Suggested Audio Candy:
Lindsey Buckingham Holiday Road
All angles I said; well it just so happens that half of my ten favorite movies are humorous works from this particular epoch, with just as many bubbling under. There’s no unspoken law that we aren’t able to express our love of Comedy right? Well I’m choosing to exercise my right and bust out this homage.
Laughter is tonic for our souls after all. Our brain releases exclusive endorphins each time our ribs are tickled. Each of us finds our jollies in a different locale which means invariably our favorites are just subjective standpoints. I only have to look at Gene Wilder’s beautiful face to bust a kidney, literally room entry causes me to spasm. Others may desire to repeatedly punch his face, give one of his magically sparkling eyes some blackness. I don’t condone such cruelty, but I do understand it. Everyone’s got their Steve Zahn, every horse has its course.
So who stands out from the crowd? Easy…Steve Martin. For me, the eighties were his decade, much as they were Carpenter’s. The Jerk, The Man With Two Brains, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, Roxanne, All of Me, and one little discarded solitaire called the Lonely Guy. The title may lead you to believe he is hopelessly lonely, and it wouldn’t be far off the crux, but he was joined by one of the finest talents of the decade in Charles Grodin. Another face you just want to kiss, Grodin popped up numerous times, but still not nearly enough, during the era with Taking Care of Business, Midnight Run and The Woman in Red but three. Throw in Martin playing the down on his luck douche, what’s not to adore?
Tom Hanks took to comedy like a lamb to a Hot Pot, churning out a number of memorable genre examples. Bachelor Party manages the rare feat of debilitating me entirely. Crass it may well be but it typifies the post-Animal House age perfectly. Raucous was now on the menu, with Kim Cattrall’s Lassie howling in Porkys while Paulie the Penis was getting man-handled after poking its eye where it wasn’t welcome. Tom gave a fantastic account of himself before moving toward more serious roles and giving…another stellar account of himself.
The late great Candy man played so well off Hanks, Martin too. “Those aren’t PILLOWS!!!” He was sadly missed when he made his untimely curtain call but did manage many great feats during his courtship with comedy. I have fond memories of Wally World and this also introduced another Saturday Night Live mainstay Chevy Chase. Whilst not my personal Jesus; Vacation, Caddyshack and Fletch are definitely in my top fiddy for the generation.
Bill Murray? It’s hard to compound my love for this dude into superlatives. Like Gene he doesn’t have to contort his face to gain a rapturous reaction from Keeper. His nonchalant look and deadpan delivery are without equal and I recall my quivering bottom lip when he was pipped to his big Oscar hope. Don’t worry Bill, I’ll grab a DeLorean and you can intercept it before Sean Penn gets there. I’ll look after ya!
John Hughes was beyond gifted, he bared so much of his teen angst and poured it into a sub-genre he pretty much dominated for the entire decade. Pretty in Pink is my intimate soulmate, Molly Ringwald my biggest crush back then and, in Andie, I had my prom queen. The Breakfast Club is possibly considered his apex and admittedly it is a truly beautiful movie but has to be satisfied with second spot, despite giving us John Bender and a wonderfully edgy Ally Sheedy.
Proving that its all subjective, I love both Kuffs and The Adventures of Ford Fairlane. Both are considered more putrid than a barrel of fish heads and aren’t the most highbrow offerings but to me they’re just perfect as they are. Meanwhile License To Drive has to be one of my most watched movies. Those Coreys did have a certain something together and were at their peak when accompanied by Richard Masur and Carol Kane’s ‘hip’ parents. “Les…..Les…..Lessss! LES, IT’S ME…PAPA!” If you know the scene I’m sure you’re at risk of bladder breach just like me right now.
Patrick ‘McDreamy’ Dempsey had us won over with Can’t Buy Me Love. There is no more superior ‘Geek to Chic’ flick and it gives that warm glow inside we all secretly crave. A very young Seth Green played Ronald ‘McDonald’ Miller’s guillotine-wielding little bro Chucky and showed us why he remains a safe pair of comedy hands even now.
However, nobody beats off the Cusack for me. Say Anything, The Sure Thing, One Crazy Summer, all great movies. Better Off Dead however, will always be the jewel in his crown as far as I’m concerned. Not all the slapstick worked but it mattered not. We just liked the hell out of Lane and his snow-snorting compadre Charles De Mar. Moreover, we were introduced to Monique, the adorable french exchange-student played by the similarly captivating Diane Franklin. Add a bit of Howard Jones to the mix-tape and it fast become the soundtrack movie to many disillusioned teens’ growing pains.
I’ve not so much as skimmed the custard here. it was an era with more highlights than I could conceivably shoe-horn into one piece. It’s trilogy time methinks. Laughter really is the best tonic and I fully intend to do as much of it as possible. Strange it is, that I always revert back to the ever-reliable eighties for my inspiration. I’m sure my age plays a factor. All the memories from back then are good, my teens were saved from the raging hellfires which threatened to consume me by these delightful movies. In fact, I think it’s high time I went out and got myself some fingerless gloves.
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2013