Bowfinger showcases the ups and downs of filmmaking through a comedic lense. It’s yet another underrated movie within a movie that my mom recommended. Bowfinger is a cross between The Producers and Ed Wood directed by Frank Oz. Bobby Bowfinger is an optimistic B movie producer with dreams of directing his own hit film. So he comes up with a convoluted plan to film the ridiculously titled alien movie Chubby Rain with the hottest action star in Hollywood. The only catch is that actor Kit Ramsey has no idea he’s being filmed.
Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy are an unlikely comedic duo who do what they do best. Martin’s Bowfinger is determined, a little sleazy, but genuinely loves making movies. He’s supported by a motley crew of outcasts with their own hopes and dreams. There’s a loyal young actor, his accountant/screenwriter, an aging thespian played by Christine Baranski, cameraman played by Jamie Kennedy, and a whole crew of illegal immigrants. Heather Graham stands out the most as aspiring actress Daisy who literally sleeps with everyone on set to further her career.
Robert Downey Jr. has a brief but memorable role as a top Universal executive that Bowfinger tricks into making the movie with Ramsey. Murphy has a dual role satirizing himself as an overconfident, yet paranoid star who falls into Scientolo- I mean a totally fictional organization called MindHead. Terence Stamp is the perfect cult leader. Murphy is even funnier as Kit’s nerdy twin brother Jiff who stands in for him when they get desperate. His reaction to Daisy getting naked and running into heavy traffic are the funniest scenes in the movie. Bowfinger is for anyone who ever dreamed of making a movie. “Gotcha suckers!”
Bobby Bowfinger hires Jiff Ramsey
Hollywood Shuffle is an underrated satire that was way ahead of its time. Meteor Man himself Robert Townsend wrote, directed, produced, starred, and financed a lot of the movie himself. It’s all about how black actors tend to be depicted in Hollywood. Stereotypes ranging from playing a slave, a pimp, a butler, or a jive talking gang member. I’m surprised more people don’t talk about this movie. My mom recommended it and I’m glad she did. It’s a funny take on a relatable problem. Thanks to some influence from Keenen Ivory Wayans as a co-writer.
Bobby Taylor is an aspiring actor who auditions for the unfortunately titled movie Jivetime Jimmy’s Revenge. He tries to follow his dreams despite the obvious stereotypes expected from the predominantly white production crew. It’s especially funny seeing theatrically trained actors saying such ridiculously over-the-top lines. Bobby quits his job at a hot dog stand, but has plenty of support from his little brother, mom, and girlfriend. It’s mostly his grandmother who causes doubt for whether it’s right to degrade yourself for the sake of a job. It’s a simple message for a fairly straightforward 82 minute movie.
Honestly the movie would be about 50 minutes without the many hilarious daydream vignettes in between. I couldn’t stop laughing at the “Black Acting School,” the black version of At the Movies called “Sneaking into Movies” should be its own show, and the noir style short film Death of a Breakdancer felt very authentic. If the movie were made nowadays, it would be far too heavy handed. Hollywood Shuffle knows how to confront serious issues with a sense of humor.
“Sneaking into the Movies”
Not Another Teen Movie is the answer to the non-stop teen movies made around 1999. Since I absolutely love cheesy cliché filled teen movies, I knew I needed to see Not Another Teen Movie. Even though modern parody movies are usually terrible. It’s a guilty pleasure that’s better if you marathon all the major teen movies being spoofed like I did. They cleverly call out clichés and assign a different teen stereotype to each character. While at the same time relying on raunchy jokes and toilet humor. Similar to Scary Movie before it. The main parody is She’s All That. Chyler Leigh is Janey, the clearly attractive uniquely rebellious girl who wears glasses and a ponytail. Chris Evans is Jake, the popular jock dealing with football problems.
That’s where Varsity Blues comes in. With Billy Bob himself spoofing his own character. Jake’s other friends are the blonde jerk and token black guy who spouts catchphrases. Janey’s father is a poor alcoholic like in Pretty in Pink and her brother Mitch mostly parodies American Pie with his friends. Since they’re all trying to lose their virginity before prom. Mitch’s crush parodies Can’t Hardly Wait complete with house party. Janey’s desperate weirdo friend parodies 10 Things I Hate About You. Jake’s sexually charged blood related sister parodies Cruel Intentions. Jake’s ex is a mean girl cheerleader that parodies Bring it On. Complete with more obviously stolen dance moves.
A much older woman parodies Never Been Kissed. Along with a more disgusting parody of the Cruel Intentions kiss. The raunchiest joke is the sexy foreign exchange student being completely naked. The most memorable joke will always be Chris Evans doing a gender swapped parody of the whipped cream scene from Varsity Blues. Future Captain America everybody. The strongest part of Not Another Teen Movie are the unexpected cameos. Including Paul Gleason doing a humorous recreation of The Breakfast Club and “Teen Queen” Molly Ringwald calling out her own clichés in an airport. I can do without the gross out gags, but the rest of Not Another Teen Movie really understands ridiculous teen movies.
