Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Honest and Popular don't Go Hand in Hand
I'm following the lead of the Annekenstein Monster and Sunsetgun... the only three true and loyal fans of unjustly vilified, hilarious and under-rated Ishtar.
For those of you who have forgotten, or may not have been born, Istar was released in 1987 and was one of the first "Big Budget" comedies. It starred Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman, written and directed by the legendary Elaine May. There was a lot of comparisons at the time to the Crosby/Hope "Road to..." movies, which never made it particularly appealing to me as I was more of a Martin/Lewis kinda guy. And I remember hearing a lot of bad buzz at the time. Maybe my expectations were lowered making me open to the films many charms. I came out of the theatre with tears in my eyes, a changed man.
I don't remember the plot. Something about travelling to Ishtar I guess. But the plot was never the point. It was just a setting for amazing character set pieces that I can recite to this day: the restaurant scene, the "Smuck" scene, the "didn't need a pen" scene, the "Hawk" scene... Forget Martin/Lewis-- Hoffman/Beatty were the next generation Falk/Arkin for me. They taught me the lesson "the straighter it's played the funnier it is." I went back at least one more time to see it at the theatre and I believe that at least one friendship was cemented by a mutual love of the film.
For those of you who missed it, you might find it in the VHS section of the your local video store it still hasn't been released on DVD as far as I know. Thanks Sunsetgun for reminding me of it.