Tag Archives: Blazing Saddles

Because one massive blogging meme just isn’t enough, Marc from Go See Talk took it upon himself to herd cats and get another on the go. This time, it’s about the films that really got us into the movies, and that have ultimately shaped our tastes into what they are today. To find out what everyone else wrote, here’s the master list.

As a nipper, the only surefire way to shut me up for a couple of hours was to plonk me in front of a telly, put on a VHS (those were the days!) and let cinema work its magic. Luckily for me, although my mum and grandad never had as big a collection theirs kicked arse, lots of arse. Below are a few of the films that got me into four of my favourite genres:

as a kid, very few things could match the awesomeness of a James Bond flick. The stunning locations, prettiest women, finest vintage and supercars, cutting-edge technology & gadgets, craziest megalomaniacs, and of course – a super spy to match them all, 007. Even thought we know that Bond always saves the world and gets the girl – and no matter how many times they put that formula together – you usually end up with 90 minutes of cinema gold. The Bond films didn’t just change my taste in film, but was a shot in the arm for the entire Spy genre, inspiring everything from Indiana Jones to inception, Austin Powers to Bourne to Mission Impossible… not to mention and a thousand other rip-off movies and scenes.  Despite knowing every film inside out, Bond’s timeless appeal is still so strong that I recently got the re-mastered Bond collection and plan to start a bond-a-thon soon.

Comedy: makes up a huge chunk of my personality, which I can attribute to a healthy diet of classics from a young age. My super mum was forced to watch her Blazin’ Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Airplane! and the Original Mr Bean tapes way more times than I care to think about. Although great gags deliver the chuckles in a comedy film people easily forget that a comedy is nothing without funny characters, and the films mentioned above have some of the best in the genre – Igor, Waco Kid, Sheriff Bart, Striker, Rumack, Mr Bean…  Other than setting a stupidly high bar for every comedy I’ve seen since, these films have helped me mold a sense of humour that’s seen me perform stand-up and play as a self-deprecating comedy singer for years!

- What do you like to do? - Play chess... screw... - Well, let's play chess.

Horror / Zombie:
As a teenager my pal Lummy and I went through a spell of somehow convincing our parents to rent us formerly banned and 18-rated films from our local blockbuster (those were the days!). Titles that stick out the most are Zombie Flesh Eaters (The scene when a chick gets here eye impaled on splintered wood will stay with me forever!), original Dawn of the Dead (although you couldn’t go wrong with any Romero flick – King of the Zombies) and Evil Dead Trilogy (This is My Boomstick!). While literally quenching our thirst for blood, guts and gore these titles also kicked off a life-long love/hate relationship with B-movies, video nasties, the horror channel, and the weird & wonderful Vipco titles. Unfortunately this genre is the least consistent because there are an unimaginable number of terrible titles out there… but that’s kind of why I love it.

Word Cinema: last but not least! Despite seeing the odd foreign film here and there my passion exploded while doing a crash course on World Cinema – purely to make up learning credits at University.  One of the assignments was writing an essay on Lars Von Trier’s Europa – the epic and original visual style, imagery and execution made me realise that there was fantastic cinema beyond UK/US releases. The course also studied and screened quintessential Godard, Fellini, Kurosawa, Bergman, Kieslowski, Truffaut and Lang films. Furthermore, the University library had an outstanding collection of foreign titles from the ‘essential’ classics to all big modern releases. I genuinely went through around 3 films per day in Uni, 90% of them were foreign. Even if it does make me sound like an arse, I generally can’t trust people that snub subs!

Honourable mentions must go out to The Lion King, Mary Poppins and The Matrix – all of which I remember watching until the VHS was worn down… those were the days!

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Blazing Saddles: (Blu Ray) A parody of almost every Western Movie you’ve ever seen, by comedic virtuoso Mel Brooks. ‘Saddles is one of the best examples of a film that provides constant comedy for the entire duration and never lets up, utilising slapstick and surreal, wit and wordplay, dumb laughs and even the first mainstream fart on the silver screen. You get the feeling that it was written by a bunch on friends just having a laugh and trying to get away with as much as possible. A lot of people look too hard into the racial aspect of the story, but who’s dumber at the end of the day: Sheriff Bart or the ‘Gov’ Le Petomane? Brooks stereotypes everyone here, nobody is safe – from the KKK to the Frontier folks. All of the central characters are memorable and well-acted; picking an outstanding individual is impossible. My only beef with Blazing Saddles is the end, which feels a little off, like the film lost its focus. Sure the characters talk to the camera throughout the film, but the whole cast ends up breaking out of their set and into various others at a film studio, then in to a cinema to watch the end of the film – it feels out of place and too self-referential / random. The Blu Ray disc is alright but the picture and audio still feel really vintage, wouldn’t recommend. All in, it’s a brilliant movie that’s 100% quotable and made so much better because no studio would be brave enough to re-make it in today’s P.C. age. To use a cliché, they genuinely don’t make ’em like this anymore.

Score: 8/10