Screen Junkies » Mel Brooks Movie Reviews & TV Show Reviews Thu, 18 Dec 2014 23:29:09 +0000 en hourly 1 ‘Spaceballs’ May Be Christopher Nolan’s Most Divisive Film Wed, 29 Oct 2014 19:13:14 +0000 Wookie Johnson He's finally at a place to make the films he wants.

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With so many blockbusters under his belt, Christopher Nolan is finally in a place to make the kinds of films he wants to make. Whether or not you find them nonsensical or not. For instance, his latest,  Spaceballs, appears to be a radical departure for the man who brought us Inception and The Dark Knight Trilogy. Something tells me that this film is going to really make us think.

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Which Mel Brooks Movie Could Be His Next Musical? Mon, 27 Jun 2011 00:37:38 +0000 Fred Topel I vote for 'Spaceballs'.

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Mel Brooks seems to think Broadway is funnier than Hollywood now. Maybe he’s right. The musical Young Frankenstein just picked up a Saturn Award for Best Local Stage Production for the L.A. run. So it’s not surprising he’d look at another one of his film classics, and add songs to it.

“There’s always a chance of Blazing Saddles on Broadway,” Brooks said. “If they change the critic of the Times, I might consider it. I don’t think he’s in my corner.”

Sure, we’d like to see something, you know, original from the comedy legend. Brooks, however, hopes his legacy will be shepherding the new age of Broadway that has benefited such productions as The Book of Mormon.

“I feel responsible for breaking open musical comedy. Until The Producers, a lot of musicals on Broadway, very little comedy. There was the great Stephen Sondheim and there was Leonard Bernstein but there were very few Guys and Dolls. It was 25 years before we came along with a truly funny musical comedy.”

So why stop at Blazing Saddles? There are fans that would pay to see musicals of Spaceballs or History of the World Part I too. “The line I get most from fans is truthfully ‘It’s good to be the king.’ ‘He was my boyfriend,’ I get a lot of that. It’s good to make all that stuff and it’s wonderful when you have hip audiences and bright people who know what you’re doing and what you’re saying and they appreciate it and they dig it. It makes you gloriously happy. The money ain’t bad either.”

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9 Greatest Movie Hobos Without Shotguns Thu, 27 Jan 2011 21:58:07 +0000 Jame Gumb 'Hobo with a Shotgun's' titular hero is far from the first. From Hollywood's earliest days, down and out characters found their way to the silver screen. Here are 9 other hobos you might recognize (sans shotguns).

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If the recent Ted Williams fiasco taught us anything, it’s that people are fascinated by hobos. And it’s easy to see why. After all, they’re a perplexing bunch. What drove these vagabonds to a life on the street? How do they manage to survive? Do they know they smell like urine? Could it happen to me?

Perhaps this fascination explains the buzz around the new film, Hobo with a Shotgun. Based on the Grindhouse trailer of the same name, the film tells the story of a homeless man who becomes a gun wielding vigilante hellbent on saving the very society that abandoned him. People love an underdog story, and there’s no bigger underdog than a hob fighting his way to the top one shell at a time.

But the film’s titular hobo is far from the first. From Hollywood’s earliest days, down and out characters found their way to the silver screen. Here are 9 other hobos you might recognize (sans shotguns).

George and Lennie – Of Mice and Men (1992)

The term hobo has become synonymous with words like “homeless” and “bum.” But that wasn’t always the case. Back in the early 20th century, a hobo was a poor migrant worker who went from place to place seeking work. This stood in sharp contrast to a bum or a beggar, who would rather take a hand out than make an honest living. So as a shout out to all the real hobos out there, I’ve included George and Lennie, the two famous hobos from Of Mice and Men. I’m keeping it real.

The Little Tramp – City Lights (1931)

One of the earliest and most beloved cinematic characters is Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp. Widely considered the most iconic character of the silent film era, the Tramp appeared in numerous shorts and features. Audiences could easily relate to a man on the fringe of society who managed to maintain his dignity and good humor despite overwhelming odds. He was also sympathetic because unlike most tramps, Chaplin’s character didn’t tend to get high on crack cocaine and urinate in apartment lobbies.

Goddard Bolt – Life Stinks (1991)

Chaplin wasn’t the only comedic genius to take interest in a homeless character. Mel Brooks also took up the theme with his 1991 film, Life Stinks. However, unlike The Tramp, Brooks played Goddard Bolt, a wealthy CEO who agrees to go homeless for 30 days in order to win a bet. As you’d expect, Bolt gets more than he bargained for, and realizes that life on the streets is far worse than he had imagined. But as you wouldn’t expect, he somehow avoids getting beaten to death by his fellow vagrants.

Bum – UHF (1989)

As long as we’re dealing with comedic geniuses like Brooks and Chaplin, I think I should throw Weird Al Yankovic into the mix. While the homeless character from his 1989 film UHF might not have much going for him in the name department (he’s credited as “Bum”), he’s certainly a key element to the plot. Plus, unlike most hobos, when this bum asks for change, he’s only trying to break a dollar.

Billy Ray Valentine – Trading Places (1983)

Can a down and out homeless man be successfully integrated into high society? Clearly not. Just ask Ted Williams. But Hollywood disagrees. For example, in Trading Places, two millionaires (Duke and Duke) decide to put the nature vs. nurture debate to the test by framing another millionaire, reducing him to vagrancy, and then replacing him with a hobo named Billy Ray Valentine. As it turns out, life as a street hustler is not that different from a life in high finance.

Jerry Baskin – Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986)

When hobo Jerry Baskin decides to end his life, he heads for the closest swimming pool he can find and tries to drown himself. However, the home’s wealthy owner saves the vagrant, and decides to let Jerry stay at the house until he can get back on his feet. I forget how it ends, but I assume Jerry rapes and murders the wealthy man’s family, and then wears their skin as a suit.

Ratso Rizzo/Joe Buck – Midnight Cowboy (1969)

Contrary to what the previous films on this list may have led you to believe, being a hobo isn’t all shits and giggles. In fact, if Midnight Cowboy is to be believed, it’s got a lot more to do with having gay sex for money and dying a slow, painful death. Who knew?

Parry – The Fisher King (1991)

What I took away from The Fisher King is that if you’re going to be homeless, you might as well have some fun with it. That’s what Parry does. Instead of facing the real world, he pretends to be a gallant knight fighting dragons and storming castles. Some people would call him a paranoid schizophrenic, but those people simply lack imagination!

Chris and Christopher Gardner – The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

In The Pursuit of Happyness, Will and Jaden Smith play a real-life father and son who survive by living in a subway while trying to make ends meet. While I was happy that the characters found a happy ending, from time to time, I still find myself wishing that both Will and Jaden Smith were actually homeless.

Honorable Mention -”The Simpsons” (Various Hobos)
Through the years, “The Simpsons” has featured many a hobo. But we think this clip does a nice job representing them all.

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