“Young Frankenstein” – Nathan’s Movie Challenge, Week 17
“You know, I’m a rather brilliant surgeon. Perhaps I can help you with that hump. What hump?”
I’m a huge fan of Spaceballs, but after seeing Young Frankenstein I think it might be because of my admiration for its parody of Star Wars and its excellent cast: Rick Moranis, Bill Pullman, John Candy, Joan Rivers, Daphne Zuniga, and Mel Brooks himself.
I can’t say I didn’t enjoy the performances from Gene Wilder, Terri Garr, Marty Feldman, Kenneth Mars, and the rest of the cast of Young Frankenstein, but I wished it deviated its story a bit further from the original Universal Frankenstein from 1931.
What I really appreciate is the attention to detail in its presentation – from the opening credits, to the mono score, to the lighting and use of black and white, to the deliberately overacted style of the 30s. Some of the setups are fantastic – especially those that Feldman are part of. I was surprised how much of the jokes were sexual in nature (I probably should have expected it), but they weren’t among my favorite gags of the film.
All said, it’s a well-made parody, and the stylishness of getting all the details right elevates the film above most comedies I’ve seen, even if it was mostly chuckles throughout, rather than a belly-laugh inducing picture.
Young Frankenstein was at the time of this review at #72 on my Flickchart list of shame (ranked #175 among the best movies of all time). Here’s how it entered my chart:
Young Frankenstein vs. Hancock
I don’t think Hancock is quite as bad as the wrap it has received, but it does spit and sputter towards its final resolution instead of soaring to a triumphant ending. It’s just kind of a downer story, and it never quite decides how best to tell it. Young Frankenstein wins.
Young Frankenstein vs. Moulin Rouge
There’s a lot to like in Moulin Rouge – the songs are catchy, anachronistic twists, the chemistry between Nicole and Ewan is palpable, and the cinematography is bonkers. That being said, i’ll still give it to Young Frankenstein, because I think its attention to detail might be even more impressive than Moulin Rouge’s.
Young Frankenstein vs. Clueless
Sorry, Mel. As, if!
Young Frankenstein vs. The Thomas Crown Affair
Brosnan’s able to shed his Bond skin while Rene Russo electrifies the screen in this ultra-slick heist-thriller. Very underrated. It beats Young Frankenstein.
Young Frankenstein vs. The Green Mile
It gets a little strange and fantastical, but The Green Mile is solid. Darabont and Stephen King mix well (see Shawshank, or The Mist), and all three are better than Young Frankenstein.
Young Frankenstein vs. Super
Super was James Gunn’s last film before jumping into the big leagues with Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s more sad and heart-wrenching than you’d expect, and the most pitch black of dark comedies. I’ll give it the nod over Young Frankenstein for its clever twists on audience expectations.
Young Frankenstein vs. Big Hero 6
I think Big Hero 6 is a fine movie, with well-designed characters, a bright and visually compelling art style, and emotional storytelling. It’s also unfortunately not particularly memorable against some of its peers. I think I’ll let Young Frankenstein win this one.
Young Frankenstein vs. Jackie Brown
“AK-47. The very best there is. When you absolutely, positively got to kill every motherfucker in the room, accept no substitutes.” Jackie Brown wins.
Young Frankenstein vs. In Bruges
Love, In Bruges. Such an underrated movie. Totally wins the matchup.
Young Frankenstein vs. Paris, Texas
This is one that really surprised me during the challenge for sure. I never expected to take to it as much as I did. Paris, Texas wins the battle.
Young Frankenstein vs. The Good, The Bad, The Weird
It’s fun, it’s colorful, and it’s a love letter to Spaghetti Westerns that I can really get behind. The Good, The Bad, The Weird takes this last matchup.
Young Frankenstein is now ranked #339 out of 1402 movies on my Best Movies of All-Time chart.
Next, I’ll be watching The City of Lost Children and Blue Velvet. In the meantime, check out the other films I’ve ranked during the challenge.