Thursday, October 15, 2020

Again with the movies!

Writing prompt: Write a blog post inspired by the word: again. 

We were booked to go on a cruise in August but it was cancelled, so my husband decided to use the scheduled time-off for a staycation. What a relaxing time full of reading, relaxing, and re-watching movies!

storyblocks.com image

Here are some films we had seen before but watched again:

  • The Goodbye Girl (1977)
    • I adore the writing for this movie. Such clever dialogue! And top notch performances. Richard Dreyfuss won an Oscar for Best Actor for his role in this film.
  • Cast Away (2000)
    • I didn't remember this movie being such a downer. Good movie, but mostly depressing. This recent viewing was my third time watching it and that's enough.
  • The Kid (2000)
    • When I wrote about Kid Humor during the April A to Z Challenge, a reader, Sue, reminded me about The Kid and its snappy dialogue. Ever since she made that comment, I'd been wanting to see it again. Such a good film. (Sue's blog: Suzanne Blazier: A Movie for Every Mood)
  • McLintock (1963)
    • My taste has definitely changed. I thought I liked this show, but upon seeing it again... ugh.
  • Ben-Hur (1959)
    • It's a long one, but sooo good.
  • The Holiday (2006)
    • Why'd we watch this one again? *shrugs shoulders* I think because we happened to stumble across it while surfing streaming movies, but I especially like Jack Black's character. 
  • Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985)
    • I was surprised how much I liked this movie the first time I saw it. I've watched it multiple times since, and always wished they would continue making the Remo Williams series. Not sure why Joel Grey was selected to portray the Asian character Chiun, but he does a superb job in the role.
  • Oscar (1991)
    • If you've followed my blog much, you probably have already guessed this is one of my favorite comedies!
  • The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
    • Our daughter came to our house for a pajama-time movie. Her husband didn't want to watch this with her, so when the kids were settled for the night, she drove to our house to watch it with us. (Kurt and I had to take a nap earlier so we could stay awake late!) I'm glad we watched it again, I had forgotten some of the humorous scenes.
  • True Lies (1994)
    • I mentioned this movie when I wrote about Honesty or Blunt Truth used for comedy, so when a television channel aired an edited version of this film, we recorded it to watch again. 
  • A Hard Day's Night (1964)
    • When I wrote about Running Gags, John Holton (The Sound of One Hand Typing) commented about a running gag involving Paul's grandfather in this film, so I wanted to see it again. Watching this as an adult was more fun than when I saw it as a kid. I caught more of the humor this time.
A movie I'd love to see again but can't find it anywhere (probably because it was a TV movie)... A Place to Call Home (1987) starring Linda Lavin. In the film, a man moves his wife and eleven children from their home in Houston to a sheep station in Australia, and then abandons them. If you ever come across this movie, please let me know!

What movie(s) would you like to see again? 

Writing prompt from:


Monday, September 21, 2020

One small adjustment away.

 Monday: Dialogue, Lines, or Quotes

I love when movie dialogue touches on something weighing on my mind. Such was the case while watching How Do You Know (2010).

In a heartfelt scene, George (Paul Rudd) gives Lisa (Reese Witherspoon) a birthday gift. She carefully unwraps it and discovers a can of Play-Doh. She's a bit confused.

George explains that part of the gift is the story, which is... the dough was originally sold as a wallpaper cleaner for getting soot off the walls, but when people switched to natural gas (instead of coal), the product sales dropped and the company floundered. A relative who taught at a nursery school suggested they market the squishy substance as a child's toy... Play-Doh.

And then comes the profound line:

GEORGE
So... I have kept this for a long time
...as proof that we are all just one small
adjustment away from making our lives work.

Just one small adjustment away! I love that.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Take 41: Just Mercy

Tuesday: My "take" on a film.


Just Mercy (2019)


Every generation has its hero. Meet ours.


(Based on a true story, and currently streaming free of charge through FandangoNow and Amazon Prime.)

