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Daily Dose of Doozy #13: Conceptual Parody: Woody Allen


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#61 drmichaelbowman

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 03:33 PM

1. In what ways does this scene from Bananas operate as both slapstick comedy and as parody?

 

To begin with, the humor of the scene is predicated by Allen’s dialogue.  Ordering an inordinate amount of food for a rebel army from a restaurant is absurd.  With this in mind, Bananas operates as a parody by lampooning war and armed rebellion.  The visual of restaurant workers bringing in wheel barrows of cole slaw and thousands of sack lunches prepared for the rebels makes the scene work as a slapstick.

 

 

2. Do you agree or disagree with Mast in his view that Bananas more closely captures Sennett's style or spirit than The Great Race? Even if you haven't seen either film, you can base your analysis on today's Daily Dose vs. last week's Daily Dose from The Great Race.

 

I disagree that the scene from Take The Money and Run captures Sennet’s style.  Again, the majority of the is predicated on dialague with the visuals of thousand of lunch sacks and wheel barrows of cole slaw as the payoff.  In my opinion, this scene from Allen’s movie Sleeper better reflects the slapstick from the early days of silent movies.


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#62 TonyZao

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 03:25 PM

From all modern directors, Woody Allen is by far the one with the most knowledge, respect and passion for classic Hollywood, and this is demonstrated in many of his films. What he's magically able to do, though, is making films which are both a homage and a parody of these classic films, and Bananas is just the case.

 

The scene is structured in typical Woody Allen style: people talking nonsense with casual style. First, we see a group of rebels making Allen's character go to bring them food, and also make him believe it was luck who picked him of all others. Then, Allen opts not to rob the food store in the first place, but make an impossibly large order, which, paradoxially, the store owner has no trouble to fulfill and takes it as completely normal. Only after everything's ready, the rebels do rob the store. Everything is ritual, exaggerated and make-believe just like in classic slapstick gags, yet the scene and dialogues in it are self-conscious and admit that their happening is something weird.

 

Allen relied much more on verbal than visual humor, and one could argue that he did with words what Mack Sennett and other silent comedians did with just the view. His comedies all have a definite plot but short, weird deviations are frequently made and they provide most of the laughs. However, I don't totally agree with the view that his films are closer to Sennett's view than The Great Race and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, because this films used more or less the same techniques, combining visual and verbal gags.

 

 


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#63 Lonbo

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 03:03 PM

1. In what ways does this scene from Bananas operate as both slapstick comedy and as parody?

 

I believe from the standpoint of the music used, plus the absurdity of the situation - compounded by the calmness of the restaurant owner in taking the order in a way that it implies that 'this sort of thing happens every day - nothing out of the norm' manner.  The parody would be in Allen's reaction to militia interaction - as if he were dealing with bank tellers, for example - handling a transaction with normalcy - in an abnormal situation.  The rest is psychological slapstick.

 

2. Do you agree or disagree with Mast in his view that Bananas more closely captures Sennett's style or spirit than The Great Race? Even if you haven't seen either film, you can base your analysis on today's Daily Dose vs. last week's Daily Dose from The Great Race.

 

I'd say from a cerebral standpoint, there is mirroring of the Sennett style - but from a physical standpoint, definitely 'no.'  I'd have to split the difference between the two films. The physicality of Bananas is greatly restrained in comparison to the Sennett years and even to 'The Great Race.'  Woody Allen's brand of humor really pushes toward the cerebral aspects of humor without the overt physical slapstick that we know so well from historical slapstick cinema.

 

Just my two cents... (not counting for inflation!) :P

 

As I've seen mentioned, I too have problems with Allen on a personal level - but have tried hard to separate his professional away from his personal foibles.


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#64 Mandroid51

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 02:45 PM

1. In what ways does this scene from Bananas operate as both slapstick comedy and as parody?

Slapstick exaggeration for certain with the outrageous numbers of food ordered. I'd say the parody is in Woodie Allen playing a soldier (gorilla soldier) which likely is spoofing all the famous war comedies where the comedians were always the mismatched characters to be in their particular outfit. Not sure the subject is exacting to the classic war-comedies but the parody can be just that with a twist on the genre.

2. Do you agree or disagree with Mast in his view that Bananas more closely captures Sennett's style or spirit than The Great Race?

I would agree with that but don't think I can back it up with obvious examples other than the structure fits Sennett's style seemingly. I'd need to watch all of the Great Race to make a better case with examples
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#65 Bill Holmes

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 02:43 PM

(FYI - seeing some are having trouble, but perhaps it's fixed now. I was able to link and view from the email without issue).

 

I'd have to re-watch Bananas again to form a final opinion, but I disagree with Mast - I find The Great Race to contain far more allegiances to Sennett - much more physical comedy like pie fights and crashes, and Professor Fate is basically Wile E. Coyote come to life. Maybe a touch of Roach, as even the villains turn out to have elements of humanity when the **** hit the fan.

