Monday, January 25, 2010


“You ain’t gettin’ shit outta me! I been constipated all week, and there ain’t a damn thing you can do about it!”

As I whittle my way through a week’s worth of writing for the coming week, it is a pleasure to present, in lieu of actual content in very much in the grand tradition of the original Funk Decimator, something to surely decimate all permutations of the Funk and chase the Monday banshees back into their holes—close to the entirety of Slim Pickens’ terrific performance as Hollis P. “Holly” Wood in Steven Spielberg’s (and Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale’s) 1941. When the blues start gettin’ to you, just start goin’ over the contents of Hollis’ pack sack—one genuine American jackrabbit foot, one authentic early American “Harry Carey” knife—pass that around, boys, maybe somebody’s got a use for it… I always loved the original tag line on the advance one-sheet for the movie (seen at left), which was a whole lot more honest than audiences in 1979 (or at least most critics) were prepared for: “Soon the screen will be bombarded by the most explosive barrage of @#&% ever filmed!” I love this movie!

(Also, Greg Ferrara throws some love in the direction of L.B. Abbott, Gregory Jein and A.D. Flowers for their spectacular miniature effects in 1941 in the latest edition of his series ”The Land Before CGI.”)



The Driveindude said...

I too have loved this film since way back when. What a pleasure it was to sit in the same theater with Bob Gale as well as other members of the cast and watch this film in a setting it was designed for...the big screen.

Greg said...

You know Dennis, in just a week of revisiting this film and talking about how I like it without finding it funny I've already decided I should just chuck that caveat and just come out and say I like it. If Slim can't convince me, and God what a National Treasure he was, nothing can. The man was brilliant in this movie. And Warren Oates. And Robert Stack. And John Belushi. I'm glad I revisited it, it's given me a newfound appreciation of it.

Don Mancini said...

"My name is Wild Bill Kelso, and don't you...shoot."

Dennis Cozzalio said...


DID, I remember that screening so fondly! I hope we can see it again on thebig screen soon!

And Greg, I'm so genuinely glad to hear of your experience with this movie over the past week. I really think it is a wonderful contraption, so much better than its reputation, and for such a galloping mastodon of a movie rather intricately designed and eecuted at times.

Warren Oates: "Lemme hear your guns, son!"

Stack: "Bombs! Do you hear any bombs?!"

Belushi: "You don't think I'd shoot down one of our own guys, do ya???!!!"

Is there a moment in this movie I don't enjoy? I don't think so! If any movie proves that Pauline Kael quote on my header, I think this one does. Thanks for your post, Greg, and for helping to take down the funk on this Monday. Hollywood!

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Don, you snuck that in there just as I posted. Comments that cross in the night!

Aykroyd to DiCicco: "Lose the shirt, kid. It's in really bad taste."

Little Indian Headress Boy to Ned Beatty as he swings the antiaircraft gun through the living room: "Dad! You're ruining Christmas!"

And the immortal Joe Flaherty as Raoul Lipshitz, on the radio in the aftermath of the USO dance: "Maybe we can invite some Negroes next time and stage a race riot!"

HB, my friend!

Don Mancini said...

"Check him for stilts!"

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Haha! That whole sequence is one of my favorites. The walk that kid takes up to Wild Bill before he kicks him is hilariously suspenseful. And the fall that Kelso takes off the plane as he tries to get back on it for his triumphant takeoff is one of my all-time favorite bits of slapstick.

Adam Zanzie said...

Speaking of Pauline Kael, she actually was in the minority of critics who admired 1941. Before it opened (as Spielberg recalls in the 2007 TCM documentary Spielberg on Spielberg), she had warned him that she and the rest of the critical community were sharpening their knives: he had just delivered two consecutive blockbusters, and they were waiting for him to crack.

Yet Kael ended up liking the film, and her words are perhaps the best thing anybody has ever written on 1941: "an amazing orgiastic comedy, with the pop culture of an era compacted into a day and a night."

Mayo Arguiza said...

I've been looking for this film for a quite a while now..
and I cant find it..grrrr....
where can I find it here in Manila Philippines?

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Mayo, if Amazon ships to the Philippines, here it is.

W.B. Kelso said...

"How's a man supposed to take a proper bowel movement with a bunch of buffalo rifles pointed at him. Shoot, I have enough trouble pissin' in a public restroom."

I gotta friend at work who also loves this movie, and we can spend hours on end just speaking 1941ese to each other.

"Jesus Christ, Angelo, they gave him a gun."

"We're gonna put the Sarge to bed, we're gonna paint the scratches on this tank, and we're gonna forget this night ever happened."

Still patiently waiting for "1942"

Dennis Cozzalio said...

"We're gonna put the Sarge to bed, we're gonna paint the scratches on this tank, and we're gonna forget this night ever happened."

Oh, God, I'm weeping with laughter right now...

W.B. Kelso said...

And my favorite quote and sight gag combo:

"I don't think you're gonna hit him, Ward."

The Mutt said...

Followed by the line that has become a catch-phrase in my family: "Close, Ward. Close."

#1 on my list of Movies that Get a Bad Rap. I could watch this movie any day of the week. Why is Blues Brothers considered a classic comedy and 1941 gets lumped with Ishtar and Waterworld?

My favorite bit is one that perfectly encapsulates the "blatant excess as humor" approach of the film; The tank crashes through the wall of a paint factory, smashing through huge vats of paint. The tank is drenched in bright colors. Then it crashes through the wall of a turpentine factory and comes out the other side clean as a whistle. Genius.

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Unknown said...

I love Dan Aykroyd selling the family that has the anti-aircraft gun stationed at their house that they will never do this, never ever put the ammunition here, never pull this lever back and never ever ever push down on these foot pedals ! I love it later where the kids were saying dad you're ruining Christmas! Then a minute later after a couple rounds are fired and a second floor collapses then the kids thought that was fun!