Saturday, May 25, 2013

Discuss: All Sorts of Spoofs and Parodies!


Rip Jagger said...

The masterpiece of film parody is the Mel Brooks classic "Young Frankenstein". No parody before or since has so effectively captured the pure essence of the source material or had the density of high quality jokes. The movie is always funny no matter how many times I see it.

Less effective is "Blazing Saddles" which is somewhat overcome by its crudity, but nonetheless there are really funny bits.

Sadly I think "Spaceballs" is lower still on the Brooks listing of good movies. It has funny bits, but doesn't hold together for me very well. A lot of the later Brooks movies seem to be a collection of gags without a real story of interest.

Rip Off

J.A. Morris said...

I'm a big fan of all those shown, I'd say SNL's 'Last Voyage Of The Starship Enterprise' is also one of the all time best parodies.

I'm glad to see 'Mr. Jaws' has been uploaded to youtube.

david_b said...

Hmm, a few that come to mind which are especially good or favs..:

1) The Grungies, a Ben Stiller spoof on the Monkees, with Mickey Dolenz cameoing as a sleezy producer (love the intro and end credits the best..).

2) I don't consider the Monkees as a parody per se.., but I've mentioned the Rutles in the past. George Harrison (who was involved and did a cameo..), often described the Rutles story as 'the most scathing yet done with the most love', also liking much more than some boring Beatles documentary. One of the more surreal bits is Eric Idle being visited by George and Ringo once and they both sang 'Ouch!' to him (the 'Help!' parody..).

Typically the best spoofs are when the folks being spoofed are somehow involved, as exampled above.

Brooks did the classics all right. Rip's right about him capturing the essence and spirit of the source material. 'Saddles' didn't age very well, that's certain; but it's saved by great performances and that stiring theme song, sung quite earnestly.

Love the SNL Jeopardy spoofs with the Sean Connery, Burt Reynolds parodies. One of my favs is the first SNL Trek spoof with Belushi and Aykroyd with all the cheap Bridge sets..? Priceless.

Eddie Murphy as Gumby anyone..? The Gumby Christmas special's definitely a SNL highlight, if you can find it in it's entirety. I know a lot of the Dick Embersol years (early-mid '80s) are not available due to rights with NBC.

david_b said...

I intentionally chose a different Rutles video, but here's Ouch if anyone's interested..:

Yes, on second thought, the Monkees concept did parody the first two Beatle films, but it grew out of that; they certainly parodied other genres in their show (Batman, spy movies..).

Speaking of Bond, I thought Get Smart and Flint films were good. Austin Powers would have done SO much better if they would have toned down the stupid gags and had more subtle humor.

LOVE Black Dynamite, not as a true spoof, but more a loving tribute to the blaxpoitation films (with microphone boom in some shots as well...)

William said...

How about the king of rock and roll movie parodies "This Is Spinal Tap"? The mockumentary that pretty much defined the genre for a generation (and beyond). It's still a classic, and still very funny. But, when you watch it be sure to turn the volume up to "eleven".

Then there are the crown princes of parody, Monty Python. One of the all time greatest (and funniest) spoofs is still "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". It was definitely the troop's crowning achievement. I haven't seen if for years, but I could definitely watch it again.

And Rip, good call on "Young Frankenstein". That has always been one of my wife's favorite movies. However, when we showed it to our teenage nephews a few years ago, they didn't really "get it".

William said...

Oh, almost forgot another one of my favorites. The surprisingly good "Galaxy Quest" with Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver. I wasn't expecting much when I rented it a few years ago, but it was actually a very well made and entertaining send up of Sci-Fi concepts like Star Trek, Star Wars, and Aliens, etc. If you've never seen it, check it out.

david_b said...

William, one of my biggest regrets ever is actually being on campus the night they filmed 'Spinal Tap' footage on stage at UW-Milwaukee, seeing the ads for it like just another rock band, and I didn't know what it was all about...

One of my favs, tucked right in with 'Mighty Wind' and 'Best in Show', simply fantastic..

SCTV's Count Floyd anyone..?

Edo Bosnar said...

William pretty much nailed my two favorite satires, and really two of my favorite comedies of all time: This is Spinal Tap and Monty Python & the Holy Grail. I'd just add the Life of Brian as a hilarious satire of biblical films and, well, the Bible.

Otherwise, I like all of Mel Brooks' films to varying degrees, although I understand the criticism of them. In that same vein, I still enjoy the two Airplane! movies, as well as those omnibus satires, Kentucky Fried Movie and Amazon Women on the Moon.
Get Smart has already been mentioned, so I'll just add Police Squad as well.

By the way, can we also mention comics? While I don't like any of the more recent super-hero comics put out by the big two, I really liked NextWave, which I thought was a fantastic satire of the super-hero genre, especially the modern stuff. I also really enjoyed those two Fin Fang Four specials.

William Preston said...

I feel like the Monkees concept was more an homage or just a rip-off rather than parody, since it did exactly what the movies did.

Galaxy Quest is genius. A parody that stands on its own as a compelling story with emotional content: tough to beat.

I've loved the Nolanic Batman parodies that emerged online. They pick up exactly the elements that are so mockable about that self-serious version of the Batman-verse. This is a favorite:

Humanbelly said...

