Dr. Rich Edwards

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

75 posts in this topic

The scene is a parody of a couple things:

First, it is a parody of a war film which often has a scene where a group goes on a raid. In this case rather than a covert attempt to raid a warehouse or  steal supplies from a town, he goes to the sandwich shop.

Secondly, it is a parody of an ordinary sandwich shop scene, which we see in hundreds of movies. But in this instance he he placing an order for 1000 men. The humor of the joke is first in the specifics of the order ("One of those is on a roll") and secondly in the casual way the shop owner takes the order, as if it is nothing unusual.

Visual slapstick is in the wheelbarrows of cole slaw, and the hundreds of bagged lunches. Also, in the shot of guerrillas at gunpoint watching over a lunch delivery.

 

The Great Race played it's comedy within the reality of its genre. It took genre events - pie fights, races, bar brawls, etc. and did them in comical ways. In the Bananas scene, It took an idea (raiding for food) and conceptualized it as another event - ordering lunch. Had Bananas used the style of the great race, we would have stayed within the genre (war film) but made the raid comical.

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With only seeing the clip, I find it difficult and grasping at straws this is slapstick. When is something just comedy. After reading the discussion I was able to wager in the 5 elements some but I just did not find anything after drawing the straws actually "OUCH" slapstick funny; outrageous, yes. Looking forward to my new learning curve and watching the film tonight. Woody Allen is an odd duck I do not know much about. The casualty of the scene just didn't really hit the good ol' funny bone.

 

Also, hoping to see the comparison of Allen to Sennett a bit more clear as Mast describes during the film. Realizing the comparison is the conceptual artistry of this film making not the physicality.

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Well, as usual I'm late to the dance again and the many knowledgeable responses that precede me have pretty much covered all the bases.

The clown car equivalent of all this food and all of these workers coming out of this humble cafe qualifies this as slapstick. The absurdity of the size of the order itself is treated ritualistically, as if this could be normal. The music also does much to punctuate the situation. Without it the shot of the rebels crossing the field returning to the jungle with their order would look like it came out of a documentary. It affects how we see the gag. The earnest treatment of the food run, starting with the variation on the time honored drawing straws bit to determine who undertakes such a dangerous mission to the documentary like insertion of the pan of the rebels waiting outside for their food, establishes the parody aspect.

I do agree that this scene specifically does more to honor the tradition of slapstick exaggeration and make believe than "Mad World". While it is physically possible to demolish a gas station or destroy the basement of a hardware store, where the hell could anybody possibly come up with that much coleslaw?

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I love how the desk exercise bike that Fielding Mellish demonstrates was 45 years ahead of its time.

 

Today, a simplified version (minus the track and weights) is in use in offices and schools, to help people concentrate.

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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.

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Though I'm not really answering the questions, I just want to say that, as a viewer, I love "The Great Race" & could watch it everyday.  It's truly an enjoyable & funny film.  The gags are delivered with impeccable timing; the music is unforgettable, & every element of the film is presented with great style.  The melodramatic parody of heroes & villains is priceless.

On the other hand, this viewer simply doesn't like "Bananas."  So, while Banana's stick may slap harder, I don't think it's closer to the Sennett movies because it didn't seem funny, rather a bit nasty.  Yes, it's a clever film, & it mirrors the "counter-revolutionary" spirit of those times, but it wasn't enjoyable.

Perhaps, what I've noticed is that the "The Great Race" would have been a film for all ages to watch; whereas, "Bananas" did not have a G rating, & it shows.

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It is a slapstick once we have the concepts of make-believe to the audience, as well as exaggerating situations. On the other hand, it is really clear to any spectator that the whole situation (a huge bar order) couldn't be acceptable with the world's regular rules. So we have a make-believe situation in terms of construction (a man goes to the bar and makes an order) but an impossible movement towards the greatness of the order. In the end of the clip we still see a verbal gag that makes jokes on the political situation, showing the audience some satire as well.

 

It seems to me that Sennet's style isn't as muck linkd with Allen's ones. Woddy Allen is not a clown paid to make people laugh out of nothing; he achieves that with clever storytelling. The Great Race, although, is a movie visually exagerated by choice. The visual concept is important to achieve the goals we're intended to. They're, in fact, much different to each other. And it seems to me that Sennet's intentions are much more inclined to the 1960s comedy movies. But it is good point that I haven't watched any of the movies, so my analysis may be clearly mistaken.

