VHS comedy era comedy Hall of fame III (1977-1989)


Annie Hall

One of my all time favorite movies, very glad it was nominated. I just love everything about this, the acting from Woody Allen and especially Diane Keaton is phenomenal, and the script is great. Woody Allen is at his best writing here, with an absolutely sparkling screenplay, hilarious yet not goofy, entertaining but intellectual.

The premise involves Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) and his complicated relationship with Annie Hall (Diane Keaton). One of the most memorable things about this movie is its style and structure. It's so completely bizarre but works very well. We get animated segments (from Snow White of all things!), plus flashbacks, breaking the fourth wall, and much more. Woody just pushes the boundaries of each new technique, and makes it fresh, original, and entertaining throughout. We also get a non-linear structure, one that bounces back and forth between the ongoing plot and the events leading up to it.

Cinematography and music aren't anything too special, but they work quite well the film. And I love both characters, they are extremely likable yet also believable. Nothing really I can complain about with this movie, so I'll go ahead and give it a:

"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."

The Jerk

"You mean I'm gonna stay this color?"

The story of man raised as a poor black child from Mississippi who leaves home to find what else is "out there." Talk about Oscar bait. To my knowledge it did not win any Oscars but that doesn't mean that it's not a quality film.

Steve Martin is Navin Johnson. Navin is more Idiot than Jerk and the humor comes almost exclusively from this fact. This is a dumb humor movie, sort of a Dumb and Dumber for the 70's. There are some very funny moments in The Jerk but it does seem to tail off after Navin receives his fortune. It still has its moments but the real good laughs occur earlier in the film.

What about the humor? Well, it all comes from Steve Martin. It feels like a movie written specifically for him so it works for about as long as he can carry it. The supporting cast does little except set him up. The second funniest character is Lifesaver aka ****head.

My favorite moment is when Navin is explaining to a sleeping Marie (Bernadette Peters) how "we've only known each other four weeks and three days, but to me it seems like nine weeks and five days." It's so dumb it's hilarious.

Real Genius (1985)

Real Genius tried way too hard to be clever and cute...and it was neither. I didn't care much for this when I last watched it, and I think even less of it now. As soon as I seen Val Kilmer in that antenna get-up, I cringed. Nothing Val did was funny, his lines were flat and he was just trying way too hard here. But then again maybe it's not his fault, but the directors fault, as the entire movie was weak. There was lots of over acting especially from the girl with short dark hair. Gawds she was annoying, and not annoying as in funny, but more like annoying as someone who just didn't have the acting chops to pull this off. The rest of the kids were instantly forgettable. The only stand out actor played the evil college professor Mitch Taylor. He was good! And he's the only one. Much of the movie relied on prop comedy, like the would-be funny antenna and the funny slippers Val wears at the end of the movie...But like the indoor slide scene all the props fell flat. Though I will give the movie points for the popcorn house, now that was cool.

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And that rhymes with "P" and that stands for pool!

Real Genius (1985)

Real Genius tried way too hard to be clever and cute...and it was neither.

It's a shame that you didn't like Real Genius. I think it's one of the funniest movies that was nominated in this HoF.

The scenes with Val Kilmer wearing the antenna, and the bunny slippers, and all the crazy joking around are to show that he's learned not too take himself, and life, too seriously so he doesn't burn out like the guy in the closet.
If I answer a game thread correctly, just skip my turn and continue with the game.

And that rhymes with "P" and that stands for pool!
Parenthood (1989)

I'm not sure why this movie is so highly rated as a comedy because I didn't laugh much during the movie, but I did enjoy the movie as a drama. I think the only scenes that made me laugh were some of the scenes with Dianne Wiest and her family. In some cases, just the expression on her face made me laugh.

However the rest of the movie just seemed to be about all the problems that these families had, both with the adults and with their kids. Maybe I just couldn't relate to their problems because I don't have any kids, but they just didn't seem to be funny problems. These parents didn't seem to have much control over their kids. That's not funny. It's kind of sad.

