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The Police Squad Franchise
#1
Having watched the films with my girls over the past few weeks, I have developed the indisputable ranking of the franchise elements:

  1. Police Squad (the series)
  2. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad
  3. The Naked Gun 2: The Smell of Fear
  4. The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult
Quality diminishes over time.  The first two are still incredibly funny pieces of work, but like most ZAZ they reach their peak early and then ride out worse versions of the same joke.  

The Tony d'Wonderful episode of Police Squad, and the scene in Ludwig's apartment in TNG still kill me every time.
"I'm from the old school, I used to see men die for less - but I'm not livin' that way. I'll let my mic do the talking...and let the music play" - Joseph Conrad
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#2
I agree with that ranking, with the caveat that I pretty much detest NG2 and NG3.
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#3
(04-02-2020, 02:02 PM)Judas Booth Wrote: I agree with that ranking, with the caveat that I pretty much detest NG2 and NG3.

My wife and I just watched Naked Gun 2 1/2 last weekend.  It was the first time she had seen it and she absolutely loved it to the point where she won't stop quoting it now.  While the first is the best, I think the second and third are also pretty funny.

Tastes vary, so if you don't like it, no worries, but if you think I am wrong about the sequels being good...



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#4
NG2 plagiarizes a LOT of jokes from the original tv series.  

I do not forgive.
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#5
Big fan of Frank Drebin's (mis)adventures here. All three films and the tv series add up to a good time for me. 

I enjoy Police Squad, but much prefer the more straight ahead comedy and gags of the movies. Sorry to blaspheme...

The original Naked Gun is the best for sure (and one of the best 80's comedies), but I feel the two sequels are very underrated. 

2 1/2 has the opening with Barbara Bush, the Blue Note cafe, the "I've been swimming in raw sewage"/ "I love it" gag, "Do you realize the city is overrun by baboons?" and Drebin pulling the professor's pants down to show his birth mark. 

33 1/3's got the Untouchables opening, the hilarious sperm bank sequence, the jail escape ("it was like being in the stands of a LA Raiders game") and the entire Oscars finale. Yeah, ok it maybe the weakest of the movie trilogy, but there's still enough good laughs to be had. 

I also feel Robert Goulet and Fred Ward deserve credit as the villains in the sequels. Their facial reactions to Drebin's antics are priceless!

*EDIT - Also wonder why Al, the tall guy, never appeared again after the original film?
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#6
(04-02-2020, 02:02 PM)Judas Booth Wrote: I agree with that ranking, with the caveat that I pretty much detest NG2 and NG3.

Two still has some good bits, but having just watched 3 for the first time in a long time...it is pretty bad.  There are moments, but damn is it incoherent.
"I'm from the old school, I used to see men die for less - but I'm not livin' that way. I'll let my mic do the talking...and let the music play" - Joseph Conrad
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#7
The only part of 3 that I feel doesn't work is the Thelma & Louise parody. Other than that, the stuff with Drebin approaching retirement, Fred Ward's appearance as the villain, Rocco and the whole Oscars bit make up for it.

Another couple of underrated stuff from 3:

- The newspaper with the tagline "Dyslexia For Cure Found"

- Drebin asking the taxi drivers who all speak in foreign languages and stops with a African guy dressed in traditional wear who replies in a thick British accent "I wonder what the devil he wanted"
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#8
(04-02-2020, 02:49 PM)ravi Wrote: *EDIT - Also wonder why Al, the tall guy, never appeared again after the original film?

Totally - he was a key part of Police Squad!  And a great example of just a weird joke.

One character that should have come from the series is Johnny the shoe shine guy.
"I'm from the old school, I used to see men die for less - but I'm not livin' that way. I'll let my mic do the talking...and let the music play" - Joseph Conrad
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#9
Just watched the original the other night with a friend on the line who never saw it. He went to sleep after the first half-hour, but in that time we laughed very consistently. Then I almost killed myself laughing watching the rest of it. This is one of my ultimate childhood movies and something that my persona doesn't exist without. I haven't seen either sequel in full since the 90's, but Netflix streaming them means I'll probably go and watch them again.


Anyone know where Police Squad! is streaming? Been jonesing to watch it again.
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#10
Another thing I liked is how they reused a few of the cast throughout the series: 

- Weird Al Yankovic of course plays himself in 1&3, then has a cameo as a stick up robber in 2

- Papshmir is in 1&3

- The shady docksman Drebin does an exchange with in the original appears as the Oscars head in 3

- The actor playing an umpire in the original also plays the sex shop owner in 2, then the grocery store clerk in 3

- The lady who's apartment Drebin bumbles into returns in 3 at the grocery store. Melons! 

