Monthly Archives: November 2009

Day 55: The Producers (1968)

This turned out to be the perfect movie to watch when I was home from work with a hangover mysterious illness.

I trust y’all know the story, right?  An aging Broadway producer (Zero Mostel) and his accountant (Gene Wilder) come up with a scam to oversell shares in a musical that they know will be a flop and then abscond with the money (which would never work in real life, BTW).  They think they’ve succeeded when they dig up the worst script of all time (Springtime for Hitler) and put it in the hands of the worst director and actors of all time.  Unfortunately, they veer off into the realm of so-bad-it’s-good and end up with a runaway smash hit that they’ve already sold 25,000% of the profits to.  Eeek!

I actually didn’t know this was Mel Brooks’ directorial debut (well played, Mel!).  Like most of his other movies, it has that unmistakable aura of having sprung from the mind of a twelve-year-old boy trapped in a middle-aged Jewish man’s body.  Which is a compliment, in my book.  Gene Wilder steals the show as Leo Bloom, the hilariously awkward accountant-turned-con-artist (hmm, there’s a career path for you…).  And if you’re a book nerd like some of us, you’ll enjoy the literary references scattered through the movie (one of the rejected scripts is The Metamorphosis, which Zero Mostel deems “too good.”).

54: The Snapper (1993)

Oh dear.  Clearly I’ve been letting work interfere with my blogging,  which will never do.  My apologies, dearest readers.

I actually wasn’t overly impressed with this one, which was a bummer because I loved The Commitments and I had high hopes that The Snapper would be just as good.

So 20-year-old Sharon, a grocery store employee who lives with her parents and about twelve brothers and sisters, gets pregnant out of wedlock, and no one really bats an eye.  Her dad takes her out for a beer the same night she breaks the news to him, and she still goes out carousing with her friends on a regular basis.  The only problem is that she won’t tell anyone who the father is.  Eventually we find out this is because it’s the dad of one of her best friends, who basically raped her when she was drunk off her ass.  The whole town starts suspecting this but she denies it.  Her dad gets bent out of shape about this for a while, but he gets over it in time for the baby to be born.

To me, the real flaw in this movie is that it actually adheres too closely to the novel (which I read just before seeing it).  Roddy Doyle writes fabulous dialogue, but that doesn’t mean you can simply dump it into a screenwriting software program and call it a script.  The Commitments, in novel form, isn’t any more plot-driven than The Snapper, but it becomes a perfectly respectable, structured movie in Alan Parker’s hands.  That should’ve been a lesson to Stephen Frears that it’s OK to take a bit of artistic license when adapting a novel for the screen.