Wednesday, June 5, 2013

667. AIRPLANE! (1980)

Running Time: 87 minutes
Directed By: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker
Written By: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker
Main Cast: Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty, Leslie Nielsen, Peter Graves, Lloyd Bridges
Click here to view the trailer

300 TO GO

So "Open Your Eyes" was still on the fritz and wanting something that would be an easy watch and because I had plenty of serious TOP 20 contenders to choose from already, I came across "Airplane!" on the net and decided to make it the final film of this season.

The story really doesn't matter in "Airplane!", but I'll do my best to try and put something together for the people who haven't seen this one. Basically think "Scary Movie" years before that type of film became a dime a dozen. "Airplane!" is a parody of disaster flicks and tells the story of Ted Striker (Hays), a former fighter pilot who has developed a fear of flying due to a traumatic experience during the war. His girlfriend, Elaine (Hagerty), a stewardess, leaves him due to the complications that his fear of flying put on their relationship. When she's about to takeoff on a flight to Chicago, Ted chases her down and ends up boarding the flight, just so he can continue talking to her and beg her to stay with him. During the course of the flight, a bad fish dinner leaves half of the passengers with a severe illness, including the pilot and co-pilot. Now, Ted must face his fear of flying, as he's the only man on board capable of landing the plane. He is talked down by his former commanding officer in the war, Rex Kramer (Robert Stack), whom he still holds a contempt for. Also on board the plane is Dr. Rumack (Nielsen), who is trying to keep the sick passengers at ease, while Ted tries to land the aircraft.

You know, I kind of like ending the seasons with comedies. It's a nice, easy landing (no pun intended) after 99 other potentially serious pictures and usually by now I'm pretty burnt out after watching and reviewing 99 other films. Comedies are easy to sum up and while they're usually nowhere near on par with other films I've watched during a season, they're just easy to review. Now then, I didn't care for "Airplane!" and really, why should I? It's a film that had absolutely no place in the "1001 Movies You Muse See Before You Die" book and is just put in because it and AZZ (Abrahams, Zucker, Zucker) were sort of a big deal at the time of it's release. The only reason this film got the attention that it got is because no one was doing this sort of thing at this time. If you'd release "Airplane!" today, critics and moviegoers would crap all over it and rightfully so. I guess it has a few redeeming qualities, almost all of them beginning and ending with Lloyd Bridges and his cigarette smoking, alcohol drinking, amphetamine popping, glue sniffing air traffic controller and some of the gags got a little more than a chuckle out of me, but all in all it's a huge waste of time. I couldn't believe it when I read the BOOK passage and they actually took the time to mention Stephen Stucker as being exceptional. My God, I hated that guy! He was utterly annoying, quite unfunny and got no laughs out of yours truly.

Yet another movie where I can honestly scratch my head and consider it a shame that films like "Dial M for Murder", "Scenes from a Marriage" and "Life Is Beautiful", as well as countless others, got the boot to make room for this garbage.  As far as I'm concerned you can take "Airplane!", as well as all of the "Movie movies" (Scary Movie, Date Movie, Epic Movie, Dance Flick, Superhero Movie, Disaster Movie and Not Another Teen Movie), add them to the list of spoofs made starring Leslie Nielsen (2001: A Space Travesty, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, Spy Hard, Wrongfully Accused and An American Carol) and add to that all of the films that Abrahams, Zucker, Zucker and the Wayans Brothers (for good measure) had anything to do with and sink them to the bottom of the ocean, so generations to come will never have to suffer through them. End of story, end of season.

RATING: 3.5/10  Wow! I got a little carried away there at the end, didn't I? I bet you were expecting a '1', but I have to give it SOME credit, because like I said, I loved Lloyd Bridges. Anyway, that does it for another season. Like I mentioned before, I'll be back either later tonight or tomorrow to present the 7th TOP 20 list and I hope you're as excited for it as I am.