Jake attempts to seduce Janey
Austin Powers in Goldmember is the golden finale to the unexpected hit trilogy. Dr. Evil’s newest plan takes him back in time to the year 1975. With the help of the titular villain’s cold fusion technology, he launches “Preparation H.” Mike Myers does quadruple duty by playing Dutch villain Goldmember (an obvious parody of Bond villain Goldfinger). He’s the least notable character Myers plays due to his disgusting habits, but he does have his moments.
Fat Bastard gets grosser too after becoming a sumo wrestler. Austin goes after Dr. Evil, only to reunite with FBI agent Foxy Cleopatra. Played by a sexy young Beyoncé. Her character is a hilarious send up of Blaxploitation characters such as Foxy Brown and Cleopatra Jones. A lot of the plot involves Austin’s father Nigel Powers (played by Michael Caine), who gets kidnapped by Dr. Evil. Their funniest moment involves the two speaking English English. Through the course of the movie, a shocking family secret is discovered.
Mini-Me also choses to side with Austin. Meanwhile, Scott gets more villainous. Despite good jokes like the misread Japanese subtitles or mole with a mole, a lot of the gags are repeated. Including the mistaken silhouette and sexually shaped spacecraft. Probably the funniest new gag is a film within a film titled Austinpussy. Starring Tom Cruise, Gwyneth Paltrow, Danny Devito, Kevin Spacey, and John Travolta. Austin Powers in Goldmember is more immature, but it’s a whole lotta movie to just ignore.
Austin Powers and Foxy in Dr. Evil’s lair
Preceded by: Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me is arguably the most memorable film in the trilogy. Since it’s the one that introduces iconic characters Mini-Me and Fat Bastard. It’s also notable for making the British slang term less vulgar. After the events of the last movie, Vanessa is discovered to be a fembot. Austin quickly gets over it and celebrates being single once again (much like how Bond girls are quickly forgotten). After appearing on Jerry Springer with Scott, Dr. Evil hatches a new plan involving a laser on the moon.
The plan takes Dr. Evil back in time to the year 1969. Where a younger Number 2 and unaged Frau Farbissina greet him. But first, Dr. Evil hires a henchman to steal Austin Powers’ mojo. Mike Myers does triple duty by playing Scottish henchman Fat Bastard. He’s morbidly obese and famously says the line “Get in my belly!” Austin travels back in time to stop Dr. Evil after failing to satisfy Ivana Humpalot. Austin teams up with 60’s CIA agent Felicity Shagwell. Played by the gorgeous Heather Graham. While on their mission, the two encounter unkillable assassin Robin Swallows and the easily irritated Mustafa.
However, no villain stands out more than Mini-Me. Dr. Evil’s clone played by late little person Verne Troyer. He’s silent, but full of fury. While some jokes have definitely gotten more gross-out, it nevertheless takes advantage of the hilarious characters they created. Its funniest gags include “zip-it” (instead of shush), the mistaken silhouette scene, and the rocket that looks like someone’s- Willie Nelson and many other celebrities make funny cameos as well. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me is one groovy baby… baby.
Austin Powers and Felicity take aim
Preceded by: Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery & Followed by: Austin Powers in Goldmember
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery is the James Bond parody we deserve. Growing up, it was practically impossible to escape Austin Powers. It was so quotable that I knew lines from the movie long before I saw any of them. The movie begins in the 60’s. Austin Powers is an exaggerated British spy with bad teeth and colorful suits. After a fight with his archenemy Dr. Evil, both are cryogenically frozen until the year 1997. Austin Powers is one of a few parody films that’s both hilarious and sincere.
Austin’s horned up swinger attitude is lost on the modern sensibilities of his partner Vanessa Kensington. Played by British babe Elizabeth Hurley. Their best gag involves obscured nudity. Mike Myers is satirizing past Bond actors, but he does make the role his own. With catchphrases like “Oh behave,” “Yeah, baby,” or “Judo chop.” Myers does double duty by playing Dr. Evil, in a hilarious performance that very nearly outshines the hero. He’s an obvious parody of Blofeld with a hairless cat named Mr. Bigglesworth.
His plan is to steal nuclear weapons, hold the world ransom for “one million dollars,” and use sexy fembots to kill Austin Powers. The only problem is he’s surrounded by frickin’ idiots that can’t even get sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads. Like Number 2, Frau Farbissina, and Mustafa (who can’t seem to die). His Oddjob-like henchman is the shoe throwing Random Task. Seth Green also stands out as Dr. Evil’s grungy son Scott whom he takes to father-son counseling. Other Bond parodies include much more obvious names like Alotta Fagina or multiple one-liner attempts. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery is a very shagadelic riff on the spy genre.
