Dave Chappelle

Robin Hood: Men in Tights

Year: 1993
Directed By: Mel Brooks
Written By: J.D. Shapiro, Evan Chandler, and Mel Brooks

RYAN’S REVIEW

I have never been much of a Mel Brooks fan, but when I was nine years old this was just about the funniest thing I had ever seen. I didn’t understand at the time how the movie mocked the most recent rendition of the Robin Hood movie cycle, because I also loved that one too. When this movie came out I was still at an age when The Princess Bride was one of my favorite movies and it made this movie all the better that the Dread Pirate Roberts played the lead role. The sort of comedy this movie features has never normally appealed to me but it got me at the right age and hit my funny bone just right.

Mel Brooks has made a career out of a specific kind of comedy that really just isn’t my thing. I have always found most of what he does stupid rather than funny. I know that it is blasphemous to say so as a movie fan but I have never been a fan of The Young Frankenstein or Blazing Saddles. It’s partly because of the type of comedy I don’t like but more so because I really do not like Gene Wilder. I don’t know what it is about him but I just do not like the guy and can’t stand to see any of his movies. Spaceballs was cute but it’s a bit too much and the same goes for Dracula:Dead and Loving It. I think this movie just happen to catch me at the right age and I was a big fan of Robin Hood at the time. I think that this one is different than the others in plenty of ways too which make it exceptional, but that may simply be nostalgia influencing my opinion.

I love that this movie starts with the choreographed dancers with the rapper setting up the story. They have their Robin Hood hats on backwards, it’s just so funny. I also love that they use that classic “hey-na-ne-na-ne” song to create the beat. It’s this hilarious intro that immediately makes me accepting and willing to overlook all the typical Mel Brooks’ silliness.

The casts that Brooks assembled for this movie also makes it easier to overlook all the silliness going on. I have always been a fan of Cary Elwes and I think his knock on Kevin Costner‘s rendition of Robin Hood is one of the funniest jokes in the movie. “Unlike some Robin Hoods, I can speak with an English accent.” I have never understood what derailed the career of Elwes because he disappeared forever and never really hit it big. Whatever the reason I’m sure there is an interesting story there. I think Richard Lewis is hilarious and he is the most constant funny character in the film. He’s the type of guy that is just naturally funny and makes comedy seem effortless. Amy Yasbeck is great as Maid Marian with her Everlast chastity belt. Such a gorgeous redhead who Brooks’ must have been smitten with because he brought her back for his Dracula film a couple years later. Finally, in the last moments of this film it seals the deal with a fantastic cameo. When Patrick Stewart shows up as King Richard and declares all toilets be named after his brother John he ends the film on a terrific note. I have long sense been a fan of the ever-aged Stewart in so many roles. As Captain Picard, Professor X, or even as King Richard he is simply awesome and an audience favorite.

This was Dave Chappelle‘s first film role and like everything he does, he nailed it. Achoo, son of Asneeze, is a funny character and it got Chappelle noticed just enough to get him pointed in the right direction. I have always been a big fan of Chappelle. As a kid he caught my eyes with his roles in The Nutty Professor and Con Air, two household favorites of my family that are specifically left out of my own personal collection. As a teen he became a fan favorite of my generation with his hilarious pothead movie Half Baked. Then he blew up into mega stardom while I was in college with the groundbreaking Chappelle’s Show. I can never stress enough how huge that show was and if you weren’t around you could never understand. Walking through my college campus during the height of the show was like having it on as background music. You literally couldn’t walk 100 feet without hearing things like “I’m Rick James bitch!” or even openly spoken racially questionable jokes that suddenly seemed OK. It was unfortunate when Chappelle suddenly and dramatically pulled out of his very successful show and seemingly fell off the map. There were weird stories all around involving him running away to Africa and all kinds of stuff. He was due to be the richest television star in the world before the dramatic exit and opinions varied on the why of it all. I for one never judged him for it, though plenty of people did. As a true and longtime fan I assumed that he had his reasons, and I was willing to support him regardless what he did. Truth be told his show wasn’t really the type of show I generally get into. His was an exception and I enjoyed it but I didn’t miss it when it was gone. A couple of years ago Chappelle started a stand up show that was supposed to launch a comeback for him. He was “starting from the bottom” to get back to the top. Amber and I were fortunate enough to see his show when he quietly showed up in our home town for a venue. I thought he was really funny and it was awesome to see him live. Dave Chappelle is a legend and it was an exceptional experience simply to see him so close and after so long absent from common culture.

