10 Parody and Spoof Movies
Writer: Casey Lee
What's your favourite parody or spoof movie?
"Furious 7" is coming very soon and while we are warming our engines to see the latest from the series (and the last appearance of Paul Walker), we had always wondered why hasn't anyone made a parody or spoof of the "Fast and Furious" franchise that is almost becoming a genre that defines the relationship between greasy cars and greased up men. That changed when we saw the trailer of "Superfast", and we'll be honest that we did laugh more than we should.
| Watch the trailer of "Superfast!".
So in honour of "Superfast!" (and hoping that it will make its ways to Malaysian cinemas), we decide to make a list of spoof and parody movies that pokes fun at other movies. Instead of finding our top 10 movies (which would probably be filled with Mel Brooks' movies), we decided to try something a little different with one spoof movie for each genre.
So here is our list of 10 parody and spoof movies for 10 genres.
Austin Powers in Goldmember (Spy)
Spy movies, or more specifically the James Bond movies, have ever been the target of one too many spoofs and parodies (see "Spy" for the latest, starring Melissa McCarthy). While "Austin Powers: The International Man of Mystery" probably started this trend back in 1997, it is its highest grossing second sequel "Austin Powers in Goldmember" that we would consider the best spoof of the spy genre. For one it didn't focus just on its 60s and 70s mojo to continue making fun of the classical James Bond films, but it also knew to make fun of recent references and even itself. Starting with the opening sequence that is a spoof of itself, with Tom Cruise, still in the hot as Agent Ethan Hunt from the "Mission: Impossible" series, Kevin Spacey as the (what else could he be?) villain, Steven Spielberg directing and blowing the brains out of Britney Spears, that spoof alone was already worth its laugh by the weight of its gold.
Spaceballs (Space Opera / Sci-Fi)
It is hard to make a list of spoof and parody movies without including a single work from the spoof meister himself; Mel Brooks. Though we have tried to avoid picking too many of his works for this list, we still ended up with two which really says something about the diversity of genres he has covered (and frankly does very little justice to his vast filmography). But while we could have picked "Galaxy Quest" for the space opera and/or sci-fi genre, its references was geared more towards the classic "Star-Trek" TV series than the movies (though we would like to see someone spoof the rebooted series some day).
It was in "Spaceballs" that we thought that had hit all in the nails on the head of the tropes and for admirably making fun of one of the biggest sci-fi movie franchise to date; "Star Wars". From the humourously humongous helmet of Dark Helmet (just don't go over it), Master Yogurt's temple of (doom) merchandising, the C3PO knockoff voiced by the late Joan Rivers, to the Schwartz sabers, "Spaceballs" knocks on the space epic is as epic as it is ludicrous. Not to mention its occasional breaking of the fourth wall and before you think Brooks is done, the scene where John Hurt reenacts his infamous death scene completes it. In an age of endless movie series and reboots, now would be a really good time to make "Spaceballs 2: The Search for More Money".
Shaun of the Dead (Zombies)
Inspired by their love for George Romero's "Living Dead" series, "Shaun of the Dead" was penned together by Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg, with the former directing and the latter in the lead as a underachieving sales floor manager who goes out of his comfort zone to win back his girlfriend, while their small English community is being overrun by the walking dead (we can't use the Z word!).
"Shaun of the Dead" is one of the few instances when a parody movie turns out to be one of the best entries in the genre it is making fun of, thanks largely to the directing style of Wright and the casting of Pegg with his "Spaced" TV series co-stars (where Pegg and Wright had also worked together on). Replacing the disparate and hardened characters in Romero's post-apocalyptic horror with the simple and much more grounded blokes also brings this 'zomedy' closer to home, making this a great start to Wright's 'Cornetto' trilogy.
And it's not that the jokes were made in bad taste, George Romero himself after having seen "Shaun of the Dead" eventually invited Pegg and Wright to make a cameo appearance in his "Land of the Dead", released a year later.
The Other Guys (Buddy Cop)
Buddy cop movies have been spoofed about several times, but the exaggeration of their stunts, and the ridiculousness of their partnership may have never been the way to make an impressive spoof. So we have to give it to "The Other Guys" who knew where the focus should be at when making fun of the unstoppable duo; the stoppable ones. Adam McKay's 2010 reversal story cleverly tackles the tropes of the buddy cop; replacing the beefy and unstoppable cops with the ones that couldn't walk away from a dramatic explosion, while switching the hard-hitting criminals with white-collared masterminds. All the while not letting up on the dangers that the buddies have to face, but just letting them play out differently when blunt (and boring) force is not the solution.
