“Why was that supposed to be funny? The scene betrays a basic ignorance of a fundamental principle of humor: It isn’t funny when innocent bystanders are humiliated. It’s funny when they humiliate themselves.”
–Roger Ebert, on a particularly embarrassing moment in “Head Over Heels”
If only most comedies these days would have listened to Ebert’s advice. Alas, “troll humor” is the norm these days….
Also see Ebert’s review of “Freddy Got Fingered”, which he begins by listing how 2001 saw a sudden surge of crude-and-gruesome-and-disgusting-and-seemingly-proud-of-it “comedies”. It’s a very telling list, which, along with the above quote, basically reads like every darn thing that’s wrong with far too many modern-day comedies.
The 1980s and the 1990s was in many ways something of a golden age for comedies, both in movies (many of which starred Tom Hanks) and in television (from the triple-threat of “The Cosby Show”, “Family Ties”, and “Cheers”…all the way to “Friends” and its own counterparts).
How the heck did we, in the spans of a few years, move from THAT…to the unfunny, annoying-at-best, disgustingly-weird-at-worst “vomitoriums” that remain the norm to this day? In lieu of human wit, we have human waste. Rather than clever profundity, we have cringe-worthy profanity. In short…instead of shining examples of comedic excellence, we have what essentially amounts to a concentrated pile of cinematic excrement.
Kudos to Mr. Ebert for bringing out out the scooper.