Netflix Instant Pick: Mel Brooks Parodies

Every week we recommend a movie we love that is available via Netflix instant view, the greatest thing ever created! Enjoy!

Spaceballs and Robin Hood: Men in Tights are movies that may be on your List of Shame, but with both on Netflix Instant, that’s easily rectified. Mel Brooks is a singular name in parody and these are among his most celebrated, and most recent parody films. Brooks only made four films in the 80s and 90s in this genre, but with little quantity comes great quality.

Spaceballs (1987) is a landmark in a peculiar subgenre: the Star Wars parody. While the film also features many other cultural references, Star Wars was Brooks’ main target. It’s a fertile ground for parody, as we have seen in subsequent years (where shows like Family Guy and Robot Chicken have done multiple entire episodes dedicated to it). What’s funny to me is that this film came out just 10 years after the release of the first Star Wars film, and critics were complaining that they were already over saturated with it. Ebert wrote in his original review, “The strangest thing about Spaceballs is that it should have been made several years ago, before our appetite for Star Wars satires had been completely exhausted…this movie already has been made over the last 10 years by countless other satirists.”

However, don’t let that deter you. After all, If you haven’t seen Spaceballs, then you’ll never know why “Pizza [the Hutt] is going to send out…for you!

Watch Spaceballs here.

Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993) is the parody film Brooks made after Spaceballs, and is his last good film to date. Like its predecessor, the film is a direct parody, and luckily it adheres as close to the Robin Hood mythos as Young Frankenstein is to its source material. However, like Brooks’ other historical parodies, it includes a lot of anachronisms as humor, aided by the great Dave Chapelle as Achoo.

Brooks particular target this time, the Kevin Costner film Prince of Thieves, is probably a less popular film now that Men in Tights has become a cult classic. By broadening this film to encompass the whole Robin Hood legend, and not just one specific portrayal, it bolsters the parody to stand in its own right. Lead Cary Elwes elevates the film to new heights with his now famous line, “Unlike some other Robin Hoods, I can speak with an English accent!”

Watch Robin Hood: Men in Tights here.

Netflix Instant Pick runs every Thursday on Filmhash. Past picks are here.

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