By George Rose
June 9, 2009
I won't give away too much but will tell you that the movie won eight Academy Awards and, more importantly, made me realize why Liza Minnelli was even a star. Other than the knowledge that she is the daughter of Judy Garland and had a bit of a drug problem, I didn't know too much about her. While Cabaret informed me she was a star, with her powerful vocals and radiant personality, it was her supporting role on Arrested Development that made me genuinely like her. She may come off as eccentric and a bit crazy (remember her marriage to David Gest?) but the woman is a fine actress. She more than earned her Oscar for Cabaret and helped in proving why I (and other young aspiring film buffs) should be watching more of the older classics.
Ok, I'm finished satisfying my skeptics. Here's one for my homeboys. Seeing as how the world is familiar with Star Wars, there should be some widespread interest in a film that mocks it. It worked for the Scary Movie franchise and they were only mocking a genre that rarely pumps out $100+ million earners. Star Wars makes boatloads of money and has a fanbase that follows the famed far away galaxy across all the many mediums Lucas creates products for (video games, TV shows, books, toys, etc). If that isn't enough, being written and directed by the legendary Mel Brooks should be enough to entice. Surprisingly, Spaceballs wasn't a Skywalker-sized hit but it is still among the best spoofs of the brand (Family Guy's is also pretty darn funny).
The plot is completely different and most names only vaguely connect back to the character they represent but are all cast with fairly well known actors. Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga) gets captured by Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis) and President Skroob (Mel Brooks) after fleeing from her arranged wedding ceremony. Her father later enlists the help of the rebel Lone Starr (Bill Pullman) and the half-man-half-dog Barf (John Candy). With the help of Yogurt (also Mel Brooks), Lone Starr becomes master of his own "The Schwartz" and helps save the Princess and her planet Druidia from death. Joan Rivers also stars as the voice of Vespa's robot, Dot Matrix. The gags might be considered childish at times but if you're a fan of Star Wars, or even comedies in general, you should add Spaceballs to the top of your Netflix queue.
Fight Club (1999)
It's my understanding that when a film is released and is later deemed to have a "cult following," it is because nobody really saw it in theaters but was later discovered (and worshiped) by those that still rent movies. Since Netflix and OnDemand are quickly destroying the rental stores, I'm afraid newer films may never see the light of a cult-day. Each past generation has a few of their own cult favorites but one that everyone my age seems to know about (despite the film's poor box office performance) is Fight Club. I haven't read the Chuck Palahniuk book the film is based on but am a fan of the author (Haunted), the director (David Fincher) and the three leads (Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter). They were the only reasons I needed to rent the film and the bet paid off.