I’ve seen every Mel Brooks movie except “The Twelve Chairs.” I love everything I’ve seen, to varying degrees. I mean, “High Anxiety” isn’t as high on my list as “Blazing Saddles…” But it’s still good. I even liked “Life Stinks,” which most people not only didn’t see, but didn’t even hear about since it disappeared pretty much overnight.
Watching Mel’s movies, you can learn a lot. Here’s a list of some of the stuff I’ve learned…some of it’s funny and some of it isn’t. Dunno why I’m going to 14…but here we go…
- To strip something of its power, you must laugh at it. Mel did this with Hitler. He made Hitler into the biggest joke of all time. Hitler isn’t scary to me…he’s a character in a Mel Brooks movie. He’s a joke now, and Mel’s to thank for that. He also did that with Frankenstein’s monster…but Peter Boyle still scares the hell out of me. (To Be or Not to Be, Young Frankenstein)
- Gene Wilder is a genius. (Blazing Saddles, The (Original) Producers)
- Your condition isn’t serious unless those two muscles on the back of your neck are standing up (he called them your “elevens”). (Life Stinks)
- It’s only okay to say the n-word if you’re making fun of the RACIST, but not if you’re making fun of the race. And it’s probably best if a black guy writes it for you (see Pryor, Richard). (Blazing Saddles)
- “Schmuck” is a great and underused word. (He has a campaign going to preserve “schmuck.” There’s probably a website for it somewhere, but you can Google it yourself.)
- In the Holocaust, the Jews wore gold stars — we all know that…but the homosexuals were also forced to wear a form of branding…a pink triangle. (“To Be or Not to Be”)
- It’s good to be the king. (History of the World, Part 1)
- Alex Karras can punch out a horse. (Blazing Saddles)
- A guy getting hit in the crotch…always funny. (Various)
- “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” was the first time I ever heard of the concept of a chastity belt.
- It’s hard to breathe if you’re wearing a helmet. (Spaceballs)
- Douglas Fairbanks had tiny feet. (Blazing Saddles)
- Alfred Hitchcock parodies? They don’t hold up very well. (High Anxiety)
- If you’ve got it…flaunt it. (The Producers)
So there you go. I owe a lot to Mel Brooks…but a part of me will never forgive him for unleashing Bill Pullman on the world.
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