Sometimes you have a movie that you choose because you're in the mood for a particular genre, or sometimes it's because you haven't seen a particular film in a long time. Or sometimes you watch a movie because the recent passing of an actor makes you want to watch any and every movie with him or her in it, no matter how small the part. And that's how I came up with watching Blazing Saddles.
Although Dom DeLuise has passed away over a month ago, it still seems like he should be here, making even the tiniest part in a movie the stand-out performance. And that's pretty hard to do in a film like this. From the start, I could tell the SO was not into it. Maybe it had to do with the use of the word "ni" in it. Or maybe because it's just flat out funny! Yes, there's a lot of use of the "ni" word, but somehow it reminds us of how stupid our ancestors were in the degrading term of an African-American, especially when he's the hero of the movie.
Simple plot, Hedy Lamarr (that's HEDLEY!)...
Sorry...Hedley Lamarr, the State Attorney General, needs land to continue building the railroad system in the old American West. Of course, that land is located where Rock Ridge, a quaint little town of Johnsons (no joke, everyone there is a Johnson). Hedley sends a gang of thugs to terrorize the town, killing the sheriff. Well, Hedley suggests to the Governor that Bart, previously an enslaved railroad worker, should be the sheriff (knowing that the entire town would be opposed to the color of his skin). Of course the town is up in arms over this, but soon they warm up to him when he saves the town from Hedley's thugs and Webster's dad (yes, that's Alex Karras who plays Mongo). Bart also helps out Jim aka "The Waco Kid", an over-the-hill alcoholic who is still a sharpshooter but can't control his drinking or his shooting hand. Together they try to control the chaos in the town.
But... Hedley plans one last attempt to get rid of the inhabitants of Rock Ridge by employing "rustlers, cutthroats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperadoes, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, half-wits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggers, bushwhackers, hornswagglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass kickers, shit kickers and Methodists" into an ambush of the town. With the help of the town of Rock Ridge and Bart's railroad buddies, they build an exact replica to fool Hedley's evil gang... and that's when all hell breaks loose, as the joke is released on all of us like a bunch of farting cowboys.
We are transported to a closed set in Hollywood, where Dom DeLuise is trying to get a bunch of flaming men (it's twue, it's twue) to do a dance number, when Hedley's gang and the people of Rock Ridge bust through the set! WTF?!? So the joke is this is a 1974 movie that takes place in 1874 with the characters' mindset from 1974... I know, it's crazy, but then again, it's Mel Brooks! Of course Bart saves the day, defeating Hedey (that's Hedley!) and driving off into the sunset (in a limo...).
I love, Love, LOVE this movie. Probably Mel Brooks' finest creation on film. So many inside jokes, so much physical comedy, it has everything you want to make you laugh for a couple hours. Clearly, it went over the SO's head (by a mile). A movie that has Dom DeLuise, Gene Wilder, AND Harvey Korman cannot fail, and with so many quotable quotes, it's one of those movies that will always be funny. So in the end, of course it's a keeper. And thank you, Dom, for always being "on" even in the short time you were on screen and on Earth. Later!