Welp, I just saw a trailer for the new Three Stooges movie, so I better start with my thoughts about that. The thing that some might find disappointing about the original Stooge shorts is that no Stooge ever gets hit in the nuts, not even by a lobster. This is an oversight that the Farrellys finally rectify in the movie, as well as the fact that the ladies usually wear too many clothes in the original shorts, with the exception of Disorder in the Court, of course; and while this may make me seem prudish, I gotta say that the gal "testifying" about her sexy dance was pretty sexy! I still can't get past Snooki's face, personally, but I'm sure my mind will be changed about that, one way or another. I wasn't terribly impressed with Sean Hayes as Larry, and I didn't get the sense that he was particularly enjoying himself. Curly was pretty good... but the guy doing Moe! He was pretty excellent, if I do say so myself. Oh, he'll have a lot to say on the DVD, I'm sure. He must've been channeling the ol' sugar-bowl top himself, I dare say... FIND THE TRAILERS YOURSELF!
And so, on we go to the next Stooge flick. Let's get it over with. It's called How High is Up? Not to be confused with the Cheech and Chong flick of the same name.
SPOILER ALERT. What better way to start a Stooge flick than with the boys asleep? Curly runs afoul of a particularly pesky pest while sleeping. We are looking down on the boys from above, and a lamp is hanging over them. We pull back and see that... they are actually asleep under their car! Well, it was the Depression, even though the Stooges in no way represent the angst of said Depression. Things go from bad to worse as a street-washing truck douses the boys with water. They pull down a shade that says "Men at Work" on it. Things go from worse to even more worse as a freak accident lets loose a flood of water from a hydrant. The water ends up washing the boys completely out from under their car, and the three of them float down the street on the back of this strong new urban river. Pedestrians look on in horror and disbelief. They finally come to a stop at an intersection, and fortunately for them, a truck bearing down on them ALSO comes to a stop, even though the street the truck was on looked pretty slick from water. What almost could've been... well, I guess it was just the stunt doubles, and they die in high enough numbers as it is. Moe confuses the honking of the truck's horn for the alarm clock, so he hits Curly in the stomach, and then in the head, ordering him to turn off the alarm clock. Curly doesn't have the normal reaction to getting hit, as he's still plenty tired himself. They eventually realize a cop's watching them, and quickly grab their mattress out of the road and head back to their car. The cop gives them some motivation with his nightstick to move quickly.
Back at their car, Curly makes the usual stupid move: Curly shows Moe an anchor. Now, what do you think Moe's going to do with that anchor? But they try to keep the shtick sort of fresh: Larry ends up being collateral damage. Curly ends up trying to fix their flat tire. A piece of salami from Moe's sandwich ends up serving as the patch for the tire. Needless to say, there are no wasted setups. Moe tells Larry to get the tools that they've been using for the last ten years... just like in that other one... the name of which escapes me at the moment. Pardon My Scotch, that's it! The boys leave to find some work. I probably should've mentioned that in this one they play three self-employed fix-it men. And when you see how they drum up business, you might agree with me that they should be flogged in the town square. After they leave their car, a stray dog goes up to the tire and immediately makes food out of the salami patch on the tire.
The boys return. Moe grabs Curly and says "I thought I told you to fix that puncture." Curly bellows, "I DID!" Good line reading. (Curly 4:08) Larry tries to act like Moe at this point, and quickly gets put in his place by Moe with just a dirty look! Behold the power of Moe.
Now, as I've noted before, in these Stooge shorts that aren't as good as some of the others, there's typically an episode that's used to pad out the length of the film to two reels, or about 16 minutes. In How High is Up?, this episode happens at this point: Curly tries taking off his sweater, and has some trouble doing so. Moe and Larry "help" Curly take off his sweater... and it's probably the saddest thing you'll ever see. I won't describe the whole ordeal, but this will give you an idea of how bad it gets: at one point Moe asks Curly, "Were you wearing a pink tie? No? Well, here's your ear back." At 5:50 and 6:04 in particular, Curly seems especially pissed. I'm going to use this episode as the Act break.
The boys finally stop grappling with Curly's sweater after destroying it completely and proceed to drum up some "business." They spy a group of lunch boxes and get to work. Now, this is where I part company with the Stooges in this instance. Here's how they drum up business: they put holes in the lunch boxes with their handy board with a nail in it. And even though they rather immediately get caught because of their own stupidity, I still don't like it. Somehow, the filmmakers must've felt the same way, as we move quickly onto the next situation. The boys cut in a job line and get more than they bargained for, finding themselves working as riveters on the 97th floor of a new skyscraper. As with most things, it's about the journey with the Stooges, not the destination. As the boys climb to the 97th floor, Curly has the opportunity to tell Moe, "You laugh when you say that!" And Moe does! It's an unusual moment in Stoogedom... at least, for me. (Moe 1:10).
Well, for some reason, I hate to spoil the details of what happens on the 97th floor, but it should probably come as no surprise that the parachute Curly's wearing on the way up ends up getting used. Fortunately for them, and unfortunately for the rest of humanity, the parachute opens, they land in their car, and drive off with the parachute blocking their vision. The final shot of the film is epic.
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan