Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Comedy, Murder and Tim Curry

I went to Target on Sunday and made an impulse DVD buy. They were selling Clue for only $5.50!!

I must have watched Clue on a weekly basis at my friends house growing up. We loved it! Especially the part at the end when Tim Curry runs around knocking people down and reenacting the whole movie!

I had to do some cleaning the other night, so I needed a movie that I didn't need to keep my eyes on the whole time...CLUE!

Following are a few comparisons between what I thought of the movie as a child compared with what I think now (perhaps in another 15 years I will watch it again and compare my thoughts then, too!)

1. RE: The scene where the cop comes and they have to hide the dead bodies from him.
As a child I thought the funniest part of this was that they are pretend-making out, followed by an amusing back and forth between Curry and the Cop where the cop tells him its fine because this is America!

As an adult, I realize the beauty of this scene is the multi-layered aspect. It really highlights the character work by the entire ensemble. For one thing, they are not just faux-making out, they are making out with DEAD PEOPLE!! and the look on Micheal McKeen's face in the background is so believable, just the right amount of shock and camp without overdoing it, something I think would have been easy to do in this film with decided silent-era undertones...

which leads me to the next comparison....

2. RE: the pace
As a child, I think the pace was just...right...for me as a child who may not have otherwise had much patience. I didn't think much of it except that it was funny when Curry ran around and everyone was falling down all the time.

As an adult, I recognize that there is a conscious attempt to mimic silent films through use of slapstick and pacing. The slow pace of the search scenes brings to mind The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari whereas the fast paced slapstick of the final scenes is reminiscent of Chaplin and Buster Keaton.

3. RE: sexual humor

OK, this kind of brings me to an overall point I have about film viewing and comedy in particular.

You will only ever get the jokes you already know.

As children, we all understand sexual behavior on some sub-conscious level. That being said, when a child laughs at the French maid's cleavage, they are only doing so because somewhere , somehow, they learned that that was funny. And when I, at the age of 7 or 8, laughed at the people making out with dead bodies, I would have laughed just as hard if the people had been asleep or were actually dummies, because the funny part to me was the lie and the consequences.

Children are not scarred by watching funny movies with humor they don't fully understand. The humor they don't get, goes over their heads. This is what makes movies like Shrek and Finding Nemo so successful - because there is humor which can entertain children on one level, and parents on another. This means that a parent, or babysitter, doesn't mind watching the movie over and over (at least not as much) because they find it entertaining as well, with the knowledge that the children are not being "corrupted" by "dirty" humor.

OK, that's enough of that rant!

Anyway, go watch Clue. Or play the game. or throw a black-tie party and murder some people just for kicks...

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