Suggested Audio Candy:
Rupert Hine With One Look (The Wildest Dream)
I have lavished you with many of my most intimate eighties memories over the past two articles and closing the sequence is always likely to be a painstaking affair but Keeper has held back with purpose and it just so happens I’m preparing a banquet of sorts. You see, one of my favorite comedies is High Fidelity, adapted brilliantly from Nick Hornby’s asinine, and at the same time, hopeful novel of the same name. I know, not an eighties film but it is an affectionate love letter to the epoch. Our lead protagonist Rob is a sucker for top tens and thus, in tribute to the thirty-something vinyl store-owner, I shall weigh in with the occasional inventory of ‘besties’ (or ‘favoritos’ as the case may be).
Ten Steve Martin Comedies (Order of personal favorite)
I LA Story (1991) Dir: Mick Jackson MY ALL TIME FAVORITE COMEDY!!!
II The Lonely Guy (1984) Dir: Arthur Hiller
III Planes Trains & Automobiles (1987) Dir: John Hughes
IV The Jerk (1979) Dir: Carl Reiner
V Roxanne (1987) Dir: Fred Schepisi
VI The Man With Two Brains (1983) Dir: Carl Reiner
VII Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) Dir: Frank Oz
VIII Bowfinger (1999) Dir: Frank Oz
IX Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982) Dir: Carl Reiner
X All of Me (1984) Dir: Carl Reiner
I’ve veered away and suspect it not to be the last time; I hadn’t quite done with a certain John Cusack. Keeper has certain healthy man-crushes and this fine specimen is one such infatuator. Don’t get it twisted now, I’d have no inkling to caress him other than a reverential stroke of the face maybe, gentle ruffle of the hair if I’m feeling impish. More than anything else, I just respect the shit out of the egg that hatched him. He popped up all over the place during the eighties but somehow managed to sidestep brief flirtations with The Brat Pack to forge his own path.
Ten Comedy Co-Pilots (Random Order)
⦁ Charles De Mar (played by Curtis Armstrong) Better off Dead (1985)
⦁ Mr Anderson (played by Richard Masur) License to Drive (1988)
⦁ Cameron Fry (played by Alan Ruck) Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1985)
⦁ Warren Evans (played by Charles Grodin) The Lonely Guy (1984)
⦁ Dr Rumack (played by Leslie Nielsen) Airplane (1980)
⦁ Carl Spackler (played by Bill Murray) Caddyshack (1980)
⦁ Det. William ‘Billy’ Rosewood (played by Judge Reinhold) Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
⦁ Ernie McCracken (played by Bill Murray) Kingpin (1996)
⦁ Walter Sobchak (played by John Goodman) The Big Lebowski (1998)
⦁ Otto (played by Kevin Kline) A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
A huge nod must go to Michael Crichton and John Cleese for the glorious A Fish Called Wanda, quite possibly the funniest British Comedy to emerge from the UK since Withnail & I. Kevin Kline really stole the show here, even Cleese was aware that the spotlight was his and he gave us an Oscar-winning turn as double-crossing numbskull Otto.
Cleese meanwhile had enjoyed success with glorious Monty Python offering The Meaning of Life. Looking dotingly on various stages of the life-cycle from conception to expiration, it didn’t always hit the mark and its bloated short feature presentation The Crimson Permanent Assurance was a flawed exercise but when it did hit paydirt the Pythons were on top of their game. I therefore present you with a choice segment from ‘The Middle of The Film’…
Find The Fish
Strange Man: I wonder where that fish has gone!
Transvestite: You did love it so! You looked after it like a son!
Strange Man: [Bends perplexingly long arms]
Strange Man: And it went… where-ever I… did go!
Transvestite: Is it in the cupboard?
Audience: Yes! Yes!
Transvestite: Wouldn’t you like to know? It was a lovely little fish!
Transvestite: And it went… where-ever I… did go!
Audience: It’s behind the sofa!
Transvestite: Where can that fish be?
Audience: Have you searched the drawers in the bureau?
Transvestite: [a strange, half-elephant/half-man creature wanders up out of nowhere holding a drinks tray]
Audience: It was a most elusive fish.
Strange Man: [twists the brass handles on the transvestite’s corset]
Strange Man: And it went… where-ever I… did go!
Transvestite: Ohhh! Fishy, fishy, fishy, fish!
Strange Man: A fish, a fish, a fish, a fishy, ohhh!
Transvestite: Ohhh, fishy, fishy, fishy, fish!
Strange Man: [Pulls the plug attached on the transvestite’s corset]
Strange Man: That went… where-ever I… did go!
Audience: Look up his trunks! Yes, in his trousers!
Robin Williams is a fine Comedy actor; make no qualms. However, I struggle to connect with many of his works including Good Morning Vietnam as it almost appears he is on stand-up auto-pilot throughout. For Keeper, the most delectable fruits from his loins came from George Roy Hill’s adaptation of John Irving’s The World According to Garp. Irving went on to pen The Hotel New Hampshire and this tragedy-ridden comedy drama trod similar boards, exhibiting the beauty of the world offset against the moral bankruptcy which exists all around us. Bravely tackling topics such as rape and mutilation, marital infidelity, feminism against exploitation and even gender-modification (John Lithgow giving an unforgettable turn as transsexual Roberta Muldoon), it did so through a dark satirical view of the modern world which saw it vilified on release but strangely attracted a predominantly female fan-base.
