17 April 2010

A Night at the Opera

It's really hard to say anything profound about a Marx Brothers film. They don't hold up to scrutiny; they weren't made for that. But they're endless fun. It's amazing how there's basically only one plot, how Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo (who's not in this one, admittedly) play the same roles every time, and yet it never gets tiresome. Harpo's a brilliant clown/mime (and a whiz on a harp), Chico plays a hilarious (Italian) liar/cheat, and Groucho is the charmingest lech and one-line backhander ever. I'll be honest with you, both were funny, but this film is overall a lot stronger and funnier than Horse Feathers.

My plan was actually to put on Hannah and Her Sisters, since after Horse Feathers I was reminded of the scene where the Marx Brothers (Duck Soup, but who's counting) reminds Woody Allen that life is worth living. Thing is, the disc wasn't working, so I went back for another Marx Brothers. To remind myself, as it were. I admit it seems like a cheat to just post a long quote in here and call it my blog entry, but how could I ever top this:

And I went upstairs to the balcony, and I sat down, and the movie was a film that I'd seen many times in my life since I was a kid, and I always loved it. I'm watching these people up on the screen and I started getting hooked on the film. I started to feel, how can you even think of killing yourself, I mean isn't it so stupid. Look at all the people up there on the screen, they're real funny, and what if the worst is true. What if there is no God and you only go around once and that's it. Well, ya know, don't you wanna be part of the experience? You know, what the hell, it's not all a drag. And I'm thinking to myself, Jeez, I should stop ruining my life searching for answers I'm never gonna get, and just enjoy it while it lasts. And after all, who knows, I mean maybe there is something. Nobody really knows. I know maybe is a very slim reed to hang your whole life on, but that's the best we have. And then I started to sit back, and I actually began to enjoy myself.

Woody Allen has summed up for me something profound about why the Marx Brothers are still fucking amazing, 75 years later. There's no way I was going to put it better.

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