I liked the scenes with Keanu Reeves, especially when he was talking to Dianne Wiest about her son's problem. It showed that his character wasn't just a goofball. I liked when Rick Moranis sang to his wife in her classroom to try to get her back. I felt really bad for the kid who dropped the baseball, and I would have liked to see a nice father-son moment with Steve Martin comforting his son, but sadly we didn't get that moment.

I would have liked to see the first TV show that was adapted from this movie because I think Leonardo DiCaprio was probably very good in the role that Joaquin Phoenix had in this movie.

Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?

The Blues Brothers

Police Dispatch: The use of unnecessary violence in the apprehension of the Blues Brothers -- has been approved.

The Not Ready for Prime-Time Players aka the original cast of Saturday Night Live, which was an offshoot of National Lampoon brought about some of the eighties top, outrageous films and The Blues Brothers reigns in the top echelon of those films.
Written by Dan Aykroyd and the Director, John Landis, we are brought into the world of two SNL skit characters who would basically walk out on stage and perform Blues songs.
Much like watching the Behind the Scenes of any given Rock Band and their insane lifestyles, this film hits the proverbial gold with the two leads, Aykroyd and John Belushi along with so many great Rhythm and Blues artists, a number of fellow great comedians; including John Candy as a Probation Officer. (Who I feel was underused, but still great to see) and Henry Gibson doing a complete 180 from his characters on TV's Laugh In playing an Illinois Nazi. And of course, Carrie Fisher going all out as the "hell as no fury like a woman scorn" and Kathleen Freeman creating one of the best and hilarious scenes reprimanding Jake and Elwood as Sister Mary Stigmata.

"On a mission from God", the boys have to get the band together and then raise $5000 to save the orphanage they were raised in while being chased by County Police, Nazis and Good Ole Boys while miraculously surviving the heavy arsenal of weapons that Fisher's character continually unleash on them.
All of the time both of our Blues men retain a calm demeanor that brings so many chuckles throughout so many of their adventures.
Delinquents of the highest order, Jake and Elwood go from one scrape to the next in between a slew of great musical numbers thrown in and, must we forget, one helluva a car chase with an ungodly amount of crashed police vehicles that escalates to such excellent extremes.
A lot of modern "obnoxious" films should study such films and learn a thing or two about how far to go without falling over the edge and killing the joke.

Elwood: It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark... and we're wearing sunglasses.
Jake: Hit it.

Sh*t YES
They say: that after people make love there's a kind of melancholia, the petite mort, the little death. Well, I'm here to tell you, after a romantic night with yourself there's a very acute sensation of failed suicide. ~Dylan Moran

Broadcast News

Not only a great comedy, but a great drama and media commentary as well. Holly Hunter and Albert Brooks give two of their best performances, and there are other great acting parts in the movie as well. This movie is just as relevant today as it was back in 1987. What with an era where media is even more part of our lives, Broadcast News makes an important statement but sticking to the truth and reporting what's needed. I won't get political in this review, but I'll just say this - Broadcast News is one of those comedies that makes you think about your life, and I appreciate that. Plus, it's great fun too!


Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?

The Princess Bride

Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

I remember the very first time I saw this adorable little gem as a blind grab from Blockbuster shortly after it had come out. Opening in Fred Savage's bedroom in a modern setting, there were a few minutes I hadangrily thought I had the wrong DVD.
Silly moi.

I cannot count the times I've seen this truly delightful and enjoyable film that, while it does not take its self seriously, it does a very respectful tip of the hat to fantasy/ swashbuckling adventures throughout.
I loved the "out of the box" situation of a grandfather (Peter Falk) reading the story to his sick grandson, (Fred Savage) who would rather be playing his video game instead.
And like Savage's character, it's very easy to get drawn into and be caught up in this little fairy tale. Delivering the goods that the grandfather promises when his grandson's asks if there's any sports in it.

Every single person in this seems tailored made to the character they play. Elwes brings an Errol Flynn flair and style to his lead character and Robin Wright truly is a Princess Bride. With Mandy Patinkin stealing scene after scene as Spaniard intent on revenge against the six fingered man and even Andre The Giant's lovable character Fezzik is a fun watch.
And the list continues on and on through the entire cast.