Blazing Saddles (Westerns)
Our second and last entry from Mel Brooks (we promise!) is also our oldest movie on this list, so we don't know how many of you have seen it. If you haven't, you would probably have to ask your parents who grew up on Westerns if they have seen 1974's "Blazing Saddles". Not only notable for its brazen racism, social politics and shooting down of the Western tropes, "Blazing Saddles" was also a defiance against the studios at the time (the final scene is one madhouse showdown). It did, however, end up becoming the second highest grossing movie of that year. So if there is one way to shut the studio executives up as you make deliberate fun of them, is to make more money. That's Hollywood for you and "Blazing Saddles" really blazed that trail to hilarious effect.
They Came Together (Rom-Coms)
Rom-coms have been one genre that is increasingly becoming self-aware and many recent ones have had their lead characters challenging its conventions and making meta-references that their love story is not 'one of those', though they totally fall into the cliches soon after. That is what "They Came Together" starts off with when Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd are sharing their love story to another couple over dinner; "It just like a movie". However, before you shrug with 'here we go again', "They Came Together" is one of the most literal and on-the-nose spoof we have seen on the unrealistic, 'finding the one true love' genre. While Rudd's corporate servant and Poehler's idealistic candy shop owner are romancing each other through their 'commitment issues', they go through the tired routine while speaking their minds aloud or deliberately making sure that their love story fits the convention. Resulting in the end that love turns everyone into idiots that would fall for the cheesiest tricks that so aptly describes the rom-com.
Scary Movie (Horror)
Horror movie spoofs have now become a dime in a dozen nowadays and it is already becoming horrible in own right. But to find one entry for this genre, we have to pick the least worst out of them. Although we were very tempted to pick Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein" (we did promise only 2 Mel Brooks movies on this list), we didn't think many of you grew up with the 'Monster Horrors' of the 40s, so we decided to go for the progenitor of the horrendous spoofs; "Scary Movie".
Watching it now would probably explain where all those tiresome gags came from, but back in 2000, those gags were fresh and the spoofs were outrageously novel at the time. Picking up scenes, plot points, lines and characters piece-meal from modern horrors like "I Know What You Did Last Summer", "Scream", and "The Matrix", while making smaller jokes at TV series like "Dawson Creek", the writers had managed to mash them together into one coherent comedy that knew when to run its gags. Sadly that cohesiveness has run downhill from there as the creators have gone their separate ways, and the resulting spawns (two of which makes it to this list) never quite stood well on its own than the first "Scary Movie".
Kung Pow: Enter the Fist (Kung Fu)
You can't be more straightforward in spoofing a movie shot-by-shot than making use of the actual shot-by-shot form the movie itself and put your face on it. We don't know if we should call the making of "Kung Pow: Enter the Fist" lazy or brilliant (compositing was cutting edge technology back then), but it is one indecently hilarious love-letter to the Kung Fu movies of the 60s. Where "Kung Pow: Enter the Fist" delivers is undoubtedly its seemingly improvised dubbing, all done by writer/director Steve Oedekerk. Sure, we may laugh at the unexpected original scenes like the cow fight, but we will never forget the high-pitch villainy of Betty or the 'u-wee-u-wee's of Ling.
Superhero Movie (Superheroes)
It is probably hard to remember now that there was a time when superhero movies were bad, notoriously bad and had totally deserved to be spoofed. Granted that "Superhero Movie" was making fun of the superhero movies that was still finding its way to the money-making universe that would be (it was released the same year as the game-changing "The Dark Knight" so maybe its lack of faith to the genre was a little premature), but it did fairly reflect that the most illuminating costumed hero we had at the time was an insect-bitten pubescent teen, who was riddled with its associated hormonal troubles fit for a teen movie, that was not always an endearing trait of a superhero (by today's standards).
Having to scrap the barrel for gags as far as "The Lord of the Rings", "Mean Girls" and even his own "Naked Gun" (bringing in Leslie Nielsen to take significant role), it was a mistimed spoof produced by David Zucker, though we would like to someone dare to take on this genre given the massive machinery it has become (centered around The Avengers perhaps?).
Dance Flick (Dance)
After having part ways with the rest of the creators of "Scary Movie" and its sequel (and arguably the point of decline for the series), the Wayans went on to make their own brand of spoofs that were catered to their own demographics. "Dance Flick" not only took most of its material from the rise of hip-hop and street dance movies, it paid its 'homage' to the classic dance movies with a few cues from the little resurgence of happy White-man musicals like "Hairspray" and "High School Musicals". There were many more but most were later cut from the final cut.
Cinema Online, 23 March 2015
Just like "White Chicks" that was provocative on the perception of skin-colour, "Dance Flick" was also guilty of playing on those perceptions, and even going as far as hitting against the award-winning fares that were representative of their community.