Category Archives: Comedy

Some Like It Hot

Cropped screenshot of Marilyn Monroe from the ...

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One of the golden rules in comedy is that men dressed in women’s clothing are universally funny. I don’t know why this is but it is the premise of the humour in Some Like It Hot. Unlike most other films that feature men dressed in drag, this is not just a one joke comedy, and is one of the funniest films ever made. After Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon witness a gangland shooting, they disguise themselves as female musicians to get away from the gangsters.

Whilst they are pursued by ‘Spats’ (played by George Raft) and his gang they meet up with Sugar Kane, played by Marilyn Monroe. The fun begins when Joe/Josephine, played by Curtis, falls for Sugar.

Jack Lemmon is hilarious in this movie as Gerald/Daphne, and the closing line by his/her fiancé when it is revealed that Daphne is a bloke, is one of the funniest in movie history.

Nobody’s perfect!”

One of the things that I found interesting was the casting of Raft as Spats. In real life Raft was a low-level hoodlum before he became an actor in the late 20s, and rose to prominence in the original Scarface. One of the in-jokes that I found funny was when Spats chides a rival gangster who is constantly tossing a coin, something that Raft’s character did in Scarface. In another scene he picks up a grapefruit and looks as though he is going to squish it into someone’s face ala Jimmy Cagney in The Public Enemy.


Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo

Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo

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Directed by Mike Mitchell
Produced by Adam Sandler (executive)
Written by Rob Schneider
Starring Rob Schneider
William Forsythe
Eddie Griffin
Arija Bareikis
Oded Fehr
Gail O’Grady
Richard Riehle
Jacqueline Obradors
Big Boy
Amy Poehler
Music by Teddy Castellucci
Cinematography Peter Lyons Collister
Editing by George Bowers & Lawrence Jordan
Studio Happy Madison
Distributed by Touchstone Pictures
Release date December 10, 1999
Running time 88 minutes
Country United States
Language EnglishI guess that any credibility that I had in my taste of movies will now be torn to shreds as I enjoyed watching Deuce Bigelow: Male Gigolo last night when it screened on Channel 7. I did go and see it in the theatre back when it was first released in 2000 and enjoyed it the as much as I did last night.

I know that this film is not high-brow entertainment, that it is stupid and gross, like a lot of comedies from the late 90s/early 2000s were, but I still found it to be quite funny and that is all that matters to me. Sometimes you really need a stupid movie that doesn’t take itself or the art of movie making too seriously. At least before watching a Rob Schneider film you know what you are going to get.


Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

Cover of "Borat - Cultural Learnings of A...

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Directed by Larry Charles
Produced by Sacha Baron Cohen & Jay Roach
Screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Peter Baynham & Dan Mazer
Story by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Peter Baynham & Todd Phillips
Starring
Sacha Baron Cohen
Ken Davitian
Luenell
Pamela Anderson
Music by Erran Baron Cohen
Cinematography Luke Geissbuhler & Anthony Hardwick
Editing by Craig Alpert, Peter Teschner & James Thomas
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date November 3, 2006
Running time 84 minutes
Country United States
Language English, Hebrew & Armenian

Borat is lewd and crude but it is also very funny. Some of the scenes in the picture had me laughing hysterically whilst others had me scratching my head.
I laughed at how Borat could make some really offensive remarks about all sorts of issues and the unsuspecting Americans that he met just agreed and expanded on those views. This was especially when he was at the rodeo, the gun shop and the bus with the frat-boys.

Also funny is the naked wrestling/fight scene between Borat and Azimat which really has to be seen to be believed.


One Hundred and One Dalmatians

Directed by Clyde Geronimi, Hamilton Luske & Wolfgang Reitherman
Produced by Walt Disney
Written by Bill Peet
& Dodie Smith (novel)
Starring Rod Taylor
Cate Bauer
Betty Lou Gerson
Ben Wright
Lisa Davis
Martha Wentworth
Music by George Bruns & Mel Leven
Studio Walt Disney Productions
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release date January 25, 1961
Running time 79 minutes
Language English

One Hundred and One Dalmatians is a good way to spend an hour and a bit. It is typical Disney fare from the 50s/60s period. It is not a masterpiece but just an enjoyable film. Cruella De Ville is an enjoyable villain but I feel that she could have been given a bit more screen-time, while her theme song is great. (Especially the Dr. John version that is not featured in the film but the 1996 live-action version of 101 Dalmatians!)

