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Episode 183 - Ladybugs: LIVE!

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Just getting around to the episode today; one loose observation.

 

Did anyone else notice that Patton's first Dangerfield impression sounds a lot more like a Kennedy (i.e. a Boston accent) than Dangerfield's Queens accent? It's actually a fairly credible Boston accent, too. He switches it up later in the episode (second opinions) though.

i was thinking rocky / Sylvester Stallone

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Ok loved this movie as a kid and kinda enjoyed the rewatch. Maybe i was remembering it as a kid cause i had a crush on the main girl and Jacki (sp?) growing up and thought Dangerfield was a hoot. Then listening to the podcast i realized how wrong i was to enjoy it. Btw scene where the boys are behind the girl at school talking....how does she not hear them?

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On a screenwriting level, that's the most offensive thing here: that they couldn't even adequately execute the tired, predictable (but functional) Mighty Ducks formula.

See, I don't think they were trying to copy The Mighty Ducks or Bad News Bears ... forgive me a moment of indulgence as I invoke the Power of Avatar and postulate that this movie is trying to copy Back to School.

 

Aside from the impetus behind the plot (trying to get a promotion vs. trying to get the degree you never got) and the cross-dressing element, the two movies hit all the same beats, except that he does in Ladybugs what he does with college girls in B2S. But in both movies, he's a fish-out-of-water with a son-figure he's trying to impress while simultaneously tormenting him. He plots and schemes to accomplish things he ultimately realizes he has to come by honestly. There are a variety of colorful characters standing in his way (the coaches vs. the teachers). He sings weird versions of classic rock standards and ends with a shout out to his trademark punchline -- although the ham-fisted "I finally got some respect" is a total half-assed shoutout compared to rolling credits on Aretha.

 

I daresay the only B2S has that LBs doesn't is the out-of-nowhere display of athletic prowess that some genius somewhere named The Triply Lindy ... oh, and that it's not shitty, while Ladybugs is.

 

There's also the quality of the comedy. The comedy is B2S is adult, for sure, but it's not all sex jokes and innuendo. There's Kinnison, there's Vonnegut, there's Oingo Boingo. "Hey guys, have some pens! You know, for when you learn to write!" "Hey everyone! Shakespeares for everyone! On me!" That stuff is hilarious! Meanwhile, LBs works the sex jokes so relentlessly that by the end they're running out of ideas and just going "Hey everybody, I finish quickly during sex!"

 

Plus, those posters, tho:

14590386301.jpg

Back_to_School_Movie_Poster.jpg

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You know who I felt bad for? The poor receptionist who was sexually harassed by his stupid schtick. She’s at work, bro! She has to sit there! Don’t mistake the fact that she hasn’t castrated you with her Swingline stapler as tacit approval of your disgusting rhetoric.

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While I agree that there is *a lot* of things that are very wrong with this movie, and while much of it truly is “problematic”, I was a little struck by how eager it seemed that everybody in the episode was willing to project an unseemly, dare I say pedophilla-friendly nature onto Rodney Dangerfield the person.

 

Don’t get me wrong, this is a bad movie with some jokes that it is generous to say are ill-advised and which is brazenly misogynistic in parts. However, Rodney didn’t write the movie, didn’t direct it, didn’t sign the checks, or release it. I think it is a little unfair to paint the guy with such a broad brush--especially when he is gone and, as far as I can tell, there isn’t some sort of known history of problematic behavior with kids. Dangerfield was a giant; one that many comics and arguable many of the HDTGM guests arguable owe a debt of gratitude

 

The disgust that was expressed during this show--disgust that was legitimate--is misplaced. It should have been aimed right at a culture in which, just 25 years ago, this movie could have been made by a major studio, marked to kids, and become a beloved movie to many all without nary a peep about it. If you read contemporary reviews of the film it gets panned, some characterize the jokes as bad (and acknowledge the homophobic and pedophilia subject matter), but nobody is screaming that it is terrible or harmful. The fact is that the world that could make this film and have it just be a stupid movie instead of a damaging one was not that long ago. It was our parents, the entertainment companies of the time, and sometimes even ourselves that allowed this sort of thing to happen. Dangerfield made a bad movie and told some bad jokes, and maybe kept too many spatulas--that does not make him a pedophile and the piling on in that manner left a bad taste in my mouth.