I read the book in February (Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson) and pondered on it for weeks after. Then, with the issues of race and justice currently raging across our nation, I felt a pull to watch the movie, too.

Bryan Stevenson is a lawyer from Delaware who founded the Equal Justice Initiative (a nonprofit law office in Montgomery, Alabama) and has "dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated, and the condemned."*

The film mainly focuses on the case of Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx), a man unfairly tried and convicted for a crime he didn't commit. In fact, he was put on death row even before his trial, and had been in prison for six years by the time he meets Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan).

When Bryan first interviews him as a potential client, Walter has very little (if any) hope that the efforts of this young lawyer will make a difference. He underestimates Bryan's tenacity and drive.

The injustices and lies uncovered regarding Walter's original trial are maddening! We are all children of God, and it breaks my heart to see such blatant disregard of human rights. It's not an easy film to watch, at times, but so worth it.

I love what Bryan tells the US Senate during a hearing on the Death Penalty:
BRYAN STEVENSON
Through this work, I've learned that each of us is more than the worst thing we've ever done; that the opposite of poverty isn't wealth, the opposite of poverty is justice; that the character of our nation isn't reflected on how we treat the rich and the privileged, but how we treat the poor, the disfavored, and condemned.
Well-said, Mr. Stevenson, well-said.


Notes on Content:
  • No sex and no full nudity. A man is stripped searched, and shown bare from the waist up.
  • Threats at gunpoint, fistfights. A prisoner is placed in the electric chair and prepared for execution... his death is not fully shown on screen, but the intensity is there.
  • Language includes racial slurs, derogatory remarks, and some mild swearing (no f-words).

https://eji.org/bryan-stevenson




Friday, June 12, 2020

Food in Film: Lamb

Friday: Comic Relief

I came across the draft of a  post I had intended to use during the 2017 Blogging from A to Z Challenge with my Food in Film theme. It would have been used for the letter L -- Lamb -- but I went with "Lobster" instead.

Still... why waste the post? It can give some comic relief.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

I love this scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) when Ian Miller (John Corbett) meets Toula Portokalos' (Nia Vardalos) Aunt Voula (Andrea Martin).

AUNT VOULA
Ok ok. Why don't you come to
my house and I cook for you.

TOULA
That may be a problem.

AUNT VOULA
Why it a problem? Don't you tell him
I'm the best cook in the family?

TOULA
Oh, I did.

IAN
Twice!

TOULA
Ian is a vegetarian. He doesn't eat meat.

AUNT VOULA
He don't eat no meat?

TOULA
No, he doesn't eat meat.

AUNT VOULA
What do you mean he don't eat no meat?

(Everyone in the room stops and stares.)

AUNT VOULA (cont'd)
Oh that's ok. That's ok, I make lamb!


I used to eat lamb when I was little. Lamb chops, leg of lamb. But when I was in high school, I went with my mother to a neighboring town to pick up a lamb from a slaughter house. It had been killed and skinned in preparation for my parents to cut and wrap in freezer paper.

The skinned animal, cloaked in a white bed sheet, was loaded into the back of our station wagon and we drove 30 miles home with the smell of the carcass attacking my senses.

I was no stranger to the butchering of our own meat. Our kitchen table turned butcher table numerous times. I'd even helped my brothers skin deer. But something about the smell of that lamb made me so nauseas I have not been able to eat that type of meat since.

So even if I was a vegetarian and your Greek aunt wanted to cook meat for me anyway, please don't let it be lamb!


(To find my 2017 Food in Film posts, click here and scroll down.)

Monday, May 25, 2020

Whether I write or not, I will pay a price.

Monday: Dialogue, Lines, or Quotes

Browsing through past blog posts, I came across this one published May 28, 2012 and it struck a chord. I am re-posting because it's a message I need right now.

