Movies of the Week #26-27 (2022)

The Producers (1967): If Spaceballs was a later-day Brooks movie, The Producers is the first film he directed and, arguably, his most enduring – and one of my favourite comedies! Led by the exceptional duo of Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder, it features little old ladies, pigeons and stormtroopers, in a brazen attempt of producing the worst play ever made. Whether you’re looking for wit, physical or situational comedy, The Producers has it all, with a couple of excellent musical numbers on top. And what’s also integral to the movie’s success is a bunch of inspired supporting actors, like Dick Shawn and Kenneth Mars, who add the so-absurd-this-could-actually-happen dimension to make The Producers stand out as something truly unique. 9

Mid90s (2018): Jonah Hill’s tribute to the most important slice of the most important decade in human history (jk, jk, Cocojamboo!) focuses on young Stevie’s falling in with the skater crowd and his rapid discovery of things pubescent. It’s a minor movie in many ways, not so unlike 2018s Skate Kitchen (which was arguably more distinctive), and works first and foremost because our lead is just so emotive – a great turn by Sunny Suljic. 7

Spaceballs (1987): Nothing like rewatching one of my childhood movies, the first Star Wars-esque experience of my life – and, naturally, more memorable than the saga movies themselves (keep your stones away!). Spaceballs leans heavily on SW and finds a lot of humour in it, but it also takes shots/finds inspiration in other movies of the decade. This is a very Mel Brooks movie, with clever scenes occasionally undermined by cheap jokes, but on the whole, the excellent cast makes for a memorable affair. 7

Hustle (2022): Some movies are all flair and this is one of them. Adam Sandler provides a successful down-to-earth performance in this rags to riches basketball story. There’s nothing here you haven’t seen before, but the formula is tried and tested, so if you like energetic music and smooth montages, this will be up your alley. I was not completely taken by them, even though I usually fall for these things – must have been the sour grapes I ate before. 6

The Black Phone (2022): This much lauded horror(ish) movie tells a story about kidnapped kids with elements of mental illness and the supernatural, making for…an OK if not particularly exciting watch. Even if I’m not a big fan of these Stranger Things-esque teenage focused mysteries, Mason Thames and especially Madeline McGraw did a good job in keeping me engaged. It’s just that the movie felt simply plain in its resolution, failing to make a strong impression on me. 6