13 December 2007

79. the producers



this movie was considered shocking and utterly daring when it first came out, but it has not aged particularly well. since then, we have had jim carrey talking out of his ass, cameron diaz glopping cum in her hair, and a high school virgin fucking a pie. so little is shocking anymore.

mel brooks' movies remind me of woody allen's a little: they are both old-school jewish comedians with a very "borscht-belt" sensibility. it is humor that is at once universal but also very particular. i find myself appreciating their craft, but mostly thinking i should laugh more than finding myself actually laughing.

a lot of people consider this film one of the funniest ever made. that's fine -- it has a very clever premise of "creative accounting" to make a flop, and then an even more clever payoff with "springtime for hitler". and it is executed well, with over-the-top performances from wilder, shawn, mars, and especially mostel.

this movie is on this list because it is written economically and structured classically, with a wide range of jokes, both visual and verbal. brooks obviously has his finger on the pulse of audiences, and it is impressive for anyone to have as their debut a movie that is now considered canonical.

3 Comments:

Blogger Austin Kleon said...

this is one of my favorite films -- we watched it again recently and I remember feeling the exact opposite: i was struck by how contemporary it felt, how the humor didn't seem outdated at all, and the randy quotables came flying at you one after the other. got the chance to see it on broadway, and loved that production, too. hated the remake, mostly because it felt like they shot it like a stage play and not a movie.

was this your first time seeing it?

12:49 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

I am with Austin, this movie is hilarious. The Gene Wilder-Zero Mostel comic chemistry still works very well for me. The painfully terrible remake sort of illustrates the point, it just seems like bad karaoke or something, community-theater actors trying to replicate the performances of the real pros.

4:24 PM  
Anonymous Mr. Ohio said...

do you like anything?
shit, you sound like me talking about music. cheer up buttercup.

10:24 AM  

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