Late to the Schwartz! A review of Spaceballs

Late to the Schwartz! A review of Spaceballs

[Editor’s note: Please oh please don’t pass over this review without scrolling down to the gif. The gif!]

Prologue by Ryan Stites:

1-2-3-4-5? That’s amazing. I’ve got the same combination on my luggage.

Spaceballs was the first movie I heard the f-word in. Not only is that entire scene hilarious (other than a bravado performance from Rick Moranis, George Wyner’s Colonel Sandurz makes the movie for me), that moment has always stuck with me. While not Mel Brooks’ funniest movie (Blazing Saddles) or his best overall (The Producers), Spaceballs remains one of the best movies to quote to this day. The jokes are really, really, really dumb, but sometimes it’s the simple things. “WE AIN’T FOUND SHIT!” is still one of my favorite things…ever… I think that timeless stupidity makes it really accessible for a first time viewer. I’m still waiting for Spaceballs 2: The Search For More Money. C’mon, Mel, release it as a double feature with History of the World: Part 2!

As we saw with the Coming of America installment of LTTM, there are times in which the order Laura rights the numerous cinematic wrongs in her life will make a difference. In Spaceballs, there are numerous scenes which require at least a passing familiarity with their original source. Not that the Planet of the Apes or Alien spoofs are hard to place, but to really get the full impact, you need to see the originals (especially in the last scene with the Dancing Alien…John Hurt!!!).

On a “WHAT? You haven’t seen _____?!?” scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest level of shock, disappointment and sad), Spaceballs gets a 6.5. Essential if you are a nerd, especially a male, but easily understandable.

LTTM Review:

If you read my “About the Blogger” section or if you know me IRL, you’re aware by now that I loooove Alfred Hitchcock. This is relevant (not really) because my first foray into Mel Brooks territory was High Anxiety, a seriously funny Hitchcock spoof (with the exception of a five minute titular song routine by the director, wtf).  SPOILER ALERT: shot-by-shot parody of the Psycho shower scene, but the bellhop is beating Mel Brooks with a newspaper. HIGH-LARIOUS.

Looking back over his work, I’ve only seen High Anxiety, Young Frankenstein and The Producers but I feel like all three are some of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. This is particularly true of Young Frankenstein, and I don’t think it would be a stretch to call it one of my favorite comedies of all time. I love Brooks’s ridiculous satirical style, I love that he mocks himself to no end, and I love the OBVIOUS and potentially offensive jokes that he writes. So going into this project, I knew that I’d love Spaceballs. It was just a given.

Now that I’ve seen it…MAN. I am pissed. My dad and I have the same, ridiculous sense of humor and laugh at the absolute worst, most obvious things. I know he’s seen this movie. Why didn’t he show it to me before now? WHY!?

I love almost everything about Spaceballs with the exception of Joan Rivers’s voice. Absolutely awkward and terrible, but since the character didn’t talk as much during the second half of the film it was NBD. But Yogurt? Yes. Combing the desert? Yes. “Snotty beamed me up twice last night; it was wonderful?” Yes. Bill Pullman? Oh yes, yes yes yes.

As Ryan mentioned, one problem with watching this movie so soon into this project is the fact that I haven’t seen that many Sci-Fi movies. Yes, I have seen all three (legitimate) Star Wars movies but I haven’t ever watched Star Trek, Planet of the Apes or Alien. The first two weren’t a huge deal but my absolute favorite part of the movie (see below) was a play on Alien. I was in tears and gasping for air after this scene was over, and then watched video of it over and over again… and I know that when I finally watch Alien I will not be able to get through that referenced scene without giggling. Clearly I need to time my movie watching better, but it’s a little hard for me to do so when, um, I haven’t seen anything.

Also– don’t you miss Rick Moranis? I know I do. Shoot. I think his Schwartz may be as big as mine.

Two final thoughts:

A) Where do I get Princess Leia bun headphones?

B) If you were a bumper sticker, would you be I <3 Uranus or We break for nobody?

Face palm moment: First John Candy movie I ever watched- Home Alone (shut up, I know it’s not a John Candy movie). Second John Candy movie I ever watched- Spaceballs. Who IS that guy?

Favorite part:

The “I missed that in pop culture trivia” moment: “I bet she gives great helmet.”

Regrettable tardiness scale (out of 10): I’m surprised Ryan didn’t rank it higher (essential if you’re a male? The sexism is strong with this one [heh]), but then again I think I’ve shocked him with the other movies I haven’t seen so this probably didn’t surprise him as much. I’d give this a solid 10 out of 10, and I am absolutely pissed that my dad didn’t force me to watch this movie when I was younger because I would have gone out of my mind over it at a young age. A++++++++ WOULD WATCH AGAIN.


  • In my defense, I think of the Mel Brooks movies (especially the more recent ones) as more “dude humor”, thus was giving you somewhat of a pass on this one. There will be plenty of time for 10s…even 11s. Also, I know that you are missing a lot of sci-fi ones, so I can see how you wouldn’t have made Spaceballs a priority. Really, though, this one is all on your dad.

    While the whole movie will make me laugh every time I watch it, but my favorite parts are the extended quick dialogue riffs.

    “When will then be now?…Soon.”
    Gunners Mate First Class Philip Asshole

    Blazing Saddles is going to blow your mind…

  • i’ve only seen ‘spaceballs’ once, and it was during the throes of my ‘star wars’ fandom (middle school era.) i love rick moranis, dude gives my heart a woody. but girl are you kitten me? i know you’ve seen ‘little shop of horrors’, ‘blues brothers’… oh g.d. it, i just looked at your list again and you haven’t seen ‘blues brothers.’ but you have to have seen ‘cool runnings.’ c’mon, man.
    well, even if you haven’t seen any of the above, mr. candy will always be in our hearts as gus polinski, the polka king of the midwest.

  • I love how proud the little alien looks when he puts on his hat.

    Other silly/spoofy comedies you’d probably like, assuming you haven’t seen them:
    LOVE & DEATH (or pretty much any pre-ANNIE HALL Woody Allen)
    DUCK SOUP (or any early Marx Bros, though this one feels the most ahead of its time)

    And PLANES, TRAINS, AND AUTOMOBILES is probably the best John Candy movie.

  • Props to Ryan for mentioning the original Producers movie. I can’t believe my mother let me watch that when I was little. I was probably running around the neighborhood singing “Springtime for Hitler” to all of our neighbors.

    • Remember when we saw that in New York on Broadway? And Rebecca & John Stamos were there and it was before they got divorced and he was REALLY crabby? Yeah…

  • I was really surprised that you hadn’t seen this one. Okay, I’m quite surprised at your entire list but I really thought Spaceballs would be right up your alley. Glad you enjoyed it this much. It’s a movie that I could watch on repeat. For some reason my sister and I always quote Bill Pullman’s “I’m a prince!” line. I don’t know why. I always laugh when he says it.

    Also, Ryan is right. The combing the desert scene is one of the funniest things ever.

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  • Who is John Candy? He was one of the most brilliant “big man” comedians ever. Check out old episodes of SCTV online to see how hilarious he was; he wasn’t just a “jolly fat guy” (though he got stereotyped that way by Hollywood). He was great in “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” and “Splash,” too. I genuinely miss him.

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