Austin Powers and Vanessa at the poker table
Followed by: Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
Casino Royale (1967) is the first unofficial James Bond film. Despite retaining the title of the 1st book written by Ian Fleming. All but two Bond films are distributed by Eon Productions. Casino Royale (1967) was intended to be a parody/satire of the spy franchise. Even though only four films were released (with the fifth released 2 months later). The biggest problem with the movie is the sheer lack of material to work with. The theme “The Look of Love” by Dusty Springfield is surprisingly good though. David Niven portrays Sir James Bond.
As does Peter Sellars, Ursula Andress, Joanna Pettet, Daliah Lavi, Barbara Bouchet, Terence Cooper, and many many more. Because for some reason, everyone goes by the code name “James Bond” (almost like they predicted the future of the franchise). The real James Bond is retired, but comes out of it to fight SMERSH. He also has a daughter named Mata Bond and a nervous nephew named Jimmy Bond. With a plot to make himself more attractive to women. Played by a much less funny Woody Allen.
In fact, just about nothing in Casino Royale (1967) is funny. Despite the all-star ensemble. It can’t seem to decide between satire and screwball comedy. Moneypenny and M still appear. Along with book characters Vesper Lynd and Le Chiffre. Played by original Bond girl Ursula Andress and the great Orson Welles respectively. The climax is just ridiculous. Involving cowboys, indians, animals, and everyone dying. Casino Royale (1967) is simply a weak parody movie that came out way too soon.
The James Bonds play poker against Le Chiffre
Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult is the thirty-third installment in the Naked Gun series. The 30 other sequels aren’t worth talking about. In comparison to the previous two movies, Naked Gun 33⅓ doesn’t get brought up all that often (I almost considered skipping it). Even though it has a few set pieces that make it stand out. Specifically a prison and the Academy Awards. Leslie Nielsen returns for the third and final insult as Lt. Frank Drebin. Who is now married to his love interest Jane. Although Anna Nicole Smith is given a bit more attention. This is also notably O.J. Simpson’s last acting role before you-know-what happened. Frank comes out of retirement to stop a plot to blow up the Oscars. Leading to far more celebrity cameos than before, like the great Weird Al Yankovic. They continue to parody more pop cultural stuff as well. One of my main criticisms is the sequels reliance on raunchier jokes. Some that are a bit more eye roll inducing than others. Not to say it isn’t just as funny as before. Joking about the Oscars is a clever idea since there’s a lot to make fun of. Naked Gun 33⅓ is a worthy end to this delightfully screwball parody trilogy.
Frank presents an award with Raquel Welch
Preceded by: The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear
The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear is the oddly titled sequel to The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! Since the first movie was such a success, it only made sense that they’d do another one. Even though most comedy sequels don’t perform as well as the original. While some people have called The Naked Gun 2½ better than the original, it’s hard to say that it is. The Naked Gun 2½ now focuses on a plot to gain control of the nation’s energy. They even work in a parody of President George H. W. Bush. They do put a humorous spin on the idea, but the subject of fossil fuels is still pretty boring even in a comedy. At the same time Lt. Frank Drebin is reunited with his love interest from the first movie played by Priscilla Presley. Leslie Nielsen is at his usual comedic best and O.J. Simpson’s role is still awkward. Unlike the original though, The Naked Gun 2½ works in a lot more pop culture parodies. Like the pottery scene from Ghost, Zsa Zsa Gabor’s arrest, the North by Northwest sex innuendo, or the moon from E.T. There are some good original jokes like the dinner scene, but overall the delivery seems a bit off. More than likely you’ll enjoy The Naked Gun 2½ either twice or half as much.
Frank enjoys a lobster
Preceded by: The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! & Followed by: Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult
The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! cemented Leslie Nielsen’s status as the king of parody movies. Since he did nothing but comedy/parody roles after the movie came out. His deadpan sincerity made him the perfect lead in a comedy. The Naked Gun is based on a very short lived TV series (only 6 episodes) called Police Squad! From the same three guys who directed Airplane! So you know to expect some of the most hilarious comedy in any parody movie. The Naked Gun parodies cop movies and shows in particular. With plenty of off the wall gags in between. Leslie Nielsen plays Lt. Frank Drebin. The bumbling police lieutenant tasked with uncovering the mystery behind his injured partner Det. Nordberg. Played by “this didn’t age well” O.J. Simpson. Despite that, the ways he gets injured are hilarious. At the same time, Police Squad also protects the Queen of England from a plot to hypnotize people into killing eachother. The Naked Gun was always a comedy my parents called one of the funniest they’ve ever seen. It’s not hard to see why. Since it’s full of memorably funny moments. The opening with the car in various places, the overly happy date, the student driver car chase, the fight with the terrorists, the failed interrogation, wreaking the apartment, and the classic “beaver” line. Everyone should see The Naked Gun, since it doesn’t parody anything in particular. As long as you have a basic understanding of cop procedurals you’ll enjoy it.
Lt. Frank Drebin takes aim
Followed by: The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear