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ZAZ (Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker) - An Appreciation. A bit. Maybe.

Started by prelektric, May 02, 2022, 06:28:05 PM

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prelektric

Airplane
(Airplane II is not a a ZAZ movie, but is still great)
Police Squad! (6x episodes)
Top Secret!
The Naked Gun
The Naked Gun 2-1/2
The Naked Gun 33-1/3

What's you're favourite? Mine is definitely Top Secret! - Enormously funny sight gags left, right and centre!

Rizla

Police Squad/Airplane/Top Secret joint tops for me, can live without the rest (fond memories of Naked Guns but 90's overfamiliarity bred contempt a bit, those beer ads etc).

This for greatest moment, easily -

BeardFaceMan

I think Top Secret! is the most joke-heavy film I've ever seen, gags all over the fucking shop. Can't be enough good things said about it, really, it's criminally underrated and very rarely talked about in the same breath as yer Airplanes when it bloody well should be.

Glebe


kalowski

Probably once a month I smile at a memory if the Police Squad gag where there's a fight and he throws a towel into the guy's face, who struggles as if it was a handful of sand in his eyes.

Glebe

Nielsen choking back a laugh is the icing on the cake:



Famous Mortimer

I reckon you could mention "The Kentucky Fried Movie", too, which they created and wrote. Not sure some of the sketches would stand the test of time, but I certainly remember laughing at it a lot when I was a lad.

But yes, "Top Secret!" is the best. 

Edgar Balloon III

Top Secret! contains my one of my absolute favourite moments in any comedy ever:


I had a Top Secret! moment playing Far Cry 6: sneaking around an enemy bases, I turned a corner and thought there was a baddy right in front of me, but it turned out to be just a pair of boots.

Egyptian Feast

Quote from: Famous Mortimer on May 02, 2022, 07:48:16 PMI reckon you could mention "The Kentucky Fried Movie", too, which they created and wrote. Not sure some of the sketches would stand the test of time, but I certainly remember laughing at it a lot when I was a lad. 

Whenever I watch Enter The Dragon I have to follow it up with 'A Fistful Of Yen'. The gag where he sets off the alarm in the base still gets me every time.


Sadly not in the above clip is the follow-up where the alarm walks into the boss' office.

up_the_hampipe

I feel like David Zucker specifically doesn't get enough appreciation, as I will always have a place in my heart for BASEketball and Scary Movie 3.

BeardFaceMan

Quote from: up_the_hampipe on May 02, 2022, 11:38:59 PMI feel like David Zucker specifically doesn't get enough appreciation, as I will always have a place in my heart for BASEketball and Scary Movie 3.

Definitely, I don't know why the South Park guys always talk trash about that film, it's fucking great.

Shaky

Scary Movie 3 was/is a pleasant surprise - obviously not a patch on the greats, but it has quite a few gags with that old feel.

I watched Kentucky Fried Movie recently and it was a slog, but I love this sketch featuring all ZAZ members as performers:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPu1wF7iKcw

Rev+

Quote from: up_the_hampipe on May 02, 2022, 11:38:59 PMI feel like David Zucker specifically doesn't get enough appreciation, as I will always have a place in my heart for BASEketball and Scary Movie 3.

It's partly because he went completely fucking nuts after 9/11 and is now a far-right loon.  'An American Carol/Big Fat Important Movie' is definitely worth a watch, but not for entertainment purposes.

Ant Farm Keyboard

Parker and Stone talk trash about BASEketball because David Zucker took their script and their ideas, got sole credit for it while rewriting it in a less interesting way. Their experience with the studio system was very disappointing to them.

madhair60

BASEketball is dumb fun. Never liked Airplane but I want to see the others.

Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth

What's to be said about that classic run of ZAZ pictures? I couldn't choose a favourite, although I've probably seen Airplane the most times. Top Secret has the undiscovered gem status, but that whole run is pretty much untouchable.

What an amazing discovery Leslie Neilsen was as a comedian. It retroactively ruined his serious roles, but it was absolutely worth it. Has anyone ever done deadpan better?

Hot Shots Part Deux was by one of the ZAZes, wasn't it? It's probably on a lower rung than the ZAZ classics, but I still have a fondness for it. I remember having a sleepover round a friend's house and their mum renting it for us to watch (28 years old, I was). My friend described it as "crack-up comedy" which seemed like a perfect term for that particular style. Maybe it's just the sheer number of jokes, but I've always felt there is something distinct about their particular brand of comedy.

It contains possibly my favourite line reading ever:

I like Baseketball a good deal too. After decades of them being in their hermetic little auteurist voiceover bubble, it's weird seeing Parker and Stone as jobbing young actors. The one bit that never sat right with me was when Robert Stack turns up, swearing for laughs. It felt a bit like the older comedy director trying desperately to stay relevant.

