Saturday, March 27, 2010

In Hot Duck Soup

My recent movie suggestion request has resulted in a few people suggesting Marx Brothers movies, and this in turn has reminded me of an incident from  High School.

Back in the day, I was in a film class. We mostly watched movies and abused having access to film equipment, and I sat in a corner with three friends. It doesn't sound bad, and yet I still somehow managed to find the class aggravating (I was super good at finding high school classes aggravating). This was mostly due to the discussions we'd have about the movies.

One movie we watched in particular was Duck Soup. It wasn't a bad movie, and I'm sure it was hilarious back in its day (as opposed to my day), but the movie has one major flaw that is in no way its fault: a lot of its jokes have been used repeatedly in Looney Tunes cartoons. Watching it felt like watching a black and white live action version of Bugs Bunny. Combine that with sitting in a classroom and it being the last class of the day, and I barely laughed. My friends didn't laugh much, either.

The rest of the class, however, found it hilarious. They laughed throughout the film, and this somehow made it even less funny for me. Maybe they were secretly laughter vampires, draining the funny and keeping me from laughing, too. I don't know.

When it came time for the mandatory class discussion, the majority of the class was singing the movies its praises and talking about how unpredictable it was. When I was called upon to give my opinion of the movie, I was honest about not finding it funny. The class defensively insisted that I defend my lack of enjoyment, and in the course of trying to do so, I let slip how their laughter had made it worse. You can guess how well that went over.

I have many reasons for not holding it against people when we aren't in agreement about liking or disliking certain things. I suspect that one of them is remembering what it was like being backed into that corner and neck deep in hot duck soup.


  1. You should try watching it again now that you are not a Troubled Teen who is actively disliking the context it is being watched in! Watch it with some friends whose sense of humor you respect.

  2. Oh my god, I found the same problem with Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I hated that movie, and this one guy who kept laughing extremely loudly made it less funny.

  3. Reminds me of how my mother finds laugh tracks irritating.

  4. You should try "A Night in Casablanca", the Marxes' last film (1946). The side story about a Nazi in hiding and a disgraced American pilot and his girlfriend looking for lost Nazi gold in a hotel is strong enough to stand on its own, and there are some good routines that haven't been parodied to death (I particularly like the one where Chico and Harpo slowly fill a dance floor with dinner tables while a large crowd of people, including Groucho, try to dance).

  5. Here's another comedy/action movie with routines you haven't seen: City Hunter, starring Jackie Chan. Also starring the cast of Street Fighter, including a skinny E. Honda, a slightly pudgy Dhalsim, an Asian Guile, and Jackie Chan as a crossdressing Chun-Li.

    (Street Fighter scenes in question can be found on YouTube, if you really CAN'T wait.)

  6. That story makes me sad, because I loved "Duck Soup" growing up, and I know how bad people enjoying something you're not enjoying can be.

    (However, I found 'Night at the Opera' dull.) If you're going to try another Marx Brothers film, I'd suggest 'Horse Feathers'.

  7. Yeah--I can see where you are coming from.

    But then--I am the person that people will say that I choose my likes and dislikes just to be contrary >.>'

    I still have a hell of a time, defending why I do not like Final Fantasy and why I really do not like Metal Gear Solid.

    But, I promised that when I do finally do review Final Fantasy XIII on GamerDNA.Com, I will try to do a positive review for once. I am joking about how it likely will be a review about the nice plant life in the game.

  8. Well with the Marks Brothers it is a deal of figuring out which flavor you like. I agree with you on Duck Soup, and found Day at the Races to be funnier and more enjoyable when I first saw both. Years later it was the inverse. So you never know with them.

  9. What surprises me the most in your post is how people asked you to back up the fact that you didn't find it funny.
    If you don't find it funny, you don't find it funny. There is no need to write an essay about it. Humour tends to be hit-or-miss anyways.

    I'm with you on people laughing at things you don't find funny making it worse. It's not just laughs though. I remember watching something that I thought was incredibly cheesy and people went "awww" and I actually got upset that they thought it was heartwarming when I felt it was clichéd, predictable and easy.

    And I have a friend who never got into the Harry Potter books. Having so many people tell her they're awesome and she should try again and she's a moron for not loving them made her develop a hatred for a series she originally was just "meh" about.