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Episode #89: BLAZING SADDLES

  

126 members have voted

  1. 1. Is BLAZING SADDLES Canon?

    • Yes!
      120
    • What in the wide wide world of sports is going on here?
      6


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Mel Brooks' comedic Western tackles racism with both barrels - but is it Canon? It's up to you to decide.

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Has to be a yes after seeing this for the first time, somehow it's just been one of those films that you know is meant to be amazing, but you never catch it.

 

In regards to Devin asking what young people think, I didn't laugh out loud a whole bunch during it, but the power and the quality of the satire kept me gripped. It had the thing that I love most in satire where something happens and it is just so real you can only laugh to not feel depressed that the world is really like that.

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I really should like this more than I do. This is my second time watching it, having not seen it in maybe 10 years, and just like the last time, I didn't find it all that funny. It has nothing to do with the racial stuff. If anything, that's what I found the funniest. Mel Brooks movies as a whole have just always felt like the jokes were too easy to really be funny to me, but I could still appreciate things like The Producers or Young Frankenstein. Ultimately, I only really chuckled a few times, and found myself quite bored with most of it. I don't know, maybe in a few more years it will click with me, but for now, I have to go with a no.

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As a younger person, I still voted an easy yes. Like most old comedies, there are some bizarre editing and pacing choices that don't work. But those moments are few and far between, and the laughs are huge. It's pretty incredible that a movie like this would really have no chance of being made today. Not everything ages well, but the vast majority of it does. Great blend of low-brow and high-brow. Huge yes.

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I'm a huge fan of Mel Brooks, having watched his movies with my mom as a kid. While I love this movie and think it's hilarious, I wonder if this is the Mel Brooks movie to go in the Canon. I realize we don't have to limit it to one Brooks film, but my thought is that though Blazing Saddles is so great, is it his best movie? For me, Young Frankenstein is the ultimate Brooks film, delivering on so many levels and really holding up, ever more then this movie, for me.

 

Just in my opinion, if I'm thinking of movies that people MUST see or they are really missing out on a masterpiece, Young Frankenstein is the movie I would pick. Blazing Saddles, ehhh, if someone tells me they haven't seen it, I'm not that offended. Blazing Saddles humor is maybe just a little do broad for it to be enduring/timeless for me. So that being said, I'm going to have to go with a no for Blazing Saddles.

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I think Rose Byrne may be the closest we currently have to a Madeline Kahn these days. She's beautiful, multitalented, and she's definitely not afraid to be goofy.

 

On the subject of the theme song, I remember hearing a story Mel Brooks told in an interview that he wanted Frankie Laine to sing it so as to give it the authenticity of the Western. However, in order to make sure it sounded genuine, he didn't inform Laine that the film was a comedy. Upon finishing the recording of the song, Laine came out of the recording booth with tears in his eyes, and he said he felt it may have been the greatest song he'd ever recorded. Brooks said that he couldn't bear to tell him it was a comedy after that. (He didn't go on to mention if he ever heard what happened when Laine found out.)

 

I couldn't find a source for the story, though, so my memory may be faulty.

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One hundred percent yes for me.

 

I grew up watching this movie constantly with my dad, along with all the other Mel Brooks classics, and I think that this movie breaks through the nostalgia that I may feel for it to prove that it's just a tremendous film. I think it's still timely, funny, and an extremely well-made satire of Westerns that just get better and better the more I become familiar with Westerns. But I think the thing that really makes me love this film is that I believe this may be one of the first and biggest examples of breaking the fourth wall that I encountered as a kid, at least in live action, and it really changed my views on what narrative can be.

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Oh jeez the first 10 minutes are just half baked political analysis from a couple of Hillary Clinton supporters. Ugh. But anyway...

 

Definitely a yes for me. It's brilliant and in your face and has dated really well.

 

 

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Something I think is amazing is the level of relevance this film has to our current time. Here we have the walking embodiment of Black Excellence, and his White Ally, who both exist inside of a highly repressive system of various means of oppression. They both see the issue and work together to dismantle that system, gaining other allies (other oppressed groups: the Native Americans) and showing the people within the system how absurd it is.

