on January 15, 2004
A hodgepodge of sketches and parodies, based on a theater group of the same name, featuring ample breasts and crude bathroom humor, KFM ultimately succumbs to its mindnumbingly slow pacing and poor production values. Just because a film is old doesn't mean it has to be outdated. Here we simply have a case of half-bakedness. The gents behind this film would find greater success with future features and with good reason. Movies like Airplane and Naked Gun kept the lulls at a minimum and the jokes coming like a shotgun, plus they have a budget. KFM on the otherhand has far too many lulls between the sight gags, slapstick and jokes to keep it afloat. There is also little continuity to the film. It reminds me more of a college film project, which makes sense, as these directors were barely out of school when they made this. KFM will always be legendary for its launching a new style of raunchy sightgag movies with tons of scatological and sexual double entendres but it was only a prototype of a genre-in-progress and as such should be seen in its true context.
on March 29, 2003
THE KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE is a series of sketches that lampoon various venues of its day: industrial training films, television commercials, news shows, martial arts flicks, and talk shows--in fact, it is very much like the original SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE. But while being on the big screen means the film can go a lot further than SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE ever could on television, KFM doesn't have the same level of talent behind it. When you add in the dated quality of the humor, the result is very hit or miss indeed.
The film originated when two brothers and their best friend--David and Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams--created a live show called "Kentucky Fried Theatre," and it proved such a hit that the three took the show to Los Angeles, where they managed to interest director John Landis and producer Robert Weiss in turning the whole thing into a low-budget film. Filmed with a no-name cast interspersed with cameos by Bill Bixby, Donald Sutherland, and Henry Gibson, KFM became the surprise hit of 1977.
Some of it holds up extremely well, most notably the "movie trailers" for such imaginary no-class explotation films as CATHOLIC HIGHSCHOOL GIRLS IN TROUBLE and CLEOPATRA SCHWARTZ, both of which will probably have film buffs screaming with laughter. And then there is a sketch which has a couple making love according to directions issued by a phonograph record, an instructional film on the uses of zinc oxide, a wicked take-off on "Point/Counterpoint," and a still darker take-off on television public service announcement--all of them a hoot and half.
But when the film falters, it falls with a thud. Fans of Bruce Lee will probably appreciate the film's centerpiece more than I did, a twenty-minute take-off on martial arts films called "A Fistful of Yen;" I myself thought it would be more amusing if it were half as long. The "Feel-Around" selection was a clever idea that never actually took off, and really much the same can be said for most of the sketches. Some of it is a matter of datedness: what was topical in 1977 doesn't necessarily have a great deal of relevance for a contemporary viewer. Some of it is shock-humor that doesn't shock any more because it has been done so often and so much better. But even so, and while the film as a whole is perhaps best approached as a cultural artifact, it's still worth a look--particularly if you like such films as AIRPLANE, THE NAKED GUN, ANIMAL HOUSE, and THE BLUES BROTHERS, all of which were created by various members of the crew that originally created KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE.
As for the DVD, the film quality is as good as it gets (and you should remember it wasn't great to begin with), and it offers the option of viewing the film in either widescreen or pan-and-scan--but the bonuses that seem so intriguing are actually less interesting than you might expect. The "behind the scenes" home movies and stills are actually rather dull, and as for the commentary... well, it sounds like the DVD package producers got the Zuckers, Abrahams, Landis, and Weiss together, gave them a couple of beers, and turned on the movie. They clearly haven't seen the film in quite a long time, spend a great deal of time trying to remember the names of the actors, and generally yuk it up. Now and then it is amusing and even informative, but on the whole it isn't greatly memorable one way or another. On the whole, I do recommend the DVD as a curiosity--and it would be a great party film--but this isn't one that you're likely to replay a great deal.
on May 17, 2004
I doubt you will ever see a movie like this again.
It starts off with a bang. When I first rented it a few years
ago, I watched it with a few freinds. And after the opening theme song, which is strange enough. A reporter comes on and
says "The popcorn you are eating has been pissed in."
One of my freinds nearly choked on a ciggarette from laughter.
There are so many funny moments to this movie. One is where a family makes there dead kid part of the family again. As they take him to the dinner table and ball game.
