Thursday, January 16, 2014

Million Dollar Shempie (11 films remain)

My Volume Seven finally ran out!  And I thought it would last forever... whew.  Saved by the innertubes.  According to this... and I'm assuming this is a reliable source... our next Stooge short is called Fling in the Ring.  Sounds like a remake of Fright Night, if you ask me... and it is!  We start with some exposition about the bad guys, unlike with Fright Night, but right after that, we get right into the Fright Night action, starting with the battle royale of Stooges vs. Oscar the Dummy.  Alas, this epic struggle is cut short, due to time constraints.  But Shemp's training fight with Chopper is altered slightly, and Larry places a bet on Chopper during this sequence, unlike Fright Night.
After the Stooges find out that "upper management" wants Chopper to take a dive, Chopper's training changes to the Tarnauer Diet.  And they left in my favorite part!  "If I only had some coffee," says Shemp with a face full of pie.  Next scene: the "Majestic Fight Arena."  Perhaps you've heard of it?  Me neither.  Only in a Stooge film.  This thing has more plot twists than a Coen brothers pretzel!  I mean, movie!  As with Fright Night, Chopper's mad because Kitty dumped him for the other fighter.  In the midst of Chopper's alpha rage, the Stooges forget to tell him that he's supposed to take a dive.  Shemp offers Chopper a cream puff, but it ends up on Shemp's face.  SPOILER ALERT: the cream puff from Shemp's face soon ends up on the opponent's face: "Gorilla" Watson.  Now, "Gorilla" is about as mad as "The Chopper."  Watson tries to punch one of the Stooges, but hits the brick wall of the Magestic Fight Arena instead.  The fight has to be cancelled!  See what I mean?  Plot twist upon plot twist.  Screenwriters take note.  Boy, would the Stooges like to see the look on the mob boss's face when they hear the fight was cancelled!  You'll never guess what happens next.  They had to re-shoot that part to account for the new bad guys.
But before we get to the thrilling warehouse chase, there's a brief homage to Loose Loot, where the arch bad guy's head gets stuck in the warehouse door!  Moe goes to work on the bad guy's head with some paint, and by pulling out some of the guy's hairs.  Dayamn!  Who's the gangster now?  And then... the chase is on, with slightly sped-up audio.  They all sound like chipmunks now.  And then... ah, it's the guy who turns and looks, Cy Schindell.  I miss that hammy bastid.  They leave in his big part where Moe turns him into a ventriloquist's dummy.  Say!  Isn't that Terry Hargan?  It is!  But he doesn't get credit for this one!  Only for Fright Night!  You cut me deep, IMDb.  You cut me deep.
But I digress.  To cut to another chase, as with Shemp being volunteered to fight Chopper, the gangsters volunteer Shemp as a battering ram to knock down a giant metal-looking door, behind which are the other two Stooges.  Shemp's got one shot to save his buddies.  With the help of some moth balls and an axe, Shemp saves his fellow Stooges from a deadly fate.  He's practically MacGruber!  And as with Fright Night, Shemp's out for blood when he uses the blade side of the axe on the bad guys' skulls.  After the excitement dies down, the ending of Fling in the Ring diverges slightly, and is less morbid than Fright Night.  Shemp knocks himself out with his own axe... don't ask how... I guess he thought he was graduating from lumberjack school or something... and his fellow Stooges try to revive him.  Moe splashes the bad guys with water instead of Shemp, so Moe and Larry end up trying to drag Shemp away.  They rip Shemp's clothes off instead.  "He's getting light!" observes Moe before realizing what has happened.  Oh!  Almost forgot.  Another Stooge first: Moe gets his fingers hurt, and he actually explicitly states that he's broken his, and I quote, "eye-poking fingers."  Larry laughs at this, which leads Moe to figuratively "scoop" up his eye-poking fingers by positioning his arm so that his hand's pointing upward, and from there he's able to make the poking gesture from his apparently damaged fingers.  A move he's done before.  I think it's a yoga thing as well!  For this gained self-awareness, you get three and a half stars instead of just three.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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