johnlink ranks ROBIN HOOD: MEN IN TIGHTS (1993)

Two of my favorite movies, as I hit my teens, were PRINCESS BRIDE and ROBIN HOOD: MEN IN TIGHTS. Cary Elwes was my favorite actor for quite awhile based solely on the fact that he was in the lead in both. Anyway, I’ve watched the Errol Flynn, Russell Crowe, and Kevin Costner Robin Hood’s over the past few years. It’s time to get the funniest version of them all on these pages. I go into this movie knowing how much I love it, and just hoping that the years have been kind.

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I watched ROBIN HOOD: MEN IN TIGHTS (1993) on 9.13.14. It was, no joke, probably my fiftieth viewing of the film, but my first in a decade or so.

There is so much to love about this movie. Even the things which date it are endearing (the early 90s hip-hop entrance, for example). Mel Brooks, in the 90s, made some forgettable spoofs, (DRACULA DEAD AND LOVING IT, anyone), but MEN IN TIGHTS deserves to be closer to the category with SPACEBALLS as a film, which does a wonderful job of skewering its source material while also loving it at the same time.

Brooks, who directs, has a co-writing screenplay, and plays the part of noble Rabbi Tuckman, does a nice job of balancing the various versions of the film. He relies heavily on the 30s Erroly Flynn movie as a plot anchor. He clearly has a lot of love for that film. He has perhaps a little less love for the Kevin Costner version, which he happily skewers throughout, most memorably when Cary Elwes’ Robin Hood makes reference with the line “Unlike some other Robin Hoods, I can speak with an English accent.”

The comedy in this movie is great, with several good (if not meaty) performances. Cary Elwes does well in channeling the Errol Flynn version. Isaac Hayes, appearing long before he lost his sense of humor, gives a presence to the role of Asneeze, though he is soon eclipsed by the comedy of his son, Ahchoo, played by Dave Chappelle. Meanwhile, Richard Lewis may be generic as King John, but Roger Rees does a wonderful job of being both sinister and comedic as the Sheriff of Rottingham. Amy Yasbeck is fine as the love interest, even if the script doesn’t ask too much of her. Her servant, Broomhilde (Megan Cavanagh), steals every scene she is in. Several nice cameos are provided by Tracy Ullman, Dom DeLuise, Dick Van Patten, and Patrick Stewart as the Witch and the rightful King, respectfully. Finally, and perhaps most underrated, is the work of Mark Blankfield as the lovable servant Blinkin.

With five separate musical bits, this is maybe 10 to 12% away from being a full fledged musical. Not making it one was smart. Keeping the songs short and sweet works. The rap is funny enough and the love song between Robin and Marion is a nice bit. But, without a doubt, the Men In Tights song is where this movie perhaps shines most. It is a great moment for Brooks in a career filled with great moments as a Director.

So, is this a movie which is an all time classic? Probably not. It may have a few too many early 90s references to land as successfully with a new viewer, even if jokes about sneakers that need to be Pumped Up will always be funny. As someone who grew up with this in my personal canon, it is hard to tell what is objectively funny and what is funny due to nostalgia. I’ll always have a place in my heart for this movie, even if I acknowledge that others may not hold it in the same reverence. Having not seen this movie in years, it’s dialogue is still easily called up as I watch the film. It may just be one of those movies I will always love more than everyone else.

SCORES

FILM: 4; MOVIE: 10; ACTING: 6; WRITING: 6

4+10+6+6+0=26

FINAL SCORE: 6.5 out of 10

 

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~ by johnlink00 on September 13, 2014.

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