Bluboo

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About Bluboo

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  • Birthday 02/09/1956

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  1. 1. How does the spoof style of Ferrell and McKay differ from or compare to the styles of Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, or the team of ZAZ? Be specific. I think that Ferrell and McKay are closer to to ZAZ and different from Allen and Brooks. Allen's films a re closer to being farces where his like able character always seems to be in outrageous circumstances. Brooks seems to create identiable characters that are placed into the progression of a plot ... Some characters are a little unusual or stereotyped (Lily Von ****. Mongo, I-Gor, and The Inspector), but they fit the plot. Like ZAZ, the characters in the Ferrell/McKay clip are their own parodies, and their egos drive the action. 2. We first saw a portion of this clip during our Breakdown of a Gag on Cameos – in the full context, what do the cameos add to this fight scene? I have never seen the film and honestly did not recognize any of the cameos. I did catch the references to Planet of the Apes and West Side Story, but I did not find the clip appealing. 3. Of the slapstick influences we covered in this class, who do you think most influenced Will Ferrell as a slapstick comedian? You can select for your answer any of the studios, directors, writers, or actors covered in this course. I can detect some W.C. Fields with that air of superiority. I see some of Woody Allen's absurdity. I have not seen any of Ferrell's body of work, so it is hard to make a judgment based on one clip.
  2. 1. How would you describe ZAZ's approach to film parody or film spoofs in this scene? Cite specific examples. With very few exceptions, one scene after another is a new gag with little or no set-up.everything that Neilsen does is a parody of the straight-laced detectives (especially Sgt Joe Friday). Neilsen is forever hitting other cars, garbage pails, or other obstacles. When his own car "attacks" him, he shoots and blows it up. The crime lab becomes a spoof of James Bond and Q. The gags, verbal and physical, just keep coming and coming. 2. How is ZAZ's approach to spoofing similar to or different from Mel Brook and Gene Wilder's approach in yesterday's Daily Dose? I believe that ZAZ is very different from Brooks and Wilder. The comedy and slapstick in Airplane or The Naked Gunis driven by characters themselves who are spoofs, parodies, or stereotypes. Neilsen in TNG and Hayes in Airplane are spoofs of their movie counterparts. The supporting cast members are also flaky, so the interaction between actors drives the action and creates the comedy. With Brooks and Wilder, the characters are fairly "normal" but are placed in odd situations through the progression of the plot. As funny as it may seem, even Peter Boyle is fairly normal as witnessed in the scene with Gene Hackman and the little girl. 3. In the context of slapstick comedy, compare Peter Sellers' Inspector Clouseau with Leslie Nielsen's Frank Drebin. I would say that Neilsen's Drebin might be a homage or parody of Clouseau. I believe the main difference is that Clouseau is bumbling and clumsy, so the vast majority of his slapstick is physical. Drebin is just plain clueless and inept, and a majority of the slapstick is verbal or based or sight gags. The physical comedy is so far out that it has to be make-believe (the opening scene, fondling the statues, diving on Queen Elizabeth). Clouseau is also make-believe, but it has more realism (falling off the couch, fighting Kato, falling into a pool).
  3. I am not so sure that I agree that spoofs and parodies are a thinking man's slapstick. My opinion about spoofs and parodies is that it is fairly easy to take a film done by another director and use it As the basis for a send-up. If you can find a successful, popular film like Airport, The Exorcist, Top Gun, or Halloween, it is pretty easy to turn it into a comedy. However, it does take a genius like Mel Brooks or the Zuckers & Abrams team to do a masterful job with the comedy.
