Tag Archives: Dave Chappelle

The Set of 400: #340 – My Favorite Heckler Retaliation

Today! Because sometimes when you want something so bad, you do just about anything to get it –

The Nutty Professor (1996)

Directed by Tom Shadyac

Starring Eddie Murphy, Jada Pinkett, James Coburn, Larry Miller (x2), Dave Chappelle (x2), John Ales, Jamal Mixon

Okay, look, right off the bat, let me say that The Nutty Professor is an almost unconscionably cruel movie, across the board. I don’t know if any movie in the history of film has such diabolical focus on one topic for jokes, and is in any way watchable. The sequel doubles down on this to a ludicrous degree, so that it is barely a movie at all. And the manic barrage of jokes doesn’t exactly lessen this idea as the years wear on – it is aging horribly. It may already be past redemption. All this I will acknowledge, and my enjoyment of this movie is my shame, but I’m trying to be honest here.

But, come on, it’s pretty impressive

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The Set of 400: #395 – My Favorite Medieval Malcolm X

Today! Because we didn’t land on Sherwood Forest, Sherwood Forest landed on us –

Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)

Directed by Mel Brooks

Starring Cary Elwes, Richard Lewis, Dave Chappelle, Roger Rees, Tracey Ullman, Amy Yasbeck, Mark Blankfield, Patrick Stewart, Mel Brooks, Isaac Hayes, Dom DeLuise, Dick Van Patten, Robert Ridgely, Eric Allan Kramer, Megan Cavanagh, Matthew Porretta, Avery Schreiber, Clive Revill

While far from the best Mel Brooks outing, it is the last good movie he’d direct (in fairness, this was only followed by the thoroughly meh Dracula: Dead and Loving It), and it was on TV constantly in the early/mid nineties. But I’m not trying to make excuses for its inclusion here – there is a lot to like about Men in Tights. Cary Elwes was perfect for this sort of comedy – only really on display here and in Hot Shots! – and effortlessly carries the mayhem along. I also can never keep straight whether he appeared in Mel’s Dracula or Coppola’s Dracula that inspired it, so solid is he at both types of movies. Sure, it revels in the dated, Catskills-style jokes Mel would lean more and more into as the years wore on, but between Chappelle’s great early work here as Ahchoo, Tracey Ullman uglying it up as the witch Latrine, and Richard Lewis doing his best Richard Lewis impersonation as Prince Johnthere is plenty to enjoy. Does it have the laugh-out-loud highs of Mel’s early films? Not really, but it also pushes harder on parody, and really dials up the number of jokes per minute. So what if the success rate is 50/50? I still really enjoy Men in Tights. Continue reading

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