Movie News

Moriarty reviews Albert Brooks' THE MUSE

Published at: June 18, 1999, 3:09 a.m. CST by staff

Hey folks, Harry here. This is a sad review, sad because Moriarty deconstructs one of his favorite comedians who has gone horribly astray. I hate writing bad reviews, but you have to do it... especially when it's a film by a person you care about. I draw the parallel to a friend who becomes an alcoholic. You slap them around, drag them to a clinic, drive them to AA meetings... And in the end, you save your friend. With film and film criticism it's a bit more abstract, but it kind of feels the same. If you don't open your mouth and say what's wrong... then it'll never get better, and from the sound of this one... it couldn't get much worse.

Now, before I turn you over to the dear professor, I wanted to let you know this. By all means READ THIS REVIEW! There is more here than merely a review of a film. There are issues of what makes a comedy, bitterness against success, and more than a fair share of living in 'da nile'. So read on... It is a helluva read! Good work maestro...

Hey, Head Geek...

"Moriarty" here.

Wow. I don't know where to start this, so I'm going to take the advice of one of my henchmen. As I was talking about my reaction to the film I saw tonight, he told me to lead my review with one line, so allow me to do so:

Albert Brooks, you talented, magnificent bastard, why did you have to make such a shitty movie?

Just writing that -- just looking at it on my computer screen -- causes me deep emotional pain. I consider Albert Brooks to be one of the funniest men to ever work in film. He's definitely one of the sharpest comic minds of our time. His body of work as a writer and director is sharp, profound, and lasting. MODERN ROMANCE is as good a comedy as ever needs to be made about relationships and love. REAL LIFE still stands as the best film about our relationship with "reality" and television. DEFENDING YOUR LIFE is a beautiful fantasy premise executed almost perfectly. Even his lesser films like LOST IN AMERICA or MOTHER have been made up of achingly funny lines and wonderful performance work. All of this leads me to ache as I ask again...

Albert Brooks, you talented, magnificent bastard, why did you have to make such a shitty movie?

His new film, for those of you who don't know yet, is called THE MUSE. It's a story about Hollywood. I'm not a big fan of "behind the scenes" movies, since most of them are nonsense. Either they show the filmmaking process in a totally unrealistic light or they exaggerate it beyond recognizability. In any case, the films are almost never interesting to anyone who doesn't make films or want to make them. They're self-absorbed things, navel gazing of the worst kind, and they come across as smarmy, exclusive. Brooks doesn't give in to the worst of those instincts, but I can't imagine anyone outside the industry even enjoying the few chuckles I got out of the picture.

Very few, I might add.

I feel like I got mugged. I saw the trailer for this film a few weeks ago in front of LIMBO and I thought it was brilliant. It's all original footage, in which Albert talks about a new technique developed "in conjunction with NASA and the National Institute of Mental Health" that allows them to show the whole film in 20 seconds. He proceeds to do so, adding the soundtrack himself, pausing to comment on scenes he liked in particular. After the flurry of clips, he addresses the audience again, saying that we now should not only want to see the movie, but that we actually have to see the movie or we could die. He says the easiest way to handle it is just to check out THE MUSE. At the end of the spot, he adds that he loves this new technique. "Just last week I saw TITANIC in 30 seconds. Cried like a baby."

I thought the trailer was excellent, and I was really excited to go tonight. The other reason I was curious to see the film is because of Albert's recent appearance at the WGA's Words Into Pictures conference at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. He was part of a panel talking about the state of the art of comedy in film right now, along with James L. Brooks, Harry Shearer, Janeane Garafalo, Norm MacDonald, David Zucker, and Ed Solomon.

Over the course of the panel, Albert Brooks managed to attack Adam Sandler openly, blaming him for much of what is wrong in film comedy today. The panel has been much discussed in the media since, with many people lining up behind Brooks automatically. After all, his films have managed to be smart and hysterical over the years without ever selling out or dumbing down what he does. He sees Sandler's work as lowest common denominator, and a waste of effort. It's easy to beat up Sandler after something like THE WATERBOY, and everyone seemed to feel good about agreeing with Albert.