  4. 1. How does this scene successfully parody the old Universal Horror films of the 1930s? Be specific. I saw so many horror films when I was growing up in the 1960s because we watched CHILLER THEATER as a family every Saturday night. Gene Wilder brings life to the intellectual scientist, the man of strong conviction that will undergo a radical change. Wilder changes the pronunciation of one of the most famous names in horror films. We have the clean lecture hall and the "wise guy" student who pushes Wilder's buttons. Rather than do a simple demonstration, he inflicts the most painful punishment known to a man on his subject ... then he slips him an extra dollar. The scene progresses as some exposition into Wilder's character, but it leads to a very old gag rather than establishing Wilder as a genius. 2. In keeping with Gene Wilder's own observations about the writing of this film, how does this scene move between comic subtlety and broad slapstick humor? Be specific. First, we have little subtleties like Wilder calling his grandfather's work "doo doo" and comparing the heart and kidneys to Tinker Toys. We hear the exchange about vermicelli and Wilder asks, "The worm or the spaghetti?" He also makes a comment implying the inquisitive student is a worm. All are quietly funny. But then we have the demonstration and Wilder pretends he is going to kick the volunteer in the groin. Then he applies the clamp and does it ... when he removes the clamp, we have lots of pain. Then Wilder becomes more and more infuriated with his student, losing control and drilling the scalpel into his thigh. Despite the pain, he calmly dismisses class as if nothing is wrong. 3. Would this film and its gags have worked as well if Young Frankenstein was shot in color? Defend your answer. This film definitely works best in black and white. While some could make a case for color, I believe the ties to the old horror films are best served in black and white. B&W takes us back in time, and it is the sensation I get when I look at old photos from my grandmother and my mother. You automatically know it is in the past, and you feel like the world itself was B&W, not color. As a fan of film noir and horror, the B&W films have a special feel all their own that is difficult to capture in color. Further, we associate monsters with darkness and things that go bump in the night ... I think back to "The Exorcist" and how this color film became very, very dark in the scariest scenes. Frankenstein, Dracula, Wolfman, Godzilla, et al. always look better in B&W!
  5. 1. I am trying to keep my answer simple because I fear a book could be written. The evidence of parody is overwhelming, much of it not to be lost on this boy from New York City. The scenes with Howard Cosell and the beginning and the end are wonderful parodies of Cosell himself; the scenes are classics and well done. The entire deli scene is a parody of the old New York Jewish deli, conveniently located in the jungle, and authentic right to to the white-jacketed delivery men. When we saw this movie in the theater when I was young, my mother lost it when Allen shows shows up for dinner with the little white cookie box wrapped in red and white string ... that is SOOOO New York! The film becomes slapstick in the Sennett tradition because it is make-believe that is both real and timely (Che Guevera and Fidel Castro were well known figures). There is incredible exaggeration and, while Woody Allen is not the paragon of physical prowess, he has exceptional timing and an awkward grace. Things backfire on him, and there is physical violence. The music is reminiscent of The Little Rascals or Laurel and Hardy. Allen also adds the verbal element, and it adds up the a modern clown. 2. I agree with Mast because "The Great Race" has a antiseptic feel to it. Everything is too clean. I only saw the short clip, but I think it went overboard to pay homage to the past. Tony Curtis is the hero, but I did not feel close to his portrayal of The Great Leslie. Allen, on the other hand, creates a likable character with a great many dimensions that carry him through all his early films (up through "Sleeper", "Annie Hall", and "Everything ... Sex"). He is a combination of the great slapstick geniuses like Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd, Laurel & Hardy, and Fields. I feel as if Allen's closeness to the Sennett tradition was the result of taking Sennett's directorial style and combining the very best of the early slapstick characters into gags that are a modernization of past gags.
  6. 1. I think what captured me most was that it had the look of a newsreel but actors that were more like cartoon charactatures. Tony Curtis had the good guy look of Peter Perfect or Dudley Do-Right, Peter Falk and Jack Lemmon looked like Snidley Whiplash or Dick Dastardly. The action was so reminiscent of Wile E. Coyote and The Roadrunner ... the arrow and its launcher looked like something straight from the Acme catalogue. 2. I observed that the characters were costumed and dressed as the stereotyped portrayals of good versus evil. Moreover, it all fit the definition of slapstick that we defined as fitting the silent era, most notably the make-believe, the exaggeration, the violence, and the agility of The Great Leslie. The action was fast and furious, and the real ag was the attack on the balloon backfiring against Jack Lemmon and Peter Falk. 3. I apologize if I am repeating what other's wrote, but the answer is pretty obvious to the viewer, The Great Leslie -- dressed in all white, gleam in his smile, adored by the ladies, brave, athletic, and is obviously the hero of the story. Jack Lemmon -- dressed in all black, the evil-looking mustache, the sneer, the sneaky approach, and the attempt to destroy the hero. Also add the bad luck of Wile E. Coyote and Dick Dastardley.
