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Friday, March 04, 2005

 

An Appreciation

So my day was utter and complete shit. The week after a vacation (which we had last week) always seems a bit longer than normal. By Friday, you're really just hating life and everyone in it. Add to this the fact that the New York Department of Education has apparently decided to act like an abusive husband in the latest round of contact negotiations and there's rumblings of a strike. Then my first class after lunch decided it would be a good day to put on an in-class performance of Lord of the Flies. By the last period, I was reduced to little more than pathetic, ineffective yelling and threats to pack the lot of them into a dumpster and ship them to the farthest, reekingest landfill I could find. I rode home a sad, sad little man. I needed something to boost my spirits.

When porn didn't work, I decided to throw in a movie. I decided I needed to laugh. I put in Young Frankenstein.

Sweet merciful hopscotching Jesus, is there a funnier film in the history of man? I would definitely argue that there isn't. The movie is very nearly flawless from beginning to end, with one of the greatest comedic ensembles ever assembled. Gene Wilder's tantrum when the experiment fails. Kenneth Mars cheating at darts. Madeline Kahn choking on train smoke. Terri Garr cowering from the wolf howl. Cloris Leachman's bitter grimace at how horses react to her name. Every single thing Marty Feldman does. These people were at the absolute top of their game. I can forgive Haunted Honeymoon and Spanglish. I can forgive any number of career missteps when someone is capable of this sort of genius.

Mel Brooks directed, in this movie, some of the most perfectly written and executed comic scenes ever. Garr and Wilder figuring out the bookcase mechanism. Wilder and Peter Boyle's performance of "Puttin' on the Ritz". Mars speaking to the meeting of nervous townspeople. The desperate game of charades as Boyle chokes the life out of Wilder.

And dear fucking god, the scene between Boyle and Gene Hackman. I would posit that there has never been a better capper to a scene than "Where are you going? I was gonna make espresso!"

All of this wrapped up in a movie so beautifully shot, which captures the feel of the James Whale movies so well.

This is what I love about movies. That, in an hour and forty-five minutes, they can wipe away a week full of misery and restore your faith in humanity. Or at least in humanity outside of the South Bronx.

Comments:
I couldn't agree more. Sorry about your day--but now you have the weekend!
 
Suddenly my future month of work seems more like play- since I have just recalled what it was like subbing on Fridays for the past nine years. Thank you.
 
dude, I could tell you were a teacher by the second sentence of that post. we have the same winter break here in the West.
 
So wipe yourself and get over it!
 
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