 

It's such a powerful thing made all the better with the fact that it's absolutely hilarious. I gotta say, Devin, much like Sausage Party, Blazing Saddles is so Unwoke, it's Woke AF.

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It seems like a pattern for a lot of us, but I grew up watching Blazing Saddles with my dad. It's the beauty of the comedy/horribleness of modern America that it still holds up so well. To answer Devin's question, I'm in my 20s and I love the humor in this movie. The internet, like the old west, is filled with the salt of the earth, you know, morons. It's best not to pay too much attention to them. Brooks is able to cut through the bull and hit the awfulness straight on, which I can appreciate far more than comedies/dramas that dance around it (which is also why I love 'Do The Right Thing' so much).

 

What I've come to appreciate (and what I didn't get as a kid) is its satire on the Hollywood studio system. The fourth wall stuff (which is always hilarious) actually has a specific point here: to show the thin cardboard on which movies (and movie culture) are built. It also bridges the Old Hollywood with the New, the old staid stereotypes breaking against the new vibrant talent. It's hilariously depressing.

 

An absolute yes, and I look forward to seeing more comedies in the Canon.

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I'm a huge fan of Mel Brooks, having watched his movies with my mom as a kid. While I love this movie and think it's hilarious, I wonder if this is the Mel Brooks movie to go in the Canon. I realize we don't have to limit it to one Brooks film, but my thought is that though Blazing Saddles is so great, is it his best movie? For me, Young Frankenstein is the ultimate Brooks film, delivering on so many levels and really holding up, ever more then this movie, for me.

 

Just in my opinion, if I'm thinking of movies that people MUST see or they are really missing out on a masterpiece, Young Frankenstein is the movie I would pick. Blazing Saddles, ehhh, if someone tells me they haven't seen it, I'm not that offended. Blazing Saddles humor is maybe just a little do broad for it to be enduring/timeless for me. So that being said, I'm going to have to go with a no for Blazing Saddles.

 

Blazing Saddles was not the first Brooks film I saw, but this and The Producers are the two I always go back to. Even more than YF (though I have had spurts of watching/reading tons of horror, classic and modern). Of those two, I think BS is the more important, for ratings why I would probably vote South Park or Team America in; they bring humor to a topic that needs to be discussed and work excellently as satire.

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Almost 30-year-old here, and I did not grow up watching this. I saw it for the first time on VHS when I was about 17 or 18, stoned out of my mind. This re-watch was fantastic. I remembered very little of the film from the first time around, and so it was refreshing to see the nuance that Little and Wilder brought to their roles. I completely forgot about the insane ending, which was delightful and inventive. This is an easy yes.

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I feel like the people who vote "no" on this are just doing it ironically.

I went no because I legitimately don't think it's that great. I like it ok, but I guess I don't find it as funny as everyone else seems to.

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Voted yes, although I'd put Young Frankenstein and The Producers above it

 

Also, in my 20s and I think the only joke that gets a modern day groan from me are the gay dancers at the end of the film. The other jokes that could be perceived as offensive at least have something to comment on but the dancer scene just seems really mean spirited and revels in harmful stereotypes.

 

And to Devin, saw Sausage Party yesterday, really liked it.

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Easy Yes for me. Of all the classic Brooks comedies I think this is the one that remains the most relevant 40+ years down the road.

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It's a yes for me. Usually, I'm not the biggest Mel Brooks fan.... I think I smiled about once during Son Of Frankenstein, and I laughed harder at the musical verison of the Producers than the original film (although that Springtime for Hitler sequence is untouchable). I don't know what it is, but his kind of humor doesn't translate that well into my backwards, pedestrian, central Yuropeanh culturural background.

 

However, I was pleasantly surprised from Blazing Saddles. It's one of the funnier films I've seen, and I can see how it must have been influential, if you look at later comedies. Also, its politics still hold up in a teriffic as well as terifying way. It was a great show and a real pleasure to listen to it, guys. Probably my favorite discussion so far.