June 5, 2013  1:01pm


  1. I really like reading the reviews on this site, but I must note you are horrifically hard to please. I honestly thought this was of the funniest movies ever, and now I'm wondering what your favorite comedies are?

    All strange when I thought we would have similar tastes after Pulp Fiction is my favorite movie and I remember you writing it was your favorite (or one of your favorites) a while ago.

    1. Well thank you for the compliment for starters. As far as favorite comedies go, off the top of my head I'd say: "Groundhog Day", "Clerks", "The Heartbreak Kid", "Election", "The Breakfast Club" to name just a few. I'm also a HUGE Woody Allen fan and the majority of his films fall under the category of comedy. Add Jerry Lewis to the list of comedians I'm fond of, as well as W.C. Fields, Buster Keaton, Chaplin and Laurel & Hardy, though I've only seen "Sons of the Desert", but I thought it was really great. "Bringing Up Baby" is another example of a classic, really funny comedy.

      Of course our tastes aren't going to be an exact replica of one another, but hopefully we agree more than we disagree. Thanks for dropping by and I hope to see you again soon.

  2. Oh my!
    This is where the recently added 'recent comments' feature comes into it's own.
    I didn't realise i'd missed this one 'till 'Bigplatts' added his comment.
    Gosh.. you really didn't like this did you?

    I have to say I did - very much - and continue to do so.

    I really don't think it belongs with what i also would describe as anywhere near junk like.. well, you listed 'em.. Dead and lving it? - Dire beyond words. 'Scary', date', 'Epic' movie? So far beyond rubbish as to vanish into infinity as rubbish.
    But this one? so many great lines.
    I've actually got 'Zero Hour'.. the genuine disaster movie this was based on. All the best lines.. well, many of them.. are there.. but straight
    "What we need is some who can fly this plane who didn't have fish for dinner"
    Plus all the new ones.. "We've got to get these people to a Hospital"
    "A hospital, what is it?".. we all know the rest.
    I agree 'Bringing up baby' is great.. and we have done my dislike for Chaplin, but love of Keaton before... So hell Bigplatts, I agree with you this time.. sorry Andrew!

    1. Wow, I really didn't expect to take such a shellacking on this one. Oh well, to each his own I always say. I just could not get into this one and it came off as nothing but silly and often stupid antics. The majority of the jokes and gags have become such a part of American culture that it just isn't funny anymore and suffice it to say that, in my view, "Airplane!" hasn't aged well. No harm, no foul though. I never shy from a good debate...Thanks, as always, Ray!

  3. Humour certainly seems to be one of he most personal of ones tastes, What can have one person falling about leaves the next stone faced and going 'What??' or even, 'That's sick/offensive/horrible, how can you find THAT funny?'
    For another 1000 list, I'm trying to mke way way through 'Dumb & Dumber'.. after they made me watch 'Ace Ventura'. I have learnt I cannot stand Jim Cary at his most manic, and I already knew I don't like gross out humour.

    (There goes Google chrome's American spell check again, telling I've spelt humour incorrectly)

    As mentioned before... I find Chaplin very unfunny - cloying. I find L&H silly and slapstick. - Both ones I know you like.. And yet we both highly appreciate Woody Allen's totally different style of quiet, highly intellectual, observational humour very much to our liking.
    So there is not even a set pattern to what appeals to us.

    (I'm tempted to try and work into a sentance the phrase 'off colour humour', just to tease this spell checker)

    Talking of spelling errors.. in my above comment the phrase 'hell Bigplatts', was missing an 'o'.. I was saying hello, not cursing the other visitor!


    1. Yeah, you're definitely right. I find that there's no rhyme or reason to the comedies I enjoy. And, in fact, I actually like Jim Carry, for a guilty pleasure and find movies like "Ace Ventura" and "The Cable Guy" quite enjoyable. Also, I tend to be really hard on the Judd Apatow generation of comedies, yet I just watched "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle" and appreciated quite a bit of it...a bit more than I'd expect myself to appreciate.

