It’s raining outside. You know how I know it’s raining? I have a hole in my shoe which is telling me that. The water falling from the sky gave it away too. I’m not really one for going out in the rain. Or the sun either. I will have a frolic in the snow though. I did once build a snow dragon. It looked good….until you looked at it from the upstairs window. From there it looked like a giant penis. So why do I bring up giant snow penises? I don’t know.
Oh but I remember why I brought up the rain. It’s raining. You’re stuck inside. What do you watch? That’s a hard decision. Do you flick through your streaming service ultimately finding nothing and heading to bed or do you have a list of “Go to” films that you will never tire of? I do. I have many of them.
Should we dive in? We should. We will. I’m diving. Into the 80s where…these all might be 80s. I’m checking. They’re mostly 80s. And while they don’t all the have same theme the are similar in other respects.
I think it’s wittiness. Characters with a quick wit. Quick wit that they have honed into a razor sharp weapon. Physically they may still be pummelled into oblivion but, ah, the moral victory shall be theirs. I have read the first Fletch book which the film is based on and I enjoyed the book although I didn’t enjoy the character as much. Film Fletch has a touch more likability, inventiveness and irreverence that doesn’t border on hostility. I’m starting to understand why I may like all these films. I’ll keep going till I can be sure I know what I’m talking about. No, I better come to a conclusion sooner than that.
Before we get to that we shall be enjoying an absurdist, existential, tragicomedy. I don’t really know what that’s all about either. It is based on a play by Tom Stoppard so it’s going to be one of those “Oh but the play is so much better” films. I haven’t seen the play nor do I need to to find Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead to be really funny. It’s one of those films I happened upon one night and then found it again years later and it’s so good. We follow two characters from Hamlet as they attempt to glean what afflicts the poor Prince of Denmark. While they are minor characters in Hamlet, in this film they are the major characters who intersect with the rest of the cast of Hamlet throughout. Again it’s the subtle humour that does it for me. Big belly laughs might be good however they don’t last. With every viewing your belly laughs a little less and then finally it’s just a little “Heh”. Subtle humour, however, that will always raise a smile. Give a glimmer of a giggle. Perhaps even a snort when it takes you by surprise.
Whereas we have tragicomedy in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, we now have a double feature that encompasses both tragedy and comedy and all based off the same play.
Cyrano de Bergerac from 1990 with Gerard Depardieu is almost always followed by the 1987 Steve Martin comedy Roxanne. There are similarities in the characters which you would expect so I don’t really know why I said that. I’m starting to notice why I have an affinity for these films. It’s the intelligence and wit, yes there is intelligence there. Films may be silly and farcical yet if you listen to the verbal swordplay and in the case of Cyrano de Bergerac watch actual swordplay you see characters who are never left speechless. They will always take that opportunity to take down an adversary with clever wordplay. A talent that the bravest of individuals will master.
“I’ve been braver since”. It’s a line shared by both films. After having their hopes….could this be classed as a spoiler? They’re both 30 years old or more. I think the moratorium on spoilers has passed. You see them both getting their hopes up that this is when they find out that their feelings are requited. But no, they want the pretty one and our heroes are to be the messenger. Once more the universe stabs them in the heart with their own protrusion. At least in Roxanne, it happens outside in the splendour of Canada thought it’s pretending to be America. Even the town is acting.
Oh aye, speaking of Canada. I was not aware of that. I’m reading Wikipedia and I was today old when I found out the Heavy Metal is a Canadian film. I always assumed it was an American film, never associated it with Canada. Although with all that Canadian talent lending their voices; John Candy, Eugene Levy, John Vernon. It is very different from the rest of the films on the list as it’s the visuals I like. All hand-drawn animation that, compared to contemporary animation, is full of detailed backgrounds and characters to the point that you can see the pencil textures. It is an epic of a film. Like the magazine, it is based on an anthology of stories that doesn’t shy away from the naked violence or naked nakedness all while having a superior soundtrack….at least for those who enjoy Heavy Metal music. I can appreciate the music and how it fits into each chapter of the film. Especially since it features Nazareth, Scottish band, local band, the lead singer’s sister was one of my teachers at primary school.
Soundtracks can make a film all the more Majestical and when it’s a Taika Waititi film you can be sure everything is going to be perfectly crafted. Hunt for the Wilderpeople is just perfect. From the delivery of the lines to the lines themselves. That subtle off the cuff style humour where it all flows naturally to the point you don’t feel that you’re watching a scripted film. It’s the back and forth banter you’d have yourself in a conversation. That’s what it is. These films have that sort of quick wit that I want my brain to have. To be able to say the right thing at the right time and destroy anyone with my brain…did I say destroy? I meant to say DESTROY!!!!! We are having no half measure when it comes to brain destruction.
“Brain destruction” sounds too much like your own brain being destroyed. I need mind in one piece. Who knows what sort of surreal scenarios will occur should I accidentally think too hard. I know it’s an unfortunate eventuality. I’m only killing time here as I haven’t worked out to tangent off into Johnny Dangerously. Michael Keaton would probably know how to do it and he’s in Johnny Dangerously. Tangent achieved. I think it’s fair to call parodies and whimsical comedies that reinterpreted history surrealist. They’re taking the norm and twisting it slightly or to the point where the atom of humour is split and gigglement radiates for a thousand years.
I don’t know how to properly describe films like Young Einstein. It is straight comedy though, at the same time, it has a hint of parody while at the same time being absurdist. Yahoo Serious may have been a one-hit-wonder but what he did with this one film has me wanting to put it on right now. No, I can’t do that. It’ll be too much of a distraction. Afterwards maybe. He did have two follow up films. Reckless Kelly which is not too bad as I recall and Mr Accident which is that bad and I choose not to recall. Young Einstein is perfection. It is silly. Silly can be good. Silly can be hyperbole and wordplay and asking your brain to work hard to see the humour inside the humour. I think I just made that last part up to sound more windswept and interesting. It sounds a bit pretentious but it’s being said so I shall accept the moment of me talking out my arse.
You know arse sounds like farce and farce is a good way to describe Without a Clue. That was such a smooth segway into Without a Clue. A move so smooth you could take it to a discotheque and it would leave with everyone. Is that how things work in these social venues? I don’t know how outside at night works. I know alcohol is involved and some sort of body gyration? Anyway, we’re not interested in that sort of thing. We want to see more subtle humour. Yes, this is the theme of all of these films. Subtleness in all it’s forms. Not you Cyrano, you had a war with Spain. Watching how a gesture from Watson to Holmes or how Holmes defers to Watson in such a way as to give the impression of competence. For in this version of Sherlock Holme is it Watson that is the master detective and Holmes an idiot. Again I find the humour to be all very…hold on I’m checking the thesaurus for an alternative to subtle….slight? No. Ethereal? I like it but still no. Understated? Oooh yes. These films are all…still not you Cyrano and Heavy metal, no, just no to you…quite understated.
Yes, I’m seeing it now. These are all aspirational. To be quick-witted. Intelligent. To be able to use words anytime you want without having your brain cease to function because the situation you’re in has become anxiety inducing. And, of course, have a giant flying bird dinosaur, a sharp, pointy sword, and to look amazing in tiny black warrior outfit.
Oh aye, before I forget. The Penis Dragon. I’m sure your mind has been trying to conjure up an image of what it might have looked like. Conjure no more. You’re disappointed, aren’t you? Well….size isn’t everything. It was cold out there.