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I grew up with Brooks's films, and Blazing Saddles is probably his best. It's an easy yes.

 

Also, Amy, I found the screenwriter's girlfriend you were describing, and let me send a "fuck her" of solidarity your way--though, I'm mostly disappointed in said screenwriter.

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I think Rose Byrne may be the closest we currently have to a Madeline Kahn these days. She's beautiful, multitalented, and she's definitely not afraid to be goofy.

That's a good call. The physical resemblance is there, too.

 

As for the progression of Brooks comedies, I think that Spaceballs is the one where you really start seeing chinks in the armor. It's still a very enjoyable movie, but it starts to veer into the derivative/direct parody territory that characterized Brooks' crummy 1990s comedies.

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I've been waiting for this episode since the beginning of the canon. I'm 100% behind Amy's call for satire/comedy that walks a more dangerous line, shock value of this caliber that is both offensive and pushes forward progressive ideas feels in short supply right now. I've also been reading way too much Trump news and feeling really hopeless and sad about the situation. Re-watching Blazing Saddles was a nice reminder that even when people are awful sometimes making a joke of them is the best way to take away their power. Blazing Saddles is a substantial comedy that pulls no punches and some how manages to find jokes in its portrayal of racism in america. I wish the themes of this movie felt more antiquated but unfortunately it almost feels more relevant today. This is an absolute yes for me.

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Growing up, Mel Brooks informed my comedic sensibilities more than anything else (that, and probably The Simpsons), so this is predictably a huge yes for me. And jokes aside (comedy is subjective after all) - and even if you're not into Westerns - there is so much to appreciate about this film, which Amy + Devin nail.

 

I don't have much else to add except that as much as I love Cleavon Little's performance, it would've been fascinating to see how different the movie would've been with Richard Pryor as the sheriff, who was Mel Brooks' original choice.

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Reportedly, this is the first Hollywood film to explicitly feature flatulence. By breaking open that barrier to what is now part of the foundation of modern cinema, it is canonical. But it's also a great movie everyone should see.
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Along with my easy "YES" I will also add myself to the "watched this with my dad" group (although I wonder if I'm the first girl in that group? I'll have to go back and look.) This is one of two movies my dad insisted my brother and I sit down and watch when we were old enough (so like, 10, I think). The other was Monty Python and the Holy Grail, so I was happy to hear Devon mention both movies in the podcast.

 

Now 35, this is still one of my favorite movies and I revisit it frequently. Ever since this episode was announced I've been thinking about how to sum up what I love about it, and it's too overwhelming. The style of jokes are so varied and well-delivered, the casting is so spot-on (especially Little), and the satire is pitch-perfect.

 

As a kid , Kahn was my favorite part of the movie. When I was 12 I got to meet her after she performed in "Hello Dolly," and that's probably the most starstruck I've ever been.

 

Blazing Saddles - "It's a slam dunk!"

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Oh, and as for Sausage Party...I read Devon's review in BMD that mentioned Blazing Saddles; between that mention (I'm not sure he was comparing the two, hopefully not) and the glowing review, I was very excited to see it. I thought it was fine, I laughed, but it wasn't the over-the-top firehose-of-jokes irreverent must-see movie I somehow got my hopes up for. I got what they were going for and admired the effort, it's definitely worth seeing, but not exactly ground-breaking, in my opinion. I think South Park and Family Guy have been equally edgy with TV restrictions. I did really like the Bagel and Lavash stuff.

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Piss on you, I'm voting for Mel Brooks!

 

This movie is fearless satire that not only defined an era in comedy, but revolutionized the whole genre going forward. It's both low comedy and high comedy. It trades in adult gags, and Looney Tunes. It has four great comedians (Brooks, Wilder, Khan, Korman) at/near the tops of their game. And it's the greatest (EDIT: American) comedy of the 1970s.

 

A few jokes don't work anymore, but the vast majority do. Pretty damn good for a 40+ year old comedy.

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