Thursday, April 10, 2014

04/10: It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Early this week, Mickey Rooney, the legend, passed away at age 93. He left behind such a legacy. Unfortunately I haven't seen very much of his work, especially the ones with him and Judy Garland. But a few years back I did watch a comedy classic that starred him and several legends at the time. I was actually wondering recently, when Sid Caesar died, how many of the main cast are still with us? Well it turns out Rooney was the last one standing of them all. I'm talking about the main cast, who took part in the chase. Some of them died much years later like Buddy Hackett and Jonathan Winters. But then some passed away several years ago such as Ethel Merman, Spencer Tracy and Milton Berle. You also have a whole lot of cameos and smaller roles from popular celebrities at the time, and there is quite a few still living (Carl Reiner, Stan Freberg).

The near-3 hour long film (depending on which edited version you watch) revolves around groups, or teams, all after a large amount of money. At the beginning of the film, a con man (Jimmy Durante), released from prison, crashes his car down a mountain and literally kicks the bucket. Before he dies, five men from different cars come down to try to help him. He lets them know there is a hidden stash of 350 grand buried in Southern California. At first, the men decide to go down to the place and share the wealth together. But then the people (including mothers and spouses) who were with the men in their cars believe they should be part of it, too. When no agreement is reached, all parties pursue across the state of California for the money. The whole race for the dough becomes great to watch as everyone tries their own scheme to get closer to the 'Big W' tree (where the grand is stashed). But it is no picnic as they all experience setbacks. Meanwhile, there are a few more that participate in the chase, including cab drivers.

As I've said before in my blog, I'm not much of a fan of long movies. This one has a long intro as well as an intermission. I've only seen the near-3 hour long version, and there were several lengthy scenes, most notably the gas-station scene where they battle it out with tires. That was unnecessary unless it was for a director's cut. But since there were several characters, they all had to share, I guess! All in all, it was very entertaining and without question, one of the funniest slapstick comedies of all-time. It probably is the last 'real' funny movie in a long time as some movies haven't lived up to its credentials...and its all-star cast! As noted above, several comedic legends were all seen in this flick. If you look at today's standards of comedy, you can definitely tell how much the 'comedy' genre has changed over the years. And no, there are no swear words :)

Truly a classic. Just make sure you're aware how long it is. Fun for the whole family. Just don't do anything stupid like they do at the end....

My rating: 9 out of 10

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