In the thread on the new musical version of The Producers, ask not judged the original film totally unfunny, calling it Mel Brooks’s second-worst film (better only than Life Sucks, which I’ve never seen). IMHO, The Producers is not only Mel Brooks’s funniest film, but the funniest movie ever made.
I am, of course, also fond of Blazing Saddles, which is totally stupid, but which wears me down with one horrendous joke after another until I start laughing almost in spite of myself – and then laugh the rest of the time.
I don’t get Young Frankenstein, which has just never struck me as all that funny – though I will admit Peter Boyle doing Puttin’ on the Ritz cracks me up every time.
It’s a pretty rough rule of thumb, but if you want to say that Brooks started at the top and then lost a step with each succeeding film you wouldn’t be far wrong. History of the World is worse than the next two, for one exception (even I never saw Life Stinks so it doesn’t count), but the fall is steady.
The Producers musical is by far his best film in ages.
The original The Producers is a great movie. The Twelve Chairs is a good movie. Nothing else he’s ever done has ever worked for me. Young Frankenstein has some forgivable moments, Blazing Saddles has some nearly forgivable moments, but all the rest are totally unforgivable. Not a fan. I’d sooner see a Woody Allen movie than a Mel Brooks movie, and I’d sooner feed my gums to a weasel than either.
The new version of The Producers is funny, but it can’t be Mel’s best film because it’s not even the best version of The Producers. It’s so schticky and the performances are so hammy and one-dimensional. Didn’t make me laugh less, but it just can’t compare to movies where there’s actually a little acting and character.
I still think Young Frankenstein is his funniest movie, but it goes back and forth with the original Producers. Blazing Saddles comes after that, and I’ve never actually seen Silent Movie. I don’t mind Space Balls, but once you get past the big three I mentioned, there are always funny bits (they can be really large bits; most of History of the World qualifies), but the movies as a whole don’t really come together. He’s not a great parodist at all, and for some reason he’s done a bunch of those movies.
Brooks definitely faded. Young Frankenstein and Silent Movie are his best, and he also did OK with The Producers and Blazing Saddles (though neither is as good as their hype. But after Silent Movie, his work has been very weak.
It didn’t help that Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker took his “anything for a joke” style and pushed it to the limit; Brooks couldn’t keep up.
From a certain perspective, that’s more like peaking than fading. The Producers was the first movie he directed, Blazing Saddles was the third; then came YF and Silent Movie. But after that, yeah. Not much by comparison. He hasn’t even directed a movie in ten years, and I’m not sure what to make of the rumored Space Balls sequel.
I didn’t think my sense of humor was that off, but I really enjoyed Space Balls, Blazing Saddles and Men in Tights (in that order). I didn’t realize there were so many of his movies that I hadn’t seen.
Mel Brooks is a lycanthrope of some type? That explains so much.
I have never understood people choosing YF over Blazing Saddles. A horse whinnying whenever they say “Frau Blucher” as one of the main gags? Bleah. Vs “The little bastard shot me in the ass!” ? No contest.
Alas, In my family, Mel Brooks in most all of his forms is a guilty pleasure. Yes, even the bad ones.
But help me out here, I could have SWORN he was in a movie about the Jews in WWII…the only real thing I remember was one of the acting troupe complaining that he had to wear a pink triangle…It wasn’t a very good movie.
Blazing Saddles and Young frankenstein are my top level faves. History of the world’s next. The original Producers seems a lot like he was still refining his timing, and/or its humor hasn’t aged well. Space balls and Men in tights are next…the wife HAD to buy Dead and Loving it. As bad as it is, there is a laugh or two in it. (Stake through her heart)
Yeah, I loved this movie! I was hooked from this line: “Shed-juled?” I started laughing then and laughed right up till Van Helsing opened the casket to get in that last word (especially loved, “Renfield, you asshole!”).
I also loved Young Frankenstein (just love Marty Feldman in that, and the “Puttin’ on the Ritz” scene killed me. Oh, and “Sed-a-GIVE???”). But Blazing Saddles has to be my favorite. The part where Johnson is giving his welcoming speech to the new—n-word literally took my breath away, I laughed so hard (I was too young to get the “Laurel and hearty (Hardy) handshake” joke at the time, though! )!