Monday, November 21, 2011

#65 – Blazing Saddles

(1974) Rated R for copious amounts of N-bombs

Genre: Hilarious racism in the Old West

The plot:
Oh, give me a town with no skin colored brown
Where the horse thieves and train robbers play
So the sheriff is black – no chance sending him back
Better get along to save the day!

Home, home in Rock Ridge
Where the Methodists stab you and ditch
Where the slaves are released, but we treat ‘em like beasts
And their labor makes us filthy rich!

So why is it on my list?

It’s over-the-top to make a point.  Racial stereotypes are both hilariously played straight and subverted to ultimately point out how stupid they are.  Blazing Saddles manages to make a creative and intelligent satire of racism that doesn’t feel like it’s beating you over the head with the moral – you’re in on the joke!

It’s my favorite Mel Brooks film.  I find Brooks’ movies to have some good scenes and lines, but this one stays funny to me throughout its 93 minute entirety.  Nervous laughter abounded!

It has Gene Wilder in it.  For some unfathomable reason, I have seen too little Gene Wilder in my life… this film helps remedy that hole.

Any weak spots?

It may be too wacky.  The finale shoots the fourth wall to pieces and may suspend your disbelief to the breaking point.  It’s one thing to ride off into the sunset like any self-respecting Western should end… but, in a limousine?

In conclusion:
The primary reason why I believe this movie stands above other Mel Brooks comedies in my eyes is that, in the end, Brooks was actually trying to say something rather than fish for a few yucks and guffaws.  Granted, you’ll have plenty of those, but at least you’ll come away from it actually, y'know, thinking!