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The Kentucky Fried Movie


“I'm not wearing any pants. Film at 11.”

Rod Lott July 23rd, 2013

John Landis and the team of David Zucker/Jim Abrahams/Jerry Zucker may have made better movies directly afterward (National Lampoon's Animal House and Airplane!, respectively), but that's not to deny 1977's The Kentucky Fried Movie its rightful place in the all-time comedy canon. A career-launcher for all four, the scrappy Sketch Movie That Could holds up splendidly — in laughs, not fashions — in its Blu-ray debut.

kentuckyfriedmovie

Nothing more than a collection of roughly two dozen unrelated sketches, The Kentucky Fried Movie succeeds most at skewering its own medium: American commercial cinema. Fake trailers mock the exploitation fads of the era with Cleopatra Schwartz (blaxploitation), That's Armageddon (disaster movies) and Catholic High School Girls in Trouble (youth sex films); they're so dead-on, one could feast on an entire feature of nothing but.

Its crowning achievement, however, is Kentucky's longest bit: A Fistful of Yen, a half-hour, Mad magazine-style parody of Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon.

Television also gets sent up (and felt up) with segments that make fun of the evening news, courtroom shows and, of course, commercials. One such instance is Scot Free, a family board game about the JFK assassination, which is as good an example as any as Kentucky's level of tastelessness. It's tough to be offended when the sketches are so funny.

Still, that doesn't stop the filmmakers from discussing what might not fly today — from lines of dialogue to entire pieces — on the commentary track. Among the many benefits of listening is learning for which role David Letterman auditioned.

Shout! Factory's Blu-ray also contains a new, lengthy sit-down chat with the Zucker brothers, and Kentucky Fried Movie's original trailer, which I had never seen. It's of note because it contains footage not in the film itself, of faux producer Samuel L. Bronkowitz — elderly and wheelchair-bound — introducing his magnum opus.

There's one startling omission from the disc, especially for an anthology project: scene selections! Their absence makes finding your favorite parts difficult, and even after countless viewings, I have many. —Rod Lott

Hey! Read This:
Enter the Dragon: 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu-ray review    



 
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