Saturday, May 21, 2011

Blazing Saddles

Last night I watched a movie for the first time: Blazing Saddles. I know what you are thinking: Why did I never see this before? There are several reasons. I was too young to see it when it first came out; and I just never tried to watch it when it became available for rent. Then I chose not to see because I felt that I heard every joke. Does that ever happen to you? Not watch a movie because you feel you have heard every punchline? It has happened to me a couple of times. Another movie that took me a long time to see was This is Spinal Tap -- another fantastically funny movie.

Well, last night I finally watched Blazing Saddles. I was playing this weekly game of sorts with my music-loving friends where we try to find songs with themes -- the theme this week was about working. I found the Working Song in Blazing Saddles (on YouTube) and couldn't stop laughing. I stopped playing the game and decided to watch the film, finally, and see what I have missed these past 3 1/2 decades. Oh, did I tell you that my husband and I bought the DVD 12 years ago -- yep, I still didn't watch until last night.

Alright, this is not one of my typical reviews because I assume everyone has seen this movie -- right? At least people my age and above. (Has the younger generations seen this classic? I wonder.) Anyway, I thought it was hysterical but what really got me was the blatant use of words or terms that we consider unusable today. I was in shock. Yes, it was irreverent to make a point and they made it. But how did a movie like this one get made? I am glad it did but do you think it could be made today? My guess is no.

The other thing I thought about: How did Mel Brooks pitch this to Hollywood? I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for that. Imagine him sitting in an office at Warner Brothers ( I am guessing that Studio because of the end of the movie was on the WB lot) - in the early 1970's - saying,  "Well, we are going to make fun of stupid, ignorant people by using all the stereotypical words, phrases, offensive terms to make our point, but it will be really, really funny?" Thank god, someone knew Mel Brooks had a sense of humor and let him make it.

The question today is: What filmmakers do we have that are like Mel Brooks? My first thought was the Farrelly Brothers and Christopher Guess. Anyone else?

My favorite Mel Brooks movie: Young Frankenstein. This movie came out the same year as Blazing Saddles. 

Blazing Saddles
This Is Spinal Tap
Young Frankenstein


Bill Friday said...


"Excuse me while I whip this (comment) out."

(I just had to)

I honestly can't think of another filmmaker with the range (both comedically and satirically) of Mel Brooks. And no, no one since has been up to the task of putting the "funny" into something as serious as latent 20th century American racism, nor will anybody be allowed to.

Hollywood (despite its desire to make folks believe otherwise) is filled with hypocrites. Paul Haggis made that point well in his film "Crash"... but without the laughs. Until it owns up to its own double (triple) standard, the next Mel Brooks will still be writing the 21st century equivalent of "Get Smart"... and we won't even know he exists.

And with that, "I'm tired... so tired..."

(sorry, had to again)

Tired of Previews said...

I finally get the jokes. I had heard them for years but never processed them the right way. Thanks for commenting!

Patricia said...

I am following you via thehtSRW blog hop. Please follow me.

Anonymous said...

I have to admit that I haven't really watched Blazing Saddles. Maybe I'll check it out. Can't promise. I'm a new follower from Mom Bloggers Club.

Tired of Previews said...

If you do watch it - you will probably recognize a lot of the dialouge. Thanks for following!

Becky said...

I have loved this movie ever since I saw it new in the theater. yep, I'm a dinosaur. lol Newest follower from the I love blogging hop.

Tired of Previews said...

Thanks for joining!