* * * * * * * * * * * *
"I have no shrewd advice to offer developing writers about this business of snatching time and space to work. I do not have anything profound to offer mother-writers or worker-writers except to say that it will cost you something. Anything of value is going to cost you something."  (Toni Cade Bambara)

Anything of value is going to cost you something. As I've contemplated that phrase I've come to realize that everything comes with a price whether it's of value or not. I can choose to pay the price for writing time (neglected chores, lack of social time, loss of sleep) or I can choose to pay the price for not making time to write (frustration, resentment, loss of dreams).

Whether I write or not, I will pay a price.

What price are you willing to pay to follow your dream? What price will you pay if you don't?

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Friday, May 15, 2020

Comic Relief: Raccoon Toons Quarantine

Friday: Comic Relief

These videos -- created by a friend -- gave me a much needed laugh. Thanks for sharing your talent, Matt!


Raccoon Toons: Quarantine Part 1


Raccoon Toons: Quarantine Part 2


For more of Matt's comics and videos, visit his website: Raccoon Toons.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Reflecting on the 2020 A to Z Challenge





This was my 6th consecutive year of completing the April Blogging from A to Z Challenge and it was my toughest. (For a list and links to all my A to Z posts over the years, click here.)

I almost didn't participate this year because I wasn't ready. My theme was planned and topics for each letter outlined, but no posts written. From past experiences, I knew that the challenge is not as enjoyable without time to visit other blogs. In fact, at the end of last year's challenge, I set some goals for 2020...
  • Have my posts ready before April
  • Link up on other social media 
  • Visit more blogs 
  • Leave comments on more blogs
How'd I measure up?
  • Not even one ready
  • I thought about it... once
  • Sadly, no
  • Didn't do that either

Early in the year I tried to prepare posts, but only managed to write what I later deemed as garbage and deleted.

I lost count of how many drafts I dumped.

Two days before the challenge started, someone talked me into jumping in, ready or not. So I did.

Six days into the challenge a health issue arose (mentioned in my O post) which lasted over 18 days. Writing kept me anchored and gave me something else to focus on besides pain, so I kept plugging away at the alphabet.

When I planned my theme (Humor in film--what makes me laugh) I had no idea how badly I would need laughter in April. It truly was the best medicine.

The challenge turned out to be a sanity-saver.

I intend to join in again next year.

And I have another movie-based theme planned...


Thursday, April 30, 2020

Zanyism.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge


Theme: Humor in film -- what makes me laugh:


Zanyism.

Zanyism is buffoonery -- behavior that is ridiculous but amusing. My favorite animated films fit under that category, since most would be ridiculous (and impossible) in real life, but there are also some non-animated movies with cartoonish-like characters that make me laugh.

Here are a few examples...

I linked these to their trailers for an overview of the zany antics.

Jerry Lewis movies (the ones with Dean Martin). Especially The Stooge (1951) and Artists and Models (1955).

The Pink Panther (1963) and its sequels. (The funny trailer features the cartoon Pink Panther.)



Tommy Boy (1995)

Flubber (1997)

And this next one hit me particularly funny (I laughed til I cried!) since it's based on a true story. Were the actual thieves as buffoonish as portrayed in this film about the biggest cash heist in history? Truth can be funnier than fiction...

Masterminds (2016)


Well, that's a wrap on another A to Z Challenge. This was a good month to focus on laughter since I spent over half of it in pain. (My leg is much better now and no longer hurts!!)

I finally posted the letter N... yesterday. Find it here.

Are you a fan of zanyism? What movies come to mind when you consider buffoonery?

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Yoicks!

Blogging from A to Z Challenge


Theme: Humor in film -- what makes me laugh:


Yoicks!

Such a fun word... yoicks. It's a term used by fox hunters to encourage the hounds, but I came across another definition (here) that says it's an expression of surprise or excitement. For this post, I'm focusing on facial expressions of surprise or shock that make me laugh.

For example...

Kevin's (Macaulay Culkin) expression when he slaps aftershave on his face! (At approx. 0:53 in this clip.)