This may not cause you to burst out laughing, it does deliver smile after smile after smile and quite honestly, that has, and continues to, do me just fine.
Quotable lines, excellent swordplay, enjoyable characters and a fun story is the heart and soul of this film and one I will continue to rewatch for the smile it continues to bring me.

Bless whoever nominated this!

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

There are certain movies I'll watch every year based on their relationship to a certain holiday. Come February I'll watch My Bloody Valentine (the original, of course), December is Die Hard and The Ref. October has too many to list and there comes a day every November when I will watch Planes, Trains and Automobiles. It's not my favorite comedy but it's on my Mt. Rushmore of comedies.

This is a road trip movie gone awry (aren't they all?). There are fine performances by the two leads and a few memorable minor characters ("I'm Owen..."). I think this is John Hughes at his best as both writer and director. I grew up with Hughes' movies and sometimes they have a bit of a lull in them but Planes, Trains moves along nicely rarely, if ever, hitting a rest stop.

There's a scene fairly early in the film that separates Planes from most comedies. It's a very funny, character building scene where Neal (Steve Martin) and Del (John Candy) are sharing a bed in a dumpy little motel. Del is being a bit annoying and Neal snaps - hard. He just lays into Del. It's actually very funny until you see Del's reaction - not too funny. And then it's funny again. And then it's not. Del is absolutely crushed and while we can understand Neil's frustration we feel bad for Del. From this point on Neil keeps his frustrations SOMEWHAT bottled up when dealing with Del. This needed to happen because Dell is too good a person to be the butt of mean spirited jokes for another hour. Besides, Neil is more believable/likeable throwing out a few sarcastic barbs than he would be relentlessly going after the low hanging fruit. Also, bottling up Neils frustration sets the table for a moment later in the film where Neil, at his breaking point, breaks in what may be the funniest scene ever in a movie.

Planes, Trains is a PG movie for all but one minute of it's runtime. Credit to whoever didn't cave to studio pressure (I'm sure there was some) to make this a PG movie for the holidays. I've seen this edited and it doesn't work. At all. This is a very funny movie with a little tug on the old heartstrings in a way that's familiar to anyone who has watched a John Hughes film.

Back to the Future

I hate to be that guy who has no taste and just likes everything, but that's me in this Hall of Fame

Yeah, I loved this movie. I think I've seen it before because I remembered certain parts. It's certainly a classic for a reason, it's one of those movies liked The Princess Bride that I find un-imaginable that someone could dislike. Michael J. Fox is of course awesome, like every role he's in. All the time travel humor works excellently, and it's never too in your face; that is to say, the movie blends humor, sci-fi, and drama quite perfectly.

Great for all ages, and one of the best films of the 80s!!


Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977)

: A neurotic New York intellectual comedian, Alvy Singer (Woody Allen), who meets and falls in love with a ditzy aspiring singer, Annie Hall (Diane Keaton).

Review: I really liked this, even more than I thought I would. Once I had said, 'I didn't like Woody Allen movies', and I was challenged to watch a few more of his films....And I'm still watching his movies!

What I discovered about Woody Allen's films is: most of his films revolve around the Woody persona....which is a reoccurring character in his films. Personally, I like it when Woody is in the movie as no one can play Woody like Woody can!

There are three things
I really appreciate about Annie Hall.

The dialogue, wow! it's clever, it flows...Woody is witty with his biting comments and self deprecating humor. I feel like I'm on the streets of New York ease dropping on Woody as he lives his conflicted life. The movie is jam packed with witty lines that flow quick and easy....I wonder if Woody in real life talks like this, it sounded like real dialogue to me.

One of my favorite scenes was the standing in line for a movie, with a know-it-all movie critic spouting off. It's totally funny and believable what Woody tells Annie, I even like how he steps out of line and breaks the fourth wall.

The fourth wall, Annie Hall goes where not many films had gone before in 1977...while staying in character Woody as Alvy Singer talks directly to us. He even comments on his younger self in the hilarious school room scene.

