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?

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Laughter.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge


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


Laughter.

Laughter is contagious and I catch a fit of laughter watching these scenes...

The Mary Poppins (1964) "I love to laugh" scene found here.

Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers) and Charles Dreyfus (Herbert Lom) in The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976), both affected by laughing gas.

Movieclips: The Pink Panther Strikes Again - Laughing Gas

George McFly's (Crispin Glover) weird laugh while watching The Honeymooners in Back to the Future (1985) found here.

And my favorite of all... (I included this clip in two other posts here and here)... it's Walter's (Tom Hanks) laugh in The Money Pit (1986).

The laughter begins at approx. 2:17
Movie Clips: The Money Pit - Walter's Laugh

The funny laugher in each of those scenes makes me laugh every...single...time!

Is there a scene of laughter that tickles you?

Monday, April 13, 2020

Kid humor.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge


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


Kid humor.

Kids have some silly viewpoints and say the darnedest things... like the time I encouraged my family to pitch in on chores because "many hands make light work" and my daughter responded, "I don't get it. What do chores have to do with 'tiny hands making the lamp work'?"

So this post focuses on kids in films saying funny things to adults.

In Uncle Buck (1989) I get a kick out of  Miles (Macaulay Culkin) telling his uncle (John Candy)...

MILES
You have much more hair
in your nose than my dad.

BUCK
How nice of you to notice.

MILES
I'm a kid, that's my job.

And I love it when little Maggie (Amber Scott) scolds Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman) in Hook (1991)...

MAGGIE
You need a mother very, very badly!

When Jack Campbell (Nicolas Cage) wakes up in a different life and finds himself as a husband and father (The Family Man, 2000), it's precocious Annie (Makenzie Vega) who suspects an alien replaced her dad, but helps him anyway.

ANNIE
Do you like kids?

JACK
On a case-by-case basis.

ANNIE
Do you know how to make chocolate milk?

JACK
I think I could figure it out.

ANNIE
Promise you won't kidnap me and my
brother and plant stuff in our brains?

JACK
Sure.

ANNIE
Welcome to earth.

Have you heard a child say something funny? Please share!


Saturday, April 11, 2020

Juxtaposition.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge


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


Juxtaposition.

The juxtaposition -- putting two or more things side by side for comparison or contrast -- of characters or settings can add humor.

The Odd Couple (1968) juxtaposes a controlling neat freak, Felix (Jack Lemmon), with slovenly Oscar (Walter Matthau). They drive each other bonkers, but it makes great comedy.

Movieclips: The Odd Couple - Oscar Breaks Down

In Twins (1988), Julius (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Vincent (Danny DeVito) are opposites in size and personality. One is tall, the other short, one believes in honesty and integrity and the other is a crook. Putting the two of them together as twins brings numerous comedic moments and they eventually form a bond.

Movieclips: Twins - A New Look

Sometimes the contrast between a character and the setting adds comedy. For instance, in The Parent Trap (1961) when the citified Vicky Robinson (Joanna Barnes) goes on a primitive camping trip with Mitch (Brian Keith) and his daughters (Hayley Mills) it's funny to see her prissiness in the wilderness. I laugh when Vicky demands, "Get me out of this stinking fresh air!"

The contrast between character and setting is magnified in My Giant (1998). Not only do we see a side by side comparison of the character's heights but we see the contrast in their settings. Sammy (Billy Crystal) looks so tiny in the giant's home, and the giant, Max (Gheorghe Muresan) towers over everyone in Sammy's world.

Warner Bros. Trailer - My Giant

What movies come to mind when you consider the juxtaposition of characters or settings?

Friday, April 10, 2020

Incongruity.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

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


Incongruity.

During the 2015 A to Z Challenge, I shared a post titled Incongruity for Laughs. Rather than re-invent the wheel, I'm going to use that post again.

**********

When suit-wearing henchmen don aprons and prepare vegetables in the kitchen (Oscar, 1991), or a hunchback's hump switches to the opposite shoulder (Young Frankenstein, 1974), it creates comedy through incongruity--something that doesn't match up with what we expect.

Using an object in an incongruous (unexpected) way is funny. For example, when Jeff Blue (Dennis Quaid) uses a baby stroller to defeat a mugger (Undercover Blues, 1993).

Later, when the mugger, Muerte "My name is Death!" (Stanley Tucci), screams like a girl, it cracks me up. His behavior doesn't match the stereotype of a thug.

When Connie Conehead (Michelle Burke) consumes an entire foot-long sandwich in one bite, that can be expected from an alien. However, when her boyfriend, Ronnie (Chris Farley) exclaims, "Wow! My Mom's the only other woman I know who can take a sandwich like that!" I crack up. That is not what I expect him to say! (Coneheads, 1993)

Alex Hitchens' (Will Smith) love life seems incongruent (Hitch2005). He coaches men on winning the girl of their dreams, yet fails in his own dating strategies. Shouldn't the maestro of matchmaking have all the right moves? His dates with Sara (Eva Mendes) turn disastrous, creating great comedy for the film!

Here's a clip of their first date (and it only goes downhill from there):

Movieclips: Hitch - Jet Ski Mishap

Do you have a favorite incongruous moment in a movie?

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Honesty or blunt truth.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

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


Honesty or blunt truth.

Sometimes the truth can hurt, but hey... sometimes the truth can make me laugh!

Liar Liar (1997) banks on the use of honesty for laughs as Fletcher (Jim Carrey), a notorious liar, is compelled to speak only the truth for 24 hours.

A favorite scene...

Fletcher gets off an elevator and it's obvious from the expressions and actions of the occupants that someone passed gas. Fletcher confesses, "It was meeee!" (Hilarious 8 second clip found here.)

In Justice League (2017), Aquaman (Jason Momoa) doesn't realize he is sitting on Wonder Woman's lasso of truth while he expresses his opinions. His moment of honesty provides comic relief.

(skip the first 40 seconds to get to the main scene)
Movieclips: Justice League - Lasso of truth scene

A scene in True Lies (1994) not only uses honesty for comic relief, it could count for yesterday's post about gallows humor. Harry (Arnold Schwarzenegger) has been leading a double life as a spy. Captured by the bad guys, along with his wife (Jamie Lee Curtis) who is only just learning about this, he is given a truth agent.

HELEN
That makes you tell the truth?

HARRY
(in a drugged voice)
Uh huh.

HELEN
Is it working?

HARRY
Ask me questions I'd normally lie to.

HELEN
Are we going to die?

HARRY
Yep!

HELEN
I'd say it's working.

HARRY
They're gonna shoot us in the head.
Or they're gonna torture us to death.
Or they're gonna leave us here
until the bomb blows up.

Clip found here.

In the following scene from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011) Evelyn (Judi Dench), a guest in the hotel, is having trouble with her phone and another guest, Douglas (Bill Nighy), tries to help.

I couldn't find a clip, so this is from the screenplay:

DOUGLAS
Did you try jiggling it a bit?

EVELYN
Yes, did that.

DOUGLAS
Did you kind of bang it lightly
on the desk a few times?

EVELYN
That too.

He twists off the mouthpiece of the receiver, lifts the receiver carefully. And blows on it.

...

Then Douglas puts the mouthpiece back on, holds the receiver to his ear.

DOUGLAS
There you are. As good as new.

EVELYN
Really?

DOUGLAS
No, of course not. I've got no
idea what I'm doing.

Evelyn bursts out laughing.

DOUGLAS
Now, would you like me to to,
um, not fix that chair?
Because I can almost certainly do that.

The honesty in that scene makes me laugh, making it a favorite in the movie. 

Can you think of honest movie moments that made you laugh?