Movieclips: Home Alone - Kevin Washes Up Scene

Jim Carrey is a master of facial expressions. Nearly all of his films include at least one expression of surprise or yoicks!


via GIPHY

In the film Big Business (1988), two sets of identical twins are mixed-up at birth and raised as fraternal twins... one set in the city, and the other set in the country. When they come across each other in a hotel restroom (of all places!) it starts out like the classic Duck Soup mirror scene (see post: Visual Humor) then turns to yoicks!-- shrieks and facial expressions of surprise.

It's my favorite scene in the film and I found two versions on youtube...

  • This clip contains the full hilarious scene, but includes the words g** and h*** towards the end.
  • For a shorter clip with just their screams, click here.

And... just for fun, here's a clip of Daffy Duck as Robin Hood, "Yoicks and away!"

Can you recall scenes with funny facial expressions of surprise?

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Xyresic wit.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge


Theme: Humor in film -- what makes me laugh:


Xyresic wit.

Razor sharp -- xyresic -- wit can make me laugh. I don't mean razor sharp as in cutting remarks, but about keen or clever lines.

A few favorites...

  • This ain't a bridge. It's termites holding hands! (Funny Farm, 1988)
  • Dee, when your allergies act up, take out your nose ring. (Clueless, 1995)
  • Hairy legs are your only link to reality. (Return to Me, 2000)
  • Because it makes my toes feel like 10 friends on a camping trip, that's why. (All About Steve, 2009, Regarding why she wears "stupid red boots all the time")
  • Okay, Robin. Together, we're gonna punch these guys so hard, words describing the impact are gonna spontaneously materialize out of thin air. (The Lego Batman Movie, 2017)


What are your favorite one-liners in film?

Monday, April 27, 2020

Wordplay.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge


Theme: Humor in film -- what makes me laugh:


Wordplay.

I love a good play on words... puns, literal meanings, tongue twisters...

It took me awhile to catch on that an island in The Incredibles (2004) named "Nomanisan" would make it "No-man-is-an Island." (A poem by John Donne.)

Igor (Marty Feldman) in Young Frankenstein (1974) breaks into a lab to steal a brain and mistakenly reads a jar's label as "Abby Normal", thus Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) puts an abnormal brain into his monster.

Spaceballs (1987) is not one of my favorite Mel Brooks films, but I did get a kick out of the literal use of some phrases. To "jam the radar" a huge jar of jam gets launched into it. When the jam  trickles down the radar screen, Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis) tastes it, and realizes he's been given the "raspberry." When told to "comb the desert" to look for the princess, the men drag gigantic Ace-brand combs through the sand. Hilarious!

In The Muppet Movie (1979), Kermit the Frog gives directions and tells Fozzie Bear, "Bear left!" and Fozzie answers, "Right frog!"

My favorite tongue twister comes from The Court Jester (1955) in a scene where Hubert (Danny Kaye) needs to remember, "The pellet with the poison's in the vessel with the pestle, the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true."

Movieclips: The Court Jester - 
The Pellet with the Poison's in the Vessel with the Pestle

Later, he is told the chalice from the palace broke and they replaced it with a flagon with a figure of a dragon, and the poison was put in there instead of the vessel with the pestle so he needs to keep track, "The pellet with the poison's in the flagon with the dragon; the vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true."

I crack up when both times he is told, "Just remember that."

(In the clip above, lightning strikes his suit of armor
right before he puts it on... making it magnetic.)
Movieclips: The Court Jester - The Flagon with the Dragon


Do you enjoy playing with words?

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Visual humor.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge


Theme: Humor in film -- what makes me laugh:


Visual humor.

When something is visually funny, the humor can be understood just by seeing it--no dialogue or sound necessary. Sometimes the image could be used as a still-shot and still be funny.

I included the following clip from Men In Black 3 (2012) for the post about running gags, and noticed a moment of visual humor... a storefront has a going-out-of-business sign, and also has the word "always" attached. "Always going out of business." That makes me laugh!

It's found at approximately the 10 second point...

FilmThemesAndScenes: Men in Black 3 - Preparing To Time Jump

Remember the scene in Jurassic Park (1993) when a T-rex chases after the jeep? A shot of the side-view mirror not only reflects the dinosaur but also has the warning OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR. The image gives us a brief moment of comic relief.