  7. 1. Like others, my favorite gag in this clip was Clouseau ripping the rely on the pool table. We have the physical set-up of the wealthy house, a well-dressed Clouseau, and M. Ballon in a tuxedo. Earlier in the scene, Clouseau tried desperately to hit the cue ball with the curved stick, to no avail. What made the scene hysterical is that we see Clouseau turn the stick so that the curve arcs downward, but then the camera moves to the upper portion of Clouseau. We hear the felt tear, much like the sound of pants ripping, and then we see Clouseau trying to mend the felt. I thought that just hearing thesound of the felt ripping was funnier than seeing it with the sound effect. 2. Thinking back on our definition of slapstick, Peter Sellers fits the definition as Clouseau. His movements are physical and exaggerated. He is the victim of his own actions, and the slapstick is violent. His silly accent and mispronunciations are verbal slapstick, along with his pompous attitude. He is a clown with athleticism and perfect timing. We recognize that Clouseau is make-believe, but Peter Sellers makes Clouseau so real. 3. What Sellers did with Clouseau was to take a bumbling g fool and make him into a hero who solved his cases. We, the audience, recognize that his success is always accidental, and we watch the toll it takes of Chief Inspector Dreyfus. Clouseau is a master of keeping up appearances, and he somehow always managed to get the crook and the girl.
  8. 1. The primary benefit of color in this scene is that it adds brightness and detail. Visual planning most often uses bright sets for comedy and dark sets for drama. I found it easy to experience the depth and coziness of the surroundings, and that became vey important when Lucy tried to get into bed. The color also offset that it was a dark and rainy night, a scenario much more suited to melodrama. Watching them at the table was funnier because we weren't as aware of the storm until Nicky said he was worried about getting the trailer out in the morning. 2. The first thing that caught my eye was the exterior shot of the jack in the mud. That was the set-up for the jack slipping and Taci flying out the door into the mud. The mud also created a very dark contrast to the color of the inside, making the slapstick seem more real and painful. Minnelli used camera angles in both the kitchen and bedroom to accentuate the tilt of the trailer. I also observed that, in the kitchen scenes, Taci always appeared to be taller than Nicky, giving her a dominant presence even when shot from two different angles. The long, steady shot in the bedroom, with the exception of two brief cuts outside to the jack, makes the slapstick of Taci getting into bed and flying out the door more physical and violent. 3. I always thought that Lucy had the physical prowess that we saw with Keaton and Chaplin. Her facial expressions were classics, and she demonstrated her athleticism getting into the bed, rolling out of the bed, and flying out the door. She showed her pain by her trademark crying. I think back on her physical skills in doing the candy factory and the vitameatavegamin commercial. Her verbal skills, especially making fun of Rick's accent, were unparalleled. I can't really think of anyone else who pioneered female lipstick like Lucy did.
  9. Thank you for posting this, Robinlee, because I was feeling a little guilty about not enjoying this selection. I tried watching the movie and gave up after an hour. It was mildly humorous but not slapstick by the definition we learned. I do agree with seeing the patterns in Hurlot's life, the repetitious routine and the almost mechanical response by Hurlot'. He is gentle and kind, and he loves children. He seems odd in his physical presence, a bit too tall yet pleasantly graceful. The building's design is definitely eccentric, matching the eccentricity of Hurlot. The path to his apartment is odd, and it seems appropriate that he lives in the top floor with an amazing view. I could not help but recall Victor Velasco in "Barefoot in the Park". The continuous camera shot from a distance long enough to capture the building and Hurlot's progress was a effective visual technique.
  10. I also am a huge fan of cameos, and I will try not to repeat the excellent observations already made. The one TV show that mastered cameos was Police Squad, as the guest star was killed during the opening credits. Laugh-in had outrageous cameos including Richard Nixon saying, "Sock it to me!" Also coming to mind are Dom Deluise in "Blazing Saddles", Ethel Merman in "Airplane", and Burt Reynolds (also Paul Newman and Anne Bancroft) in "Silent Movie". Cameos add a famous and usually well-liked personality to the cast, and adds to the enjoyment of the film.
  11. Having done some directing and stage management in college, I enjoyed the breakdown. Vertical and horizontal lines are important, and we see levels also play a role. In some ways, this is a unique version of cramming a phone both or clowns in a car. In this case, it is a stateroom that overflows when Margaret Dumont opens the door. The verbal banter by Groucho, inviting more people in, builds up to the physical overflow at the end.
  12. Bluboo

    Breakdown of a Gag, Episode 5: Playing Games

    An important element in these three clips is familiarity. Even today, Babe Ruth is a common name, and the "crazy driving" routine is a common gag. Baseball is America's pastime, so it is a good backdrop for comedy. The actors in all the gags played their roles to the fullest, and they were amusing.
