Sunday, September 12, 2010

Dr. Jones, I Presume?: Parody, thy name is Indiana

Outside of knock offs, the other true measure of success is the parody. Dr. Jones and his adventures quickly became known worldwide and so that meant the character was ripe for the parody picking. Here we look at a few of the flicks that looked to exploit the good archeologist through humor.

CROCODILE JONES: THE SON OF INDIANA DUNDEE (1990) – Wow, this Filipino action-comedy looked to kill two 80s staples with one (big rolling) stone. Very little is known about this Vic Sotto vehicle and I can’t even find art for it. But I did manage to find this clip online and, if this is any indication, this is the greatest movie ever made!

HOLLYWOOD SHUFFLE (1987) – Robert Townsend became a critical darling with this comedy about the experience of a black actor in Hollywood. One segment called “Sneakin’ into the Movies” offered a Siskel & Ebert style show by two black dudes who, duh, snuck into the movies. The Indiana Jones offering is CHICAGO JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM with our two reviewers arguing over his ability to survive a jump off a cliff. “I know he’s a bad mutherfucker and all, but jumping off mountains with his mother and all? That’s bullshit,” argues negative reviewer Tyrone (Jimmy Woodward). Speed (Townsend) disagrees and retorts that Tyrone doesn’t know anything about how Jones survived because the hero knows something about the “levels of gravitivity and polarity.”

Sadly, this movie introduced us to co-writer Keenan Ivory Wayans. Or, more appropriately, unleashed him onto the cinematic world. Now he is not a bad guy and I like his early flicks, but his 90s SCARY MOVIE output directly led to the crap parody movies like DATE MOVIE, EPIC MOVIE, WHATEVER MOVIE clogging up the movie going publics arteries. And we come full circle as DISASTER MOVIE (2008) featured Tony Cox as a pint-sized Indiana Jones who I’m sure gets thrown into a wall or kicked in the nuts (no, I haven’t seen it as even I have standards).

HYSTERICAL (1983) – Ah, boy, start sharpening those knives because I will totally bag on the terrible current parody trend but then stick up for the Hudson brothers HYSTERICAL. This was SCARY MOVIE before semen jokes! Think AIRPLANE but with a horror slant. This gets a mention because 2 of the 3 Hudsons, Mark and Brett, essay the roles of Indiana Jones clones Dr. Paul Batton and Fritz through out the movie. Their intro scene has them spelunking in a tomb and confronting Dracula, who proceeds to turn into a bat and hump Fritz. See, dick jokes are alright and this film has plenty of them. It was the best movie ever for a 7-year-old kid obsessed with horror movie and is, well, hysterical. Don't take my word for it, watch the hysterical HYSTERICAL clip below:

Interestingly, lead Bill Hudson was married to Goldie Hawn for three years in the 1970s and is the father of Kate Hudson. After he divorced Goldie, Bill married Cindy Williams (got a thing for funny chicks, Bill?) and the Hudson brothers planned to do another flick spoofing the Indiana Jones image called BOOMERANG with Williams in the lead. This trade ad ran in 1983, but the flick never got made. Deep down I am truly saddened.

NIGHT PATROL (1984) – This raunchy parody doesn’t actually have any Indiana Jones riffs in it, but the filmmakers did see fit to mention the film in a trade ad that spoof various hits at the time ("Even more action packed than RAIDERS OF THE LOST PATROL").

UHF (1989) – This is probably the defining send up of Dr. Jones to anyone from my generation. As a master of pop parody, “Weird” Al Yankovic made a career off of mimicking music culture. So the promise of a Weird Al movie made fans giddy with anticipation of what films he would skewer. Well, he delivered by opening with a pitch perfect satire of the opening of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. From the Oscar statue idol to the endlessly chasing boulder, it is as fine scene as anything the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker guys gave us. Revisit this classic bit below:

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