save himself and he doesn’t mind shirking his duty for no real reason. What helps to combat these negative traits is how devoted he is to stopping the Russians. He is willing to lie or do just about anything else to convince people that they are behind all of this. Naturally, he opts to just stay silent and let Russia grow up. While the rest of the council made sure to ignore him during the decision making, you couldn’t ignore him because of how loud the guy was.

Ripper was really the main antagonist of the film and the guy who got the ball rolling. He’s definitely pretty crazy so there is no reasoning with him. It was surreal to see him start firing on his own soldiers just so he could stay alive and once he had stalled enough, he just shot himself. Shooting himself definitely hurt his credibility since he took the cop-out way in the end. The crazyness may have added to the film’s overall atmosphere, but I wouldn’t have minded if this character was cut out. Poor Mandrake was caught in the middle of this breakdown and he did a good job of trying to make the best of the situation. He did come close to stopping the catastrophe, but it was too little too late. Guano is a random general who showed up to take command of the situation over there and I’ll give him a little shout out for being fairly tough. Considering everything that had just happened, he took the situation in stride.

Finally, we have Dr. Strangelove. He is certainly quite the character and that’s to be expected since the film is named after him. The concept of an ex Nazi working for the U.S. and getting a seat on the council is pretty ludicrous but we’ll let it slide for now. His main gimmick was that he kept trying to salute by mistake and telling treasonous things like “My Fuhrer” and hoping that nobody noticed. He is pretty well educated about weapons of mass destruction and nuclear deterrents so he is consulted quite a lot in this film. It’s always interesting to have a traitor in your midst as well and he added some tension to the film. He was without a doubt, one of the best characters in the film.

There is really only one scene here that holds the film back a little and that is Turgidson’s debut. It’s just a really drawn out scene of his secretary answering a call for him while not fully dressed and the scene just stays here for a while. It felt like obvious fanservice and while it wasn’t anything drastic, it is enough to make you shake your head at the whole thing. The deluded general Ripper’s fixation on bodily fluids was also mildly alarming and the final desperate plan that the U.S. considers was also rather twisted. You’re liable to have some iffy plots in a black comedy since it’s part of the humor, but at least it was kept to a minimum. If you consider that this was really the only negative in the film, then that’s actually a pretty good sign. The film may not be amazing or as good as it could have been, but I’d call it a solid film in the end. It’s a movie that I could actually re-watch right now since it’s been a while and it does have a good amount of replay value.

I have to give a brief shout-out to the ending. It was handled beautifully and I was not expecting it in the slightest. It’s an ending that I can’t imagine a modern film getting away with. Not because of content as there is nothing violent about it at all, but just because it’s not a mainstream ending that people would probably approve of. That’s why it was so shocking when the film just suddenly ended with a quick song and a slow montage. I can’t say what the montage was about since that would definitely be a spoiler, but it was classic nonetheless.

Overall, Dr. Strangelove is a very clever film and most of the humor is actually rock solid. It’s a film that will breeze by in no time at all. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and just has a lot of fun along the way. The characters are all very crazy and charismatic. While some of them may not be all that likable on their own, they do make the film more enjoyable. It’s a very crazy film and while that can sometimes work against it, the uniqueness helps the film more than it hurts. If like me, you enjoy watching films that deal with politics and even poke fun at it in the process, then this is a film that you can definitely get behind. The film has a much larger title which will make a lot of sense once you watch the movie. I’d love to see a remake of this film someday as the concept is something that could easily be used again.

Overall 6/10

A Face in the Crowd Review

It’s time to look at a fairly old political film. It’s a good time to do so as it went back to theaters to “celebrate” the arrival of our new President. It’s a pretty fun film that overstays its welcome a little bit by the end. It went in a different direction than I would have expected, but nonetheless it’s not all that bad. I dare say that it is a little mean spirited though so get ready for everyone to get their just desserts.

Larry was doing time in a prison cell when a reporter showed up. Her name is Marcia and she had a neat radio show where she gets people to sing. Larry agrees to do it in exchange for his freedom and the cops are cool with that. He sings some tunes and Marcia realizes that he is destined for greatness. Larry already knew that, but it was nice to see it confirmed. He rose up from small time radio host to a celebrity so influential that even the President answered to him. Life was going well, but unfortunately, the power corrupted him. Larry began to go after everything money could buy and no longer identified with the average joes of the world. He began to destroy everything so Marcia and the others realized that it was time to put him down for good.

