“Spaceballs” – Going where No “Star Wars” Parody has gone Before

On the 25th of May, 1977, a little movie entitled “Star Wars”: A New Hope was released in theatres worldwide.  A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away,  Luke Skywalker, ( Mark Hamill),a humble farmboy, gets thrust into an intergalactic war, and must rescue a princess from distress. As you all know, the franchise is possibly one of the most iconic out there, next to “Lord of the Rings”, “Harry Potter”, “James Bond” and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 2017 marks the 40th anniversary of this acclaimed series. So, to celebrate, I’m going to review  Mel Brook’s 1987 parody “Spaceballs”, which gleefully sends up all of the common tropes and plot lines from George Lucas’ classic space odyssey adventure, and while the plot closely rehashes many elements of the original trilogy, it also pokes fun of other TV shows and movies, such as “Star Trek”, “Jaws”, “Alien” and “Planet of the Apes”, in very much the same fashion as the “Airplane” or “Naked Gun” movies!

In “Spaceballs”,  the villainous Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis) plots to capture spoiled princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga) and deprive her planet Druidia of air. It’s up to scruffy space jockey Lone Starr (Bill Pullman) and his loyal mawg (Half-man, half-dog) sidekick Barf (John Candy) to step up to the challenge and rescue her. Along the way, they encounter some parodies of “Star Wars” characters, such as the CP30 inspired bot, Dot Matrix (voiced by Joan Rivers), gangster Pizza the Hut (Dom DeLuise), and the sage mentor Yoghurt (played by Brooks himself), who advises our heroes to use the power of “the schwartz” when necessary.

In one word, “Spaceballs”, is, well, ridiculous. However, it’s cheerfully aware of its own absurdity, and has the characters acknowledge that they’re in a movie several times by openly “breaking the forth wall, so to speak. This is brilliantly conveyed in one particular scene, in which Helmet and his underling, Colonel Sandurz (George Wyner) actually watch “Spaceballs: The Movie” in order to get a solution to their current dilemma, and end up viewing themselves viewing themselves in the actual scene that we’re currently watching! A similar joke also involves Yoghurt brandishing “Spaceballs” merchandise, including t-shirts, lunchboxes and a flamethrower.

Another favourite gag towards the end of the movie involves a cameo from the late actor, John Hurt, in a replication of his famous “chestbuster” scene from the original “Alien” (1979) movie. This  comes complete with the alien performing a ragtime dance number in the style of Michigan J. Frog from the old cartoon short “One Froggy Evening”. Hurt’s reaction of “Not again” , makes the spectacle all the more funnier.

John Candy, as always, is as brilliant with his jokes as ever. In addition to Yoghurt, Brooks also plays ditsy Spaceball president  Skroob, and Rick Moranis, best known for playing nerdy characters in works such as “Ghostbusters” and “Honey, I shrunk the kids”.

“Spaceballs” is a fun movie to watch, and I give it 3 out of 5 stars in total. Even if you’re not a fan of the “Star Wars” franchise, you may enjoy many of the cultural gags and references that are scattered throughout.  The movie was followed by a short lived animated adaptation decades later, but it didn’t fare too well, and was axed by the network before it even aired. Its brand of humour won’t suit to everyone’s tastes. Nevertheless, I would still recommend giving this flick a watch, anyway. May the schwartz be with you!

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The Aroma of Roast Dinner and Nostalgia…

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Smell You Later.”

Many particular smells define my childhood. They consist of roses in the garden, freshly cut grass, lavender, freshly baked cookie dough, and the smell of newly washed linen. But the smell that almost immediately takes me back to my childhood is undoubtedly the very sensuous aroma of my mother’s pot roast chicken on a Sunday Afternoon.

Indeed, countless of those afternoons were spent trying not to get under the feet of my mother, who was pretty preoccupied with organizing the dinner. Just the smell of the pot roast would have me enticed long before the meal itself was even served.

My family are exactly who you’d class as “serious food enthusiasts”, or “foodies”. Nothing could bond our clan together quite like the home comforts of a homemade meal. The fact that my maternal grandmother having been a home economics teacher before she retired probably has a lot to do with us being so “into” cuisine of any kinds…Italian, Indian, French, Greek, Mexican- you name the nationality, we’ve probably already got it sampled.

For many people, nothing brings back memories of their childhood more than the essence of an old family recipe. While tucking into the meal was comfort enough, just coming through the door and being greeted by the welcome whiff of a quality family recipe. Just the smell of the roast fuels my anticipation of consuming it, as well as basking the the company of the people I treasure most of all.

A Cause for Family Time…

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Blogger With a Cause.”

For many of us, our work is a vital component of our lives, whether it be school, college or a the demands of a full-time job. While we may try to excel significantly in our professional areas, we invest so much extraneous time to being at the top of our game, that we can sometimes lose sight of the people who are close to us, who ultimately count.

That is, and has often been the case, with me. Several times during my youth, especially during crucial exam times, I would confine myself to my bedroom for hours upon end, studying (yes, I used to be something of a nerd in high school). It got to the point that my mother had to drag me out shopping with her just so I wouldn’t be cooped up inside every day (in retrospect, I thank her dearly for this!)

It was after I finished my big examinations that I came to a sudden epiphany that maybe I was spending too much time obsessing incessantly over grades, and not enough with my family. Armed with this realization, I took it to make it up to them, by easing down on the studying and spending more time with them as a result.

So, if all my demands were already dealt with, I would seize this opportunity to wind down and take it easy with the people who are most dear to me. Of course, I’ve learned since then that I don’t have to forgo working entirely, but to avoid it from taking over my “down time” completely.