(You can see that image in a clip found here, at approximately 0:57 to 1:00.)

The Marx Brothers present a classic scene of visual humor in Duck Soup (1933). They make me laugh without saying a word.

Movieclips: Duck Soup - The Mirror Scene

When you think of visual humor, what comes to mind?

Friday, April 24, 2020

Understatements and unexpected moments.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge


Theme: Humor in film -- what makes me laugh:


Understatements and
unexpected moments.

In order to catch up a little bit and have time to visit other blogs soon, I made the executive decision to combine two posts published a few years back... one regarding understatements and the other about unexpected moments in film.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

This is from the 2015 A to Z Challenge:

Comic relief helps relieve the tension in drama and action films. Sometimes that comic relief comes through an understatement--dialogue that doesn't match the seriousness of the situation.

When Chuck (Tom Hanks) sets sail in a make-shift raft and tells a volleyball...

CHUCK NOLAND
Don't worry Wilson, I'll do all
the paddling. You just hang on.

... that's an understatement. (Cast Away, 2000)

In Jaws (1975), when Brody (Roy Scheider) sees the enormous shark they pursue:

BRODY
You're gonna need a bigger boat.

Yeah, you can say that again.

A favorite movie understatement is from Quigley Down Under (1990). Matthew Quigley (Tom Selleck) hired as a sharp shooter, is beaten to a pulp and left for dead in the Australian desert along with an outcast woman named Crazy Cora (Laura San Giacomo).

CRAZY CORA
Don't worry, on a new job it's quite
common for things not to go well at first.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

I posted about unexpected moments (or comedic surprises) in 2012...

I love when a film surprises me with a twist or something unexpected, especially if it's funny. For instance, in The Emperor's New Groove (2000), when Yzma drinks a vial of potion. I was expecting the typical Disney formula where the evil person grows larger and more menacing, but no, Yzma turns into a kitten.


YZMA:
(squeaky voice)
Looking for this?
(clutching her throat)
Is that my voice?
(coughs)

Is that my voice? Oh well.

As I reflect on films I've seen this year, I think my favorite comedic surprise for 2012 was in The AvengersLoki (Tom Hiddleston) thinks himself above those of earth. He is a demigod and demands "You will kneel before me." As he wreaks havoc, I wonder if it will take something nuclear to defeat him. But it only takes The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).

LOKI
Enough! You are, all of you are beneath me!
I am a god, you dull creature,
and I shall not be bullied by... 

(The Hulk grabs him like a rag doll... bam, bam, bam...
swings him back and forth bashing him into the floor.)

THE HULK
Puny god.

(Loki weakly moans from the crater in the floor.)

* * * * * * * * * * * *

What are your favorite funny understatements or favorite unexpected moments in film?

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Timing.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge


Theme: Humor in film -- what makes me laugh:


Timing.

You've probably heard of comic timing -- tell the punch line too soon or too late and it ruins the joke. Sometimes in film, humor comes from the timing being off, or something happening at the worst possible moment.

I enjoyed Thor: Ragnarok (2017) because it contained numerous humorous moments. Here are just two funny scenes involving worst possible timing...

When Thor's (Chris Hemsworth) hammer doesn't arrive at the heroic moment as planned.  "Wait. I'm sorry, I didn't time that right"...

(Located at approx. 2:20 thru 2:52 of this clip.)

BestClips: Thor: Ragnarok - Thor vs Surtur

And when Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) doesn't transform into the Hulk in a timely manner, it provides great comic relief in a tense situation.

Best MovieClips: Thor: Ragnarok - Hulk Transformation

I almost used the following clip from Napoleon Dynamite (2004) when I posted about gallows humor, but saved it for today because of the timing.

Take a farmer putting down his cow... that's not funny. Take a busload of children... that's not funny. But have that school bus arrive just as the farmer pulls the trigger... that's the worst possible time! And it's funny. (Well, for those of us who laugh at gallows humor.)