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You know who I felt bad for? The poor receptionist who was sexually harassed by his stupid schtick. She’s at work, bro! She has to sit there! Don’t mistake the fact that she hasn’t castrated you with her Swingline stapler as tacit approval of your disgusting rhetoric.

Incidentally, Ladybugs made me realize how poorly R-Danger's whole schtick has held up. His stand-up routine is a bit broader in terms of content, meaning it wasn't all sex and women jokes ... he talked about his childhood/parents and his bosses and doctors and anyone else that wasn't giving him respect. But in Ladybugs, he's only slightly more lovable than Andrew Dice Clay. The gay jokes, the racist jokes, and all the goddamn sex jokes aren't a good look, man. I don't know of any scandals that might tarnish his career, but I'm afraid he might be one of those that just gets lost to time because it's so irrelevant and passe.

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While I agree that there is *a lot* of things that are very wrong with this movie, and while much of it truly is “problematic”, I was a little struck by how eager it seemed that everybody in the episode was willing to project an unseemly, dare I say pedophilla-friendly nature onto Rodney Dangerfield the person.

 

Don’t get me wrong, this is a bad movie with some jokes that it is generous to say are ill-advised and which is brazenly misogynistic in parts. However, Rodney didn’t write the movie, didn’t direct it, didn’t sign the checks, or release it. I think it is a little unfair to paint the guy with such a broad brush--especially when he is gone and, as far as I can tell, there isn’t some sort of known history of problematic behavior with kids. Dangerfield was a giant; one that many comics and arguable many of the HDTGM guests arguable owe a debt of gratitude

 

The disgust that was expressed during this show--disgust that was legitimate--is misplaced. It should have been aimed right at a culture in which, just 25 years ago, this movie could have been made by a major studio, marked to kids, and become a beloved movie to many all without nary a peep about it. If you read contemporary reviews of the film it gets panned, some characterize the jokes as bad (and acknowledge the homophobic and pedophilia subject matter), but nobody is screaming that it is terrible or harmful. The fact is that the world that could make this film and have it just be a stupid movie instead of a damaging one was not that long ago. It was our parents, the entertainment companies of the time, and sometimes even ourselves that allowed this sort of thing to happen. Dangerfield made a bad movie and told some bad jokes, and maybe kept too many spatulas--that does not make him a pedophile and the piling on in that manner left a bad taste in my mouth.

I daresay that most of this "contextualization" you advocate is implied, not just in the episode but in general. The 80s were creepy; it's a given. But I'd say it's also not entirely necessary. Forget 25 years ago? Please ... this kind of movie still exists and gets made every year. It might not be marketed to kids, but I don't think Ladybugs really is, either, despite the fact that movie may have found a younger audience. But transphobic, homophobic, racist, misogynist humor in a Hollywood movie? Sure glad those days are over ...

 

Are you saying we can't pick on dead people? I'll be sure to get my licks in on Cosby while he's still alive. I'm not comparing Cosby's personal life to Dangerfield's, but his on-screen persona is 1000 different shades of creepy. His legend might not be as notorious as Cosby's, but I'm afraid his work will fade away due to lack of relevance.

 

And I disagree that R-Danger is entirely blameless for this film's content. Every part of this character's personality is tailored to his comedy. His age doesn't make sense plot-wise, but Rodney's fingerprint is everywhere in this film.

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As uncomfortable and just plain bad as this movie is, I think the script is just another draft from being a passable kids movie. Obviously replace the fucking pedophilia jokes because, holy shit, that's disgusting and not something you should portray as HILARIOUS to CHILDREN. You could just, for example, replace that business in the clothing store changing room by having Matthew having to do quick changes from Martha to Matthew while Rodney changes into that weird, unconvincing woman costume to try and convince the fainting old lady that they are actually two pairs of different people, each entering the changing room separately. They change into each other's cloths by accident, Matthew walks up to the cashier wearing Rodney's dress but no wig. Rodney has both wigs on but his wallet is missing. Matthew has his wallet. HI-JINKS! Maybe buys some actual nice flowers that he intends to give to Kimberly, but instead, in a fit of pity, gives those flowers to Rodney so Rodney can give those flowers to his (Matthew's) mom to get out of hot water. BOOM! Bonding moment.