But he's wrong.

In this case, at this point in time, he's wrong.

Albert's film is the one this summer that feels pointless, unfocused, and slapped together. I don't know how much work he's done to try and tighten this film up, but I know he always does extensive work in post-production. When I first moved to Los Angeles, I worked as a theater manager in Sherman Oaks, and we hosted dozens and dozens of test screenings, giving me a chance to see the process through the eyes of the filmmakers. In particular, I got to observe Albert Brooks as they tested DEFENDING YOUR LIFE over and over again. I'll never forget hearing him and David Geffen scream at each other in the theater lobby over the film's original opening. Albert argued for every line, every beat, and he made his case well. He could justify every joke, every pause, and he was passionate, involved, determined to get his vision onscreen. As the film kept testing, though, he began to see that the audience was bored. No matter how important the scenes were to him, the audience could live without them, and the film played better without them. In the end, he cut the elaborate opening scenes, and the scores went up automatically. Comedy is one of those things where you can't over- intellectualize something. If it's funny, it's funny. Audiences will laugh, and that's the best gauge you'll ever have. Listen to an audience.

I did tonight, and they laughed in a few places, but for the most part there was just a stony silence as the film played out. Brooks actually resorts to some cheap slapstick a few times (Waldorf salad on your face, Albert? Were you drunk?) that seems to be grafted on from someone else's movie. Plot elements are introduced and discarded at random. And no matter what ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT and her publicists tell you, Sharon Stone is not funny. The story is a mess, Andie MacDowell continues to prove that she's without any comic timing, and even Jeff Bridges seems to be phoning it in (except in that great tennis ball scene). The cameos aren't witty. How many times have we heard some variation on a TITANIC sequel joke with James Cameron? Scorcese's idea for a RAGING BULL remake is neither clever or witty. In fact, as long as we're on the subject, there's one giant fundemental flaw in this film. The screenplay that Stone inspires Brooks to write is supposed to be this brilliant comedy that turns his career around. Yet every single description of it that we hear in the film is unfunny, uninspired, and unfilmable. BEVERLY HILLBILLIES and and aquarium? What the hell? Is this really what Albert Brooks thinks studios are buying?

By contrast, when I saw a rough cut of BIG DADDY, the audience ate it up. From start to finish, they went with it, and they had a blast. It was funny. It was charming. And for the two hours I was in the theater, it was transporting on its own terms.

So who the hell is Albert Brooks to beat up on Adam Sandler? No one has a spotless filmography. I notice that no one brought up THE SCOUT to Albert even after he widened his attack to beat up Steve Martin for making choices like SGT. BILKO and FATHER OF THE BRIDE. Brooks managed to come off as bitter, beaten in some way by the industry, determined to bite back. It's sad for me to watch, but at least I'm not Norm MacDonald. Like any smart comic, MacDonald worships Brooks, and he found himself having to defend his friend to his idol in front of a roomful of people. To his credit, I think Norm did a great job. He was diplomatic (yes, the guy who loves to say "crack whore" actually possesses diplomacy), and he made his points effectively. At one point, Norm pointed out that people like Adam's films, to which Brooks responded, "By the way, let's do what else America likes. How about cancer? They all seem to get that. Must be good! People keep getting it!"

Norm didn't try to beat Brooks at the mean game, though. Instead, he made a valid point, saying, "We're trying to make people laugh. I can't make fun of a person, even if I don't think he's funny. If he's making millions and millions of people laugh, even if I don't think he's funny, I don't see the point in saying that this person is bad."

Brooks wouldn't let it go, though. "Wait a minute, wait... that's not really true. You don't automatically go into the fold just because somebody's popular. If everyone else likes them you don't have to, do you? Just because they're popular?"

Still trying to use tact as a weapon, Norm said, "I just don't like to make fun of them because they're doing a good thing. Like, you're my favorite comedian, Albert Brooks."

