Monday, January 20, 2014

George Awards: Kids Know They’re Funny

This post contains jokes about gross body noises that will disgust adults with a sense of decorum. 

Kids on the other hand will probably roll about on the floor laughing until they join in the noisemaking festivities, either by reflex, or on purpose.
End of Warning.

I’ve often pointed out that while some members of the family are in charge of honest emotions and uplifting thoughts, my responsibilities lie closer to pointless pop culture references and fart jokes.  After considering this statement last time I made it, I realized that it has been the exception rather than the rule that I have stooped to “letting one go” so to speak. That started the fires burning for the George Awards for artificial ones last week, and today’s official Top Ten Farts in Film list that my daughter and I pulled together.

Putting a Kevin Smith movie on a list of fart jokes when I specifically indicated “unexpected or surprising” as a key element in the George Awards may seem hypocritical. 

Well, tough noogies, because the Charlie’s Angels/Mission Impossible scene from Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001) is number 10. 

Three gorgeous, leatherish clad, hyper-competent, intensely trained thiefly ladies used all the mental, physical and technological abilities at their command to break into the Diamond Depository.  

After Sissy (Eliza Dushku) and Justice (Shannon Elizabeth) navigated the laser, heat and audio sensors, Chrissy (Ali Larter) topped their agility with an insane gymnastic routine, smugly smiled at her coconspirators, and then fired off a disgustingly entertaining and alarm triggering blast, complete with a nose wrinkling grimace.  

Considering it was set up with a previous conversation in a Chekov’s Gun like manner (if the famous Russian playwright spun tales of stoners and flatulence) even in a Kevin Smith film, it caught me off guard.

1982’s Pandemonium, a slasher parody that needs way more love, is in 9th place.  It’s a ridiculous little comedy that has way more name stars in it than a movie this unknown should.  It’s one of my family’s favorite films, and the only reason it doesn't appear more on these lists, is my favorite version was censored when it was hosted by Gilbert Gottfried, who wrote letters to the cast on the commercial breaks, on USA Up All Night. Yes, Gilbert was responsible for LESS profanity in a movie - that should be an award in and of itself.  Pandemonium gets on this list through the use of none other than the final role of Eve Arden, aka “Our Miss Brooks” and the principal of Grease’s Rydell High.  As “Warden June” she’s captured during a prison riot and taken to the gas chamber by comedy writer, improv teacher and actor John Paragon.  

Said chamber consisted of a big fat convict with a passing resemblance to Curly Howard perched on a toilet disturbingly enjoying a giant bowl of beans. 

Ah, high class comedy at its finest.

8th place could deserve to be higher, but I don’t remember almost anything about 1980’s The Hollywood Knights.  Tony Danza in his first film appearance starred as half of the main couple with an excessively young Michelle Pfeiffer in this poor man’s American Graffiti, but with mooning. Fran Drescher also showed up in some capacity I think, and Stewart Pankin was brilliant in a band uniform calling his mother to say he’d be “late.”  Then there was the school talent show.  The one armed violinist could have been the best gag, if it wasn’t for Robert Wuhl as Newbomb Turk.  It’s interesting how many award winning comedy writers have made this list.  It shows the level of importance Fart Jokes have in our culture.  Wuhl wins the George for singing Volare!  while punctuating it by passing gas in to the microphone.  It got better once he was chased off stage and kept dashing back on to let out another refrain.

Paul Rubens (who was also in Pandemonium and worked extensively elsewhere with John “Jambi” Paragon ) wins the number 7 George for a scene in Mystery Men from 1999I have far too strong feelings for this superhero spoof, and it will be getting a few more mentions on these lists.  Rubens’ “The Spleen” was essentially a walking fart joke for the entire movie.  There was one subtle scene in the junkyard, where a garbage can behind him belched out an unplanned explosion of flame.  His add libbed, “Excuse me,” would almost be worthy of a George.  However, what earned it was one of the greatest never before used superhero origin stories ever filmed, wherein he detailed how he was cursed in his youth with his power for blaming some errant expulsions on an old gypsy woman. It reached a crescendo, and nets the Award with his terrifying, yet hysterical delivery of the line:

“Because I had smelt it, she decreed that I would forevermore be...

Amazingly, Disney has the next three in a row.  I think it has to do with the element of surprise, or maybe my daughter helping out with this one.  Geoffrey Rush (who was in Mystery Men, continuing the flat-chain-lence) gets 6th for his voice work as Nigel the pelican in 2003’s Finding Nemo.  Technically, this one is artificial, and could have been in last week’s group, but since the character in question treated it as real on screen it makes the list. 
Yes, this is yet another occasion where I’m very happy there is no George Awards Rules committee, or really, anyone who gives a toot about these lists besides me.
The string of bubbles coming from an explosion of an entire field of undersea mines was cute, but his spot is earned by the properly British, and utterly disgusted, reaction of:


The second Disney cartoon on the list is, in fact the first fart in the entire history of the Disney Animated Cannon.  In 5th place is the Lion King (1994). Like “The Spleen” above, Ernie Sambella’s Pumba was a large cloud of fart jokes waiting to happen, without the waiting. As Nathan Lane’s Timon said, “With you, everything is gas.” There were several fun filled releases, but since farts are pretty musical on their own, we’ll give him the George for the lines in the song, “Hakuna Matata”:

Pumbaa: “And I got downhearted”
Timon:  “How did ya feel?”
Pumbaa:  “Everytime that I...”
Timon:  “Hey! Pumbaa! Not in front of the kids!”
Pumba  “Oh. Sorry”

The third Disney film (fourth if we count last week's list, plus a third for Henson!) gets Award Number 4:
George of the Jungle
John Cleese playing an erudite gorilla farted in the bad guys’ faces. 
I think I’ve said all that needs to be said.

Another George for Murder by Death (1976) is in 3rd.  There are movies that have become deeply ingrained in my psyche, which I will watch endlessly, and quote constantly.
They’re going to be on many lists, because it’s my blog.
This one is brilliant because of its subtlety.  Any fart joke this funny that is possible to miss the first couple of times viewing the movie is truly special.  Several extra award points are granted for it being a conversation between Elsa Lanchester and Estelle Winwood, two acclaimed British actresses of stage and screen at the ages of 74 and 93.

Jessica Marbles, “Good God- gas!”
Miss Withers, “I'm sorry, I can't help it. I'm old.”
Jessica Marbles, “No, no. The other kind of gas. The kind that kills!”
Miss Withers, “Sometimes my gas...”

Now it’s time to kick subtlety out the window. 
The 2nd place George Award goes to Mathew Lillard and Neil Fanning comparing gas expulsions and Shaggy and Scooby in 2002’s live action Scooby Doo. 

The best part of this scene had nothing to do with what was occurring on screen.
It was my family’s reactions. 
My sister and I were in complete hysterics, holding on to the arm rests to keep from falling out of the theater seats.
My mother and wife sat with their arms folded and the EXACT same look of complete revulsion on their faces.

And Dad was rolling on the floor with my sister and me. 

Above and beyond all others in the number 1 spot, we have the Grand Prize George not only for the best cinematic fart joke, but one that simultaneously cleared the room for others to follow it, and insured they would all pale by comparison.  Mel Brooks created this scene, fought for this scene, and defended the length of this scene with the phrase,
“If you’re gonna ring the bell…RING IT!”  

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you L.Q. Jones, Slim Pickens, Burton Gilliam, Alex Karras, other cowboys, a campfire and beans…1974’s Blazing Saddles.

Thanx for passing the time, and the gas, with us kids. 
Adults, come back next week, appropriately enough to see awards for using the word describing where the gas usually comes from.  

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