Movieclips: Napoleon Dynamite -
The Bus Shows Up at Exactly the Wrong Time

Is there a scene of comedic timing that comes to mind? Please share!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Sarcasm or irony.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge


Theme: Humor in film -- what makes me laugh:


Sarcasm or irony.

I get sarcasm and irony mixed up. Saying the opposite of what you mean is considered both sarcasm and irony, but sarcasm is typically used to put someone down. I'm not particularly fond of put-down humor in real life, but occasionally it makes me laugh.

A scene in The Emperor's New Groove (2000) shows a llama and a large man with their backs pressed against each other as they walk up the walls of a crevice. The llama tells the large guy, "It's a good thing you're not a big fat guy or this would be really difficult."

That's sarcasm. (And funny.)

But if I understand correctly, if those lines were reversed and the heavy guy said to the scrawny llama, "It's a good thing you're not a big fat guy..." that would be irony. (And I'd still laugh.)

In Zootopia (2016) a sloth bears the name Flash--Flash, Flash, the 100-yard Dash--and at the end of the film when the sloth gets pulled over for speeding in a sports car, it adds to the irony.

Roxanne (1987) has a memorable scene about irony. One night as Roxanne (Daryl Hannah) steps out to her porch, calling her cat, the door shuts and it's locked with her robe caught in it. She abandons her robe to try other doors and windows, to no avail. (Some bare skin shown, but no full nudity.)

She seeks help, and while standing behind a shrub at the fire station, she catches the attention of the fire chief, C. D. (Steve Martin) and explains about being locked out of her house.

C.D.
I can get you back in.
Come on inside, I'll get some tools.

ROXANNE
Um, I don't have any clothes on.

C.D.
Uh, you want a coat or anything?

ROXANNE
(rolls eyes)
No. I'd really like to stand naked
in this bush in the freezing cold.
(laughs)

C.D. fetches a toolbox, then walks on the shrub-lined sidewalk to her house while she dashes along on the opposite side of the shrubs, her bareness hidden.

ROXANNE
Nobody had a coat?

C.D.
I thought you said you didn't want a coat.

ROXANNE
Why would I not want a coat?

C.D.
You said you didn't want a coat.

ROXANNE
I was being ironic.

C.D.
Oh! Ha,ho... irony! Oh, no, no... 
We don't get that here. See, people
ski topless here while smoking dope,
so irony's not really a high priority.
We haven't had any irony here since
about, uh, '83 when I was the only
practitioner of it and I stopped
because I was tired of being stared at.

That scene cracks me up.

Is there a movie scene that you recall using sarcasm or irony for laughs?

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Running gags.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge


Theme: Humor in film -- what makes me laugh:


Running gags.

In The Princess Bride (1987), by the third time Vizzini (Wallace Shawn) exclaims, "Inconceivable!" it has become a running gag (or running joke), meaning, "a joke or humorous allusion used recurrently in a play, film, television, skit, etc., for a cumulative comic effect."

Vizzini uses inconceivable five times and yet it stays funny, which is amazing since using a running gag more than three times runs the risk of wearing it out. While viewing Up (2009) I grew weary of the dogs exclaiming, "Squirrel!" It got old, fast.

The following scene from Men In Black 3 (2012) has a running gag-ish element used three times. Jeffrey Price (Michael Chernus) tells Agent J (Will Smith) that even in 1969 New York was "like a big...ish city". He uses "ish" even when accuracy is paramount, like when he's setting the time travel device... "Uh, that seems right...ish" and in factoring the height of the jump... "that sounds right...ish." It cracks me up!

FilmThemesAndScenes: Men in Black 3 - Preparing To Time Jump 

An action or use of an object can also become a running gag. The Three Stooges (2012) do a presto-change-o by quickly pulling off their outer clothing to reveal their finest attire beneath so they look their best for possible adoption. They do this action several times during the film and it makes me laugh.

For a visual view of one of their quick changes go to 0:38 of this clip...