One thing that I was not too happy about was the amount of rotoscoping in this picture. For those who aren’t up to date on rotoscoping, it is basically when animators trace over live action film, frame by frame. Usually they do this to make a characters movement look more believable, although it does take away a lot of the cartoony-ness from animated films and to my eyes looks a bit out-of-place. This is just my opinion, but I feel that the rotoscope was used a little too much on One Hundred and One Dalmatians.


The Blues Brothers

Elwood and Jake Blues and the Bluesmobile

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Directed by John Landis
Produced by Bernie Brillstein, George Folsey Jr, David Sosna & Robert K. Weiss
Written by Dan Aykroyd & John Landis
Starring John Belushi
Dan Aykroyd
Carrie Fisher
John Candy
Henry Gibson

Additional Cast

Cab Calloway as Curtis
Carrie Fisher as Mystery Woman
Aretha Franklin as Mrs. Murphy
Ray Charles as Pawn Shop Owner/Himself
James Brown as Reverend Cleophus James
John Candy as Burton Mercer
Kathleen Freeman as Sister Mary Stigmata, “The Penguin”
Henry Gibson as Head Nazi
Steve Lawrence as Maury Sline
Twiggy as Chic Lady
Frank Oz as Corrections Officer
Jeff Morris as Bob
Charles Napier as Tucker McElroy
Steven Williams as Trooper Mount
Armand Cerami as Trooper Daniel
Chaka Khan as Choir soloist
John Lee Hooker as musician on Maxwell Street
John Landis as State trooper
Stephen Bishop as police officer with broken watch
Paul Reubens as Chez Paul waiter
Steven Spielberg as Cook County Assessor’s Office Clerk

The Blues Brothers Band

John Belushi as “Joliet” Jake Blues, lead vocals
Dan Aykroyd as Elwood Blues, harmonica and lead vocals
Steve Cropper as Steve “the Colonel” Cropper, lead guitar, rhythm guitar and vocals
Donald “Duck” Dunn as Donald “Duck” Dunn, bass guitar
Murphy Dunne as Murphy “Murph” Dunne, keyboards
Willie Hall as Willie “Too Big” Hall, drums and percussion
Tom Malone as Tom “Bones” Malone, trombone, tenor saxophone and vocals
Lou Marini as “Blue Lou” Marini, alto saxophone and tenor saxophone and vocals
Matt Murphy as Matt “Guitar” Murphy, lead guitar
Alan Rubin as Alan “Mr. Fabulous” Rubin, trumpet, percussion and vocals

Music by Elmer Bernstein
Cinematography Stephen M. Katz
Editing by George Folsey Jr
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date June 20, 1980
Running time 133 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Fox Classics had a Blues Brothers marathon on New Year’s Day, screening the movie several times throughout the day. Even though I have seen this movie millions of times I just had to watch it again.

While the film is quite hilarious at times I don’t think that it is the funniest film of all time like a lot of people under the age of 40 have said. It’s probably the funniest film of the 80s though. I like the way that Belushi and Ackroyd play everything very straight regardless of whatever madness is occurring around them. There are a lot of good, funny, lines that have all gone down into movie folklore.

We’re on a mission from God!

I think the thing that I like most about this picture is the great music featured. Firstly there is the Blues Brothers‘ Band featuring Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi as well as the members of Stax records house band Booker T and the MGs. Then there are the cameos by John Lee Hooker, Aretha Franklin, Cab Calloway and James Brown playing and singing some of their most famous hits from the past. The scene featuring Ray Charles singing Shake A Tailfeather is very funny.

Overall the film is very funny with lots of great music.


The Road To Morocco

Cover of "Road to Morocco"

Cover of Road to Morocco

Directed by David Butler
Produced by Paul Jones
Written by Frank Butler & Don Hartman
Starring Bob Hope
Bing Crosby
Dorothy Lamour
Anthony Quinn
Music by Victor Young
Cinematography William Mellor
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date November 10, 1942
Running time 82 min
Country U.S.
Language English

Like Webster’s Dictionary we’re Morocco bound.

The Road To Morocco is perhaps the most famous of the road movies that was made featuring Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour. I think that younger people would perhaps recognise the famous theme song which in recent times has been parodied by Family Guy, although the song is funny enough even now. The film itself is quite amusing and silly with Bob and Bing getting in a few clever one liners, especially when they break the fourth wall and talk to the audience. The plot is quite nonsensical but it is a lot of fun.


