Movie: The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!
Release Date: December 2, 1988
Director: David Zucker
Starring: Leslie Nielson, Priscilla Presley, Ricardo Montalbán, George Kennedy.
Tag Lines: “The Villain. Even Mother Teresa wanted him dead.”
“You’ve read the ad, now see the movie!”
Relevance: My dad and I loved silly comedies. In fact, the sillier the better. Mel Brooks was one of our favorite writers and directors (check out 272. Spaceballs, 206. Blazzing Saddles, 205. History of the World Part 1) as well as the Zucker brothers. Their work with Jim Abrahams was some of the silliest movies ever created but ones that made my father and me cry from laughing so hard (see 309. Top Secret, 248. Ruthless People and 204. Hot Shots!). It should not come as a surprise then that ‘The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!’ made my list of most influential movies of all time.
‘The Naked Gun’ was a huge success critically and commercially. Both audiences and critics alike adored the silliness of the film and it went on to become the tenth highest grossing film of 1988. I did not see the movie in theaters for reasons I cannot explain. I do know that while the film was in theaters I was watching the re-runs of “Police Squad!,” a show that originally aired in the early 1980’s, which MTV was airing to promote the movie. That show was canceled after only six episodes, but I watched those six episodes over and over again, laughing uncontrollably each time no matter how many times they were watched.
As soon as ‘The Naked Gun’ was available as a rental, I did just that. I grabbed a copy from my local Blockbuster store sometime in the Spring of 1989, and finally watched the movie with my dad. And boy, oh boy, did we laugh. The movie was perfectly ridiculous and not at all short on laughs. It was filled with gags and jokes that were goofy and crass but ultimately hilarious. My dad and I knew the movie was something special when my mom, a woman who despised silly comedies, gave her stamp of disapproval. She watched some of the film and said, while laughing, “This is so stupid.” We knew if that review was given by Chrissy, it was an A plus silly comedy we would cherish for a long time.
And that is exactly what I did. The movie was eventually owned on VHS for our movie collection and one that I took away with me to college. It instantly became a movie I would watch and re-watch with my friends. And that is when the constant quoting began. “Nice beaver.” “Thanks, I just had it stuffed.” That and many other lines from the film became staples amongst my friends and peers. I can’t tell you how many fun filled nights with laughter this movie generated.
‘The Naked Gun’ gave me so many fond memories throughout my life right along with those laughs. For starters, most of my friends thought that my dad looked like Leslie Nielsen, the films star. I think it was only the big nose and white hair, but my dad enjoyed the comparison. Many people say that I look like my dad, time will only tell if I morph into Mr. Nielsen. I am not sure I will take kindly to that comparison, with all due respect to the late great actor. The movie also reminded me so much of my best friend from college. He loved to laugh and had a tremendous loud guffaw that he was not embarrassed to share anytime, anywhere. He loved the film and loved to relive its silliness as much as possible.
‘The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!’ was a movie that stayed with me my entire life. I enjoyed its two sequels, but nothing compares to the original. It is not my favorite Zucker brothers film, as they have one that lands in my top ten on this list, but this movie is a comedic gem that will never, ever be forgotten.
Today’s Thoughts: “It’s true what they say: Cops and women don’t mix. It’s like eating a spoonful of Drano; sure, it’ll clean you out, but it’ll leave you hollow inside.”
There are so many great one-liners in this film, it really is difficult to choose a favorite. ‘The Naked Gun’ is a movie that I have watched so many times, it lines, images, gags and deadpan deliveries are forever ingrained in my mind. But with that said, it never gets old and I adore watching it again today with what seems like the millionth time.
There is no one better that could pull off the serious ridiculousness of Lt. Frank Drebin than the glorious Leslie Nielsen. He is so fun and perfect in this movie. I will always enjoy watching and listening to him in this role. The writing and delivery is so sharp and witty and so, so silly. There has never been a time when I watched this film that I have not laughed out loud numerous times. I dare anyone watching it not to at least crack a smile. If you don’t, check your pulse. You’re dead.
‘The Naked Gun’ rightfully deserves a spot in my top one hundred films of all time. Not only is the film completely entertaining, the fantastic memories it provokes from my life are priceless and ones I would never trade in for anything. If you haven’t watched this movie, do yourself a favor and give in to its very short eighty-five minutes. It’s totally worth it.
Ways to Watch: Netflix, YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, Amazon Prime, iTunes, DVD Availability.