Wednesday, August 11, 2021



(Atlantic Entertainment, 1986) This bizarre film came to my attention when I looked into the career of Josh Mostel  (son of comedy legend Zero) whose role as an educator with a dark secret is a highlight  of Billy Madison. I was further intrigued upon learning that the obscure film featured Mousie Garner, an actual stooge of sorts (the Three Stooges have a long, complicated pre-and-post classic shorts-era history). I was certainly not disappointed upon finding the film, but it would be accurate, and appropriate, to say I was decidedly dumbfounded. The premise is that Howard (Mostel) is afflicted with a disorder called Stoogemania, which causes him to experience and manifest actual Stooges scenes (which we see, all from public domain Stooges shorts) which result in his life being plagued/blessed by surreal slapstick (including a popcorn tsunami and a human Frogger crossing the street sequence). His romance with a gal that finds him a hoot (played by Melanie Chartoff of Fridays) and the quest for approval by her haughty, though just shy of dowager-level, mother and father, lead him to try to conquer his affliction. He ends up in a very specific ghetto/funhouse/arcade awash in Stooge impersonators whose violence seems at least as dire as it is funny, all leading to his being institutionalized in a de-stooge-ifying rehab hospital where the medical staff (Sid Casesar is the diagnosing doc, Victoria Jackson is the off kilter nurse whose performance invokes industrial work harassment videos, nurse porn, and that Marvel Alice Cooper mental hospital comic book). Does it culminate in a wild, chaotic pie fight. Maybe, I can't really trust my senses as far as what I saw, this movie makes you feel like you have a disorder. But let me be perfectly clear, this is a positive review and throwing pies in stoogemaniacal joy has no relationship to throwing rotten tomatoes for any reason!

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