Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Enter Moe's Matrix...

Finally! A Stooge film I'm half-assed familiar with. However, it's been a while since I've seen it, and it kinda didn't hold up too well for me. If I were a better writer, I could explain that this one's even more juvenile than the average Stooge film. Or maybe it relies on Hollywood clichés too heavily. Allow me to explain, if you've nothing better to do.
We see the three knuckleheads driving home from a prospecting trip gone bust, with their trusty donkey in the car with them. They've got a flat tire, and just enough gas to make it home. It's the midst of the Depression, mind you, and the boys weren't afraid to show off their proletarian roots, unlike some high-falutin' comedy teams I can't remember the name of. I guess the Marx brothers were doing pretty well despite the stock market crash, but they never ... SPOILER ALERT... they never lived in a city dump in one of their movies, as near as I can tell. The closest they got to tough times was sitting on a park bench. Then again, the Stooges picked the Marx brothers comedy pockets on many an occasion, so it's all balanced out now! Anyway, they drive to their "home" - the city dump, when they realize that someone's living in their city dump shack. Ready to give them the eye gouging treatment they deserve, they realize it's a little kid and his mother. Oscar time, anyone? To further "golden statuette" matters, the kid needs an operation on his leg. Well, as Sam Kinison might observe, LIVING IN A DUMP REALLY HELPS!!! OH, OH, OHHHHHHHHHHH! But, fortunately, this isn't The Grapes of Wrath, and the kid doesn't get a secondary infection from all that dump garbage.
Anyway, the Stooges look for a new tire for their car, find a can full of money, and start looking for more cans full of money. Curly spends a lot of this film making noises of frustration, but it's almost worth it for the end when he makes noises of excitement. Anyway, as you might have guessed... yup, it's money for the kid's operation that mum and the kid were saving. The American health care system hasn't changed all that much, has it? Now, this is where the blatant FDR propaganda comes in, and any Tea Partiers reading this might want to risk being offended and switch to something else... I know, famous last words, right? Gotta do it smart, like Lisa Simpson. She saved Homer from eating that deadly eclair by saying it was low fat. Hard to say if that type of reasoning would work on your die-hard Tea Partier, though. Well, just think of it as a free pass into enemy territory. Anyway, the Stooges suddenly become Democratic puppets at this point. You can practically see FDR sticking his hand in their keisters, and manipulating their brains with his gloved hands when Moe says "Aw, lady, why don't you put your money in the bank?" But the writers, fortunately, pull us back from the New Deal civics lesson, as the Stooges themselves decide to put the money in the bank for the mom and kid. They run afoul of some clearly liberal gangsters who finagle the money out of the Stooges' hands with the promise of easy riches. Why do the liberals always cannibalize their own kind? Tisk, tisk. Pish posh and tish tosh. Begin Act Two, I guess.
Act Two: the Stooges are now in possession of the proverbial magic beans: a "treasure" map that says "Walla Walla" with an X. The crooks drop the Stooges off at a house, telling them the money's within. The boys start tearing up the walls of the house, or the "walla"s. The image is of Moe getting his head stuck in a walla, and a wooden beam drops on his neck. I couldn't help but think of the first Matrix movie when everyone's in the wall in a similar situation... wonder if the Wachowskis were similarly influenced. Anyway, for those of you who were disappointed by the lack of genuine digging in Cactus Makes Perfect, for example, you'll be relieved that some genuine digging gets done here. On the other hand, CMP's not about the destination. It's about the journey! And the dude who plays the Stooges mother... something like that. We'll get to it later, though, and if I were better at math, I could pinpoint the exact week. Someone else do it for me, huh?
Anyway, MORE SPOILERS. Even though the Stooges traffic in dumb humour, they're still kinda smart some of the time. In this case, however, it suffers from a dumbness of plot. The climax is my main beef: the house they're digging around in just HAPPENS to be next door to a U.S. Treasury vault. The Stooges dynamite the adjacent wall, walk into the vault and, not realizing who's money they're taking, start taking money. Larry stuffs his pants til they drop... I'm sorry, 'til he has pants on the ground. Curly goes mental on a big stack of gold bars, while Moe riffles through a big stack of bills. The Treasury agents are slow to react, but just fast enough to catch the boys as they start to prepare for a second trip. The Stooges get caught. One of the agents says "Why, you'll get life for this!" Next scene: The White House, where the Stooges and the mom 'n kid are standing in front of the President. The President has his back to us, but the back of his head kinda looks like FDR! Cannery Row spared almost no expense. One more warning for any Tea Partiers reading this: if you've stuck through it this far, well, it's just going to get worse. The President gives the Stooges executive clemency... Curly says "Oh, no! Not that!" Moe explains it to him. And just to rub more salt into the Job Creators' constantly running sore, the President says HE'S going to pay for the kid's operation! Communists! Damn dirty Communists! Too bad McCarthy wasn't invented yet. Needles to say, it's been downhill ever since. Welfare moms, food stamps, paved roads, Social Security... and the Stooges helped make it all happen. People tend to forget that.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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