Brooks shot back a curt, "Okay."

Norm continued with, "But you're not America's favorite comedian, right?"

Brooks, understandably defensive, shot back, "There're a lot of other countries!"

Norm held firm, though. "This crowd, probably, these are very literate people, but you don't have the power or the ability to entertain a huge amount of people. If someone can come along and do that and make an enormous amount of people laugh, I think that's a great thing."

And I agree with Norm. That is a great thing. It's great if you make three people in a room laugh or if you make three million people around the country laugh. Comedy is important. Right now, Adam seems to give voice to a certain part of the market. They see themselves in him, in the persona he plays onscreen. They know Adam's an idiot, and that's the point. In his new film, he stretches and shows some real maturity, and there's a good chance his audience will follow. But that doesn't negate the value of him beating the shit out of Bob Barker in HAPPY GILMORE. "The price is wrong, bitch!" is just as funny in context as "I have seen the future, and it's a bald-headed man from New York!" There's no more inherent value in a smart joke than a dumb one.

The worst part is that Brooks is being an elitist on the eve of the release of his worst film. Maybe it stings being bounced from Paramount to the relatively small leagues of October Films. Maybe Albert resents still struggling to set his pictures up after 20 plus years in the business while Sandler's committed for the next three years solid. Maybe Albert would like a $20 million payday.

Whatever the case, it troubles me when our great comics go sour. One of the reasons that BOWFINGER is such a delight this summer is because it puts Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy back in the smart and silly business. There's a casual grace to their chemistry together, and it reminds you of all the good things both men have done. When Steve Martin is dour and pissy, though, there's no one on the planet who's less likable.

Here's another rant of Albert's from the panel discussion. It came a bit later in the session. "Adam Sandler on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE has made me laugh lots and lots and lots of times. I'm not even using Adam as an example but I find this interesting. There's something about this thing called motion pictures, this behemoth that Hollywood makes and is very difficult to master -- and more than not, great comedians don't -- like, if you came down from outer space and just looked at Richard Pryor's movies, nobody could ever convince you that Richard Pryor was funny. And here's one of the greatest comedians who ever lived! But the movies don't have anything to do with that. I think that happens with a lot of comedians. Sometimes the structure of the movie becomes safer than the comedian wants to be or more mainstream or whatever it is that you need to do to get $60 million to make a movie."

Ed Solomon then used Steve Martin as an example of another comic who never clicked in films. This is the same Steve Martin, by the way, who gave us ALL OF ME, DEAD MEN DON'T WEAR PLAID, THE JERK, LA STORY, ROXANNE, DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS, THE MAN WITH TWO BRAINS, and LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, just to name a few. But they used his name, and this set Brooks off again.

"Listen, Steve Martin is probably one of the greatest stand-ups who ever lived, but in movies I don't know that he's really pushed himself. I don't know that THE OUT OF TOWNERS and FATHER OF THE BRIDE is really pushing yourself. Personally, I turned down millions of dollars to not do SGT. BILKO, because I thought it would hurt me. And then I see guys like Steve do that and maybe I feel like, how many of these can you do before that does matter? I always thought you can't do one. I was wrong. You can probably do 15 of these movies and make a lot more money than I've made. So I'm gonna run now and do one!"

Norm made a wonderful point when he said, "Guys that can write or perform really well -- yourself, Martin, Woody Allen -- there's almost none of them. Why on earth would you act in someone else's movie?"