, Woody gets pacing right, he never rushes us, never spoon feeds us emotions. There's no heavy handed music score to cue our heart strings, no fancy camera work to wow us...and yet he's a genius with a camera, as he makes us feel like a fly on the wall. His movies look real because he has a naturalistic style of film making.

Annie Hall
, gives us a voyeuristic view of Woody's strange life. The scenes of his past relationships, (Carol Kane, Shelly Duvall), the beginning and end of his life with Annie, and all points in between are fascinating...and fun to see.


That was review from a few year ago, I rewatched Annie Hall last night and still feel the same about...This time around I spotted Beverly D'Angelo, I hadn't noticed her before.

Just went to my local movie rental (yes, amazingly I am fortunate to have one still in my town).
I picked up The Jerk and A Fish Called Wanda. Will review these this week!

Just went to my local movie rental (yes, amazingly I am fortunate to have one still in my town).
I picked up The Jerk and A Fish Called Wanda. Will review these this week!
Do you have a library near by? I was able to get all the movies from my library.

I do, but I’ll hit up the movie rental first because I dearly want to support that.
The library is another option, as I want to support them as well

When Harry Met Sally (1989)

I'm so glad this was nominated as I'd never seen it before. Nora Ephron's screenplay is really a thing of beauty. In a way it reminded me of a Woody Allen film only without the cynical outlook. I liked the way it examined relationships while feeling very grounded and real. I thought Billy Crystal was a jerk at the start, and of course so did Meg Ryan's character. She was a bit of a snood too. But as they grew older they mellowed and became more complex characters and that's thanks to the screenplay and maybe the director Rob Reiner.

When Harry Met Sally
is one of the best written relationship films I've seen, except for two scenes. They are...The famous orgasm scene and Billy Crystal doing his elderly Jewish man bit (which he did on Soap as well). Both were over the top and felt like comedy bits and didn't fit with the realism of the rest of the movie. I read that both scenes were improvised and not originally in Nora Ephron's script. To bad the director didn't modify those scenes to make them match the rest of the film's feel & flow.

Awesome drama! but I didn't even think of it as a comedy so don't know how to rate this. So for now I'll just say thanks for nominating a real solid film.

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When Harry Met Sally...

Harry: What I'm saying is - and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form - is that men and women can't be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.
Sally: You are a human affront to all women and I am a woman.

The dreaded romantic comedy. I hate this genre with a passion.

Harry meets Sally in Chicago and hitches a ride to NYC with her. On the trip they share some of their views on relationships and Harry pretty much disgusts Sally with his obnoxious machismo. Fast forward a couple years and the two have a chance encounter at the airport when Harry recognizes Sally's boyfriend, Joe. As luck would have it Harry and Sally end up sitting next to each other on the plane where they discuss more relationship stuff (the big bomb - Harry is getting married) and after this encounter Sally is still disgusted by Harry but is a tad surprised that he is settling down. Their final chance encounter is a few years later at a bookstore in NYC where Harry informs Sally that he's getting a divorce and Sally tells him that she and Joe are finished. They decide to grab something to eat, reminisce and this is the beginning of Harry and Sally's friendship.

Okay now I really do hate romantic comedies but this is the exception. This is fun movie. I'm going to give Nora Ephron almost all of credit for this because it's so well written. When you write something this good all you ask is for the Director to not screw it up and Rob Reiner doesn't. All the characters are likeable, the conversations seem genuine and even young, obnoxious, Harry has a certain charm. There aren't any knee slapping moments but there are plenty of chuckles. One of my favorite movies of the decade.

And that rhymes with "P" and that stands for pool!
After Hours (1985)

This was the second time that I've seen this movie, and I'm still kind of undecided about how I feel about it. It's an interesting movie with some fun scenes, but it's just a bit too strange for my taste.

I think the problem for me was that most of the characters are just weird. The only normal character is the bartender, (played by John Heard), but the rest of the characters are too strange to be likeable. Even Griffin Dunne's character, Paul, was kind of wimpy at times, and he's pretty stupid to leave his only money where it could fly out the window of the cab.

It was also a bit too hard to believe that everyone that Paul met seemed to somehow be connected to another person that he met that night. It's either an unbelievable coincidence, or a very small town.