20th Century Studio clip: The Three Stooges - Senor Rat Lips

Can you recall running gags that tickled your funny bone?


Updates: 

  • I finally posted for the letter M... found here.
  • Hope to eventually post for the letter N.
  • I am in less pain, but still don't have a diagnosis. Thankfully, the life-threatening issues have been ruled out! 

Monday, April 20, 2020

Quirky characters.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge


Theme: Humor in film -- what makes me laugh:


Quirky characters.

Many of us have little quirks--behaviors others might find odd. My husband comments, "We're all a bunch of funny little ducks."

Nearly every character in Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) is quirky. What an unusual and fun film!

Movieclips Trailer: Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Mary Horowitz (Sandra Bullock) is a quirky character in All About Steve (2009) and she comes across numerous eccentric people in her travels.

In my previous post I shared a clip from Rat Race (2001). That film is filled with wacky characters, including a guy named Enrico Pollini portrayed by Rowan Atkinson.

Rowan specializes in quirky characters... Mr. Bean, and Johnny English for examples.

During the 2016 A to Z Challenge I posted about quirky lines (found here), but some quirky characters don't have to say a word to make me laugh. We recently watched Spies in Disguise (2019) and one oddball pigeon went around with a red lollipop stuck to the top of its head and it cracked me up. (The sucker gets stuck to its head at the beginning of this clip, and is seen in various parts throughout.)

It reminded me of the quirky chicken that tagged along with Moana (2016). Click here for a mashup of Hei Hei goofy moments.

Odd characters add humor, even in drama and action films. I'd love to hear about your favorite quirky characters!

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Physical comedy.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge


Theme: Humor in film -- what makes me laugh:


Physical comedy.

If you read yesterday's post to the end, you know I am in physical pain right now... and that's not funny. But that's the fun of physical humor in films... no one actually gets hurt and we are free to laugh.
"...physical comedy only works if you see someone get hurt and they aren't actually hurt. If someone gets hit in the face with a bat, falls down, and gets back up, it's funny. If they stay down and their jaw is wired shut in the next scene, it's really tragic..." (Chris Pratt)
Pratfalls (falling on the buttocks without injury), facial expressions, slapstick (being struck without injury), sight gags (visual jokes), are techniques of physical comedy. I wrote an academic paper about those techniques and shared it on this blog a few years ago. (Found here.)

I grew up watching the physical comedy of Jerry Lewis, Dick Van Dyke, Carol Burnett, Tim Conway, and the queen of comedy, Lucille Ball.

In searching for a fun clip to share, I came across this one from Rat Race (2001) with a busload of Lucille Ball impersonators. Enjoy!

Movieclips: Rat Race - I Love Lucy

Which comedians or films come to your mind when you think physical comedy?

Friday, April 17, 2020

Oblivion.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge


Theme: Humor in film -- what makes me laugh:


Oblivion.

Sometimes characters seems oblivious to what is going on around them, and it makes me laugh.

Consider this scene from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, (2017) for example... A catchy tune plays and Baby Groot dances while the other characters are involved in galactic mayhem. He seems blissfully unaware of the danger.

Marvel TV clip: Baby Groot Dance Scene

The entire concept of The Man Who Knew Too Little (1997) revolves around a man being oblivious to the danger he is in. Wallace (Bill Murray) thinks he's participating in a "Theater of Life" with actors in a make-believe crime production, when he's actually been mistaken as a real spy and thrown into an assassination plot. 

Warner Bros. Trailer: The Man Who Knew Too Little

The movie made me laugh 'til I could barely breathe.



Update concerning my participation in the A to Z Challenge. 
I'm aware (not oblivious) that I didn't post anything for the letters M and N. I hope to post them at a later date. I've got a medical situation going on... nothing related to the coronavirus, although perhaps if that was the situation at least the doctors would know what's going on and be able to give a diagnosis. As it is, I am in constant pain (and have been since April 6) and so far the trips to the clinic, blood work, ultrasound, and x-rays have not revealed the source of the problem. 