Brooks answered, "Because they give you $5 million to do it. That's the only reason you would do SGT. BILKO. Phil Silvers was one of the greatest comedians that every lived. I read that script. That script was dogshit. I don't know what went through his mind. 'I'm gonna take a legend and redo it horribly! Oh, wow! This is exciting!' You know? I couldn't do it. Now, I would love to have that money. I've got a kid. But there's something wrong with this notion of comedies and comedians being popular, and that makes them good. Here's why: For 50 years General Motors made cars without seat belts And they sold a s--tload of them — the Oldsmobile, the '58 Olds, was a big popular car, and people's heads went right though that window. And then one day somebody said, you've got to put in a seat belt, and it took them 12 years, and they argued against it, and then they put in the seat belts and then the antilock brakes. The Oldsmobile today would save most of those people's lives who are in the grave. And I think comedy's the same thing. Audiences only know what they're given. If you get up on the stage and do an hour and a half of fart jokes, people laugh and they go home. But maybe one day, if you did 20 minutes of, maybe, I don't know, talking about God, then maybe the fart jokes in 10 years won't go over as well. So that's why I think it's the responsibility of the artist in the same way it's the responsibility of the people who make cars."

I'll close this review out by addressing Albert directly and answering his last point. The difference in the examples you use is that no one gets killed if they sit through a bad comedy. I know, because if they did, I wouldn't be able to write tonight's review.

Oh, Albert... you're one of my heroes... so why did you have to make such a shitty movie?

"Moriarty" out.

HARRY HERE: Just wanted to address the Oldsmobile metaphor about seatbelts. Ya know sometimes them seatbelts held people firmly in their seats so the steering wheel could push straight through their chest and impale them to their seats. Hand of fate is an odd thing. I will say this though... those early model Oldsmobiles.... at least you died in one hell of a cool looking car, those later 'safer' models... well, they just looked like hell! On the whole though, I'd rather drive a Tucker....

Readers Talkback

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  • June 18, 1999, 3:32 a.m. CST

    Shake Your Halo Down

    by Kane

    Albert Brooks - One-dimensional. Bitter. Sad. As soon as someone attempts to define 'comedy', I feel the gorge rise in my throat. What an asshole. Funny is funny.

  • June 18, 1999, 4:14 a.m. CST

    where's the review?

    by Desibeo

    Eh, theres a review of The Muse here somewhere I take it? All's I read was a rant on a recent questions & answers meeting. Whats the movie about? Was it the *finished* version of the movie you saw? I realise it may be painful to talk about a movie you obviously disliked, but perhaps if you mentioned *why* you disliked it instead of bitching about AB's bitching about AS you just *might* make a point.

  • June 18, 1999, 4:22 a.m. CST

    There's A Review In There

    by Moriarty

    "Moriarty" here. There's about three paragraphs devoted entirely to the subject of the film. I didn't go into the plot because to be quite honest, there isn't much of one. There's a real Muse that Hollywood writers pass around for inspiration. Brooks needs inspiration. He's introduced to her. She's wacky. Then she's not a Muse. Then she is. The end. It's so painful that I tried to just speak in general terms. Hope that wet your whistle. "Moriarty" out.

  • June 18, 1999, 4:36 a.m. CST

    Where do I start. . . .

    by paragonian

    I guess The Muse which I'll rent cause I hate Andie McDowall, Sharon Stone is pretty skanky and insider Hollywood films usually suck. The Big Picture is probably my favorite along with Get Shorty and Ed Wood and The Player sucked but there are some others I'm going to get soon including Living in Oblivion, Swimming with Sharks and Hollywood Shuffle. The market for insider films is small but that's why you gotta do it Robert Rodriguez style where you know exactly what to do and skim at every possible corner, you CANNOT make a 50 million dollar insider film and make a profit so maybe Moriarty should do one guerrila style if he knows so much about it and is an "award winning" filmmaking wannabee. You don't have to have any interest in a subject in order to enjoy a film about that subject either, it depends on whether it's well done or not. Another thing is Albert Brooks, I've only seen Mother from that list and loved it so I'm gonna get the others some time soon but I'm no Albert Brooks expert. I like how he speaks his mind though in public even if they're not popular opinions cause people never like to hear the cold truth. I have no resentment against Sandler even though he has his priorities totally screwed up, but that's his business and eventual problem. I agree that not doing a movie for the money is ALWAYS a good thing, but saying he has a son as an excuse for taking millions is very dillusional unless that is one expensive kid with a serious gambling problem or something. I respect Brooks for not selling out and it'll pay off in the long run guaranteed. McDonald is a horrible comic, Sandler is an OK comic with a lot of untapped potential, Steve Martin has a lot of great ups and disgraceful downs and I'll go rent some Brooks films for more info.