I thought it was cool when the cop in the subway commented "It must be a full moon out there." I thought it was a nice nod to Dunne's role in the movie An American Werewolf in London.

I guess the bottom line for me with this movie is that I kind of liked the movie, but I didn't love it. It kept my interest, but it feels like one of those movies that you might like more each time you see it.

“It’s K-k-k-Ken c-c-c-coming to to k-k-k-k-Kill me!”

A Fish Called Wanda

And what a fish indeed. Such a catch that many of the main characters are trying to real her in as she seductively and secretly gets them to take her bait, swallowing it hook, line, and sinker.

But enough with the fish metaphors, this is a film that starts off as a heist caper, veers into comedy and by the end, takes a left turn into romance territory.
All the while, Wanda, played deliciously by Jaime Lee Curtis, sinks her , ahem, hooks...into any man she meets. But that’s all part of her con.

Until she meets that one man, a British barrister named Archie Leech (played by John Cleese) who wins her over by doing the exact opposite of every other guy. He stops pursuing her.
That and speaking Russian, apparently.

But the real gem here is Kevin Kline, who plays a hitman who plays Wandas lover pretending to be her brother. He has the best lines, the best scenes, and literally steals the film. Even if he doesn’t steal the diamond that’s the McGuffin in this film, nor Wanda herself, despite his clumsy attempts at being an intellectual, and his clumsy grasp of the Italian language.
If there is one issue, it’s the ending, where it all felt rushed, even Archie and Wandas reunion and subsequent make up.
But everything before that was a riot.
Seeing it again, after so many years, I found myself laughing again.
Next time I won’t wait so long

3 1/2 *’s

And that rhymes with "P" and that stands for pool!
Annie Hall (1977)

I've never been much of a fan of Woody Allen, but I've seen a few of his movies over the past few months, and I think I'm starting to like his movies, (or maybe I'm just finally seeing some of his movies that are more my style). I thought this had kind of a strange style to it, but it was a cute movie with some funny scenes.

I love the scenes when they break the fourth wall, and we find out what's in their thoughts, especially the flashback scene with Woody Allen in his old classroom, the subtitles showing their thoughts while they're talking, and when the guy is annoying him on line at the movies.

This movie kind of has a similar feel to When Harry Met Sally, and there are even some similarities between the two movies. There's a scene in When Harry Met Sally when Sally wears an almost identical outfit as Annie Hall wears in this movie, including her hat. In this movie, we see Annie sing the song "It Had To Be You", which is also featured in When Harry Met Sally. And there's even a comment in both movies about writing your names in your books in case of a breakup. In this movie, Woody Allen says, "You put your name in all my books because you knew this day was coming.". In When Harry Met Sally, Harry says "Do me a favor, for your own good. Put your names in your books right now, before they get mixed up and you don't know whose is whose.". This being the earlier of the two movies, it shows that When Harry Met Sally was likely influenced by Annie Hall.

And just as an aside, I can totally relate to Annie in the spider scene. (And thank God that they didn't show the spider. ) Back in my college days, I once called a friend late at night to come over and kill a spider. He drove about 20 minutes in the pouring rain just to kill it.

And that rhymes with "P" and that stands for pool!
The Blues Brothers (1980)

This is a fun movie that seems to be more about the music than the story. I remember watching John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd as The Blues Brothers on "Saturday Night Live", and while it was fun for a short sketch, it doesn't really work for me as a 2-hour movie. The characters just get annoying after a while.

I liked the car chase scenes, but it felt like they went on too long, and the scene where all the police cars piled up was funny, but it reminded me a bit of similar scenes in the Smokey and the Bandit movies.

The scenes with Carrie Fisher trying to kill them were fun too, but the resolution for that storyline was kind of dumb. They should have come up with a more believable way for her to stop trying to kill them.

The music was good, but it's not really my type of music. I know that there were a bunch of musical stars who had appearances in the movie, but I only recognized a few of them. However it was nice to see the Frank Oz, Steven Spielberg, and Steve Lawrence cameos.