BEST SPOOF MOVIES: Maybe it’s hard to believe now, when all it takes to land yourself in the spoof genre is to blatantly say ‘THIS MOVIE IS A PARODY OF THIS OTHER MOVIE,’ cast some lookalike actors, and string some vague sketches and fart jokes together.  Stick a Wayons brother in the mix and people will eat that crap up like starving hyenas.  I’m not here to say that those people are dummies, but you know I’m thinking it.

The scariest part of this movie?  It took 6 people to write it.

Good spoofs aren’t just a collection of recent pop culture references peppered with nudity and f-bombs.  They actually develop characters and plot lines while mocking the genre. Every now and then they’re so good that you almost forget you’re watching a parody.  Here are a few  spoof movies that are actually worth watching.

The Naked Gun

Spoof target – Film noir detective dramas

Favorite quote – “Jane, since I’ve met you, I’ve noticed things that I never knew were there before… birds singing, dew glistening on a newly formed leaf, stoplights.”

Leslie Nielsen glides effortlessly from deadpan dolt to full on slapstick, which is a pretty hard thing to do when you think about it.  The best thing about The Naked Gun, besides the wall to wall jokes and semblance of a fun story, is the cast.  Seriously.

“What?  What’d I do?”

And the surprising thing is that future murderer OJ Simpson and former Elvis wife Priscilla Presley are just fine in their roles.  The Naked Gun movies are probably the best non-football/marrying the King of Rock-n-Roll things those two will ever, ever do.  But it’s really Leslie Nielsen who carries the ridiculousness of The Naked Gun, which is pretty awesome for a guy who spent the first thirty years of his career as a dramatic actor.  True fact:  Leslie Nielsen is still alive and making movies.


Spoof target – Disaster movies

Favorite quote – “Do you know what it’s like to fall in the mud and get kicked… in the head… with an iron boot? Of course you don’t, no one does. It never happens. Sorry, Ted, that’s a dumb question… skip that.”

Talk about a cast that’s ridic:  Lloyd Bridges, Peter Graves, Leslie Nielsen, Barbara Billingsly, all of whom were pretty serious actors up to this point.

The genius of Airplane! was that every one of those actors could have been in the disaster movies of the time.  Movies like Heatwave! and Flood! and Runaway! and Breaker in the Sky! not to mention Breaker! Breaker! plus the classic Fire! 2 and the classicer Cave-In! were getting made all over the place.  The constant barrage of silliness coupled with the insane disregard for political correctness (hello pedophelia jokes) made the perfect storm of awesome.

Shaun of the Dead

Spoof target – Horror movies

Favorite quote – “Ohh, for God’s sake! He’s got an arm off!”

Actually, my favorite part of the movie is the bit where the guys are deciding which records are acceptable for throwing at zombies, but the quote was way too long.

Nobody has parodied the horror genre like Shaun of the Dead. And, because I’m the biggest wuss who ever lived in the universe, I was genuinely scared during the movie as well.  Zombies are zombies, yo.  They don’t care if they’re in a comedy or a horror movie.  They’re still scary.

Walk Hard

Spoof target – Rock biopics

Favorite quote – “Edith I told you I can’t build your candy house! It will fall apart, the sun will melt the candy, it won’t work!”

As blatantly goofy as Walk Hard is, it’s pretty dead on in hitting every all the rock star tropes: childhood trauma, estranged parents, physical handicap (Dewey goes smell-blind after his brother’s death) drug addiction, failed marriages, spiritual exploration, all of them – hilariously.  No lines are wasted, either.  Plus, the music is as catchy as any pop songs of the time.  John C. Reilly is supported by Tim Meadows, Chris Parnell, Kristen Wiig and Jenna Fischer, but they’re just the beginning of this insane cast.

There are literally too many cameos to list, and every one of them is worth watching.  And speaking of rock stars getting skewered like shish kabobs…

This is Spinal Tap

Spoof target – Rock documentaries

Favorite quote – “There’s something about this that’s so black, it’s like how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black.”

Raise your hand if you ever had this conversation:

You:  ”It wasn’t a real band.”

Your stupid friend:  ”Are you sure?  I remember, there were t-shirts!  Spinal Tap!  They were real!”

You:  ”No, they weren’t!  That was Lenny from LaVerne and Shirley!”

Your stupid friend:  ”I think my uncle saw them in concert when I was a kid!”

Etcetera.  Granted, that conversation probably took place about 15 years ago, before Google and that string of other mockumentaries Christopher Guest put out there, and before the word ‘mockumentary’ was even a thing.  And to be fair, this scene alone through me for a loop for years:

It seemed so real! But it wasn’t.  Which is why just about every rock band of the 80s thought they were being made fun of when they watched it.   Sometimes we forget how serious heavy metal music was back then; there were allegations of suicide prompting and Satan worship, remember? People had to go to court because of this music.  And Spinal Tap knocked the serious right out of it.  Hilariously.

In ancient times, hundreds of years before the dawn of history, an ancient race of people… the Druids. No one knows who they were or what they were doing…

Young Frankenstein

Spoof target – Classic horror films

Favorite quote – No quote.  Watch this:

I’ll do fisticufss with anyone who doesn’t think this is Mel Brooks’ finest work.  Especially after attempting Robin Hood: Men in Tights a few weeks ago.  In Young Frankenstein,  Gene Wilder plays the grandson of the Dr. Frankenstein, but goes out of his way to let everyone know his name is pronounced ‘Fronkensteen.’   After inheriting his grandfather’s castle, laboratory and staff, he gets to work becoming a crazy creator of life.

Young Frankenstein has the usual wordplay, sight gags and nods to the audience that Brooks’ other movies have.  But something about Young Frankenstein decidedly sets it apart.  For one thing, the movie is pretty.  It looks and sounds like a stylized horror film from the 1930s.  And for another, no other movie used Gene Wilder so beautifully.  Not even Willy Wonka. Teri Garr was never so lovely or so funny, and Madeline Kahn was never so Madeline Kahn.

PS – This is how I go to bed every night.