Another is a spoof of a porno called "When Catholic Girls Go Wild" This is just too funny, I laugh as I'm typing thinking about it. My 3rd favorite is The Joy of Sex which is like an instructional video on how to have sex narrated by Shadow Stevens formerley of American Top 40. I could go on and name scene after scene. But they are all funny.
If you like sketch comedey and have a open mind to humor.
This is a must own. It is old but this is a classic.
I love this stupid movie.
on May 14, 2002
As sketch-driven films go, 'The Kentucky Fried Movie' is not in the same class as Bunuel's 'The Phantom Of Liberty', or even Monty Python efforts like 'And Now For Something Completely Different' or 'The Meaning Of Life'. Its subject matter - kung-fu and blaxploitation films, the emergence of porn into the mainstream, courtroom TV shows, the style of TV adverts, news or cinema trailers - are too rooted in the decade they were made, and for anyone who did not grow up with the pop culture of the 1970s, most of the jokes will be mystifying.
But that's only a part of the problem. When the film lampooned a subject I did know a little about, such as Bruce Lee movies, they ignored what was truly interesting, such as the contrast between the tough masculinity of the genre and the balletic grace of Lee's art, and instead mocked the superficial infelicities of the genre, for instance the outre formulae of the plots and characters, the inept dubbing and relentless zooming, or the exagerrated fight sequences with their piercing feline squeaks. The result is the film's centrepiece, 30 plodding minutes of forced humour redeemed by one hysterically funny moment when the hero, having battered his Oddjob-heavy opponent with all his fighting prowess, turns around in slo-mo only to see him get up again - his undubbed expletive of disbelief had me in tears.
It is for these brief moments, rather than any sustained comedy, that makes the film still worth watching; the only scene I laughed at throughout - where a newsreader watches from the TV screen a young couple making out, and beckoning his colleagues to look and cheer - was only funny, I think, because they reminded me of my friends. Of course, what dates the film, its being tied to its times, is also what makes it fascinating, as a kind of satiric time capsule of its era's pop ephemera - its not always positive reaction to the increasing representation of non-whites in the media is especially interesting.
The 'scattershot' approach - throw every joke we can think of in and something's bound to be funny - is recognisably that of writers Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker; they would learn that, for this kind of style to work, it needs to be tied, no matter how loosely or ironically, to some kind of character and plot, in order to sustain comic momentum.
on July 11, 2000
First things first -- this movie is not as funny as you remember it being. How could it be? Virtually all of us who have seen it have distinct memories not just of the zany spoofs ("Fistful of Yen" and "Catholic High School Girls in Trouble" being two of the most famous) contained in the actual movie, but also of the act of watching it -- late night before a final exam, late night after your parents went to bed, late night pizza and beer with your buddies. You get the picture.
I watched it by myself recently, and though I laughed right out loud many times, I kept looking around for the buddies that used to laugh right out loud with me (or the equally hilarious reactions of friends who didn't get the humor).
I guess it's my own fault. So my advice to you is to invite over old friends, new friends, and friends who are difficult to offend, for a midnight show of "Kentucky Fried Movie." Whether they shake their heads in disgust, roll their eyes at the lack of taste, smile weakly at jokes they don't get, or laugh until they cry, it's a movie that deserves a full house. And hey, if they don't like it, call in Big Jim Slade. Or better yet, send them to Detroit.
on July 17, 2000
Reading over the rest of the reviews will give you an accurate description of the movie. What needs to be commented on is the commentary track on the DVD.
John Landis, Jim Abrahams, Jerry & David Zucker, and Robert K. Weiss were gathered together to record the commentary. Being famialar with their respective accomplishments I was terribly excited to listen to their thoughts on the movie.
While amazingly not technical the commentary track is somewhat of a disappointment. History of the movie and more importantly the Kentucky Fried Theater is glossed over, in favor of amusing anecdotes. While this can be very funny, especially toward the end, I was hoping for more then what seemed to be five guys sitting around reminiscing.
To compound my frustration with the DVD is that the other extras, home made movies and photo gallery, are not even as good as the commentary.