  13. 1. In comparing Abbott and Costello with Chico and Groucho, both teams rely on impeccable timing, rapid delivery, and standard roles (Bud and Groucho were always the bosses). However, Groucho and Chico always looked the same in every picture, but Bud and Lou used costumes to suit their roles. Groucho and Chico relied on accents, but Bud and Lou did not. Conversations between Groucho and Chico always were a bit absurd, whereas Bud and Lou were more down to earth; the best work by Bud and Lou were often a play on words, double entendres, and non sequiturs. Their best bits could stand alone outside the film. 2. Gehring's about contemporary comedy is a broad generalization that is sadly accurate. There are exceptions like the late George Carlin, who was a master of timing and language. A great many comedians rely on sex, curse words, and shock value to generate a response. For example, Lewis Black is comparable in my opinion to Alan King, but too many people get turned off by his overuse of the f-bomb. Everybody knows "Who's on First?". My favorite Abbott and Costello routine was "7 times 13 = 28". I have performed this for my students for the last 13 years and they always laugh. The comedy of Abbott and Costello is timeless. 3. It would be too easy to focus on their bits and routines ... those are treasured. As a kid, I found all of their movies to be absolutely hysterical and entertaining. They perfected a technique discussed in the first week, when we learned that slapstick often did not help the plot progress. Their bits and routines were a break from the action. They also included musical performances ... who can forget The Andrew Sisters doing "The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" in "Buck Privates"? There were real plots in which the boys were entangled, and the violence was pretty mild. They were also able to take their style to television, and they repeated many of their routines.
  14. 1. The one thing I noted about W.C. Fields is that he has a great many conversations with himself. The verbal banter between Chico and Groucho might have an aside by Groucho, but their conversations always built to a climax. Charlie Chase was a complainer and would direct his comments of exasperation at most anyone. Fields had a wonderful touch of sarcasm and pseudo-intellectualism in his comments, whether talking to himself or addressing his adversaries. As we saw in the clip, his family members were his primary adversaries, and there was a bite in every sentence. 2. Fields was a genius at verbal slapstick, and he demonstrated it well in "The Bank Dick". He was certainly bombastic when he was interfering with the car repairs. His dialogue is a collections of one-liners and puns with a great use of slang (boondoggling) and non-sequiturs. There was the characteristic battle with young children, in this case it was his daughter, and the youngster always seems to get the better of him. There is the classic Fields delivery that makes him sound like he is always drunk, and his timing is impeccable. When you think about it, most successful verbal slapstick resulted from a partnership between two actors, but Fields accomplished excellent without a partner by talking to himself. This helped the audience "get inside his head".
  15. 1. This clip is not the best of the Marx Brothers verbal slapstick, but it does fulfill Alan Dale's definition. It carries the asides, the accents, the rapid pace, the twisting of meanings ... and it ends with a trademark pun by Chico. When you view some of the more outrageous Marx Brothers dialogue from "Duck Soup", "The Coconuts", and "Horsefeathers", you can truly see that Groucho and Chico were masters of verbal slapstick. 2. Chico was best known for his Italian accent, which was omnipresent in his movies. Chico's laugh was a combination of humorous and mocking, and he was the perfect set-up for Groucho. Chico seemed to be unable to understand, but then he would deliver incredible mispronunciations, non sequiturs, one liners, and puns, always eliciting an appropriate response from Groucho. Groucho, on the other hand, had what I thought to be a Brooklyn accent, and always sounded like a wise guy. He was usually able to take a response by Chico and do one better. He was a master of the aside and, even though he seemed much smarter than Chico in a bombastic sort of way, he usually did not get the last word. Groucho and Chico were truly masterful. 3. Using the Marx Brothers, Laurel and Hardy, The Three Stooges, and Abbott and Costello as examples, I believe all five elements remained with verbal slapstick. Exaggerated -- Definitely ... think of Groucho's grease paint moustache or the Stooge's haircuts. Physical -- Even though the verbal banter was the highlight, there were a variety of physical actions and reactions to the dialogue. Repetitive/Ritualistic -- all the characters had movements that became familiar to us and expected. Make Believe -- the dialogue was real but it was so outlandish that the scenes were farcical. Painful/Violent -- the Marx Brothers would occasionally have some mild violence, but verbal slapstick elicited and physical reply. For example, Moe smacking Curly or Larry, Abbott slapping Costello, Ollie hitting Stan and then Stan retaliates. Most often, the exasperation of a Charlie Chase or an Edgar Kennedy was an expression of pain.

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