Awesomely Horrible Netflix Instant Films: Stir Crazy

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Michael Garcia - September 1, 2016


This week the world lost Gene Wilder, one of the funniest actors that have ever graced the silver screen. He was known for his work with Mel Brooks, but there was someone unlikely that Gene did some of his best work with. Sometimes things that wouldn't seem to go together make the best combinations. Here in New York City there are a series of hot dog joints that sell the combo of hot dogs and papaya juice. You wouldn't think that would be any good but it is friggin' delicious. The same goes with the comedy team of Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder. Pryor is without a doubt the greatest stand-ups of all time. His gritty stories of growing up in a brothel, drug abuse, and race relations defined the art of stand-up comedy. Gene Wilder is a brilliant comic actor best known for his ingenious performances in Young Frankenstein and Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory. Even though you wouldn't think that these two comics would work well together they made several hilarious films together. My favorite is Stir Crazy.

Wilder and Pryor play Skip Donahue and Harry Monroe, two down-on-their-luck theater people who decide to cross the country and go to Hollywood. They take on odd jobs to pay their way and get a gig in Arizona dancing as woodpeckers at a bank. When two bank robbers steal their costumes and use them to hold up the bank, Gene and Richard are accused of the crime. They are sentenced to 125 years in jail and are sent to a maximum security prison. It looks like these two jokers aren't going to survive long in the joint. Then the warden discovers that Wilder is a rodeo prodigy and sees a use for him on the prison's rodeo team. Wilder and Pryor then plan a breakout during the rodeo. Will they make it? Of course they will!

Guess who directed this movie? Sidney Poitier. Yeah, THAT Sidney Poitier. Look, this movie is hilarious but it's also an extremely thin plot that is just a device to allow Pryor and Wilder to do their thing. Poitier is a great actor but maybe directing wasn't his thing. It's pretty silly but that's part of the fun.


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