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I daresay that most of this "contextualization" you advocate is implied, not just in the episode but in general. The 80s were creepy; it's a given. But I'd say it's also not entirely necessary. Forget 25 years ago? Please ... this kind of movie still exists and gets made every year. It might not be marketed to kids, but I don't think Ladybugs really is, either, despite the fact that movie may have found a younger audience. But transphobic, homophobic, racist, misogynist humor in a Hollywood movie? Sure glad those days are over ...

 

Are you saying we can't pick on dead people? I'll be sure to get my licks in on Cosby while he's still alive. I'm not comparing Cosby's personal life to Dangerfield's, but his on-screen persona is 1000 different shades of creepy. His legend might not be as notorious as Cosby's, but I'm afraid his work will fade away due to lack of relevance.

 

And I disagree that R-Danger is entirely blameless for this film's content. Every part of this character's personality is tailored to his comedy. His age doesn't make sense plot-wise, but Rodney's fingerprint is everywhere in this film.

 

Fair enough on all of your points--especially on how outmoded his act seems now. I dont think the man is blameless at all and of course you can criticize the dead...but, while played for laughs, I felt the commentary which seemed to imply that R-Danger the man not Chester the character was essentially a bit of kiddy fiddler wannbe went little further past the unfounded accusation line than I was comfortable with while missing the point that there is some real societal level culpability here. Maybe that is being unfair to the gang (whom I enjoy very much), but it seemed a bit much.

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There's also the quality of the comedy. The comedy is B2S is adult, for sure, but it's not all sex jokes and innuendo. There's Kinnison, there's Vonnegut, there's Oingo Boingo. "Hey guys, have some pens! You know, for when you learn to write!" "Hey everyone! Shakespeares for everyone! On me!" That stuff is hilarious! Meanwhile, LBs works the sex jokes so relentlessly that by the end they're running out of ideas and just going "Hey everybody, I finish quickly during sex!"

 

You know, I've been thinking a lot about Back to School because of Ladybugs. Back to School I'm sure has a few jokes that didn't age well, but I love that movie... it's one of my favs. He's genuinely funny, he's full of energy and -for the most part- his love interest is age appropriate so there's much less of a creepy old man factor. I can and will love RD in that movie, his role in Ladybugs not withstanding.

I think a lot of comedians have one movie (maybe more if they're lucky) that should be bronzed and put on the mantle and most others that should be stacked away in the closet. The best example off the top of my head is Coming To America which is close to a perfect comedy IMO, but practically every other movie Eddie Murphy has made (where he's the star in the medium priced star vehicle) is not great. Rodney's is Back to School.

Incidentally, Ladybugs made me realize how poorly R-Danger's whole schtick has held up. His stand-up routine is a bit broader in terms of content, meaning it wasn't all sex and women jokes ... he talked about his childhood/parents and his bosses and doctors and anyone else that wasn't giving him respect. But in Ladybugs, he's only slightly more lovable than Andrew Dice Clay. The gay jokes, the racist jokes, and all the goddamn sex jokes aren't a good look, man. I don't know of any scandals that might tarnish his career, but I'm afraid he might be one of those that just gets lost to time because it's so irrelevant and passe.

Except RD comedy is based off of self deprecation which I can always appreciate. I have loved his standup in the past, but we are living in a post "me too" world and there is plenty I'm sure that might feel ickier now.

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I think the easiest change would be to the ending. It's the exact same set-up, with Rodney and Mr. Mullen on the bus with an athletic team... but instead it's the same girls from the soccer team. However, they are STILL traveling to play baseball, only it's to compete in the boy's baseball league. The final shot is the girls running off the bus with their hair tucked up in their hats to look like boys, EXCITED to play and beat the boys at their own game. So you still get the gag of Rodney perpetually breaking the rules, but you show how much faith he has in the Ladybugs by sticking with them, no matter what the situation might be, no matter the sport, no matter the gender politics. MORE BONDING!

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Incidentally, Ladybugs made me realize how poorly R-Danger's whole schtick has held up. His stand-up routine is a bit broader in terms of content, meaning it wasn't all sex and women jokes ... he talked about his childhood/parents and his bosses and doctors and anyone else that wasn't giving him respect. But in Ladybugs, he's only slightly more lovable than Andrew Dice Clay. The gay jokes, the racist jokes, and all the goddamn sex jokes aren't a good look, man. I don't know of any scandals that might tarnish his career, but I'm afraid he might be one of those that just gets lost to time because it's so irrelevant and passe.