So, the film started out pretty reasonably. It was nice to see Larry slowly grow more and more popular while keeping his ideals in tact. He wouldn’t accept sponsors and liked to do things his way. Little did we know that it wasn’t because he was super noble or anything like that. No, it was just because he likes being his own boss and didn’t want to have to follow someone else’s rules. To an extent, Larry is likable. He’s a very charismatic guy and his yell/laugh hybrid is pretty iconic. He’s definitely a take charge kind of guy and he never would have been such a success if not for his personality. He did earn his spot at the top in this film, which is why it’s a shame that he fell so far. He began to go after every girl like James Bond while still acting as if Marcia was actually important to him. He also became as two faced as the politicians that he had always strove to be against.

He said one thing on TV and then another once the cameras were off. It was definitely a pretty drastic change and you can’t blame anyone but himself for how his career ended. I mean, you have to not be very smart to go on such a rant the instant that the cameras were off. That’s really just asking for trouble. While Larry started out as good character, he wasn’t likable by the end and I suppose that was the point. I can’t say that I cared for Marcia either. She started out as a tough reporter, but by the end she was being used as much as all of the other characters. At least she did make sure to walk away with the money before sabotaging Larry though. That was a smart move, but it didn’t make her any more likable either.

There was a reporter who spent a large part of the film trying to get Marcia to realize that Larry was a bad apple, but it was futile for the most part. He was meant to be a pretty likable character who kept it real and just stuck to the facts, but it felt like he was just talking nonsense half the time. He was trying to be very deep and eloquent with what he was saying, but it just backfired and he didn’t get a good line until the very end of the film. It was a little too late by then.

I thought that the ending was handled well. For a second there, I actually thought they were going to make it really dark and have Larry off himself in the end. While it is left to your interpretation, I like to think that he did not. He was crushed pretty badly, but he definitely seemed like the kind of guy who would keep on trying and that makes the ending a little less intense. If it had flat out had him die in the end, that would have hurt the film quite a bit.

I suppose the film was trying to make a point about how people flock to magnetic personalities even if the individual isn’t all that good. They can be mind controlled via group think, but at the same time, this moral came at the expense of Larry’s character. It’s not as if he was a saint in the beginning. The guy did start off in jail after all. However, he was a likable enough guy and he always made sure to just do whatever he wanted. He just let the job control him in the end and I would have liked the film to have taken a different path, but it’s not as if the film did a bad job with it.

I’d just say that the film wasn’t all that fun during the second half. It became more about Larry betraying Marcia over and over again until she finally betrayed him. The film got to be very somber with every character constantly heading to the bar to collect themselves. It was very dramatic and in stark contrast to the very lighthearted, comedic beginning. You could barely even believe that this was the same film. It was a pretty long movie so it was able to have these two “acts” while ensuring that both got a lot of screen time. I certainly preferred the first half.

Overall, A Face in the Crowd is a decent political movie. I prefer to see more of the actual politics since Larry is more of a middle man, but it was a nice little look at the whole thing. Politicians do get advice from a bunch of people so they can hopefully get elected and make connections along the way. We rarely see this aspect of the whole thing. I would have liked for Larry to have stayed as more of a protagonist and it would have made for a much more enjoyable film, but it just wasn’t in the cards. If you want to see a film that also serves as a warning about not forgetting your roots and losing your identity, then this could be a good film to check out. If you’re already confident that this is not a problem, go watch DBZ: Broly The Legendary Super Saiyan since you can turn your mind off and just enjoy the fights.

Overall 5/10

Young Frankenstein Review

It’s always sad when you’re so close to being a good film, but then crash and burn towards the second half. Young Frankenstein had a promising start, but as with many comedy films, it simply couldn’t think of enough good material and had to resort to iffy moments in the end. It does succeed as a parody and will get you a good amount of laughs so comedy fans may enjoy this film anyway. At any rate, it certainly does destroy the normal Frankenstein films, but that’s not much of a feat.