 

This clip from Bananas is more funny for the deadpan and droll delivery of an absurdist situation than slapstick:

 

  • First, the counter man doesn't even bat an eye at the ridiculous order - let alone that there is a deli nearby.
  • Absurdity within absurdity (mayo for 1000 sandwiches "on the side", the leader "wants his on a roll", etc.)
  • Sight gags of 1000 sandwich bags (and finding the "one on the roll" quickly), wheelbarrows of cole slaw, etc.
  • There's a minimum of verbal slapstick, and it's merely a couple of Woody wisecracks.

 

As a parody it is really just the framework - a situation comedy by definition - with nebbish Woody as a jungle revolutionary and normally dramatic moments played for laughs (rigging the "short straw"). But he was far more successful mining this format (both the documentary and crime story genres) with "Take The Money And Run". And frankly this "food order for an army" gag was done better and funnier by Don Imus ("1200 Hamburgers to Go").


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#66 picasso55

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 02:41 PM

I understand the talent but I personally boycott Allen since he married his adopted daughter. 


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#67 ln040150

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 02:34 PM

Allen isn’t so much parodying film (although there are film references, like to The Quiet American and The Green Berets) as much as he is parodying the sturm und drang of the idealism of revolutionary politics ala Franz Fanon, Che Guevera and Eldridge Cleaver. He uses slapstick clearly here and we can see the five elements at work in the over-the-top exaggeration of the delicatessen order, the make-believe element in it in the utter implausibility of it’s being created and catered at the end, the implied and impending violence required to have it “paid” for and served up, the physicality of all these machinations. The only element missing (and replaced) is that of ritual, now supplanted by the invention of such an impossible gag. That Allen would go so far in making intellectual demands upon his audience, rather than simply playing on their memories as Blake Edwards did a few years earlier, is testament to his trust in their intelligence.
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#68 Hoosierwood

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 02:34 PM

I see more Hal Roach comedy in Woody Allen. Woody does have a character. He is a reluctant hero. Nervous but finds a way to make it. He uses "verbal slapstick". He enhance his comedy with jazzy music just like Hal Roach L&H films. Some of the physical comedy is based on being clumsy. The Great Race is more like Sennett because of the explosions, fast pace car gags and zany fights.   


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#69 MrZerep

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 02:25 PM

After watching all the previous forms of slapstick, verbal and physical, this is probably the most cerebral example.  There is something about Woody Allen that, for me at least, takes a while to warm up to.  The slapstick is there in the choosing of the short stick wherein the leader of the rebels hands it to Allen.  The restaurant owner doesn't really get outraged with the food order as he writes down what may be his biggest take out order to date!  Parody?  The exaggeration is there in homage to the great slapstick of yesteryear and Woody Allen's expression and demeanor remind me a tad of Buster Keaton's stone face.

 

I think the spirit of Sennett's and Blake Edwards's style is there in a very subdued manner.  It IS a funny scene and it's a very nice, slick and stylish form of slapstick.  Had the deliverymen dropped the bags, then it would be traditional slapstick.  Again, Woody's style is very cerebral, perhaps a bit ahead of it's time.  You might label it as "critical thinking" slapstick.


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#70 Dr. Rich Edwards

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 12:34 PM

Thanks everyone!

 

We hit a small delay in today's Dose!

 

I am aware it hasn't been sent out yet - I am being assured that it will go out in the next hour (by 2:30pm Eastern)

 

Thanks, as always, for giving me a heads up!

 

And I swear you will be able to laugh and reflect on a great Woody Allen bit from Bananas shortly!

 

Just got to figure out where Charlie Chaplin left his wrench in the machine :-)  and the Doses will flow again shortly.

 

Best, Dr. E. 


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Richard Edwards, PhD

Ball State University

Instructor: TCM Presents: The Master of Suspense: 50 Years of Hitchcock (2017)

Instructor: TCM Presents: Painfully Funny: Exploring Slapstick in the Movies (2016)

Instructor: TCM Presents: Into the Darkness: Investigating Film Noir (2015)

 

 


#71 John_Simpson

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 12:26 PM

Still no email and nothing here either https://learn.canvas..._item_id=172582



#72 riffraf

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 11:42 AM

Like my classmates have noted, no Daily Dose #13 in the form of an email or on the Canvas site....

Guess the jokes on us!



#73 ln040150

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 11:38 AM

Sorry to be a pain - but i can't locate Daily Doozy #13.  Is anyone having this problem?

I don't believe it has been posted yet...
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#74 jkbrenna

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 11:30 AM

Sorry to be a pain - but i can't locate Daily Doozy #13.  Is anyone having this problem?


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#75 Dr. Rich Edwards

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Posted 25 September 2016 - 10:41 PM

We are now heading into the next Module (#5): Slapstick Spoofs - Films from the 1970s and Beyond.

 

First up, Woody Allen's Bananas and the idea of conceptual parodies in slapstick. 

 

As usual, if you didn't receive a Daily Dose by email, check out our Daily Dose archive at Canvas.net.

 

Happy Discussions!


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Richard Edwards, PhD

Ball State University

Instructor: TCM Presents: The Master of Suspense: 50 Years of Hitchcock (2017)

Instructor: TCM Presents: Painfully Funny: Exploring Slapstick in the Movies (2016)

Instructor: TCM Presents: Into the Darkness: Investigating Film Noir (2015)

 

 





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