I get the feeling Rodney Dangerfield is going to go the way of someone like Henny Youngman. You'll know some of their jokes, but people won't remember the origin. Both have expertly crafted one liners, similarish material but it hasn't aged well (Youngman more for sounding hackneyed than offensive I think). Comedians respect them both but the style of humor is too dated fro audiences even if I can appreciate the craft.

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I felt the commentary which seemed to imply that R-Danger the man not Chester the character was essentially a bit of kiddy fiddler wannbe went little further past the unfounded accusation line than I was comfortable with while missing the point that there is some real societal level culpability here. Maybe that is being unfair to the gang (whom I enjoy very much), but it seemed a bit much.

Except RD comedy is based off of self deprecation which I can always appreciate. I have loved his standup in the past, but we are living in a post "me too" world and there is plenty I'm sure that might feel ickier now.

Fair points to both of you. I'll agree that this movie is a product of its time.

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I think a lot of comedians have one movie (maybe more if they're lucky) that should be bronzed and put on the mantle and most others that should be stacked away in the closet. The best example off the top of my head is Coming To America which is close to a perfect comedy IMO, but practically every other movie Eddie Murphy has made (where he's the star in the medium priced star vehicle) is not great. Rodney's is Back to School.

Meanwhile there are a half-dozen Santa Clause movies and two Paul Blarts. This world is lame.

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My biggest bone to pick with this movie is the "underdog" storyline. The lady bugs are the champions of the Rocky Mountain soccer league five years running. They have huge signs on their practice field saying so. Yes, they lost most of their old team, but to other teams their legacy alone would make people expect big things from them - the opposite of an underdog. I would assume in this recreational league that most of the other teams wouldn't even be that aware of the turnover and would be trembling in their cleats when they played the bugs. As reigning champs they would be the team to beat.

 

Besides this, they are NOT the bad news bears or the mighty ducks because of another big difference: CORPORATE MONEY. Uniforms, practice uniforms, balls, flags, signs, bags, coolers, a varied coach and ass't coach uniform... their own practice field. This team has it.

39749321055_68335ec390_o.jpg

 

They are sponsored by a huge corporate conglomerate which is hemorrhaging money in signage alone. During the "Great Balls of Fire" montage we see that the Mullen office has commissioned large one-off scoreboards for each game, each more elaborate than the last... All to celebrate their inevitable victory.

40645197601_658105ebe6_o.jpg

 

In almost any other context these would be the bad guys.

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My biggest bone to pick with this movie is the "underdog" storyline. The lady bugs are the champions of the Rocky Mountain soccer league five years running. They have huge signs on their practice field saying so. Yes, they lost most of their players and coach, but to most people playing them their legacy alone makes them a powerhouse before they even get started. I would assume in this small recreational league that most of the other teams wouldn't even be that aware of their turnover and would be trembling in their cleats when they played the ladybugs... As reigning champs they would be the team to beat. They are NOT the bad news bears or the mighty ducks because (besides the already established champion status) one big differences separates them is CORPORATE MONEY.

 

Uniforms, practice uniforms, balls, flags, signs, bags, coolers, a varied coach and ass't coach uniform... their own practice field. This team has it.

 

They are sponsored by a huge corporate conglomerate which is hemorrhaging money in signage alone. During the "Great Balls of Fire" montage we see that the Mullen office has commissioned large one-off scoreboards for each game, each more elaborate than the last.

 

In almost any other context these would be the bad guys.

Can you really be "underdogs" if you've never played the game before? I mean, the Mighty Ducks and Bad News Bears had been teams for a while and they were actually trying to do well and just sucking at it, despite a little bit inherent talent. But these girls were completely new to the game, and sports in general, in some cases. Chu didn't know anything about the game other than she can't use her hands -- and then they put her in as goalie!! What does anyone expect? These girls have no frame of reference at all ... can you be a lovable loser if you've never actually lost?

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I think a lot of comedians have one movie (maybe more if they're lucky) that should be bronzed and put on the mantle and most others that should be stacked away in the closet. The best example off the top of my head is Coming To America which is close to a perfect comedy IMO, but practically every other movie Eddie Murphy has made (where he's the star in the medium priced star vehicle) is not great. Rodney's is Back to School.