Proving once more that Williams finest works are primarily dramatic pieces, Terry Gillam’s fable on redemption The Fisher King featured possibly his finest performance, playing the affable fool alongside solemn shock jock radio deejay Jeff Bridges who suffered a crisis of identity and considerable soul searching as he entered the world Parry’s mind existed within. Once again, Williams comic timing was spot-on but, as with Garp, he excelled through far more subtle means.
“Talk Hard!” Christian Slater often gets harshly critiqued for his admittedly chequered CV but, alongside Heathers, his peak invariably came at the turn of the nineties with Allen Moyle’s Pump Up The Volume. He played an ordinarily shy pirate radio broadcaster who, while operating under the pseudonym Happy Harry Hard-On, challenged disillusioned adolescents to use their free speech, stand up against censorship and the media. Thought provoking in the extreme, it was Slater’s performance as Harry which taught me how to use my own voice and his unapologetically no-holds barred approach is evident in my own scribing style. It’s all about having the cohones to challenge the contorted society we inhabit, stand up and be counted, gain your true identity and reach for whatever fucking dreams you wish.
Ten delightful Comed-ditties (Chronological Order)
a. I’m Alright – Kenny Loggins (Caddyshack 1980)
b. Holiday Road – Lyndsay Buckingham (Vacation 1983)
c. Stir It Up – Patti LaBelle (Beverly Hills Cop 1984)
d. Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Simple Minds (The Breakfast Club 1985)
e. Beat City – The Flowerpot Men (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off 1985)
f. With One Look (The Wildest Dream) – Rupert Hine (Better off Dead 1985)
g. If You Leave – Orchestral Maneouvres in the Dark (Pretty in Pink 1986)
h. The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades – Timbuk 3 (Dream a Little Dream 1988)
i. Be Alone Tonight – The Gamma Rays (School Daze 1988)
j. In Your Eyes – Peter Gabriel (Say Anything 1989)
Last minute honorable mentions? Rodney Dangerfield of course; how could I not mention the bulging-eyed belly-laugh bandit? Easy Money, Caddyshack and my own darling Back to School were all excellent exemplars at this funny man at the top of his game. He just can’t get any respect! Bless his unique soul.
Amazon Women on the Moon. I love John Landis’ spoof like a honey-coated kitten. Hit…miss…hit…FUCKING HIT!!!.. For a spoof it dares you to contain yourself and I fail virtually every time. A colostomy satchel is advised when viewing if, like me, you have a weakness for the ridiculous you will fill it by your scheduled intermission.
Both Belushis, Ackroyd, Bridges…I really could continue for longer but instead shall include a gallery of great moments to savor from some of the films which helped shape my adolescence. I shall end with the mandatory 50 favoritos; not structured lovingly, fired out like crimson bullets, alphabetically listed for your consumption (eighties only):
⦁ A Fish Called Wanda
⦁ Adventures of Ford Fairlane, The
⦁ After Hours
⦁ Amazon Women on the Moon
⦁ Bachelor Party
⦁ Back to School
⦁ Better off Dead
⦁ Beverly Hills Cop
⦁ Breakfast Club, The
⦁ Burbs, The
⦁ Can’t Buy Me Love
⦁ Checking Out
⦁ Dream Team, The
⦁ Fast Times at Ridgemont High
⦁ Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
⦁ Hollywood Shuffle
⦁ Hunchback Hairball of LA
⦁ I’m Gonna Git You Sucka
⦁ Last American Virgin, The
⦁ License to Drive
⦁ Lonely Guy, The
⦁ Midnight Run
⦁ Money Pit, The
⦁ Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life
⦁ National Lampoons Vacation
⦁ Night Shift
⦁ One Crazy Summer
⦁ Planes, Trains & Automobiles
⦁ Pretty in Pink
⦁ Pump Up The Volume
⦁ Quick Change
⦁ Raising Arizona
⦁ She’s Having a Baby
⦁ Skin Deep
⦁ Some Girls aka Sisters
⦁ Something Wild
⦁ Stir Crazy
⦁ Summer School
⦁ Taking Care of Business
⦁ Tin Men
⦁ Top Secret
⦁ Trading Places
⦁ Working Girl
⦁ World According to Garp, The
Sin with A Grin,
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2013
Kaleidoscope of Comedy
Let’s do it then Grueheads; shall we take a brisk stroll through my favorite era? Believe me when I say that I deliberated the shit out of which pictorial to choose for this 80s shot in the arm. There’s something for everyone; from the initial realization of first love via the medium of music to the moment when Kim Kattrall’s Lassie howls rang through the gymnasium. My Bittersweet Symphony so to speak. Enjoy.