Frankenstein is a professor who is given a tough time because people always question him about the original Frankenstein. Frankenstein has even gone as far as to switch the pronounciation of his name to Frankensteen and always denounces the possibility of creating a monster. He even stabs himself accidentally when trying to get the point across. Unfortunately, he cannot escape his destiny. He gets ownership of the castle and once he gets there…strange things start to happen. An assistant by the name of Igor arrives with the house and a lady named Inga. Frankenstein doesn’t want to create a monster, but his genes start to take control of him and force him to go along with it. He begins to revel in his new role as a crazed scientist, but this isn’t what he wanted….right?

The film was definitely fun at first. The whole scene with him in the classroom was brilliant. He kept the students in line and while they really made it tough on him, Frankenstein never cracked. He even took the stab pretty well considering that it looked rather painful. You’ll feel bad for his volunteer though since that guy wasn’t prepared for the insanity that would ensue. The first parts of the castle were also fun as Frankenstein very sarcastically takes in the strange surroundings. He’s very skeptcal and isn’t afraid to mention it. At first he reacts to all the crazy stuff like Igor’s broken hand constantly switching sides, but gets used to it at the end. He adapts and adapts until he goes full crazy and tries to reenact the experiment.

The film really does recover just about everything that was in the first film. Naturally, some parts are greatly improved like the little girl scene. Instead of being drowned, she is simply thrown through a window back into her bed. It’s the kind of change that could have really helped the old Frankenstein films. We even get the blind guy burning the monster again. There are a lot of good homages and the film is at its best when it’s making fun of the old films and having Frankenstein panic at everything. Unfortunately, things go downhill when we get away from this.

The biggest offender is really the fact that the film constantly brings up the fact that Frankenstein’s upgrades also affected him in more personal ways. You’ll see a lot of jokes about that, but one joke goes a little too far as he chases one of the heroines. She trips and is unable to escape him. She does end up falling in love with him after the experience, but the fact remains that she didn’t really have a choice the first time. It’s meant as a joke, but one that was in rather poor taste. Aside from that, the “romance” between the main two characters is just as bad. During the whole film, Inga is constantly flirting with Frankenstein and purposely taking his comments the wrong way. She finally breaks his will by the end and then we get more sad plot twists. It’s a cruel end for Frankenstein as well since he basically loses his mind. The romance parts are definitely the weakest bits for the film and the scenes just aren’t funny.

It goes without saying that I’m not a fan of the Monster. He really only cares about running around and destroying things and finding a partner. That doesn’t make for a great villain or for a misunderstood guy. Inga is not any better as romance is the only thing on her mind. She’s portrayed as being incredibly unintelligent. It’s part of the parody aspect of course, but it doesn’t work too well at all.

With Frankenstein also falling off the deep end, the only good character here is Igor. You have to wonder whether he is as out of the loop as he suggests. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the actual mastermind behind the scenes. He gave Frankenstein the wrong brain because he “accidentally” broke the real one and then he would move large distances in impossibly quick times. The film hinted that he may have had a twin in the castle as well since it would be the only logical explanation at times. If that is the case, it only goes to reinforce the idea that he is a lot smarter and craftier than he seems. The pieces simply start to add up once you begin connecting the dots. Igor was definitely fun to have around.

Overall, Young Frankenstein wasn’t a good film. It’s a shame because as I mentioned earlier, the first half was fairly great. The humor was well done and Frankenstein’s reactions to everything were real highlights. Other scenes like getting stuck in the revolving door were also handled well although making sure that Igna also got stuck felt rather mean spirited of Frankenstein. Unfortunately, the film started to get a little too obsessed with romance by the end and getting the monster in on the action was really not a good move at all. Frankenstein’s descent into madness made absolutely no sense, but I suppose that was part of the point. I preferred him as a skeptic though since he kept on calling everyone out and just being a lot of fun. The actor certainly did a really good job for what it’s worth. The film just let him down this time. If you want a funnier parody, check out the horror/comedy I reviewed a while back where Sherlock Holmes and a lot of other famous detectives must team up to solve a murder mystery before they are all bumped off.

Overall 2/10