Airplane!

When: Fri., Dec. 17 2010

With Leslie Nielsen's recent passing, the world needs laughter more than ever. What better way to celebrate his life and work than through the film that made him a laughingstock in the first place? By casting deadly serious actors such as Nielsen, Robert Stack, Peter Graves and Lloyd Bridges in contrast to some of the silliest non sequiturs ever to make their way on screen, Jim Abrahams and the Zucker brothers created a unique kind of film comedy. Unafraid to tackle jokes from the meta (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar!) to the creepy ("Do you like movies about gladiators?") to the potentially racist ("Don't worry, I speak jive") to the flat-out silly ("And don't call me Shirley!"), Airplane achieves genius through comedy overkill. And to think none of it would have happened if the creators hadn't seen the campy 1957 melodrama Zero Hour! on late-night TV. Go on YouTube to see a video contrasting scenes from the two; it's just darn weird. The film runs through Dec. 23; showtimes vary. —Zack Smith

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