The Decline of the Parody Movie… No Spoofing!

naked gun

I love a good parody. Emphasis on “good.” Some of my favorite comedy moments come from a movie’s reference to a film of the past. I laughed out loud in Wayne’s World when Robert Patrick, dressed in the T-1000’s cop disguise, pulls over a speeding Wayne and asks, “Have you seen this boy?”

Parody movies used to be clever, relying on wordplay and unexpected sight gags. The parodies of the last several years have taken a nose dive. Today, just adding the word “Movie” to a genre is all it takes to make a spoof (Superhero Movie, Date Movie, Epic Movie).

No longer do we hear brilliant exchanges like this from Leslie Nielsen and Peter Graves:
Dr. Rumack: Captain, how soon can you land?
Capt. Oveur: I can’t tell.
Dr. Rumack: You can tell me. I’m a doctor.
Capt. Oveur: No. I mean I’m just not sure.
Dr. Rumack: Well, can’t you take a guess?
Capt. Oveur: Well, not for another two hours.
Dr. Rumack: You can’t take a guess for another two hours?
Capt. Oveur: No no, I mean we can’t land for another two hours.

Last night I showed Robin Hood: Men in Tights to my son and he laughed at some hilarious silliness. It got me thinking of how much the spoof movie has changed over the years.

Movie makers today are so desperate to make sure none of their material is wasted, they point out the jokes by adding cartoony sound effects or voiceovers of people calling attention to the gag. There are some jokes in classic spoofs that I am probably still missing to this day, and that adds quality to the film. Furthermore, the range of humor has gone from referencing movies and clever dialogue to basically an hour and a half of sex jokes and half-naked women. You know the quality of a parody has dropped a notch when the titles say, “And Carmen Electra.”

Let me add some qualifiers to my upcoming list. I tried to include only the zaniest parodies out there. The films where anything can happen, from a fight scene in an underwater saloon to characters watching themselves in the movie they are currently making! Some parodies are actually so well done, you forget you’re technically watching a spoof. Movies that are legitimate funny stories on their own (Austin PowersShaun of the Dead, etc.), I left alone.

So, here are my favorites for Top 10 Zaniest Parody Movies:
10) Johnny Dangerously (1984)
9) Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)
8) Hot Shots: Part Deux (1993)
7) Airplane II: The Sequel (1982)
6) Loaded Weapon 1 (1993)
5) Spaceballs (1987)
4) The Naked Gun (1988)
3) Hot Shots! (1991)
2) Top Secret! (1984)
1) Airplane! (1980)

It appears that the exclamation point really sells it for me! And notice that the newest movies on there are from 1993! For me, everything since has either been so good they stand alone as their own film (Galaxy Quest, Johnny English) or so bad they shouldn’t have been made in the first place (Scary Movie 1-5, A Haunted House).

But what are the parody movies that get YOU laughing? What movies would YOU put on this list?

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One thought on “The Decline of the Parody Movie… No Spoofing!

  1. I enjoy many of the parodies on your list. And I agree that the older ones are better. It’s harder to be funny and subtle. It sometimes seems like movie makers don’t even try these days. I’ve never liked crude stuff. My favorite might be Galaxy Quest, which was so well done. But Austin Powers will always hold a special place in my heart for being just what we needed to see as two homeless New Yorkers.

    Liked by 1 person

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