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Too Bad, So Sad, Bye Bye
January 26, 2012 8:07 AM   Subscribe

The Hidden Mythos of Police Academy.
posted by veedubya (40 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
The transformative journey of Mahoney was plain for all of us who sat through a Police Academy marathon.

I would only add that the Blue Oyster was probably a subtle allusion to the Elysian fields.
posted by Renoroc at 8:24 AM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I tried to read that but the sounds of Michael Winslow's vocal stylings were echoing too loud in my head to concentrate.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:31 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would like just one day--ONE DAY--in my life to go by without having to think about Steve Guttenberg.

Just one day. Is that too much to ask?

You win again, Guttenberg. Fuck. You.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 8:41 AM on January 26, 2012 [17 favorites]


Police Academy is actually a treatise on Adam Smith's concept of the Unseen Hand guiding the economy:

1) Someone yells, "Hey, Free TV!"
2) Public demand elevates
3) Administrative and regulatory forces rapidly seek to appease general interest, thus (re)establishing a new baseline for the status quo.
posted by Smart Dalek at 8:42 AM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Only movie I ever saw that caused me to wake up laughing the next day; I think it was the horse trailer gag.
posted by Standeck at 8:43 AM on January 26, 2012


I would like just one day--ONE DAY--in my life to go by without having to think about Steve Guttenberg.

I blame the Stone Masons. And these guys.
posted by DU at 8:45 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Courtesy of Netflix Streaming I have given this type of thing a lot of thought lately. Most recently Smokey And The Bandit III
Smokey And The Bandit III is a movie that is all about identity, role, and Self. Are we our own entity or are we defined by our roles? Initially lead writer Stuart Birnbaum seems to say that our individuality is who we are, as illustrated when Buford is wagered to transport The Fish (Hemingway reference, perhaps?) he takes the Role of The Bandit, yet his personality is unaltered by the new yoke he now carries. However, when Jerry steps into the Bandit's shoes his personality becomes indistinct from that of Burt's Bandit, indicating it is our role that defines The Self. It is at that time that Buford, initially thrust into this scenario as a Bandit, becomes comfortable again returning to the mantle of The Smokey when The Fish is stolen from him.
But roles independent of Self seem to prevail in the mind of Stuart Birnbaum as evidenced when Jerry (as a Bandit) allows Buford (as a Smokey) to take back The Fish and thus become a Bandit to the Enos Family. It is at this time that Jerry muses that a Bandit cannot exist without a Smokey and vise versa and as such depends upon Buford now that he has himself become a Bandit. By allowing Buford to take The Fish and become a Bandit by his logic Jerry has committed a suicide of identity.
It is at the end when Buford understands that not only does he HAVE to be a Smokey, he is dependent upon a Bandit to do so. When Buford hallucinates Jerry as Burt at the end and allows him to escape it is an act of spiritual self-preservation.
posted by sourwookie at 8:45 AM on January 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


Courtesy of Netflix Streaming I have given this type of thing a lot of thought lately.

You left out "weed". Why not give it the credit it's due for these kinds of treatises?
posted by yerfatma at 8:48 AM on January 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


Too Bad, So Sad, Bye Bye

Oh, so THAT's what that's from. Thanks, OP, now I can cross that off my "alienating grade-school references I never figured out" list.
posted by AugieAugustus at 8:51 AM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I had never even considered that Mahoney might be gay before. Well done, Brian Tousey.
posted by Hoopo at 9:00 AM on January 26, 2012


Of course, watching Live and Let Die, the question may be asked: Are the Smokey and the Bandit and Cannonball Run series's actually a James Bond spin offs?
posted by Artw at 9:03 AM on January 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I never knew that the samba always being played at the Blue Oyster was called "El Bimbo." This has been an enlightening FPP.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:09 AM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


To a 10 year old the whole business of the Blue Oyster was mighty confusing. They just like dancing?
posted by Artw at 9:12 AM on January 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Mahoney wasn't gay. Did I miss something?
posted by kenaldo at 9:16 AM on January 26, 2012


I dunno, did you read the article?
posted by Hoopo at 9:18 AM on January 26, 2012


"We live in a society of laws, why do you think I took you to see all those Police Academy movies? For fun? Well I didn't hear anybody laughing! Did you? Except at that guy who made sound effects. Vroom! Beep! Honk! Honk! Ha-ha. Where was I? Oh yeah, stay out of my booze!"
posted by Rangeboy at 9:22 AM on January 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


It's not clear whether Cannonball Run and Smokey and the Bandit share the same continuity, because Burt Reynolds would be playing two characters. However, Cannonball Run's J.J. McClure does mention "it's been done" when his sidekick Victor recommends they drive a Trans Am.

