Episode #18: Life Stinks
Listen to Episode 18 of the Podcast here while you enjoy the show notes.
SUMMARY - In Life Stinks, Goddard Bolt (played by Mel Brooks) is one of the richest people in the country. In order to expand his empire, he plans to buy a large destitute section of Los Angeles and build expensive properties there. A competing businessman has the same idea and buys half the needed land. They agree to a bet: Bolt must spend 30 days living on the streets, homeless with no resources or money. If he can do it, he gets the rights to develop. Otherwise his rival will take it all.
Screenplay by Mel Brooks, Rudy De Luca, and Steve Haberman; Directed by Mel Brooks, and released on July 26, 1991.
The start of the movie has some of the comedy that you'd expect from Mel Brooks.
But pretty quickly it breaks away from that. Once he's on the streets, it's a careful balance of comedy and the serious subject of homelessness
The movie is not a parody, like most of Brooks' films and it certainly tries to mix in jokes at a semi-regular pace.
It also may be his best legitimate acting performance.
There aren't a ton of supporting characters, but at least they're memorable.
Lesley Ann Warren is the love interest and her performance can be hyper exaggerated at times.
We're at a point where we can compare other 1991 movies by scene. Listen to the episode to learn why we put it side-by-side with Doc Hollywood.
You'll also want to listen to learn why this actor was kicked out of the Academy that votes on the Oscars.
Near the end, the movie goes back to the madcap zany antics you would want to see and it gets better. This interaction with writer Rudy De Luca was a fun precursor.
Awards Talk - None to speak of, but at least that means it didn't "Stink" bad enough to get a Razzie.
TRUE CRIME & POP CULTURE
This week we didn't cover any crime stuff, and the movie came out the same week as V.I. Warshawski, so we did something a little different with our TV coverage.
We were able to find a couple episodes (or parts) of late night talk shows. These might get taken down at some point, so apologies in advance if they are not working.
Late Night with Johnny Carson - Susan Sarandon, Lyle Lovett and Dr. Norman Gary
Nikki went into the Norman Gary rabbit hole (or bee hive as it were) and gave a rundown on his life. Here's his website:
We also watched David Letterman featuring Adam West. There's also a brief appearance by our star of the week, Lesley Ann Warren
Adam West was there to talk about "Lookwell," which is a TV pilot about an actor who tries to use his "skills" as a television detective in real life crime. Written by Conan O'Brien and Robert Schimmel
It's on YouTube, so we watched it and gave our thoughts. Let us know yours.
RANKINGS & RATINGS
Nikki 1-5 star scale - 2 out of 5
Jon 0-4 star scale - 2 out of 4
Would you watch it again? - Maybe as part of a Mel Brooks retrospective or with an audience, but we'd rather watch his other stuff first.
If you want to watch Life Stinks, as of this recording on June 2021, it’s available on HBO Max, Digital Rental, VHS, DVD. Check your local listings.
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