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I have enjoyed reading the comments and I'd love to say something that contributes to the discussion, something witty, something insightful as so many others have already done.  But I have never ever been a fan of Woody Allen and his particular brand of comedy is completely lost on me.  I've seen a number of his films and I just don't think he is funny.  I spend most of my time yawning or rolling my eyes.  He's twitchy, neurotic, and annoying.  I'm probably in the minority, but there it is. 

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Despite all his resistance (accompanied by jokes and sarcastic commentary) the unlikely hero is goaded by the more “cowardly” rebels into getting food for the revolutionaries.  Adding to the hilarity, Allen goes to a “road side deli” (in an impoverished South American country in the midst of a revolution) and what’s even more absurd is that the deli is able to fulfill this “customized”/ sizable order. The irony is that the rebels end up stealing the food from the very citizens  they claim to be liberating.

 

While the Great Race is more of a “contrived” tribute to slapstick with whacky and “discontinuous gags”,  Bananas combines  political satire (not so subtle running commentaries/parodies involving international politics and foreign policy, FBI/ CIA operatives, courtroom procedures, stereotypical relationships, the media, and political activism) and Allen’s brand (akin to Sennett’s  style) of unceasing physical and verbal comedy  (accompanied by whimsical music) that leaves you breathless.

 

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Questions:

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

 

I don't think it is slapstick, because it doesn't seem to hit the five elements of slapstick, except the exaggeration of the food order. The only slapstick in the scene was when they drew straws. As parody, exaggeration is the key element. 

 

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 don't think this clip captured it, but I definitely believe other scenes from other Allen movies would have been more appropriate, such as Sleeper and the large produce, or Take the Money and the marching band scene, as well as most of the scenes in Everything you wanted to know about sex. 

 

I believe the Great Race is a homage to the Sennett and Roach films, as stated in past modules. 

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I have enjoyed reading the comments and I'd love to say something that contributes to the discussion, something witty, something insightful as so many others have already done.  But I have never ever been a fan of Woody Allen and his particular brand of comedy is completely lost on me.  I've seen a number of his films and I just don't think he is funny.  I spend most of my time yawning or rolling my eyes.  He's twitchy, neurotic, and annoying.  I'm probably in the minority, but there it is. 

 

Likewise.  There's just something about him that I don't like.

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Hi, sorry I am late with my post, we are remodeling our master bathroom!! 

 

I honestly looked up what people  these days consider to be parody for answering my questions.

 

1.  Bananas operates as slapstick and parody in many ways.  It is slapstick when Allen "draws the short straw"  Its   par·o·dyperədē/

noun
 
  1. 1
    an imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect.
    "the movie is a parody of the horror genre"
    synonyms: satireburlesquelampoonpastichecaricatureimitationmockeryMore
     
     
    •  
       
       
       
verb
 
  1. 1
    produce a humorously exaggerated imitation of (a writer, artist, or genre).
    "his specialty was parodying schoolgirl fiction"

when Allen orders an insane amount of sandwiches, even with "special requests"

 

2.  I do not think Allen is trying to mirror Sennet's style.  I personally do not care for Allen or his style.  I think he tries to hard.  I also think when he "writes" a screen play, produces and directs a film- he tries too hard to make EVERY character a version of himself. 

 

Thank you! :rolleyes:

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I love how the desk exercise bike that Fielding Mellish demonstrates was 45 years ahead of its time.

 

Today, a simplified version (minus the track and weights) is in use in offices and schools, to help people concentrate.

The desk bit also harkens back to the "feeding machine" in Chaplin's "Modern Times".

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I really agree with you.

 

 

Hi, sorry I am late with my post, we are remodeling our master bathroom!! 

 

I honestly looked up what people  these days consider to be parody for answering my questions.

 

1.  Bananas operates as slapstick and parody in many ways.  It is slapstick when Allen "draws the short straw"  Its   par·o·dyperədē/

noun
 
  1. 1
    an imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect.
    "the movie is a parody of the horror genre"
    synonyms: satireburlesquelampoonpastichecaricatureimitationmockeryMore
     
     
    •  
       
       
       
verb
 
  1. 1
    produce a humorously exaggerated imitation of (a writer, artist, or genre).
    "his specialty was parodying schoolgirl fiction"

when Allen orders an insane amount of sandwiches, even with "special requests"

 

2.  I do not think Allen is trying to mirror Sennet's style.  I personally do not care for Allen or his style.  I think he tries to hard.  I also think when he "writes" a screen play, produces and directs a film- he tries too hard to make EVERY character a version of himself. 

 

Thank you! :rolleyes:

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I have seen "Banana's" back when it was shown at the theater. Didn't like it then. Nor do I like it now. I found it too forced and not that funny.