I love Coming to America, but c'mon, Beverly Hills Cop is great.

 

However, Raw? Yikes. The fact that those jokes seemed hilarious to me once makes me feel.... not good.

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In almost any other context these would be the bad guys.

They *are* the bad guys. They are fucking cheating! And the movie celebrates cheating! That's the whole moral/punchline of the entire movie! They should have made this movie about the Patriots, Yankees, or Lakers.

 

If they want to keep the squick factor they can cast recent Academy Award winner Kobe Bryant.

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I love Coming to America, but c'mon, Beverly Hills Cop is great.

 

However, Raw? Yikes. The fact that those jokes seemed hilarious to me once makes me feel.... not good.

 

Very fair.

Maybe the greats all get 2... RodD did make Caddyshack.

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Fair enough on all of your points--especially on how outmoded his act seems now. I dont think the man is blameless at all and of course you can criticize the dead...but, while played for laughs, I felt the commentary which seemed to imply that R-Danger the man not Chester the character was essentially a bit of kiddy fiddler wannbe went little further past the unfounded accusation line than I was comfortable with while missing the point that there is some real societal level culpability here. Maybe that is being unfair to the gang (whom I enjoy very much), but it seemed a bit much.

 

Honestly, I think most of this is that when people are talking casually about a movie, they'll refer to a character by the actor's name. Rodney Dangerfield is a super-recognizable actor with a very familiar persona, so when you say "Rodney" everyone knows what you mean.

 

I'm doubtful anyone on the podcast seriously thinks they are describing the real Rodney. It's how the character of Chester is written/performed they are objecting to.

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I love Coming to America, but c'mon, Beverly Hills Cop is great.

 

However, Raw? Yikes. The fact that those jokes seemed hilarious to me once makes me feel.... not good.

 

Eddie Murphy had a lot of hits (there's also 48 Hours, Nutty Professor, Trading Places, and Bowfinger), so he might be a bad example.

 

I do think it's fair to say that most comic actors have a "prime" where they make good, funny movies and once the "prime" has passed it's rare to get it back.

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Per an earlier post, someone shared the below image:

 

uzcBT2l.png

 

Here you see Mullen's office celebrating another win by the Ladybugs. On the top of the homemade scoreboard are the years in which the Ladybugs won the championship. Is it strange to anyone else that from 1983 to 1990, the team won every year except 1985? I know this is a fictitious team, but if you go this route, why exclude one year. What is that missing year suppose to communicate to us?

 

And on a side note, my OCD is going bonkers because if the props department just kept 1985 as a year they won the championship... that sign would be symmetrical. 4 years on top and 4 years on bottom!!

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Hope I'm not too late with this for the Mini-episode but just listened to the episode and:

Remember how Paul alluded to that opera-movie Furie & Dangerfield wanted to develop together? Well, that totally happened, but without Furie. In 2002 Dangerfield starred in "The Fourth Tenor," a movie about "A restaurant owner who falls in love with an opera singer and, desperate to impress her, travels to Italy to learn how to sing."

Yep: https://letterboxd.c.../the-4th-tenor/

 

 

(edit: I see grudlian also posted about this, weird I did a search but nothing came up, my bad!)

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uzcBT2l.png

 

These pictures makes me think of something I was wondering. I could be completely off base here, and this is where I wished June chimed in more but are these scores normal for soccer matches of this age group? If you have kids in youth soccer or were part of it I am very curious. We have 8-7, 9-7, 6-4 just from Mullen's boards alone and those seem very high for a soccer match. Currently the top premier league team's biggest win was 5-1 but most of the games are 2-1, 1-1, 3-0. I know there is a big difference between young kids and top tier professionals but these scores just seem ridiculously high. What makes this even weirder in the Ladybug's first match when all the players but one were new and they had no skills or anything they lost 9-0. Wow! They got creamed, right? Well, if they are winning 8-7 and 9-7, they're getting goals now but defensively speaking they are doing as good as when they had no training. They are just kicking more and that seems to be netting them goals. Are they actually getting any better overall though?

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Did anyone else notice that the first time we meet the bosses "trophy" wife, she is standing next to the large trophy cabinet?

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