A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 16 – Kentucky Fried Movie

Kentucky Fried Movie – March 16, 2010

Still no heat or hot water and if I had to watch/review 300 tonight I think it would probably end up with a review that read “Fuck Sparta. Fuck Gerard Butler. Fuck it all.” I can’t do that tonight.

So tonight? We’ve got Kentucky Fried Movie, one of three movies we categorize as “channel flips”. Amazon Women on the Moon and UHF are the others, even though UHF actually has a plot. Kentucky Fried Movie is unfettered by such things as plots! It relies on bad puns, running gags and breasts. Oh yeah, there are breasts. Lots and lots of breasts. Particularly in the section that’s an ad for the fake porno “Catholic High School Girls in Trouble”, which, incidentally, was cut out of the version available for rent at the local video store near my high school. Make no mistake, this movie is full of offensive shit. It’s a product of the 1970s and it shows, not just in the clothes, hair and pop culture references, but also in the jokes and overall humor. There are a lot of jokes in the movie that just wouldn’t fly these days, and with good reason. Still, I’m fond of it. Partially because there’s enough humor that’s still funny to keep the movie amusing as a whole, and partially because of its channel flip format.

The reason we call these movies “channel flips” is because of how they’re structured. There’s a central “movie” that spoofs on a popular trope (kung fu movies for this one, with A Fistful of Yen) and then a series of short sketches, commercials, show promos, news segments, etc. surrounding it. This movie has a lot of quotable moments, like the “I’m a gemini, so I can expect the unexpected” line (followed by being shot with an arrow) and so very many in A Fistful of Yen. I’m also fond of the poisonous fish exchange in the segment about ocean exploration. The thing is, it’s hard to explain this movie without just going through every bizarre 1970’s flavored moment of it. There’s the parody porn, the mock ads, the educational video about zinc oxide, and after a while you just sort of stop registering that it’s different. It’s like flipping channels but every channel you flip to is showing sketch comedy.

In the middle of all the inanity of the short sketches is A Fistful of Yen. It’s horribly stereotypical, full of puns that will make you wince, and is the source of one of our most oft repeated exchanges. You see, there’s a moment where the villain shows the hero how he’s split up his prisoners into three cells. As they walk past he explains:

Villain: “Just lost drunken men who don’t know where they are and no longer care.”
Hero: “And these?”
Villain: “These are lost drunken men who don’t know where they are, and do care. And these are men who know where they are and care, but don’t drink.”
Man in cell 2: “Where am I, I don’t know where I am!”
Other man in cell 2: “Yeah, and I don’t drink.”
Villain: “Guard! Put this man in cell number one, and give him a drink!”
Guard: “What do you drink?”
First man: “I don’t care.”

Why do we reference that so very often? No clue. It’s the last line that does it. And neither of us drink! So clearly we’d belong in cell three. The men in the cells are later rescued by a running gag from an earlier sketch. It makes very little sense, but if you’re looking for sense in this movie? You have chosen poorly. It all ends with a Wizard of Oz reference. That should tell you what you’re looking at here.

After A Fistful of Yen is over, there’s a whole other chunk of channel flip sketches. There’s a beer commercial, a disaster movie promo, a short bit from the United Appeal for the Dead, the zinc oxide film, a black and white court sketch, and a few more news updates. They’re all at least a little funny. Enough so that if I quoted every moment I loved I’d have a few pages of quotes. So instead I’ll leave you with just one: “The popcorn you’re eating has been pissed in. Film at eleven.”

March 16, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , | Leave a comment

Kentucky Fried Movie

March 16, 2010

Kentucky Fried Movie

Short and sweet tonight.  Due to domestic problems we didn’t get to our movie until quite late, but darned if we’re going to miss a day when we’re only just over two weeks into our project, so we searched our collection for a movie that wouldn’t last into tomorrow.  What we came up with was Kentucky Fried Movie.. the first of the Abrahams and Zucker films.  (Best known as the makers of Airplane!)

This movie is sketch comedy.  A series of quick scenes all strung together, each its own little mini film.  The longest sketch is at the center of the movie: a parody of Enter the Dragon called A Fistful of Yen (a Samuel L Bronkowitz production.)  All around it are spoofs of ads from the seventies (I get the “I thought you were Dale” reference, but most of the others only seem odd since the ads they parody have passed into antiquity) fake television news shows (which surprisingly have hardly aged at all!) and strange sketches apparently adapted from live comedy troupe performances that the writers did before making the movie (according to the commentary track, which is well worth listening to.)  The Fistful of Yen segment in particular shows a lot of the sense of humor and type of gag that the brothers Zucker became known for.

I’ve seen this movie many, many times and yet it still makes me laugh.  It’s so quotable and full of jokes that still work after all these years.  (The alarm man with his megaphone and flashing hat.  The boom mike gags.  “Evidently you are anxious to see my operation.”  The lost drunken men who don’t know where they are no longer care.)

The humor is far more racy than that in today’s spate of annual spoof films.  Particularly the Catholic Highschool Girls in Trouble bit and Eyewitness News.  And the movie is also very, very seventies.  But it’s surprising how it remains topical even today with its jokes about oil shortages and Point/Counterpoint and the tirade about the liberals in power.

Donald Sutherland as the clumsy waiter.

“I’m not wearing any pants.  Film at eleven.”

“So far, there’s no known treatment for death.”

I could just go on quoting the film, but really wouldn’t you rather just watch it yourself?  Be ready to be shocked, appalled, and amused.

March 16, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , , | Leave a comment