Daily Archives: April 29, 2015

“Would you like a nightcap?”-“No, thank you, I don’t wear them.”

I have not been shy about explaining how I was deprived growing up.  Being sheltered from certain viewership helped me be the happy little naive kid that believed in Santa until he was 6 (it would’ve been longer but my cousin was an asshole and spilled the beans-not realizing everybody hates the pretentious kid that does that).

Knowing this, my parents allowed me to watch “The Naked Gun” with them.

I have to admit, during the first viewing, I did not get a lot of the jokes.  I laughed at the funny faces and the slapstick the first time around.

Thank God for public schools.

It was there that I learned from my friends the adult, inside to a lot of the jokes that were in the movie.  After talking to them at school, I tried to think of someone that I could watch it with that could explain things quickly along the way….had to be my cousins.

I sat down with them and turned it on. They had seen it once before, so they knew what was coming and could explain things to me.

subtle
SUBTLE….

I’ll admit…that one I kind of got the first time around; I just wanted clarification.

I feel like “The Naked Gun” was my first exposure to what could be considered an all out farce.  I had not seen “Airplane!” or “Caddyshack” yet (I love both of those FYI) and my parents felt at 11 I still wasn’t ready for those movies.

They compromised with this one and I’m glad they did.

I remember afterwards thinking that my parents had great poker faces through some of the “raunchier” jokes.  Normally my mom would give a judgmental, disgusted gasp through those parts.  I think she knew those parts would go over my head so she didn’t want to give me any ideas and she hoped I wouldn’t ask.  Now that I think about it, she probably didn’t have much time to enjoy a movie while she watched one with me.  Hmmmm.  Never thought about that.  No wonder they didn’t like watching anything over “G” rated with us until we were teenagers.

At the end of the day, “The Naked Gun” introduced me to Leslie Nielsen.  I rented as many movies as he had put out after I saw this.  I liked his comedies.  It was hard to take him seriously in the older dramas that he did when he was younger.  He had found his niche and thankfully stuck to it.

I love his scenes with Priscilla Presley.  Making light of soap opera melodrama is not an easy thing to pull off.  Those two made it look so easy.

Nielsen to me was like Will Farrell.  A little went a long way with him, and he could make you laugh just by entering a room and looking around.

I feel like I can mention some two word phrases–the second word being “scene”–and it will bring back moments from this film.  I’ll start off with some easy ones:

the “queen scene”

the “umpire scene”

the “condom scene”

the “wheelchair scene”

the “clothesline scene” (Remember? The one on the beach?)

clotheline

When I say these phrases, I smirk.

Again, thank God for public school.  I might have never gotten the stuffed beaver joke.

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“Please, they’re dead. It’s a little late to be neurotic.”

I’m going to write a post on my favorite costume that I wore on Halloween growing up. Psssssssst–it’s from a movie.

My mom took one of those “bald caps,” threaded some white yarn through the top and back all around it; I put on some white paint all over my face, neck and hands, and around my eyes–black paint.

I wish I had a picture.  I’d totally post it side-by-side with the real character…it was a little harder to take pictures in the 80s; apologies.

I was obsessed with this character in junior high, and I couldn’t wait for his scenes whenever I re-watched the movie.

The film opens with a tracking shot over the town that the story takes place in.  At least we think it is a town…

At the end of the tracking shot–at the house at the end of the road–a rather large spider climbs over the miniature model of the home that the majority of the story takes place in.

We meet a younger married couple that is having an average weekend day as they head into town to run a few errands.  They have a car accident on the bridge while trying to avoid a dog.

Cut to the two of them entering their home, drenched.

They start to notice that things are stranger and notice a “handbook” sitting on an end table.  We, along with the couple, soon learn that they did not survive the car accident on the bridge and are now a part of a very bizarre afterlife.

This film was my second exposure to Tim Burton’s work.  I saw “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure” when I was in elementary school and I laughed, but the visuals didn’t stick with me like they did from “Beetlejuice.”

Not only are our protagonists, dead, their beautiful home was purchased by people that want to destroy it and make it their own.  They soon learn that the only thing they can do to defend themselves and their home is to become ghosts, with which they learn that they are not good at that–remotely.

Enter Betelgeuse.

beetlejuice-9

This has to be my favorite Michael Keaton character.  I’d be surprised if he is even actually on film 30 minutes in this entire 92 minute movie.  The scenes we all remember and love are his, however.  I get the sense that Burton gave him the freedom to be the actor that he can be at times and this is the result of the best that Michael Keaton can be.  He is funny, indecent, disgusting, and frightening from one second to the next. His voice changes and delivery are amazing.  He also has many opportunities where he displays his physical humor as well (his dance in front of the whorehouse is unforgettable–can’t decide if that’s good or bad…)

It’s unfortunate that it takes approximately one hour for him to get onscreen.  Once he is on, that’s all we want to see.  I think that I have everyone of his lines memorized.

I felt that a lot of the visuals (sets, props, costumes, makeup, etc.) are very “Dr. Seussian” in terms of the odd angles and skewed views.  It is a staple in Burton’s films moving forward.

It is also the film where I fell in love with Winona Ryder for a time.  I remembered her from “Lucas,” I couldn’t forget about her after “Beetlejuice.”

Like “Ghostbusters,” this movie had many different elements working for it.  Humor, drama, terror, and creativity.  I felt the tone of the picture was true from the point of the spider crawling on the home, until we see the ghosts of the football players dancing to “Jump in the Line (Shake Senora)” on the stairs behind Lydia.

Who doesn’t want to float in the air while listening to Harry Belafonte?

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