Say, how about The Tick?
Particularly brilliant (in three incarnations, in fact) because it was such a loving super-hero send-up, and yet it established and nurtured its own little self-sustaining universe, and ultimately didn't need to rely too heavily on its status as a work of parody. The live-action series was definitely one of those brilliant works that died too soon.


William Preston said...

Yes, the Tick was terrific!

MattComix said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Garett said...

I agree with Galaxy Quest...surprisingly good spoof. Spinal Tap, yes...may have to watch that again. I liked the first Austin Powers, but the next two got louder and less funny.

The comic Fanboy by Sergio Aragones was fun, spoofing comic book fans! Multitude of guest artists, including Gil Kane, Neal Adams, Frank Miller, Joe Kubert, etc etc.

I watched The Princess Bride again with my nieces, and it's held up really well.

Fred W. Hill said...

Last weekend I purchased a coffee-table book on Harvey Kurtzman, creator of Mad -- which he helmed during its first 23 issues as a comic then oversaw its 1st 5 issues as a magazine. The very first issue parodied EC's other comics, but of course it went on to parody much else in U.S. culture. One of Kurtzeman's later ventures included the magazine Help, wherein not only did he publish some of the earliest professional work of underground cartoonists Robert Crumb and Gilbert Shelton (creator of Wonder Warthog), but also where Terry Gilliam and John Cleese met and become good chums several years before helping found Monty Python! Oh, and one of the associate editors was Gloria Steinem, later creator of Ms. magazine. Lot of history in that short-lived parodic/humor magazine.
Mad magazine, of course, continued to feature many great parodies of nearly every aspect of culture.

Edo Bosnar said...

Oh, yeah, I forgot to add my own praise for Galaxy Quest: wonderful satire and a funny story on its own.
Speaking of YouTube material, I really like this cartoon take on the Dark Knight movies:
Once on the page there's links to other episodes.
Also, Avengers Assemble, which has its own channel:

Since Garett mentioned Aragones, I'll just go with an obvious favorite: Groo. An always entertaining satire of Conan and other sword & sorcery heroes, but which also (as HB noted about the Tick) has its own little universe and cast that require no reference to the source material that's being parodied.

Fred, interesting that you mention Shelton as the creator of Wonder Warthog; the first thing I always associate him with is the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, and Fat Freddy's Cat, too.

Anonymous said...

I'd put Spinal Tap on the top. . . but yes, Young Frankenstein is also genius.

I have been meaning to rewatch GalaxyQuest - which just might be the best Star Trek movie ;)

While I am no fan of the South Park TV show, the South Park movie was a brilliant work of genius - a parodic pastiche of the cartoon musical

William said...

Humanbelly, good call on the "The Tick". The comic and the animated series were pure genius. The live action TV show was ok, but the concept didn't work quite as well with real people in the roles.

And Garret mentioned Sergio Aragones' "Fanboy". I'm not really familiar with that particular work, but Sergio's "Groo The Wanderer" was a great parody of "Conan The Barbarian" and one of my favorite funny comics from back in the day.

Anonymous said...

"Young Frankenstein" and "High Anxiety" were Mel Brooks' best movies, but one would probably have to have seen the source material to really appreciate the jokes. "Blazing Saddles" and "Spaceballs" were (IMHO) less effective. My impression is that Brooks was a fan of James Whale and Alfred Hitchcock, but that he did not particularly like Westerns or Star Wars. I never thought of the Monkees as a parody of the Beatles. More like an imitation, while the Rutles and Spinal Tap were parodies. (In the same way that "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." emulated James Bond, while "Get Smart," and, later, "Austin Powers," were spoofs of Bond.) The Monkees also filled the void left when the Beatles went from pop to psychedelic.

humanbelly said...

Groo is such a wonderful creation all on his own, yes. For many, many years I've had the opinion that he could be adapted to animation w/ hilarious results and to highly entertaining effect-- but HBSon pointed out (at a surprisingly young age, in fact) that it would never work as an animated feature film, 'cause it would defy effective marketing strategies. The visual style, of course, would appear to be very youngster-friendly. . . but I don't think there's a way in the world could maintain a sincere PG-13 rating and still be true to the content (and even spirit) of the book. Part of Groo's hyperbolic delight was the astonishing body counts he'd rack up, and the mayhem he'd leave behind. It just never seemed too bad to us older readers 'cause Aragones was flat-out BRILLIANT at never actually showing blood or rended flesh or anything like that. Just a lot of wound-clutching, sword-swishing, and reactions. But that would still be more than I'd be comfortable taking a 10 year old to see.

Hmm-- and I believe it would take some time to really nail the voice actor to do Groo himself. A tricky one. . .


redartz said...

Totally agree with the kudos for "Young Frankenstein". Last Halloween my wife and I watched it immmediately after watching the original "Frankenstein" and had some fun catching all the references. Brook's movie has more great lines than I can count. And what a perfect cast; I loved Teri Garr for years afterward just on the strength of her role in YF.

As for comics, how about the "Fantastic Four Roast", courtesy of Fred Hembeck? All the creative talent responsible for this story obviously had a blast making it. Love Hembeck and Frank Miller's poke at Daredevil (parodying Miller's dramatic lighting styles by having DD clown with a flashlight). If you haven't read this, find a copy (probably won't cost you more than a dollar; a lot of laughs for a buck).

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