Tag Archives: Spaceballs

All About Me!: My Remarkable Life in Show Business Book Review

The word “genius” is often thrown around without anything to back it up. One of the few people who can legitimately be given that title is Mel Brooks. He has made audiences laugh for 70+ years, taking comedy in a direction that few have dared to.

His new autobiography, All About Me!: My Remarkable Life in Show Business, was released last November. The youngest of four boys, Brooks was born to a Jewish immigrant family in 1926. Raised in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn by his widowed mother, he grew up during the Great Depression and served his country during World War II. After the war, he joined one of the greatest comedy writing teams of all time as a co-writer of Sid Ceasar‘s Your Show of Shows.

Married to actress Anne Bancroft for five decades, Brooks directed (and in some cases starred in) such classics as Young Frankenstein, To Be or Not To Be, The Producers, Spaceballs, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, History of the World: Part I, etc. Telling his story as only he can, Brooks reveals his heart, his humor, his work ethic, and his acute ability to use laughter to delve into topics that many would not dare to touch.

In his mid 90’s, he has more energy and gusto many are half his age. It was an incredible insight into a man who has made generations of audiences laugh. What I loved was the revelation of the man behind the jokes. He reminds me of someone’s old uncle who is not quite politically correct. They know that they are crossing the line. But it is not out of spite or to cause trouble. It’s to make the audience laugh and while they are laughing, perhaps think about the message behind the joke.

As I read the book, two things jumped out at me. The first was that there was no mention of his first wife and not a lot of time focused on his older children. The second is that he refers to almost every woman first by her looks and then by her talent. Maybe it’s me or maybe it’s a generational thing. I get that it could be construed as a compliment, but I would rather be known for my abilities first and my looks second.

Other than that, do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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All About Me!: My Remarkable Life in Show Business is available wherever books are sold.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, History, Judaism, Movies, New York City, Star Wars, Television

Thoughts On The 30th Anniversary Of Spaceballs

Mel Brooks has made a career out of lovingly satirizing our sacred cows. Whether it is history (History of the World: Part I), The Nazis (The Producers) or classic horror films (Young Frankenstein), he has knack for finding the satire in the sacred.

30 years ago, he satirized Star Wars and other science fiction films in his own version of a space adventure: Spaceballs. The planet Druidia has an abundant amount of fresh air. President Skroob (Mel Brooks) from the very polluted Planet Spaceballs send his henchmen, Lord Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis) to capture the Druidian princess, Vespa (Daphne Zuniga). King Roland of Druidia (Dick Van Patten) must either give his planet’s air to the Spaceballs or lose his daughter. Enter Lone Star (Bill Pullman) who is sent by the king to rescue Vespa.

This movie is like most Mel Brooks movies. It borders on the absurd, takes easy pot shots at the revered and most of all, it makes us laugh.

30 years on, this movie is just as funny as it was in 1987.

May the schwartz be with you!

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Filed under Movies, Star Wars

Flashback Friday- Spaceballs (1987)

Mel Brooks has a very specific type of humor. Low brow, possibly crude and potentially politically incorrect. But without a doubt, the man knows how to make audiences laugh.

In 1987, he threw his movie making hat into Spaceballs.

King Roland of Planet Druidia (Dick Van Patten) is about to see his daughter, Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga) marry Prince Valium. But Vespa wants nothing to do with her groom to be. She runs away and is kidnapped by the evil race of Spaceballs led by President Skroob (Mel Brooks, who always seems to find parts in his movies) and Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis). They will return Vespa to her father, if he will give them Druidia’s clean air to replace the Spaceball’s polluted air.

King Roland contacts Lone Star (Bill Pullman) and Barf (the late John Candy) to rescue Vespa and her loyal servant Dot Matrix (voiced by the late Joan Rivers). After the foursome escapes the Spaceballs, they land on Yogurt’s (also Mel Brooks) planet. Yogurt knows the truth about Lone Star’s past. At the same time, he is selling everything he can with his likeness.

This is another Mel Brooks gem. He knows how to lovingly riff on the science fiction genre, especially Star Wars with it’s variety of memorabilia. It is incredibly funny and incredibly quotable.

Happy Friday and may the schwartz be with you!

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Filed under Flashback Friday, Movie Review, Movies, Star Wars