Last night, after dinner, my girlfriend and I watched Robin Hood: Men in Tights on DVD. Now, if I know you cinephiles, the first knee-jerk response is “Definitely not Mel brooks best. You’re better off watching The Producers, Blazing Saddles, or Young Frankenstein.” And, in this case, you would be wrong. I have seen those three movies. Yes, those earlier movies are technically better and more revolutionary, but there are times when you don’t want to watch a movie to do a mental thesis. Like when you’ve had a hard day and you just want to kick back and eat ice cream.
And yet, I still think Robin Hood: Men in Tights is one of the best movies Mel Brooks has made. It’s great just to crash and shut off your mind for a while to be entertained and to laugh merrily. Robin Hood: Men in Tights succeeds by being totally and utterly goofy. No overabundance in crazy dialogue twists or over-reliance on stupid pop-culture parodies. Robin Hood is pure vaudeville. It’s a collection of actors and comedians having a grand old time and performing silly sight-gags — basically the most recent inheritor of the Three Stooges School of Humor.
And now, in retrospect, and years of Scary Movies and Scary Movie spinoffs, Robin Hood looks frightfully brilliant. And kids these days seem to love it to. I talked to a 20-year old who said that it was his favorite Mel Brooks film. (He also said that he didn’t like Blazing Saddles. Sigh. Don’t worry, he’ll grow up.)
There where two scenes that got major guffaws. The first was the secret meeting between the Sheriff of Rottingham (Roger Rees) and the Godfather-esque Don Giovanni (Dom DeLuise), who is flanked by Dirty Ezio and Filthy Luca. The jokes seem to build and build as the comedians try to outdo each other in stupidity. Example: DeLuise does his Godfather impression and goes on a tangent about coffee and tea and a delicious dessert, Rees complains that he can’t understand a single word he’s saying, DeLuise explains that he has two cottonballs in his mouth, which his henchman Dirty Luca takes in his hands and solemnly places them in his pocket while narrating the action.
The second great moment follows only a few minutes later. I refer, of course, to the show-stopping Men In Tights song-and-dance sequence.
Cary Elwes (a.k.a. Westley in The Princess Bride) plays a wonderful Robin Hood, by the way. If this wasn’t a comedy and actually an action/adventure, he’d still make a great Robin Hood. Charming, dapper, and roguish… much better than that somber and grim Robin Hood that Kevin Costner played, in any case.
Anyway, I tried to explain to my girlfriend all the movies in the Mel Brooks ouvre, and I was shocked when I realized that last movie he directed must have been Dracula: Dead and Loving It. I went on imdb.com to make sure I was right.
Well, I was partially right. It turns out Dracula was his last movie. But the entry shows that he’ll be directing a TV series called … SPACEBALL: THE ANIMATED SERIES?!?!?! OK, I must have been living under a rock, because this was the first time I’d ever heard of it. And apparently the release date is this month: August 2007. I have no idea how legit or accurate this entry is, since it only lists one cast member (Daphne Zuniga, who will be playing Princess Vespa). Additionally, this isn’t the first time Spaceball sequel rumors have run rampant. What about the proposed sequel Spaceball II: The Quest for More Money? In any case, this should be a fairly interesting project to follow in the coming months.
EDIT: Apparently it is true. And it’s airing on G4. You know, the channel that made skits out of Asheron’s Fall footage [/Bonus Stage].