Now With More Than 3600 Reviews! Go Nuts - Read 'Em All!!

WELCOME! Use the search engines on this site (or your own off-site engine of choice) to gain easy access to the complete MAKSQUIBS Archive; over 3600 posts and counting. (New posts added every day or so.)

You can check on all our titles by typing the Title, Director, Actor or 'Keyword' of your choice in the Search Engine of your choice (include the phrase MAKSQUIBS) or just use the BLOGGER Search Box at the top left corner of the page.

Feel free to place comments directly on any of the film posts and to test your film knowledge with the CONTESTS scattered here & there. (Hey! No Googling allowed. They're pretty easy.)

Send E-mails to . (Let us know if the TRANSLATE WIDGET works!) Or use the Profile Page or Comments link for contact.

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

1941 (1979)

Hollywood was positively dizzy with schadenfreude when Steven Spielberg tanked on this jumbo-sized WWII comedy. The huge commercial & critical success of JAWS/’75 and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS/’77 had set him up for Hollywood martyrdom (and in his 33rd year!) with this laughless farce about L.A.’s post-Pearl Harbor hysteria. Not that it’s his worst pic, (there’s HOOK/’91; ALWAYS/’89; THE LOST WORLD/’97), but it’s surely his least funny. (There are more laughs in SCHINDLER’S LIST/’93.) Like many a megger, Spielberg’s a whiz at spotting gags in dramas where it’s less comic-relief than tension-relief, but in his one purely comic outing, he pushes too hard, the characters become loathsome. Even a good comic idea, like a ‘lost’ Jap/Nazi sub forced to navigate with a toy compass out of a CrackerJack box, gets tossed aside. Technically, the film is a fun watch, and John Williams comes up with a swaggering march theme when he isn’t forced into musical pastiche for some dopey self-referencing joke. And the one well-received sequence, a wild Jitterbug Dance contest, now looks joyless, strenuous & oddly choppy. Spielberg still defends this one, but, taking no chances, it remains the only comedy on his long, long C.V.

WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: Norman Jewison’s THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING, THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING/’66 gets infinitely more out of a similar coastal invasion storyline with great underplaying leads working perfectly against OTT supporting comics. Compared to 1941, it’s a relief . . . and a lesson.

No comments: