This weekend was great I tells ya, G-R-E-A-T. I had forgotten how much one is invigorated by a snow day when one is in public school. We got a nasty snow storm (but a baby compared to the one that hit WV when I was driving home) here in Ohio on Thursday that not only got us out of school early, but also gave us a snow day on Friday. It was awesome, and yes I do have to get 6th and 7th period caught up to 1st and 5th now, but it really rejuvenated me. I got some work done, watched a lot of movies on Netflix streaming, and did a lot of reading. You'd think I wouldn't need all that time off after having just come off of two weeks for Christmas, but Christmas break was oddly depressing where as this was just a nice lazy time. I can't explain why that is, but it just was.
Anyway, part of this weekend was devoted to doing something I manage to do every year without thinking of it. It isn't until its almost over, that I realize that Brooksfest has come and gone again. Its not an annual thing, or a planned thing, but somehow every year on some weekend I start watching all my Mel Brooks movies in no particular order and have a good cheap laugh. I think I was inspired when I went to visit Bond Friday night (he was making my poster for the school variety show...and they look great) and I took with me a handful of comedies: Romancing the Stone and a pile of Brooks films that he might not have seen (Silent Movie, High Anxiety, To Be or Not to Be, and History of the World: Part I) . We ended up watching only Stone, which is so great a comic adventure that it doesn't even need to be written about, but it made me want to go back and Brooks it up on Saturday. I've always liked Brooks, even when I was a kid. I think the first one I ever saw was Spaceballs, which of course is one of his better loved ones, and then my father showed me some of his favorites one summer vacation. It wasn't even until years later that I would see some of my favorites (and even lesser known than the ones mentioned)...The Twelve Chairs and To Be or Not to Be. Brooks is sometimes hard to take, his great films rise to the top of AFI's list (Young Frankenstein and The Producers) and to the bottom of the IMDB popularity list (Robin Hood: Men in Tights and Dracula: Dead and Loving It) but he's always been better than you think, even when he's not at his best. Anyway, I just wanted to preface why Mel Brooks is so important to me and why it is always worth noting in my year when Brooksfest happens.
Tonight I want to give a shout out to one of my favorite films in the Brooks canon and one that's so funny, it doesn't even need to make a sound....well, maybe a few sounds. In 1976, Brooks starred in the first film that he had also written and directed and based it upon his own experience trying to get the film made. Why wouldn't someone want to make a Brooks film at this point? Well, it was supposed to be the first silent movie made in four decades...but the gamble paid off and Silent Movie was unleashed on the public. The film chronicles the quest of a has-been director and his two partners (Dom DeLuise and Marty Feldman) to make a silent movie using the biggest stars in Hollywood with the intention of saving a movie studio from an evil conglomorate (named Engulf and Devour...a thinly veiled poke at the acquisition of Paramount by Gulf+Western). It was all slapstick and Mickey Mouseing music (for those of you who don't know, when a score Mickey Mouses...it plays along with the action on screen...think any cartoon 'shave and a haircut...two bits' joke) and it was a comedic success. I think more people should watch Silent Movie, because it really is a hoot. It feels like you're watching a classic Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin movie, and all the sight gags and sped-up film just make you giggle. Plus, there's that lowbrow Brooks touch that gives it all a slight edge, such as the recurring gag of the lady walking by when Mel and company are embracing and yelling "Fags!"...a joke that you'd think would offend me, but it really doesn't. Perhaps because it isn't Brooks being a bigot, but because it is Brooks making fun of bigots. Besides, if comedy wasn't a little bit offensive, it wouldn't be as funny.