Monday, June 13, 2011

Back to the Stooges....

Like Jack Nicholson said in About Schmidt, Native Americans got a raw deal! Just a raw deal. And thanks to certain Stooge films and Warner Brothers cartoons, and many, many others, they'll continue to get a raw deal in syndication.  On the other hand, no actual Native Americans in Back to the Woods were forced to act like idiots. Now, some of the African American actors in Stooge films, on the other other hand... on second thought, I better quit while I'm ahead.
But leave us wind back the video to the beginning. Oh, weren't those the days? The convenience of the modern age! No more video tapes! DVDs are almost obsolete thanks to YouTube. I swear, YouTube is getting away with genocide compared to Napster's murder. I know, I know... Napster? Kazaa? What's that? Try Wikipedia. People know what that is. Anyway, the Stooges find themselves awaiting trial in ye Olden England. The home of dry wit gave birth to such knuckleheads? I findest that-eth hardeth to believe-eth. Just letting you know what you're in store for. It's a good thing the Stooges learned to hit each other, because their ad-libbing kinda sucks. But it was topical at the time, and the NBC tones still dominate the airwaves, as long as Comcast Universal Vivendi finds them relevant and cute. The boys are sentenced to 50 years hard labour. Curly finds an opening, and goes for the auctioneer bit. "Do I hear 55? Who'll make it 55?" The judge says "I will!", accidentally flinging his gavel in the process. Dude, that's harsh. Even Curly finds it so. But, much like the classic Dutiful but Dumb, a far better punishment presents itself. In the case of Back to the Future... I mean, Woods, why not send them to the colonies to help trash America? Done. They drop their iron balls onto Bud Jamison's foot. Bud Jamison jumps up and down in pain, and the Stooges proceed to dance. L sits on his iron ball and does his usual Russian dance, and fade out.
Act Two: the boys land in America and make their way to the home of the Governor, where his three daughters are bored, tending to the house chores. The boys arrive and proceed to pitch some woo. The daughters have comedy names, of course: Hope, Faith and Charity. The third daughter has glasses, but otherwise she's not that bad looking. Why, she even raises her eyebrows in a sexy manner! A city girl, perhaps. Moe produces an olde-time music box and they proceed to dance. This is the long, drawn-out sequence to pad out the film to 2 reel length. I still wonder, though: is that really the music box making the music?
Now I hate to beat a nearly dead horse, but the sound Curly makes at 5:46 here: doesn't that sound similar to 1:07 and 6:28 I referenced earlier? Just a thought. Maybe I can apply for one of them genius grants, and spend my days cataloguing every last one of these Stooge minutia. Anyway, back to the play-by-play. Vernon Dent shows up, and the party's over. To show you how commanding and domineering a presence he is, he tells the music box to be quiet... and it does! The Stooges go along to a meeting of the Indians and the white men. The Stooges hit each other with their muskets when they do the left face/right face move. Don't worry, you haven't seen the last of it. At the meeting, the Indians are strangely financially savvy. They decree that there will be no hunting on their lands. But the pilgrims will starve! The Stooges decide to hunt anyway, and proceed to go out into the wilderness to make their fortune. A hunting they will goeth, indeed.
Well, it's well past my bedtime, so I'll cut this one short. At 8:52 in Part One, Curly makes a bad joke and pre-empts Moe striking back with one of those back and forth hand movements that a Stooge can't help but stare at. What a gullible species. I would give this one four stars, but there's some blatant plot devices here. They deliberately knock Larry out so he can get captured and tied to a tree. However, they manage to almost make up for it by hitting Larry in the crotch with a tree. Curly and Moe, each with a Larry leg in hand, on either side of a tree... and BAM! Right in the Fine family jewels. Also, there's a lot of other extra-curricular stunt work here done by the Stooges. Curly falls over Moe and Larry when he comes running with a bucket of water. Moe falls over Curly at one point. They also do the swishing branches gag. "Why don't ye look where ye swisheth?" There's a serious, extra-thick branch at one point, and they're especially careful with that one. Moe avoids getting hit by it, except when he stands up, and taps his angry face against it. Oh, and they re-use the power boat gag from a previous short... Whoops! I'm an Indian. That was the one. Good Lord. I gotta run.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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