Thankfully, the picture quality is great and in widescreen or fullscreen. A little disappointed with the extras, but still a wonderful film.
on May 3, 2002
I think I was one of the few people to have the pleasure of seeing a pre-screening (prior to release) of this film back in 1977 at the old Fox Theater on Lincoln Blvd in Santa Monica. It was a very rough cut and was a surprise showing before an Andy Warhol film "Scarecrow in a Garden of Cucumbers." I hear that Landis, Abrahams, and the Zuckers were there too (to measure audience reaction.). But what was eventually released to the theaters was markedly different than what I saw at that screening. For example, the "Eyewitness News"-like segment went on for a LOT longer ( 5 to 7 minutes vs 2 or 3 minutes now). The pre-screening also contained quite a bit of unabashed male and female nudity while they did gymnastics on the couch. When the film finally came out, I would say about 95% of this nudity appeared to have been cut (with just a flash of male nudity). When shown on cable tv recently, all but a few gratuitous breast shots had been excised from this scene, all male nudity (including butt shots) were gone, and the scene was shortened quite a bit (the 5 minute build-up in the original cut is what made it even MORE hysterical -- as each watching newscaster reached their own orgasm as heavy breathing voyeurs). Now it is just a brief one-liner gag (the watchers being watched). I don't know if any of this original scene has been restored on the DVD version, but the running time leads me to believe that it has not. But overall, a classic and a must see - with or without the footage that was edited out prior to release in 1977.
on December 25, 2000
In 1972, David and Jerry Zucker along with their old friend Jim Abrahams (Airplane, Naked Gun, Etc.)moved from Madison Wisconsin to Los Angeles. They had actually made a few dollars in Madison performing some skits and improvisations out of the back of a bookstore for appreciative mostly college aged audiences. Once in Los Angeles they rented a former half-way house on Pico Blvd (in L.A.). They lived upstairs and worked downstairs. The building was first known simply as the White House. Word spread that there were some crazy people doing crazy comedy shows on Pico Blvd. at the White House. There were soon ads running in local newspapers THE NOSE is running Thursday through Sunday at The Kentucky Fried Theater on Pico.
The ZAZ team also earned money by producing and directing training and education films. They made some for the L.A.P.D.'s (Police Department) Parker center and some on fork lift safety. People like Pat Proft (writer of Police Academy, Mr. Magoo, High School High, etc), and John Landis, (who had made a low budget film in San Francisco called Schlock), soon joined the ZAZ team.
They had decided to try and get a movie financed. They wrote a script and proceeded to get turned down by every studio in town. Then they started with meeting with potential investors, successful Realtors and dentists. This was not successful but it did give them the idea to pool money together, borrow some from their parents and shoot part of the film,( four sketches were made-- Scott Free, and Zinc Oxide among them). Armed with the filmed sketches ZAZ and Landis were able to get get a budget and distribution deal for their movie.
Kentucky Fried Movie is a series of crude and usually raunchy sketches which parody commercials, exploitation, blaxploitation, and kung fu movies, News programs, T.V. Courtroom reality shows, and educational films.
The pace of the film and the jokes are much slower than the Airplane and Naked Gun films. The film is dated and the small budget they worked with means parts of the film look like it was shot for public access television. A lot of the humor is sexist, racist, crude, rude, dumb and sophomoric and only about half the jokes ever worked. There's also quite a bit of nudity in the film.
If you're like me and find long, well done parodies of Enter the Dragon funny (even if the jokes are pretty obvious and a bit stale), you are going to enjoy yourself. If long coming attraction parodies for films with titles like Catholic School Girls in Trouble and Cleopatra Schwartz (in which a Pam Grier like Amazon black woman teams with a Hasidic Rabbi to fight criminals) sound funny to you-you'll have a great time with Kentucky Fried Movie. The news-cast sequences have been done much better, and go on for way too long, (ending with Rick Baker in a great looking monkey seat destroying the news set). The satire of courtroom reality shows is still funny as just about every court-room cliche is acted out with terrible puns while Tony Dow as Wally and Jerry Zucker as the Beaver, observe. The satire of 70's era disaster films called "That's Armageddon" (featuring a quick glance of Donald Sutherland) is even funnier if you get the joke about George Lazenby. Bill Bixby shows up quickly giving us a tour of a headache research center. There's a satire of the film gimmick Sensurround, rendered in a bit that was part of their stage show called Feel-around. Some of the cleverest bits in the film include the commercial for the Kennedy conspiracy theory board game Scott Free and the very funny educational film satire called Zinc Oxide and You. Outside of Scott Free, the film stays away from political humor. While some of these exact same topics were parodied in 1974's Groove Tube, Kentucky Fried Movie is still pretty funny. And surprisingly (especially for the era it was made in), there is no drug humor in the film.
