Saturday, 25 May 2013

I knew it - I'm surrounded by Assholes.

Listening to Mel Brooks' interview with Mark Maron, a richness of experience bubbles from the man I had assumed a stumblebum both in front of and behind the cameras - here was the man who made the dreadful Men In Tights, after all, but I didn't know he was also an uncredited producer on films such as the remake of The Fly, or Elephant Man, the latter he describes in throwaway - but I think telling - terms when the notion of him directing it at the time was dismissed almost before it came up: "I couldn't do it, I'd painted myself into a corner... I was the comedy guy" and yet he saw the potential in it and even took a gamble on pushing David Lynch as the director.  Throughout the interview, Brooks comes off as someone whose pursuit has always been entertainment rather than just comedy, and he's very good at it to the point he does it without even trying over the course of two hours, from tales of his current routine of visiting with dementia-suffering colleagues to giving fair credit to Gene Wilder for the majority of Young Frankenstein's worth, to taking time to mention how proud he is of his son.
Oh yeah - he's also the guy who made Young Frankenstein, so there's that.  And fuck ALL Y'ALL, I love Spaceballs and have done since I was a kid, but even I thought better of watching Dracula: Dead And Loving It when it came out but I thought I'd give it a shot now I was in a more forgiving mood.  No getting away from it, it's not a great movie, it's hit and miss.  It's got some really dreadful jokes ("daymare") but some real laughs here and there, even if just from consummate performers like Leslie Nielson, who I gather was happy enough that his career only took off in his latter years when he started playing as his own straight man in comedies, but when not doing the slapstick stuff here, I think he makes a pretty menacing Dracula even if he's clearly trying not to, like when he minces off after telling an usher she isn't getting a tip and his delivery is a natural bitchiness rather than the exaggerated Jewish caricature you'd expect of the central role in a Brooks production.  Some of the crude stuff like Dracula's Brides seducing Renfield goes too far to make the film entirely suitable for an audience of children, and the odd bit of mugging to the audience took me out of it, but it was well-played and oddly good-natured compared to similar modern films of the Scary Movie/Meet The Spartans ilk.

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