Busy Bodies

Cover of "Laurel & Hardy (Sons of the Des...

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Directed by Lloyd French
Produced by Hal Roach
Starring Stan Laurel
Oliver Hardy
Charlie Hall
Tiny Sandford
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date 7 October 1933

This is another fine Laurel & Hardy short film from the early 1930s. It features lots of funny slapstick and is perhaps one of their funniest movies. A lot of the film plays out like a silent film, despite being made in 1933, with Stan in particular showing off his pantomime skills. The film gave me a few good chuckles and doesn’t seem to have dated too badly.


Love Happy

Marx Brothers by Yousuf Karsh, 1948

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Directed by David Miller
Produced by Mary Pickford
David Miller
Written by Mac Benoff
Frank Tashlin
Harpo Marx (story)
Starring Harpo Marx
Chico Marx
Groucho Marx
Ilona Massey
Vera-Ellen
Marion Hutton
Marilyn Monroe

Music by Ann Ronell

Cinematography William Mellor

Editing by Basil Wrangell

Distributed by United Artists

Release date: October 12, 1949 (San Francisco Premiere)
March 3, 1950

This film is notable for two things, 1) it is the worst of all the Marx Bros. films and 2) it features the screen debut of Marilyn Monroe.

Groucho never appears on-screen with his other two brothers, while Chico looks very old (he was 62) and tired. There are some OK jokes with Groucho and Harpo has a few good gags too, courtesy of Frank Tashlin who co-wrote the film. although Harpo’s schtick does wear thin after 30 minutes. The best scene is the 2 minutes when Marilyn is on-screen with Groucho getting in a couple of good lines, but overall it is a terrible and terribly boring film.


Abbott & Costello Meet The Invisible Man

Directed by Charles Lamont
Produced by Howard Christie
Written by Frederic I. Rinaldo
John Grant
Robert Lees
Hugh Wedlock Jr
Howard Snyder
Starring Bud Abbott
Lou Costello
Nancy Guild
Arthur Franz
Music by Erich Zeisl
Cinematography George Robinson
Editing by Virgil Vogel
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date March 19, 1951
Running time 82 min.
Country United States
Language English

Abbott & Costello Meet The Invisible Man is a hard film to categorize. You’d think that with Abbott & Costello in the film it would be a comedy but it isn’t particularly funny. It is amusing in parts but in others the jokes seem very tired. Perhaps this is because I have watched a few A&C films these past few months and can see how they reused gags over and over and over again.Thankfully Lou is so likable and amusing, and he even gets the upper hand on Abbott in a few scenes.

The movie does work sort of as a mystery/suspense type of film or as sci-fi and to be truthful it’s entertaining enough. It’s still a lot better than the later film where the boys met The Mummy, but it is a huge fall from their classic films of the mid-1940s. The film does also contain lots of references to the earlier Invisible Man films.


The Geisha Boy

Directed by Frank Tashlin
Produced by Jerry Lewis
Written by Frank Tashlin & Rudy Makoul
Starring

Jerry Lewis as Gilbert Wooley
Marie McDonald as Lola Livingston
Sessue Hayakawa as Mr. Sikita
Barton MacLane as Major Ridgley
Suzanne Pleshette as Sergeant Pearson
Nobu McCarthy as Kimi Sikita
Robert Hirano as Mitsuo Watanabe
Ryuzo Demura as Ichiyama
The Los Angeles Dodgers as Themselves

    Distributed by Paramount Pictures
    Release date December 23, 1958
    Running time 99 minutes
    Language English

    The Geisha Boy is another of those Jerry Lewis films that I would have watched several times as a kid. It is currently available on DVD for $5 from Big W. It is mildly entertaining, despite a few politically incorrect gags from Jerry. There are a few good gags with Jerry and his rabbit, although these do wear a little thin after the first half an hour of the movie. Thankfully after this point the rabbit jokes are used quite sparingly. The relationship between Jerry and the little Japanese kid is a bit schmalzty and the scene at Tokyo airport paints Jerry as being a huge jerk, but otherwise this is an amusing film that is quite enjoyable.

    I can also see that Jim Carrey stole much of his schtick from Jerry Lewis by watching this film.