Kentucky Fried Movie is sometimes credited with inspiring or having influence on Saturday Night Live. Kentucky Fried Movie is also sometimes credited for pioneering the grab bag format of satirizing commercial, coming attractions, t.v. shows and movies. Nothing could be further from the truth. Saturday Night Live began in 1976. This film was released in 1977 and though e four sketches of it were filmed in 1976, few had seen them.. Besides... the cast of SNL came out of one of the most popular and most successful examples of improv comedy theater: Second City. Both the original Chicago and Toronto groups were where the majority of the SNL cast came from. Lorraine Newman was from the Los Angeles improv group The Groundlings which is where talent like Pee Wee Herman, Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz and Elvira also began their careers. Toronto's Second City also gave birth to the excellent long running SCTV television show which began (I believe) in approximately 1977 (John Candy, Harold Ramis, Dave Thomas, Rick Moranis etc are from here).
The first successful, widely distributed film that featured raunchy humor, parodies of t.v. shows and commercials was Ken Shapiro's 1974 cult comedy hit The Groove Tube (1974). It was certainly this film and perhaps Neal Isreal's Tunnelvision (1976), which gave ZAZ the idea to create their own. The success of Kentucky Fried Movie catapulted the careers of Landis and ZAZ. Landis got Animal House and ZAZ eventually would release 1980's Airplane.
The recently released DVD features ZAZ, Landis and producer Robert K. Weiss on the commentary track. Unfortunately its one of the lamest commentary tracks I've ever heard. All five of them are in a room together, and groan and laugh at various parts of the film, share some inside jokes and tell us very little about the making of the film. It's hard to tell who's talking and often they all try to talk at the same time. There is however some interesting 8 m.m. home movies that the Zucker's took on the set of the movie as it was being made which is part of the DVD disc. These were sent to the parents to prove they were really making a movie in Hollywood!. They show people working pretty hard to create the zaniness which would become the film.
What's most important however is that for a lot of us, Kentucky Fried Movie remains pretty darn funny.
"I'm not wearing any pants! Film at 11."
Chris Jarmick Author of The Glass Cocoon with Serena F. Holder - A steamy cyber thriller...
on April 27, 2000
This midnight movie staple is a great example of (dirty) skit comedy. Another in the great line of quotable movies, there are some skits that are extraoridinarily funny. The "Fist Full of Yen" is so good you will find that you will want to build a Martial Arts Army of Extra-Ordinary Magnitude.
Some of the humor is not for everybody, as it is very sexually explicit. There is a great deal of nudity, so it is definitely not appropriate for the kiddies. But if you find early Saturday Night Live or Monty Python funny, you will definitely get a kick out of this picture. You will certainly never see the Evening News the same again. There are parts of this movie that do not hold up to time and some of the humor falls flat, but most of the skits are timeless and the slow parts are few and far between. Plus, the 70's wardrobe and music are funny, in and of itself.
People from Big Jim Slade the former tight end of the Kansas City Chiefs to all the Catholic High School Girls in Trouble recommend this movie, and so do I. It is very funny.
on May 15, 2000
That happens to be a line from the film, "Kentucky Fried Movie". Tasteless, huh? Yeah, well, so is the film. But it also happens to be one of the funniest films of the '70s. And also one of the most forgotten.
The film itself is a collection of skits similiar to those of early "Saturday Night Live" and "Not Necessarily The News" . But, thankfully, there are no pesky TV censors to hold back any of the vulgarity. Some of the stars that are included in these unbelievably nasty sketches are Donald Sutherland (JFK, Invasion of the Body Snatchers), Bill Bixby ("The Incredible Hulk") and Tony Dow (The Beav!). Also, the film has many very funny moments. Some of my favorites: "Fistful of Yen", which is a cross between old Bruce Lee movies and "The Wizard Of Oz" and "High Adventure" with explorer Claude Lamont!
The film was directed by John Landis, who went on to direct "Trading Places", "Coming To America" and "Spies Like Us." The film also includes David and Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams ("ZAZ"). They went on to do such classic spoof comedies, such as "Airplane!", "The Naked Gun", and "Hot Shots!"
If you are a fan of any of these other titles I've mentioned in this review and are not easily offended, then "Kentucky Fried Movie" is for you!
Film At Eleven.