  • June 18, 1999, 4:56 a.m. CST

    Norm MacDonald, you eloquent bastard!

    by Prankster

    Who would have thought that Norm would be talking sense to Albert Brooks?!? Weird. Anyway, that's one panel I would have LOVED to sit in on.

  • June 18, 1999, 5:24 a.m. CST

    Perfect Timing, Moriarty

    by mrbeaks

    Brooks' tirade is a bit surprising coming from such an established satirist. Doesn't he know that, according to George S. Kaufman, "satire is what closes Saturday night?" As long as there is a low road in comedy, there will be countless comedians eager to traverse it, along with a rather large audience ready to follow; what he should take solace in is the fact that he's been fortunate enough to enjoy a long and healthy career by, fairly consistently, sending up society with enough wit and sophistication to make the great Preston Sturges proud (I know, I invoke his name frequently, but, when it comes to film, he is the master of satire.) Brooks is a smart man, and he should know that the public will always favor a fart joke to watching their lives skewered. If his peers, like Martin and Pryor, have slummed in the past, so be it. He didn't, and while he may be less successful, he at least has a body of work that will stand the test of time.

  • June 18, 1999, 5:48 a.m. CST

    One More Thing.....

    by mrbeaks

    Wasn't that Albert Brooks voice coming out of that depressed tiger in Dr. Dolittle. Some might consider that to be slumming.

  • June 18, 1999, 6:44 a.m. CST

    comedy is hard

    by greenlightscafe

    comedy is harder to write than drama. Drama is conflict, but what is comedy? A laugh. And why do we laugh? It's a release, a way of letting the tension of the world go. To see audiences howl at Austin Powers--The Spy Who Shagged Me is sheer delight. And in de movie theater de light goes down. It's not a great film by any stretch, but it is funny. Funnier than any film Albert Brooks ever wrote. I loved MOTHER with it's gentle nudging comedy and I had reservations about WATER BOY. I love watching Adam Sandler because of his blunt honesty. I hated Dr. Doolittle because why isn't Eddie Murphy well Eddie Murphy? BIG DADDY looks like a pisser. Where's my drumkit? Ba da bum. I have to have some Japense food Albert. I've always fancied myself a stand-up comedian. There were no chairs in our house. And if Albert Brooks wants to play the Heckler is our comedy movie, check it out at www.greenlightscafe.com

  • June 18, 1999, 6:47 a.m. CST

    Seat belts and Adam Sandler

    by Grayson

    I don't know the whole automobile history of Oldsmobiles and seatbelts, but I want to make a few assumptions here. At some point, some government agency decided that seat belts added so much safety to a vehicle that they should be required. This agency decided that this *safety* concern was more important than Oldsmobile's freedom to build its cars in any manner it chose. In other words, the government knew what was best for us, and it forced its will on the car industry. Is Albert Brooks saying that he knows what comedy is best for us? Or is he saying that Adam Sandler's comedy is a safety concern. Those are the only two legitimate comparisons. The first one is elitist and the second is ridiculous. I don't need Mr. Brooks or anyone else telling me what I should be watching and laughing at.

  • June 18, 1999, 6:56 a.m. CST

    Great job

    by Samthelion

    I just want to say that this is the most interesting review I've read in a long time. Hell, it's more than that. It's one of the most interesting things I've read. Great job, great review. I too am an Albert Brooks fan, but I will walk into this one with a raised eye. You also made a lot of great points about the state of comedy. Just wanted to tell you that you did a great job, Sam The Lion

  • June 18, 1999, 7:21 a.m. CST

    Prince Albert in a can

    by Sardonicus

    Since he's so unwilling to listen to reason that makes so much sense that even Norm McDonald can dispense it (that's unfair of me, I know, Norm's pretty funny when he's not repeating 'crack whore' over and over), and he's treading these days in the oh-so-original-and-pertinent behind-the-scenes-in-Hollywood genre, maybe Albert's next film can be about a self-absorbed and bitter writer/director whose best work in locked away behind his elitist attitude. The review and the snippets of the WGA forum hit me like a one-two punch, as Albert has always been one of my favorites, a unique voice. However, this report makes me want to shake him awake and sit him down in front of the word processor to start fresh.

