Airplane! (1980) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Directors: Jim AbrahamsDavid ZuckerJerry Zucker. Cast: Kareem Abdul-JabbarLloyd BridgesPeter GravesRobert HaysJulie HagertyLeslie Nielsen

My enjoyment of “Airplane!” tonight was a bit dampened by the fact that I must have seen this film about 50 times and that we’ve probably shown it to my son a little bit too early (he was more concerned about those Jehovah witnesses being punched at the airport than amused by it), but putting aside my feelings tonight, I still remember my first 10 times or so watching this back in the 80s. Even dubbed in Italian (where some of the nuances of certain jokes and most of the double meanings got lost in the translation or changed with other non-sensical stuff) it was one of the funniest thing I had ever seen. The jokes come in fast and thick as the film-makers throw everything they have at you: slapstick, satire, spoofs, crass jokes, vulgar double meanings, hilarious details half-hidden in the background and sight gags at such a rate that even if you miss something or if you don’t laugh at one or two of the jokes, surely you’ll be laughing at the third one possibly just a few seconds away.

It’s easy to forget  what this must have been like when it was first released, from the Auto-pilot (and all the jokes surrounding him) to Leslie’s Niesen’s dead-pan deliveries, to the dozen of ingenious visual gags peppered throughout. It’s relentless and to watch this with a crowd was an experience in itself as people laugh so hard that it was easy to miss the next couple of silly gags.

Hard to tell if the pacing and the jokes are still funny today for new generations, but I’m willing to bet that if we get a whole bunch of teenagers and young people who’ve never this before in a theatre, they’ll still be pissing their pants, like we did back then. 

Surely, this must be one of the funniest movie ever made… And don’t call me Shirley

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