  4. I've watched 225 of the 1001 films in the 2011 edition and 'Airplane' is by far and away the worst I've seen. An absolute stinker! It has a few decent moments but misses more than it hits. The Johnny character defecates all over the last twenty minutes rendering it unbearable.

    1. Yeah, I kind of took a beating on this one, with a lot of others proclaiming how funny it was. Their opinion is their opinion and that's fine, I just know I didn't care for it at all, except for Lloyd Bridges.

  5. Much as I disagree, I'm sort of glad to see someone supports you.. It must feel awful to be rounded on by fans and savaged just because you didn't like it.
    And I'm always delighted to see comments.. great when we get a discussion (or even argument) going!

    1. Speaking of comments, did you ever give my blog address to your friend and if so, have they told you what they think?

  6. Yes, I passed the details on..
    I think she had a bit of a look, but didn't say anything about what she thought of it.
    She DID say she had 'thought of' making a reply, but didn't feel comfortable with the social media thing.. A sentiment I can share, .. it has taken some time for me to be so forthcoming!
    (I keep looking myself to see if she has decided to take the plunge)

    1. Well, I'm glad she had a look anyway. Hopefully she decides to open up a bit and leave some words, but if not, that is fine too. All understood. Thank you for passing the word along.

  7. I thought I would just add to the massive amount of comments on this post already. I hated this movie; it actually took me a couple times to get through it, which only prolonged my agony. It was actually used as an example of enthrocentrism in one my world studies classes in high school. I guess it is partly because all of the jokes are now cliches, but I thought it was horribly unfunny. Maybe this is just a guy movie but boobs and racism never really have made me laugh.

    1. It wasn't so much the sex and racial jokes that got me, as it was ALL the jokes that just left me shaking my head, instead of the intended laughter. I'm glad a few people are jumping on my side, although I'll never condemn anyone's opinion and if you like this, then that's cool too.

      Seems I might need to review Airplane 2, as this is probably my most popular post - comments wise.

      Thanks Amanda!

  8. Hey, I like this.. discussion, controversy.

    Hello again Amanda, and a thanks from me for a valid additional comment. I utterly agree that.. (paraphrase) 'Boobs and racism are not funny' I've frequently (as Andrew knows) made similar comments about Jerry Lewis or Mel Brooks. But there can be a difference in how it is done.
    Lewis I find genuinely offensively sexist with his attitude to women. (I forget the name of the film.. the 1001 list one where he is in an apartment full of women who are all reduced to Barbie doll types).
    Brooks can be just simply lazy with that.. See 'The producers' "I need a laugh now, so let's write in a dumb blonde with huge breasts".
    So here, in Airplane, I admit we we have something similar.. - Breasts wobble like jellies, or the xray machine shows the women (but not the men) naked. We also have racial stereotypes - Japanese = militaristic suicidal, Black guys = sharp dressing, jive talking, but I think these are, at the worst, a little dated, and (I don't believe) intended to be offensive.
    These days , in my opinion, the dodggyist joke is the implied pedophiliac tastes of the captain.
    I agree, and usually will, that there is nothing intrinsically funny about showing breasts at any opportunity.. but this is VERY mild stuff compared to modern stuff like American pie etc which actively encourage bad attitudes from the male audience to find it funny.
    I will even drag up a supposed classic.. I find the sexist attitude of the male characters in MASH much worse.. It is funny to expose a female to .. well, exposure.. and humiliation to satisfy their curiosity about the colour of her pubic hair.
    No one in Airplane INTENDS to humiliate, and I will use the defense of non intention to defend , at least by comparison, this film.

    Phew, sorry, that was heavy stuff for a comedy film! Sorry to take up so much of your time folks.

    But still delighted Andrew, that you have 2 allies.


    1. I'm just flabbergasted that this review has gotten so much attention. A good flabbergasted though, very good!


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