Thursday, August 21, 2008

Top Secret! (1984)

Banana Bonanza, what a classic! This is actually Val Kilmer's first film, believe it or not. I was bewildered myself, seeing as his singing and dancing is perfectly concocted, and it makes even the most chided and chaste melt in their seats. And then he came out with Real Genius, quite possibly one of my favorite (meant-to-be) comedies of all times, just one short year later. Ahh, the days of a hot Val. Now he just looks like a bowl of pudding made of silly putty, and only the most moronic of children will eat that shit. But this movie takes us back to his prime (rib). Written and directed by the guys who did Airplane!, another self-exclamatory film, Top Secret! draws on the same sense of parody with outlandish jokes and schemes. While the most recognizable giggle-inducer may be the infamous cow in rain-boots, I think the humor of the songs themselves shines most brightly. You can also look forward to everything from Alfred as an imprisoned physicist, blatant references to cultural events of the time (eg. Blue Lagoon), a lot of bathroom humor, endless gags (and not the gross kind), skeet shooting, mockery of the Germans (and why are they speaking in Yiddish?), flaming hog balls, massive French stereotypes (oh poor Latrine!), singing donkeys and the infinite, and typically omnipresent, hypo-humor. What is hypo-humor you ask? Why, let me tell you! Hypo-humor is the concept that I just made up on the spot to describe jokes based entirely around hypothetically possible, though completely unreasonable, alternate endings to commonly used scenes, events, phrases or other traditional stand-bys of the rule-abiding studios. The 'what-if's' if you will (no if's, and's or butts!). Por ejemplo, when the bad dude draws out a 'lay-of-the-land' in the dirt, and then we see that there is an entire model prison set-up, including trees, moving cars, a steam-stack, and of course, cows, for him to reference. Or when the spies use ridiculous code phrases or when a man is shot after being attacked by drug dogs, only for the audience to realize that he was simply carrying a bag of dog biscuits, you are experiencing the enjoyable phenomenon (Travolta and Kilmer in the same post? It's a battle of the moobs!) known as hypo-humor. And I love the scene shot entirely in reverse! While this may sound a little slapstick, with a few hits and a can of Mountain Dew, you may finally be able to laugh again (at least on cue).

Final Judgment: "You can trust anything that ends in exclamation!"

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