Also, check out Leslie Nielsen's hilarious made up autobiography The Naked Truth that came out in 1993. It has Nielsen superimposed into various eras of Hollywood, his love life with many actresses, teaching James Dean how to act, etc. It's now out of print, but worth checking out.
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#11
I was actually in a test screening for the first POLICE SQUAD movie. I saw it at the University of Minnesota about 3 weeks before it came out (and before most of the really, really good jokes were spoiled by the commercials). It was hysterical, especially going into it cold like we all did.

All of these movies have jokes that miss. Even AIRPLANE has a few duff jokes here and there. The key is to have a solid hit/miss ratio, and the first PS movie is probably operating at about 90-95%. It's just constantly landing 'em. For each subsequent movie, that hit/miss ratio drops...it's been a while on 2 or 3, but I'd probably say that 2 was at 50% and 3 was at 25%. They have funny moments and some solid jokes that land, but there are simply too many duff jokes that completely lay there dead.

If memory serves, there was a review for the first PS movie that called it 'the non stop laugh machine.' That's very accurate.
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#12
The most dated aspect of the first NAKED GUN is probably the opening, with stand-ins for Gorbachev, Qadaffi, etc. The rest is gold.

Al the tall guy and the original Nordberg were both great. I think about this POLICE SQUAD joke about once a month or so:

"Who are you, and how did you get in here?"
"I'm a locksmith...and I'm a locksmith."
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#13
The ZAZ Team did Scary Movie 5 which from what i saw is horrible.

Sad to say this. But they may have lost their touch.

P.S - Watched TOP SECRET for the first time last year. Yeah there are some genuinely hilarious stuff there (Though that Blue Lagoon spoof may go over some people these days).
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#14
Ahh TOP SECRET! 

Never saw SCARY MOVIE 5, and had no idea the Zuckers were involved... I knew the guy who played Mama in that movie:



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#15
Haven't seen Top Secret in an age. "If they find out you've seen this, your life will be worth less then a truckload of dead rats in a tampon factory."
If I could change to liquid, I'd fill the cracks and bend the rocks.
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#16
(04-02-2020, 09:29 PM)Felix Wrote: The ZAZ Team did Scary Movie 5 which from what i saw is horrible.

Sad to say this. But they may have lost their touch.

I remember being stoked that they were taking over the Scary Movie franchise with the third one, and it was one of the most underwhelming experiences.

Looking their resume, they really lost it. I remember AMERICAN CAROL being their attempt to mine humor from a politically conservative perspective, just around the time Bush's term was ending. Poor timing!
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#17
I hated SCARY MOVIE 4 the first time i saw it. But i've softened on it over the years. There're a few moderately funny gems in it (E.g That Grudge ghost speaking "Japanese" which is actually just Japanese brand names).
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#18
Top Secret! is awesome and Val Kilmer's great in one of his early roles.

It doesn't involve the Zuckers, but I recommend checking out the Hot Shots! films with Charlie Sheen. Jim Abrahams directed both and in my opinion, Part Deux is the superior of the two. Love the entire finale with Saddam and the Martin Sheen cameo.

An American Carol was god-awful. I only made it to 20 minutes before turning it off. Sure, I may not agree with the film's politics, but at least have something resembling jokes and actors who can be somewhat funny!

(04-02-2020, 10:40 PM)Felix Wrote: I hated SCARY MOVIE 4 the first time i saw it. But i've softened on it over the years. There're a few moderately funny gems in it (E.g That Grudge ghost speaking "Japanese" which is actually just Japanese brand names).

Scary Movie 4 ain't great, but Nielsen has a hilarious bit where he unknowingly gives a speech to the UN in the nude.

"It's not a pretty sight everything is loose and flapping around!"


I guess one reason I enjoy the Naked Gun sequels more than most (and why I prefer the movies over the TV series), is because I like the chemistry between Nielsen, Presley and Kennedy (leaving out Simpson of course). Sometimes it's not always about how many jokes can be thrown at the screen, but just enjoying the character's interactions.
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#19
(04-02-2020, 10:37 PM)mr. stockslivevan Wrote:
(04-02-2020, 09:29 PM)Felix Wrote: The ZAZ Team did Scary Movie 5 which from what i saw is horrible.

Sad to say this. But they may have lost their touch.

I remember being stoked that they were taking over the Scary Movie franchise with the third one, and it was one of the most underwhelming experiences.

Looking their resume, they really lost it. I remember AMERICAN CAROL being their attempt to mine humor from a politically conservative perspective, just around the time Bush's term was ending. Poor timing!