Regardless, Roger Moore is a real person in the Cannonball Run continuity, (as is his lookalike Seymour Goldfarb) so it's unlikely James Bond is also real.

On the other hand, I'm willing to imagine that Dean Martin's character is actually an aging, paunchy Matt Helm.
posted by condour75 at 9:27 AM on January 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, but Cannonball Run is like dividing by zero anyway.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:30 AM on January 26, 2012


The Blue Oyster actually refers to musical genuises Buck Dharma and Eric Bloom, the true muses of all late 20th century comedy.
posted by jonmc at 9:41 AM on January 26, 2012


You know what's an underrated Burt Reynolds in a car movie? Stroker Ace. Now, hear me out, the actual movie of Stroker Ace is probably terrible, don't know, never seen it. Charlie Daniel's theme song for Stroker Ace, on the other hand, is fantastic.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:57 AM on January 26, 2012


I fondly remember Leonard Maltin's capsule review of Police Academy 5: "This movie is only--I repeat, only--for those folks who feel that Police Academy 4 was robbed at Oscar time."
posted by Melismata at 9:58 AM on January 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Is this a good place to mention that Burt Reynolds was really good in last week's Archer?

Because he was really good in last week's Archer. Driving and everything.
posted by rewil at 10:05 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


"For my next trick, I shall run a bunch of Three Stooges shorts through the filter of Mircae Eliade's Myth of the Eternal Return and anoint myself Winner of Internets!"
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:06 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is this a good place to mention that Burt Reynolds was really good in last week's Archer?

The repeating footage gag cracked me up - where are all those piles of dirt and rubble sitting, off the side of the bridge?
posted by FatherDagon at 10:11 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Over-analyzing is a fun activity as long as you remain crystal clear that most of what you write/think about is likely bullshit. Mahoney is most likely not gay, but that article does make at least a good superficial case for why one might think so.
posted by edgeways at 10:14 AM on January 26, 2012


I think it is just a variant of White Man's burden
posted by edgeways at 10:15 AM on January 26, 2012


Jesus, what did I stumble into in here. Anyone care to comment on re the symbology of the open road and the nature of conflict?
posted by Ad hominem at 10:16 AM on January 26, 2012


should have been "Comment on Convoy"
posted by Ad hominem at 10:17 AM on January 26, 2012


Yeah, but Cannonball Run is like dividing by zero anyway.

Watch yer step there, buddy. Hal Needham films may not be high-falootin', fancy-pants cinema, but at least they're fun and don't take themselves too seriously. OK, so out of the 20 films he directed, he has made at least 3 good films in my opinion, two of which most people seem to agree on - Cannonball Run, Smokey and the Bandit, and Megaforce. (The sequels, like VHS tapes, degrade with each subsequent edition.)

The thing about Cannonball Run is that there pretty much hadn't been a 'get a shit ton of big actors to work for cheap and just have a good time' kind of movie since Mad Mad Mad Mad World. In the 70's, if you got a long list of well known actors together, the odds were about 1:1 that there was some huge, depressing disaster involved. You can just tell that just about everybody in that film is having a blast just doing what they do. I don't think you could do a film like that now - these days even just cameos of a few big name actors seem so up-tight, stilted, massaged, and over-rehearsed, that all the fun is taken out of them. Cannonball Run (and I guess, even it's sequel) was more like hanging out and partying with those actors than passively watching the plot unfold. It was the sixth largest grossing movie that year, behind Raiders of the Lost Ark, Arthur, and Stripes.

