Tag Archives: Jim Abrahams

The Set of 400: #37 – My Favorite Sale at Penney’s

Today! Because I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley –

Airplane! (1980)

Directed by Jim Abrahams (x3), David Zucker (x4), and Jerry Zucker (x3)

Starring Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty (x3), Leslie Nielsen (x3), Peter Graves, Lloyd Bridges (x2), Robert Stack (x3), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Stephen Stucker (x2), Jonathan Banks (x3), Barbara Billingsley, Lorna Patterson, Maureen McGovern, Joyce Bulifant, Gregory Itzin (x4), James Hong (x2), David Leisure, Ethel Merman, Jason Wingreen (x2), Jimmie Walker

Does anyone actually watch Airport anymore? Any of the Airport movies? I knew in some vague way growing up that they existed – that Airplane! was a direct parody of those films – but I never saw any of them until I was probably in college. Because those movies are nonsense. Now, by 1980, all four Airport films had been released, so I’m guessing the time was ripe to lambaste those hokey melodramas, but it kinda feels like making a parody of Twilight, no? Like, we all know its garbage, so how to escalate that and make fun of it? This being said, were you to glance at Airport‘s statistics, and found how it was nominated for ten Academy Awards including Best Picture, and figured ol’ Joe for hyperbole, you’d be wrong. The 1970 Oscars were clearly insane.

When you’ve got Dean Martin playing a pilot, no tongue in cheek, you know there are problems

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The Set of 400: #210 – My Favorite Condiment Flirting

Today! Because since I’ve met you, I’ve noticed things that I never knew were there before… birds singing, dew glistening on a newly formed leaf, stoplights –

The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988)

Directed by David Zucker (x3)

Starring Leslie Nielsen (x2), Priscilla Presley (x2), George Kennedy (x2), O.J. Simpson (x2), Ricardo Montalban, Nancy Marchand, Susan Beaubian, Raye Birk, Weird Al Yankovic (x2), Reggie Jackson, Lawrence Tierney (x2), Mark Holton (x2), John Houseman (x3), Ed Williams (x2)

I didn’t start this list with the intention of it devolving into a Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker fan page, but man, it sure feels that way sometimes, doesn’t it? Between #276 Hot Shots!, #355 Top Secret!, #218 The Kentucky Fried Movie, #398 Ghost, and #314 The Naked Gun 2 1/2, they are occupying a bunch of slots here in the first half of the list. Is it just me? Do these movie still hold up? They don’t really make this kind of comedy much any more, and the ones they do roll out are super low budget nonsense, in the Not Another… vein. Does this avalanche of sight gags and puns and boobs not play with the modern audience?

Angie Tribeca is pretty great, though

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The Set of 400: #218 – My Favorite Feel-Around Theater

Today! Because I’m not wearing any pants – film at 11 –

The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977)

Directed by John Landis (x2)

Starring Donald Sutherland (x5), Henry Gibson (x2), Bill Bixby, George Lazenby, Victoria Carroll, Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Barry Dennen, Marilyn Joi, Tony Dow, Manny Perry, Stephen Stucker, Michael McManus (x2)

The earliest of the Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker films – albeit one they didn’t direct, The Kentucky Fried Movie, just by the nature of the film, is hugely hit and miss. Instead of wrapping sight gags and shocking jokes around a plot – like Airplane!, Top Secret!, or Police Squad! – they got their start with an 83-minute bundle of movie and commercial parodies, surrounding the main feature concept “A Fistful of Yen,” which is the one bit that goes on far too long and delivers the lowest payoff.

But The Kentucky Fried Movie is more funny than not across its run time, and has always tickled me. I’ll admit – I’ve still never seen The Groove Tube, often credited with creating this feature length concept of a collection of sketches, so for me, KFM has always been the gold standard. From the wacky newscaster teasing the nightly broadcast – “Rams plagued by fumbles as earthquakes rock Los Angeles. Film at eleven.” – to the thrilling features of Samuel L. Bronkowitz – “If you were thrilled by The Towering Inferno, if you were terrified by Earthquake, Then you will be SCARED SHITLESS at the Samuel L. Bronkowitz production of That’s Armageddon!” – I’ve always really liked most of this movie, which I know is a weird endorsement.

The mark of quality!

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The Set of 400: #276 – My Favorite Veal Piccata

Today! Because you have the whitest white part of the eyes I’ve ever seen. Do you floss?

Hot Shots! (1991)

Directed by Jim Abrahams

Starring Charlie Sheen, Valeria Golino, Jon Cryer, Cary Elwes (x4), Lloyd Bridges, Kevin Dunn, William O’Leary, Kristy Swanson, Bill Irwin (x2), Bruce A. Young, Ryan Stiles, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Heidi Swedberg, Don Lake

Indirectly responsible for foisting Two and a Half Men on the world, I imagine, Hot Shots! is a direct parody of Top Gun, plus a bunch of other movies mocked along the way. Abrahams spun off from his frequent collaborators the Zucker brothers to concoct this largely solid gagfest with Naked Gun/Police Academy writer Pat Proft, and while a little dated today – this movie being the height of Gulf War comedy – it’s still a pretty funny movie, all things considered.

As mentioned earlier, there aren’t a ton of opportunities to see Cary Elwes do zany comedy – despite this being what he does best, outside of smarmy villain roles – so couple that with Airplane! vet Lloyd Bridges, future Veep great Kevin Dunn, clowning genius Bill Irwin, improv maestro Ryan Stiles, and a weirdly suited for this type of comedy Valeria Golino, and Hot Shots! totally keeps the comedy rolling. I’ve mentioned before how franchise films blend together for me from when I was a kid, and Hot Shots! Part Deux is no exception. It’s more a Rambo thing, right? So that makes it a little easier to differentiate.

Yeah, I’d say that’s accurate

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