For fans of Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul:

bakabaka

Top Secret! was cut down (after test showngs) from 120 minutes to 90 minutes. Some of the cuts were added to the TV version (presumably to get the runtime to fit US TV slots), but has there ever been a Director's Cut version released with all the original footage?


Famous Mortimer

Quote from: Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth on May 03, 2022, 01:13:01 PMIt contains possibly my favourite line reading ever:
My user text!

Hot Shots Part Deux is easily better than the first one, and I reckon it's up there with Top Secret! A gem.

Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth

Now you mention it, I'm not sure I've even seen the first one. Is it worth checking out, or would it just be a disappointment?

Gulftastic

Quote from: Famous Mortimer on May 03, 2022, 03:34:33 PMMy user text!

Hot Shots Part Deux is easily better than the first one, and I reckon it's up there with Top Secret! A gem.

Yep. Whenever the 'sequels that are better than the first film' question comes up, it's my go to answer.

Blumf

Quote from: Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth on May 03, 2022, 01:13:01 PMWhat an amazing discovery Leslie Neilsen was as a comedian. It retroactively ruined his serious roles, but it was absolutely worth it. Has anyone ever done deadpan better?

Adam West?

But yeah, Nielsen is pure lightning in a bottle.

https://entertainment.ie/movies/movie-news/leslie-nielsen-fart-machine-416590/
QuoteIn fact, Nielsen even carried a fart machine with him wherever he went - and deployed it in the most unlikely places, often during press junkets and interviews.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGuHDdSImFQ

Keebleman

Saw Airplane aged 12 and it seemed so, so fresh.  Could not believe how funny it was.  Yet in the UK at least it didn't feel as if it made that much of an impact.  None of my mates in school had seen it.  A couple of years later some of those mates were raving about a wild TV show that they had caught on HTV, outside peak viewing time and entirely unhyped.  "Those jokes sound like that film Airplane I keep telling you about," I said.   The show was Police Sqaud and when I saw ZAZ in the credits I felt a triumph of vindication such as I have rarely experienced otherwise.  Actually make that never experienced otherwise.

Keebleman

QuoteWhat an amazing discovery Leslie Neilsen was as a comedian. It retroactively ruined his serious roles, but it was absolutely worth it. Has anyone ever done deadpan better?

He was not a comedian, he was an actor, a very straight and blandly deadpan actor.  He had earned a living as such for 30 years prior to Airplane.  That's why he (and Stack, Bridges, Graves etc) was cast and that's why he (and Stack, Bridges, Graves etc) was so superbly effective.  When he actually seemed to think he was a comedian he stank the place out, and not by using his fart machine.  I can understand why he did it - Airplane made it impossible for him to credibly fill the square-jawed-figure-of-authority roles any longer, and it must be a huge thrill to finally make it onto the A-list at 60 plus - but everything from that point on was shite.

Famous Mortimer

He had a straight role in "Soul Man" that was weird, partly because it could have been done by anyone, partly because it's like hiring Gene Kelly and not having him dance.

The Culture Bunker

I may well be remembering wrong, but I think Nielsen's first appearance in 'Due South' was a dramatic/'straight' bit, as an old partner of Fraser Snr who was washed up, almost alcoholic and pretty much awaiting death. When they brought back the character later, they laid on the comedy pretty thick but in my head, that first episode had a fair bit of pathos in the "when heroes get old and broken down" style.

Though I also remember being surprised at how incredibly in shape Nielsen looked.

Shaky

Quote from: Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth on May 03, 2022, 04:40:34 PMNow you mention it, I'm not sure I've even seen the first one. Is it worth checking out, or would it just be a disappointment?

It's still got a lot great stuff so I'd say definitely it's worth watching. A couple of the visual gags in particular are up there with top-tier ZAZ.

steveh

Is Abrahams' Mafia! worth watching? Think it's one of the few from them which I've never actually seen.

Ant Farm Keyboard

At some point, approximately after Naked Gun 2 1/2, ZAZ started to lose much of their impetus. You can spot the difference. They shared a love of old cheesy movies, they were also great at highlighting the flaws of recent productions. Then, at some point, they started to spoof recent hits, mostly scenes from the trailer, even if they didn't have any real feeling about them. It became some by-product of the film industry, parody department. They would do some horror movie, because there had been a bunch of supernatural movies in the months before, or a superhero movie, a Godfather/Goodfellas spoof, etc.

Of course, it's still much better than any of the Friedberg/Seltzer crap, but you can see that they don't feel any strong connection to the source material. Just like Mel Brooks' later parodies (including, I'd say, much of Spaceballs) were a disappointment compared to what he had done with classic western, musicals, silent film, Hitchcock thrillers, etc. in the years before, where it was obvious that he was familiar with the genre and loved toying with its tropes. That's also what differentiates the better recent parodies (Walk Hard, Black Dynamite, the first OSS 117 film, many episodes of Childrens Hospital) from lazier attempts.