joey, do you like movies about gladiators?

As Airplane! begins, I realize I was only four when I saw this movie the first time. Many of the jokes probably went pretty far over my head, but it's got so many that I still had a lot to appreciate. The Jaws opener, for example.

It's one of those weird cases, for me, though, when I've seen the movie so many times over so many years that my memory of it is hardly genuine to that first experience. Each viewing alters the memory of the previous one and they stack up.

I find myself just sitting here and watching, forgetting all about typing anything. Maybe I should stop using 80s movies for this blog. They're just too fun for me.

As for some actual commentary, I'll refer to the old Groundhog Day Project standby--Roger Ebert. I rather like this bit from his review of the film because it seems like a line you might see in a review of many comedies today:

Movie comedies these days are so hung up on being contemporary, radical, outspoken, and cynically satirical that they sometimes forget to be funny.

And, I write that as Dr. Rumack (Leslie Nielsen) said, after people are getting sick, "I haven't seen anything like this since the Anita Bryant concert." There's plenty of contemporary, radical, outspoken, and... well, maybe not cynically satirical, but definitely satirical. The one thing that stands out to me about, say, Airplane! versus more recent parody films like the Scary Movie franchise or the fill-in-the-blank Movie movies that came after, is that this movie does seem more like an actual movie and not a meager collection of jokes... which is a weird thing to say about a film which has more jokes per minute than probably anything else. I imagine that Scary Movie movies, increasingly as they went along, as cynical cashgrabs more than legitimate comedies...

But then, I don't like the idea of deciding which comedies are "legitimate."

Maybe I just like this one more because it's been with me for so long. Or maybe because, even with its most offensive jokes, it's just so innocent about everything. It just doesn't seem like it's out to hurt anyone.


  1. I think you are spot on here, Robert. The genius of the Airplane and Naked Gun films is that they do keep a narrative thread running and you do care about the story. The first Scary Movie was actually not so bad, though the later ones were dreck, and for this very reason.

    I can't remember a time I hadn't seen these films. They seem to have been repeated on TV ad infinitum.

    I actually feel like watching it right now!


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