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Airplane! (1980)

Posted in Movie reviews - 1980s, Movies with tags , , , , , , on May 4, 2012 by They call me "Mephy"

Airplane! (1980)

 

Promotional movie poster

 

Folks, this marks the last entry for Journalism class of my high school senior year. However, this is not the last entry of the blog! More will come as promised: weekly updates. If something gets in the way, an entry will be made up for later on (most likely the week after).

One of the first parody films of the time, it parodies at disaster movies, mainly the film Zero Hour (1957)’s plot. It’s no wonder this is still a classic for parody films!

The plot is about an ex-fighter pilot and taxi driver named Ted Striker (Robert Hays) who pursues his lover, Elaine Dickinson (Julie Hagerty) in hopes of convincing her to stay with him; she plans to move to Chicago and start anew because he lives in the past and can’t move on from his traumatic experience on a mission in some war (not even the stock footage of avian dogfights helped identify it). He follows her onto the trans-American flight she works as an air hostess on, headed for Chicago. The passengers on the plane include: A girl whose on her way to have heart transplant, Dr. Barry Rumack (played by the late Leslie Nielsen, known for his lead role in the Naked Gun series), two jive-talkers, and others. Things go smooth until after the in-flight meal of choice between steak and fish; the people who ate fish succumb to becoming very ill due to food poisoning, which included the navigator, co-pilot Roger Murdock (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and Captain Clarence Oveur (Peter Graves). Flying without a pilot on board (besides an inflatable pilot named Otto “piloting” the plane) and with the aid of tower supervisor, Steve McCroskey (Lloyd Bridges, father of Jeff Bridges) and Rex Kramer (Robert Stack), who has a bad history with Ted during the war; Ted must battle his post-traumatic disorder and save the people on board.

Well-timed humor, irrelevant or not to the story, makes this a laugh-a-minute film. Some of the humor is understandably dated (jive talk with captions…see if anyone even does jive talk anymore…) and others are borderline dodgy (mild topless nudity and drug usage). This would later be followed by a less-successful sequel and have its format copied by numerous people which spawned the Scary Movies series, Not Another [genre] Movie series, and other parodies poking fun at cliches in each genre. Taste may vary between people but for this blogger, this film is not bad and likable for its pacing between scenes (doesn’t milk it dry until it becomes unfunny) and for putting together the wrong cliches in the wrong situation, which ensues hilarity and chaos. Why not give this a watch?

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