Sunday, April 1, 2012

Back in Time A to Z: Airplane! (1980)

It's possible that my parents showed a distinct lack of judgment by taking me to this movie at such a young age. On the other hand it's possible I wouldn't have developed such a wicked sense of humor without it. Airplane! isn't just a comedy, it's a celebration of humor.

If you've never seen Airplane! then it's possible that some of the jokes are too anachronistic for them to hit your funny bone as hard as they would have in 1980 (provided you were around in 1980 to see it). For instance, although Hare Krishnas are still around they aren't as ever-present in airports giving out their flowers. On the other hand there are a number of jokes that are timeless. Anyone who has been in an airport is familiar with the bland, boring announcements about loading zones (keep an ear out in this movie for the announcers/announcements to get interesting). And many of the puns, visual jokes, and bawdy scenes are just as silly and outrageous now as they were then.

Some quotes that we fans use and totally recognize when someone else uses them:
  • "Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit..." drinking, smoking, amphetamines, sniffing glue, etc. (Oh how we miss you, Lloyd Bridges!)
  • "A hospital? What is it?" "It's a big building with patients, but that's not important right now."
  • "Surely you can't be serious." "I am serious... and don't call me Shirley."
  • "You ever seen a grown man naked?" 
The Commander's Rating: Five out of five Vulcan salutes. It's a classic.
Pros: Leslie Nielsen and Lloyd Bridges, silly jokes and situations, and a plot that's a rollicking good time. It never fails to make me laugh. They lampoon the movie Airport, politics, pop culture, and everything else they could think of.
Cons: It was made to capture some of the oeuvre of the time, which means that you might not get it or at least might be "over" some of the issues that are being lampooned. You can definitely tell that it fell between the 70s and 80s.
Recommendation: Any time you need a distraction and pick-me-up Airplane! is a good movie to turn to. And the more you watch it the more it will make you laugh. Please be aware that there is nudity and some sexual jokes/situations.


  1. An excellent start to the challenge. I haven't seen the film but it sounds good.

    Best of luck with the rest of the challenge.

  2. I love Airplane! I'm not a big fan of spoofs usually, but Airplane! is just hilarious.

    It's nice to see some more movie features on the A-Z Challenge. Keep up the good work!


  3. This is one of my favorite lampoon movies. I love your theme for A to Z...which is where I am checking in from...and I love your rating system.


  4. Surely you can't be serious...