I hope to continue posting during the challenge, since writing usually helps take my mind off the agony (my entire right leg feels like it's being smashed), but sometimes the pain makes it difficult to think. This week has been tough. 

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Nonsensical dialogue.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge


Theme: Humor in film -- what makes me laugh:


Nonsensical dialogue.

Sometime a character says something that makes absolutely no sense, but it makes me laugh.

For instance...

(A Goofy Movie, 1995) It's night, Goofy and his son are in their parked car. Goofy, asleep, snores loudly, then suddenly sits up, looks over at Max...

GOOFY
How many cups of sugar does
it take to get to the moon?

MAX
(puzzled)
Uh... three and a half?

Satisfied, Goofy goes back to sleep.


When Bolt is missing (Bolt, 2008), Penny's agent announces they found her dog, but she quickly realizes it's just a look-alike replacement. 

PENNY
That is not Bolt.

THE AGENT
Well, that depends on how you look at it.
You know, when I was little, I wanted
a bicycle for my birthday, but my parents
got me a baseball glove... so... (chuckles)
...you know what I did? I pretended 
that baseball glove was a bicycle...
and I rode it to school every day.
True story.


In Horton Hears a Who! (2008) Katie tells Horton...

KATIE
In my world everyone is a pony, 
and they all eat rainbows,
and poop butterflies.

Crazy, yet funny, nonsense!

Can you recall some humorous nonsensical dialogue?


(This was actually posted on April 29 but I dated it April 16 to keep the alphabet letters in order.)


Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Mistaken identity.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge


Theme: Humor in film -- what makes me laugh:


Mistaken identity.

Years ago when I was young and single, I was at an intersection when I saw a familiar Jeep turn onto a busy street. I could have sworn it was a friend from my home town, so I followed in hot pursuit, honking and flashing my headlights. The guy finally pulled over and I pulled up behind him, parked and got out of my car. As soon as he exited the vehicle I realized he was a stranger.

I apologized, "Sorry! I thought you were my friend, Howie!"

He kept advancing until he was uncomfortably close and responded, "I'll be whoever you want me to be, baby."

I scrambled back into my Mustang and he returned to his Jeep. I can find the humor in it, now.

Mistaken identities in films can make me laugh.

When Buddy (Will Ferrell), an elf from the North Pole, shows up at his father's work, he is mistaken for someone delivering a singing Christmas-gram. It's a funny awkward situation, too, as he's requested to sing his message and tries to explain through song that he is Walter's (James Caan) son!

Elf (2003)
Movieclips: Elf - Buddy Meets His Dad

In my essay about Oscar (1991) I wrote...

“Snaps” Provolone convinces Anthony (Vincent Spano) that the Finucci brothers (Harry Shearer and Martin Ferrero) are “vicious contract killers” when they are actually easy-going tailors. Anthony plays a tune on the piano and soon the Finuccis join him. Panicked, he asks them what they want. They ask him to please tell “Signor Provolone” that they are in a hurry, they “gotta do another guy at 11:00.” Anthony assumes, of course, that they are talking about killing someone when they are actually talking about fitting someone for a suit. Anthony asks, “You do more than one a day?” They assure him that sometimes they do six to eight a day, “It’s a cutthroat business.” With pride, they show him a newspaper clipping of a murdered man. The intent is to show off the wonderful suit—their work of art—that the deceased is wearing. Anthony assumes they are showing off their contract job. The Finuccis continue, “Maybe someday we do you too, huh? And when we get through with you nobody gonna recognize you.” 

(That mistaken identity scene plays at approximately 2:52 through 3:57 in this clip.)

Here's a favorite scene from ¡Three Amigos! (1986). Men in a saloon have been warned that vicious gunmen will be arriving. When the Three Amigos--Hollywood film stars--enter, the men assume they are the gunmen and apprehensively watch them perform a song and dance.

Movieclips: Three Amigos - My Little Buttercup

Do you have a funny mistaken-identity story to share? Or a favorite one from a movie?