Wasn't it only David Zucker who did that one? Don't think the other two were involved.

Always thought it was weird that Jerry Zucker had a huge smash as a director with GHOST and then only directed two more movies after that.
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#20
(04-02-2020, 10:37 PM)mr. stockslivevan Wrote: I remember being stoked that they were taking over the Scary Movie franchise with the third one, and it was one of the most underwhelming experiences.

I remember not knowing they'd taken over the Scary Movie franchise with the third one, and I was shocked at how much it made me laugh.
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#21
I enjoyed the first Scary Movie surprisingly a lot. It's crass, lowbrow but a lot of it works.
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#22
(04-03-2020, 12:32 AM)Alt-molt Wrote: Wasn't it only David Zucker who did that one? Don't think the other two were involved.

Always thought it was weird that Jerry Zucker had a huge smash as a director with GHOST and then only directed two more movies after that.

Yeah, David had the Dennis Miller Post 9/11 Brainwarp and made AMERICAN CAROL on his own. He also produced PHONE BOOTH!

The HOT SHOTS movies gave me some hearty laughs, although there are so many pop culture gags in both that they're awfully dated. Compare that to TOP SECRET; I don't need to know anything about the Beach Boys to know that "Skeet Surfin" is funny.
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#23
I have no idea what the word is for the emotion you feel when you're watching one of these and OJ does something that makes you laugh.

Jesus, that first NAKED GUN movie. I was in 6th grade when it came out, which was ideal. To this day the scene with Drebin wearing the microphone into the bathroom is one of the funniest things I've ever seen. "Whoops!"
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#24
(04-03-2020, 04:18 PM)Misfit Wrote: I have no idea what the word is for the emotion you feel when you're watching one of these and OJ does something that makes you laugh.
OJ-denfreude?
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#25
Earlier this week, I was toying with an idea to try to do a spoof movie knockout, but had trouble articulating what would make some movies qualify and not others. I'd put my money on BLAZING SADDLES and the original NAKED GUN and AIRPLANEs rounding out the top three though.
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#26
The reveal of the movie Frank and Jane were seeing is just genius.
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#27
(04-03-2020, 06:00 PM)schwartz Wrote: Earlier this week, I was toying with an idea to try to do a spoof movie knockout, but had trouble articulating what would make some movies qualify and not others.  I'd put my money on BLAZING SADDLES and the original NAKED GUN and AIRPLANEs rounding out the top three though.

Followed by SPINAL TAP. Yes, it's a spoof movie, shut up!!
I might have been born yesterday sir, but I stayed up all night!
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#28
I rather thought that MAFIA! was a pretty good one of those spoof movies.
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#29
(04-03-2020, 06:53 PM)Evi Wrote:
(04-03-2020, 06:00 PM)schwartz Wrote: Earlier this week, I was toying with an idea to try to do a spoof movie knockout, but had trouble articulating what would make some movies qualify and not others.  I'd put my money on BLAZING SADDLES and the original NAKED GUN and AIRPLANEs rounding out the top three though.

Followed by SPINAL TAP. Yes, it's a spoof movie, shut up!!

That was one of the troubles.  I don't think SPINAL TAP qualifies in the ZAZ mold, as it maintains a more or less cohesive internal reality.  But I had a hard time defining exactly where the line between that and YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, which feels like it does fit. I think it has to do with disregarding the fourth wall for the sake of gags, but I have a hard time putting my finger on it.
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#30
I don't really think of SPINAL TAP as a spoof movie. WALK HARD is though.
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#31
HIGH ANXIETY is another good one.
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#32
LOADED WEAPON isn't bad.
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#33
For me that’s narrowing the definition a bit. Something like WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER for example also has a relatively cohesive internal reality, but I’d still consider it a spoof film.
I might have been born yesterday sir, but I stayed up all night!
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#34
Rustler's Rhapsody, anyone? Not that it holds a candle to the classics in the laughs department, but I've always had a soft spot for the self-aware gag that the hero knows how this fight is going to play out because "every small town in the west is the same."

I'd include Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid and Johnny Dangerously if I were composing the watch list - especially the latter.
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#35
(04-03-2020, 08:08 PM)Alt-molt Wrote: I don't really think of SPINAL TAP as a spoof movie. WALK HARD is though.
WALK HARD should have canceled all biopics forever. Every one since, at some point, leads to me thinking of Dewey yelling "Goddammit this is a dark fuckin' period!"

EDIT: I loooooved RUSTLER'S RHAPSODY back in the day. I still occasionally yell Andy Griffith's exasperated "GEE WHIZ!!"
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