A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Airplane!

August 11, 2010

Airplane!

We’ve already reviewed the first Abrahams and Zucker movie, Kentucky Fried Movie, but this is the movie that rocketed them to super-stardom and launched a lengthy career writing and directing spoof movies that has lasted to this very day. Not to mention redefining Leslie Nielsen’s career. I’m pretty sure that there’s a law somewhere now that you can’t make a spoof movie without Leslie Nielsen in it. (Like making a Pixar movie without John Ratzenberger.)

This is one of those movies that’s almost impossible to review because it’s become so much of an icon and inspiration. Sure there are dated references that don’t make much sense now (such as the ad spoof about the husband who “never has a second cup of coffee at home”) but the movie still keeps the spark that made it an instant hit way back in the seventies. It’s all about the mile a minute pace and the constant barrage of jokes. If one joke doesn’t quite work well that’s okay because there are ten more in the next minute, and some of them are bound to work.

The movie is filled with running gags like “don’t call me Shirley” or like Ted’s drinking problem. There’s the unforgettable and influential gag with the woman who can speak Jive. There’s Lloyd Bridges telling us that he chose the wrong week to stop sniffing glue. And there’s absolutely every line uttered by Stephen Stucker’s character Johnny. Even after having seen this movie many a time in the past I still had some real laughs tonight as we watched it again. I kind of wish I could have seen it in the theater. (I did see Airplane II: The Sequel in the theaters. It was the second ‘R’ rated movie I ever saw.)

Speaking of which: Amanda and I were amused and astonished that this movie received a ‘PG’ rating. It contains bare breasts, drug use, sexual references and profane language. Proof positive that as a nation we are becoming more censorious and conservative as the years go by.

The other thing we laughed about a lot as we watched this movie was how amazingly seventies it was. It’s not just the monotonously brown decor or the Saturday Night Fever inspired disco dance number either. Everything in this movie screams seventies. There’s the religious fanatics canvasing the airport (not something I ever remember experiencing and something you would certainly never see today.) There’s smoking in the airplane! And oh, the wardrobe!

There’s not much more I feel I need to say. Surely you’ve seen it already yourself. (Yes, I’m talking to you, Shirley!) This movie single-handedly launched an entire genre, and in spite of how dated it now is it still holds up well today. I sorely wish we had the sequel to watch tomorrow, but it’s out of print right now and we don’t own it yet. (Airplane II has William Shatner!) Maybe someday soon we’ll review Top Secret, or the Police Academy movies. (Don’t hold your breath for us to pick up any of the Scary Movie movies.)

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August 11, 2010 - Posted by | daily reviews | , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Airplane rocks!
    Rex Kramer: [talking to Steve McCroskey] Our only hope is to build this man up. We gotta give him all the confidence we can.
    [to Striker]
    Rex Kramer: Striker, have you ever flown a multi-engine plane before?
    Ted Striker: No, never.
    Rex Kramer: [to McCroskey, with the microphone still on] Shit. This is a God damn waste of time. There’s no way he can land this plane.

    Loved the review. .Airplane still rules and makes me laugh every time I see it.

    Comment by atomicgator | August 11, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks, Rich. Like I said, it’s really hard to review these often watched favorites. There’s a temptation to just fill the screen with great quotes (I think that’s what I ended up doing for my Spaceballs review) but that’s not really so much a review as it is simple fanboyism.

      I’m somewhat dreading having to write a review for Monty Python and the Holy Grail. As with any self respecting nerd I have the movie memorized, and it will be a challenge to find something new to say about it.

      Comment by tanatoes | August 12, 2010 | Reply


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