Flying High (1980)

Flying High
Written and directed by Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker
(number 376)

This is another of those movies I must have seen bits and pieces of in my life but have never sat down and watched right through. I gotta say it hasn’t dated well, the pop culture references to Bee Gees, Blue Lagoon, Jaws, funk culture, it’s an example of how stuff like Shrek is going to look pretty dated and weird when another 20 years have passed. That said I did have some snigger moments but it was from the really obvious silly cartoon jokes – like his plane ticket literally smoking or Elaine playing the trombone when it was set up like she was going to be stripping to the music. But overall I was watching jokes happen rather than laughing.

Another way it’s clearly dated is the demonstrated gender roles (Elaine showing the tribal women tupperware and Ted showing the men basketball) and the racism. All the black tribal men are instantly awesome at basketball? Translating the black men’s slang on the plane? I mean, racist as fuck right? Pretty sure there was making fun of the Spanish language as well.

Also there’s an ongoing joke with the captain asking the little boy visiting the cockpit if he’s ever seen a grown man naked, likes gladiator movies, Turkish prisons etc… basically the joke is he’s grooming a small child for a sexual relationship? Yeah, I have issues with laughing at that stuff. Haha rape of a minor? Yeah, not so much.

Is that Harrison Ford as one of the Buddhist monks? It really looks like him… According to imdb this was Leslie Nielson’s first comedic role so that makes it a bit more interesting film milestone-wise, but I’m still not exactly convinced that it needs to be on the 500 list. Is it another one of those films which people love because they grew up watching it? Is it beloved because of the subversive satire and random naked ladies? The way Monty Python is/was?

Does it make me love the people? ehhhhh… I guess it’s hard not to care about Elaine, but this movie’s purpose is jokes not examining the human condition. There are certainly comedies which do this but I don’t think this movie is one of them.

Bechdel test: Yes, I think so. Elaine talks to Shirley about how sick she’s feeling:
Shirley: I haven’t felt this awful since we saw that Ronald Reagan film.

Also the other steward, Randy talks to the sick girl Lisa and her mother about the flight, how Lisa needs to rest and also sings them a song so that does pass definitely.

Best line: Every time Ted demonstrated his drinking problem, which isn’t exactly a line but whatever. That sort of nonsense is what I like.

State of Mind: Pretty much, thank goodness this is over. I’m glad I hired it from Aro St video, I feel like the more I can hire from them the more they’ll stay open but meh. I can see the appeal of this film would have had when it came out, but it’s dated so far. I did laugh though, which is more than I can say for some other comedy films I’ve seen.

Watched movie count

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One thought on “Flying High (1980)

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