Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Spaceballs (1987)

Seen: On dvd on my friend Rachel's tv, from her collection.

Soooo what's the best way to follow up a few hard ciders and a viewing of Revenge of the Sith? OBVIOUSLY SPACEBALLS. What made it even better is I'd watched Blazing Saddles that morning so it was a Double Mel Brooks day which is the best kind of day. Brooks' ultra-silly take on the Star Wars series and a range of other sci-fi tropes stars Bill Pullman as Lone Star, a cocky intergalactic smuggler who- along with his half-man, half-dog partner Barf (John Candy)- is charged with rescuing the stuck-up Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga) for a shitload of money. The evil Spaceballs, led by Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis) and President Skroob (Mel Brooks), are after her so they can ransom her to steal her planet's air. Many hijinks ensue.

Ooookayyyy so we all know I love Mel Brooks more than my real family, and Spaceballs was one of my favorites when I was younger because I dig Star Wars. And because it's hilarious. It's got so many great jokes, from Barf's "I'm half man, half dog. I'm my own best friend!" to anything Rick Moranis says or does ("No, I didn't see you playing with your dolls again, SIR!"). It's got the characteristic self-awareness (I had a world religions teacher who used the whole "That was then, this is now. We're in NOW now" scene to explain the Buddhist perception of time; it was amazing) and wordplay ("The force!?" "No! The SCHWARZ.") that I love, plus some spot-on nods to other series, most notably Alien with an appearance from the real John Hurt and a Sigourney Weaver lookalike.

Admittedly, this one gets pretty stupid at times, and because I watched it a lot as a pre-teen some of the jokes have gotten stale. I still think this film is amazing, just not as solid as my Brooks favorites Blazing Saddles and The Producers. Maybe it just needed some Gene Wilder. NOT that I'm complaining about the cast. Bill Pullman can star in any movie any day, I am a fan. And Joan Rivers! And Dick Van Patten! And Stephen Tobolowsky pops up for 30 seconds! And naturally, Mel Brooks himself in the dual role of President Skroob and wise Schwarz-master Yogurt is just fantastic. Why didn't anyone tell him his ass was so big?

Ok this is just devolving into me quoting the movie sorry. Spaceballs is great, basically, but too corny/dumb at times. And it makes me wish Rick Moranis was still acting. I miss him!


Pair This Movie With: Well obviously any Star Wars movie? Duh. Or I kinda get in a Bill Pullman mood, so While You Were Sleeping could be a followup.

PS This movie has a theme song! My favorite thing!!!!!!! It's got tons of synths.


  1. It would have been interesting to see Wilder in the film, he would have played a great soldier in Dark Helmets army!

  2. I love this film. It's still my all-time favorite Mel Brooks film. There is never a dull moment. Plus, it's got a great biting commentary on the world of the home video market and merchandising!

    I still want a Spaceballs flamethrower!

  3. Film Connoisseur: Yeah I could even see him as Dark Helmet's second-in-command guy, though I enjoy the actor who has that role.

    thevoid99: Haha man it's true, I love all the merchandising jokes! I made a Spaceballs the T-Shirt when I was in high school, but never got around to the flamethrower...

  4. Set power to ludicrous speed.........They've gone to plaid!

  5. I just rewatched this again a week or so ago for the first time in a while. It's still genius. And call me silly but I still find the combing the desert pun hilarious. I do love the fastforwarding scene as well. The whole thing is classic.