Smokey and the Bandit? You don't find such a good-time hero come around after that film until Jack Burton in Big Trouble in Little China. It's the closest one is going to get to a real-world take on the old Road Runner/Coyote cartoons. Jerry Reed is at the top of his game, Jackie Gleason is just, well, perfect for the role, and somehow with all the sillyness and cartoon action, it respects the characters and never really crosses the line and goes for the low-hanging fruit of the old Hollywood go-to of mocking southerners, truckers, country folk for a cheap joke. Hal, being a stuntman for decades before he directed a film and probably the most blue-collar, working-class, unpretentious director in Hollywood at the time, shows a respect for those people that you don't see too often. He neither mocks nor pedestalizes them (well, at least not above 'regional celebrity' status), and it just makes the story and characters stronger. It was the third largest grossing movie, behind Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Megaforce? OK, yes, it's not a good movie, but damn fun. The embarrassment is thick, but it's at least distributed equally amongst the cast. At the very least, it's worth it to see Henry Silva try and do his best Burt Reynolds impression, since Hal couldn't get him to play the villain in that film. Barry Bostwick? In a ridiculous, way too tight onesie jumpsuit playing GI Joe on a motorcycle with mounted rockets and guns? Hell, everything with wheels in that film had mounted rockets and guns. Persis Khambatta? With actual, real hair on her head this time? C'mon, it's a cinematic treasure, however, I think it barely made enough to cover the prop budget at the box office, much less break even.

All I'm saying is, Hal Needham is one of the good guys, and doesn't usually get the appreciation he deserves.

But to get back to the matter at hand - Steve Guttenberg? I'm with the Admiral on that one - never was a fan of that guy. When I was 12 I rented The Boys from Brazil, and turned it off (which is rare for me - buy the ticket, take the ride) when I got sick of Steve after a few minutes at the beginning, only to realize years later that I turned it off moments before the scene where he meets some sort of violent end in a phone booth. Dammit Steve! Well, that movie wasn't that great anyway.
posted by chambers at 11:04 AM on January 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: most of what you write/think about is likely bullshit
posted by hattifattener at 11:12 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


MetafilterLife: most of what you write/think about is likely bullshit.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:16 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


This looks like a perfect place for me to post my monograph explaining how Dumb & Dumber is the most successful Situationist detournement in the history of popular cinema, which monograph I formulated in my head while watching the film in undergrad circa 1995. Canadian sociologists out there will recall that this was right around the time the hydroponic BC bud started getting Wicked Potent, which is why I can't actually remember the argument itself but only that it once existed, and it was a thing of acrobatic scholarly genius.
posted by gompa at 11:19 AM on January 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


> Watch yer step there, buddy. Hal Needham films may not be high-falootin', fancy-pants cinema, but at least they're fun and don't take themselves too seriously.

Oh, I wasn't knocking Cannonball Run (and it was a staple on HBO growing up). I was more just stating that trying to retcon or tie any other universe into that movie is impossible since it's like some indivisible etheric entity that is all-consuming.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:19 AM on January 26, 2012


We live in a society of laws

"When I first heard that Marge was joining the police academy, I thought it would be fun and zany, like that movie Spaceballs. But instead it was dark and disturbing. Like that movie -- Police Academy."
posted by chaff at 12:01 PM on January 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Kim Cattral as Cadet Thompson is the first women I recall being sexually aroused by.
posted by Fister Roboto at 12:47 PM on January 26, 2012


Charlie Daniel's theme song for Stroker Ace, on the other hand, is fantastic.
posted by Bulgaroktonos


Blow their doors off, Stroker.
posted by COBRA! at 12:52 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]



Kim Cattral as Cadet Thompson is the first women I recall being sexually aroused by.
posted by Fister Roboto at 12:47 PM on January 26


And the best part is... he's learning.
posted by codswallop at 1:58 PM on January 26, 2012


This is great. Now do Porky's.
posted by iotic at 1:58 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


The thing about Cannonball Run is that there pretty much hadn't been a 'get a shit ton of big actors to work for cheap and just have a good time' kind of movie since Mad Mad Mad Mad World. In the 70's, if you got a long list of well known actors together, the odds were about 1:1 that there was some huge, depressing disaster involved. You can just tell that just about everybody in that film is having a blast just doing what they do.

Well clearly Dean Martin was having fun, perhaps too much fun, if you know what I mean.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 2:53 PM on January 26, 2012


I was more just stating that trying to retcon or tie any other universe into that movie is impossible since it's like some indivisible etheric entity that is all-consuming.

I see what you mean. Makes me almost think somewhere there is a deleted scene that shows Tommy Westphall is driving some crazy giant snow globe converted into a hot rod across the country. Of course, it was seven years before the end of St. Elsewhere, but then it's would have to be him as a toddler in a giant race car snow globe... but to follow that further... therein lies madness.
posted by chambers at 3:01 PM on January 26, 2012


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