Tag Archives: Jackie Mason

The Set of 400: #135 – My Favorite Rolling Papyrus

Today! Because I asked ’em nicely! I said pretty please! They wouldn’t convert, so I’ll bang on their knees!

History of the World: Part I (1981)

Directed by Mel Brooks (x4)

Starring Mel Brooks (x4), Gregory Hines, Madeline Kahn (x5), Dom DeLuise (x5), Sid Caesar (x2), Harvey Korman (x2), John Hurt (x3), Cloris Leachman (x4), Ron Carey (x3), Pamela Stephenson, Mary-Margaret Humes, Rudy De Luca (x3), Orson Welles, Spike Milligan (x2), Shecky Greene, Bea Arthur, Charlie Callas (x2), Paul Mazursky, Jack Riley (x3), Art Metrano (x2), Henny Youngman, Jackie Mason (x3), Fritz Feld (x2), Barry Levinson (x3), John Hillerman

Almost certainly the movie I understood the least when I saw it dozens of times as a child, History of the World: Part I isn’t exactly the most beloved of Mel Brooks movies, is it? I mean, yeah, it’s all over the place – quite literally, what with scenes in the French Revolution, Prehistoric Times, first century Rome, and the Spanish Inquisition, never mind Hitler on Ice and Jews in Space. And while a lot of it is just a straight stream of gags, not bothering to try and hold together into anything meaningful, it’s still a really entertaining movie, with a load of great comedians.

But it does have a ton of jokes and puns that kids will not understand. Hell, they aren’t supposed to! This is an R-rated movie! “Don’t get saucy with me, Bearnaise!” “But the servant waits while the master baits.” “Do I have any openings that this man might fit?” Jeez! And really, there’s a lot more inappropriate sex gags littered throughout. And yet, I’ve seen this movie a hundred times, easily. What is the appeal here for kids?? I’ve asked this before, but what do you suppose gets children to latch on to movies and watch them endlessly? My guess is that my parents interspersed these movies that they liked in with the cartoons and whatnot, and we just took them all as films for us, and kept watching them. I’m not even sure if we watched a TV edit of this movie, or the full film. Cripes! Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #168 – My Favorite Orgasmatron

Today! Because I bought Polaroid at seven, it’s probably up millions by now –

Sleeper (1973)

Directed by Woody Allen (x6)

Starring Woody Allen (x5), Diane Keaton, John Beck, Don Keefer, John McLiam, Mews Small (x2), Brian Avery (x2), Jerry Hardin (x2), Jackie Mason (x2), Douglas Rain, Spencer Milligan

To date the only science fiction movie Woody Allen has made, Sleeper came at the apex of his fascination with pure silliness in film. Sure, Bananas is wacky too, as is Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex, but after Sleeper things would start trending more and more toward realism and relationship comedy. Okay, Love and Death is still pretty crazy, but you can see the shift happening, as that begins incorporating more and more satire. Part of it is certainly just a change in his interests, but also you have to factor in the influence of teaming with Diane Keaton. They appeared in Play it Again, Sam the year before (which Woody wrote but did not direct), and would make five straight films together from ’73 to ’79, over unquestionably Woody’s most successful period. So at least in part, you’d have to guess that the transition to more serious filmmaking was aided by having such a major actress involved in every movie. Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #266 – My Favorite Canine Cover-Up

Today! Because the new phone book’s here! The new phone book’s here!

The Jerk (1979)

Directed by Carl Reiner (x2)

Starring Steve Martin (x3), Bernadette Peters, Jackie Mason, M. Emmet Walsh, Catlin Adams, Mabel King, Richard Ward, Dick Anthony Williams, Bill Macy, Dick O’Neill, Carl Reiner (x2), William Schallert (x2), Carl Gottlieb (x3), Maurice Evans

In the first of four collaborations with Carl Reiner, and his first starring role in a film, Steve Martin broke from his tremendous run as a stand-up comic and legendary Saturday Night Live host to instantly become a giant movie star. His four minute bit in The Muppet Movie six months earlier shouldn’t be overlooked in his rapid progression to film glory, mind you, but The Jerk solidified it for good and all, famously starting the film with the statement “I was born a poor black child.” Continue reading

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