This is a movie that I would never give the time of day if it were to be released now. I would undoubtedly categorize it as “Don’t Waste Your Time” and would have nothing but negative things to say about it. I was nine when this movie came out though and that makes all the difference. Time is relative and perception correlates with it in such interesting ways. Our opinions are all the product of when and where we developed them and a movie like this reminds me of that. I love this movie but it is as contrary to my tastes as anything I watch. We call these things guilty pleasures but in truth is all about where and when we came across it during our own journey through life.

Despite my obvious bias towards this film that I fell in love with as a child I still think there are plenty of things that make it worth your time. The intro, Richard Lewis, the typically loved Robin Hood story, and of course Patrick Stewart’s cameo at the end all make this movie worth wild. If you are already a fan of Mel Brooks then this is one you should have already seen but if you steer clear as I tend to then this one is at least worth a shot because it’s funny. I would be really interested in the opinions of others on this film and how they contrast with my own. If you’ve made it this far in this review then stick around a little longer and let me know what you think about it.

The quality of this video is awful but it’s still awesome nonetheless.

NEXT MOVIE: Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)

 

Half Baked

Year: 1998
Directed By: Tamra Davis
Written By: Dave Chappelle and Neal Brennan

RYAN’S REVIEW

When I was a senior in high school this was a movie my friends and I lived our lives by.  Life was so much simpler back then.  This was the movie we quoted to one another, we had discussions about it, and we even had a communal pipe named “Old James.” I guess that says something about the kind of teenager I was but times were different then.  There was a time when I had plenty of growing up to do, but it sure was a lot of fun back then.  This movie reminds me of that time, about not having a care in the world and a freedom I will never know again.

Dave Chappelle will have a voice in many generations to come in the future, but it was my generation that he was a part of.  This movie was part of what got him started; it was his powerhouse at the time.  I have been watching Dave Chappelle since he was playing bit parts in movies like The Nutty Professor and Con AirWhen I was in high school he made this movie and it was one made for people my age.  It made Chappelle important to us on another level. When I was in college he started Chappelle’s Show, which of course became a huge success.  It became so successful that Chappelle became overwhelmed with stardom.  He couldn’t go anywhere without hearing “Rick James Bitch!” I never blamed him for what he did but he just dropped off the face of the planet one day.  He turned his back on tons of money and went to South Africa or something; but I don’t blame him.  I am a fan of Dave Chappelle and support whatever he decides to do.  I’ll admit I have no idea what he is up to now, or anything he has done in the past five years or so, but it doesn’t matter.  Dave Chappelle put together a great body of work, and it will live on forever.  This movie is part of that work, and it will live on forever with him.

I think this is a good movie about pot because it is funny while sending the right message at the same time.  You have to read between the lines but if you look at these guys in the movie the message is there.  Thurgood is a “master of the custodial arts,” Scarface works on a fast food line, Brian works in a record store he gets fired from, and although Kenny had a good job he is the one that goes to jail.  A clever person can see what that says about the person that gets too involved in marijuana.  It’s a lesson I hope the teenagers that are laughing at this movie don’t fail to recognize. This is a silly movie for the most part but it is all in good fun.

I think Jim Breuer is a really funny guy and I like him in the role of Brian, it seems to come really natural for him. I have never been a fan of Harland Williams really but he is funny in this movie.  Guillermo Diaz is also really funny but he is my least favorite character of the film.  This film is full of notable cameos that would take me forever to list.  The most notable ones are the obvious celebrities of the pothead world being Tommy Chong, Willie Nelson, and Snoop Dogg. Another cameo worth mentioning is that of Bob Saget, it is memorable.

This isn’t a movie I ever recommend to anyone because it is too telling and it sends the wrong impression of who I am.  That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth your time though.  Depending on your age and maturity I think this movie is worth the time of plenty of people.  It gives me a nostalgic feeling and still makes me laugh today so it will always be important to me.  If nothing else this should be seen by any Dave Chappelle fan because at this time it doesn’t appear he is getting back into the comedy game any time soon.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This movie is a classic. All of my friends have seen it and most of the people I know have seen it. It’s just a silly movie about potheads. If you haven’t seen it, I don’t want to know. Just watch it and pretend you have been watching it all these years.

Some of My Favorite Quotes:

Scarface: Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, you’re cool, and fuck you, I’m out!

Kenny: No. NO. NO! Devil man! Devil 6-6-6, the mark of the beast! No! Naughty! Naughty jungle of love!

Bob Saget: Marijuana is not a drug. I used to suck dick for coke. Now that’s an addiction. You ever suck some dick for marijuana?

You ever see the back of a twenty dollar bill… on weed? Oh, there’s some crazy shit, man. There’s a dude in the bushes. Has he got a gun? I dunno! RED TEAM GO, RED TEAM GO.

NEXT MOVIE: Hamlet (1996)