Ok. I’m curious as to how many list of the top comedies today’s movie winds up in at least the top 5, if not the top spot. At the very least it has to be one of the most quotable movies. I can’t tell you the number of times a quote from this movie would come up in random conversations. Of course, that usually results in many, many, many more quotes being said. This is one of my favorites comedies for several reasons. Not the least of which is that this was one of the first comedic movies that Leslie Nielsen starred in. So prepare to laugh as I get into today’s movie, Airplane.
The plot: Taxi driver Ted Striker rushes to the airport to try and keep his girlfriend, Elaine, from leaving him but he is unable to convince her to change her mind. Having been afraid of flying ever since his experiences during the war, Ted boards Trans American Flight 209 going from Los Angeles to Chicago, the same plane that Elaine is on as a flight attendant. During the flight, several passengers begin to get seriously ill after eating the fish that was served at dinner. Even the flight crew is affected, as pilot Clarence Oveur, co-pilot Roger Murdock, and navigator Victor Basta, all become ill. The plane is temporarily kept in the air with the auto-pilot, an inflatable doll named Otto, but without an actual pilot, the plane has no hope of landing. While Dr. Rumack tries helping out the passengers, the flight crew try to find someone that might be able to fly the plane, with Ted being the only person available. Ted tries to handle flying the plane, but becomes overcome with all the stress, plus the fact that the man talking them down is Ted’s former commanding officer during the war, Rex Kramer, and winds up leaving the cockpit. Dr. Rumack talks to Ted and manages to convince him to go back and fly the plane. Ted get’s over his anger with Kramer and manages to bring the plane down safely with minor injuries to the passengers. He also manages to rekindle his relationship with Elaine and the two share a kiss as the watch Otto fly off in the plane with his own companion.
Airplane received highly favorable praise from the critics, earning a 98% score on Rotten Tomatoes. The critics pretty much said the same thing about the movie, that while the movie was juvenile and silly, the movie is full of quotable lines and slapstick gags that endure to this very day. The audiences definitely loved it as it would go on to make over $83 million in box office gross, making it the 4th highest grossing movie of 1980. It is almost always toward the top of every movie list where comedies are concerned and in 2010, it was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
This movie is absolutely hysterical. It is hard to pick a favorite scene or actor because they were all great. From “Roger Murdock” arguing with a kid about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, to Johnny, the manic air traffic controller, there was really so many scenes to laugh at. The actors were great in this, especially the actors that aren’t normally in comedies such as Leslie Nielsen, Peter Graves, and Robert Stack. The plot was great, spoofing many of the disaster film genre, primarily Zero Hour! and Airport 1975. Man, just thinking about this movie has me smiling and wanting to watch it again. If you ever need a laugh, then you should watch this movie. Then watch it again in case you missed something from laughing so hard.
Rating: 5 out of 5