 

Yes drawing the unfair short straw was parody. And the food order could have been great parody but missed the mark.

 

I believe the Great Race is a homage to the Sennett and Roach films. I do not believe "Banana's" is. 

I believe the Great Race is a homage to the Sennett and Roach films

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I'll have to investigate Woody Allen's humor a bit more to find out what I truly think of everything outside of these brief clips.  I love conceptual humor.... there is no directly delivered gag, there is something more there.  Not everyone appreciates it, but I'm eager to give it a shot.

 

1. This scene operates as a slapstick film in the extreme exaggeration sense,  really... all of those sandwiches.  There is that over-the-top feel to this, and Allen just acts like he's ordering a couple of sandwiches to go.  Love it!  As a parody, Allen seems to be imitating a war movie, finding food for the masses. 

2. I think I would tend to agree with Mast.  It is difficult to explain, but when watching this Bananas clip, it feels like you have to do some thinking, paying close attention to every move, every look, every gesture, or you might just miss something.  I get the same feel whenever I watch a Sennett film.  With The Great Race, I get the "good clean fun" kind of feel.  You can follow the basic storyline, even if you miss a couple of minutes.  

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I know the parody is of a militant film. Woody Allen is stuck in this situation that he does not want to be in, but has to go along for the ride. He was satiric when he said "just as long as it was fair" when they chose him to get food. The cafe owner was the straight man as Allen put in this gigantic order for sandwiches.l. They both played it straight as if they were in a New York deli. Then the cut away to show the bags of food everywhere was meant to be absurd.

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

The few ways I can view this as both a slapstick parody is well the music is funny, but odd. 

The comedy is dry like a sandwich.  The thing i thought was funny about this clip was the large amount of food they ordered and the cooks made all that food.

 

 

 

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 do not think i can do it because I do not think one has to do with the other film. I did not view this as in the "style or spirit" it was a completely different film. I could tell it was more dark then the great race. the great race is just a funny film for everyone. this is just dark and the subject matter. (not the sandwiches)

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In my attempt to catch up with the course, I decided that instead of watching just the DDoD clip, I would watch the whole film. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

 

I think the film and the clip works as parody first, because it is making fun of many of the conventions of war films. Many, if not all of the actors, are playing their parts straight with the absurdity of the lines and the visual gags being the funny part. In that line, it works as slapstick because it is full of physical and visual gags, most if not all of the violence in the film is make-believe (no blood), and the exaggeration in the scene is the key.

 

As for Mast's line, I agree completely because the film does have an "apparent structure" (man finds himself in the middle of a revolution) which serves as the backdrop for this endless barrage of goofy gags. In this particular scene, there is indeed a continuous string of gags, one after the other... first, you have the absurdity of asking for all this sandwiches, but then you realize that the store guy is in on the gag and is carefully taking notes, which just adds to the gag. Add to that the specificity of the order, and the add-ins ("mayo... on the side"). It all culminates with the fact that the store guy does comply, even knowing exactly where is every order, and the cartwheels with the coleslaw are just the final cherry. Like Mast says, maybe you didn't find one of the gags funny, but the next one might've worked.

 

I, for one, loved the scene.

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

 

We see it as a parody (or, better said, a satire), of the modern American custom of getting take-out food. Allen asks for take-out at a bar, but he asks food for a whole platoon – and there lays the exaggeration in the sequence. Exaggeration is the main slapstick quality in the scene.

 

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 kind of agree. In the Great Race, we know that we are seeing a slapstick homage / spoof since the beginning, when the credits sequence starts. Until now I had not seen the slapstick quality in Bananas, but I agree that it captures the Sennett-esque style or spirit, in this scene in particular. Even the song when Woody goes to bring back lunch reminisces us of the 1920s and 1930s movies, especially Laurel and Hardy ones. Woody always adds old-time songs to his films, but here we see that they are more old-time than ever: not from the jazz era of big bands, but from the ragtime days.

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

 

It's parody in that it's mocking the USA luxury of fast food/takeout. Mix that with Allen's deadpan expression and expectation that all this food will be available in this locale. The slapstick gag was the hundreds of food bags but I personally loved the coleslaw in the wheelbarrows! Genius!

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This scene is a satire or as mentioned in our lectures a "political satire" which mocks the government and militia. To be honest, This scene did tried to tickle my rib bone but the effect is pointless. I found it to be quite tad serious.

I totally disagree with Mast's view of point based on Sennett's style as it does not resemble any likeness to the classic slapstick gags. I could say that the film The Great Race is a dedication to the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy but the film Bananas is kind of a mindless, slapstick, satirical film.

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