  • June 18, 1999, 7:26 a.m. CST

    Albert Einstein

    by Mean Ween

    What can I say, I love the guy. Despite the above review/commentary, I'll be there when The Muse opens... the guy's gotta feed his kid, ya know. I don't blame him for being bitter. I'd probably be bitter. He's been adhering to his artistic vision for 20-odd years despite plenty of opportunities to "sell out." The guy struggles for his art. You gotta give him that. So what if he spouts off against Sandler. What's so wrong with that? Sandler's career won't take a hit from it and at least Brooks speaks his mind, even when it runs contrary to the popular current.

  • June 18, 1999, 7:33 a.m. CST

    THE MUSE IS BRILLIANT.

    by csleepy

    It's made for smart people, an audience Moriarity can't claim to be a part of. It's tough, mean-spirited, self-loathing baby boomer satire. Sorry you're too dumb to get it.

  • June 18, 1999, 7:40 a.m. CST

    elitism

    by Brian D.

    while i agree that moriarty's version of the comedy debates makes albert sound a tad bitter, and further agree that noone should presume to tell all of us what is or is not legitimate comedy (there is and should be room for jerry lewis and woody allen)he's right in one area... adam sandler is a nice, well meaning man who's comedy on film is neither funny nor clever (the barker scene being a notable exception)... in fact, he's by far the worst SUCCESSFUL comedian of all time...while its wrong to criticize the audience who sees his films and finds sandler funny, its perfectly legitimate to criticize SANDLER himself... moriarty is simply wrong to compare the brooks quote and the "bitch" quote and say they are equal in worth-- "price is wrong" is a line any junior high school kid could come up with, "i've seen the future..." is CLEVER and funny --- thats the difference between sandler and brooks, martin, carrey, allen, murphy and myers... just look at the austin powers character itself, bathroom humor and all, there's a real IDEA there... austin powers is a character, sandler's waterboy is--- a guy with an accent... steve martin in the jerk is stupid, but has real background depth and story, opera man is---a guy who's sings opera... duh... and by the way, carrey in ace ventura kicks sandlers ass in every way possible... sandlers success is another example of how low the bar continues to go in our society, where our standards for what has worth and what doesnt become blurred out of all recognition... the best comedians have always been clever at the core, no matter how "lowbrow" their humor-- sandler is the first comedian i've seen that cannot make that claim

  • June 18, 1999, 7:49 a.m. CST

    Albert Brooks: Diary Of A Mad Man

    by Sithslayer

    An open letter to Albert Brooks: Mr. Brooks, I don't know you and hardly know any of your work, outside of the fact that I remember you in "Twilight Zone-The Movie" and one time Kevin Pollak was in town doing stand-up at a local club and I invited him to a private screening of your film, "I'll Do Anything". There I was, sitting with nobody else in the theatre but Kevin, my wife and I......and I thought that the film was okay, but Kevin laughed out loud and had a great time. He told me afterwards that there were a few inside jokes that only Hollywood people would get. And that is precisely what Moriarty, I think, was getting at. You, sir, are making movies to please yourself and your friends, but forget about the rest of us "nobodies". I went to an Adam Sandler "concert" at a local college and he was VERY entertaining. "Happy Gilmore" hadn't been released yet, so the only exposure people really had of him was his SNL performances or for the very astute, his "MTV's Remote Control" appearances. Mr. Brooks, I don't know you but from what I hear about you, I have formulated perhaps an unfair opinion about you sir, but I'm detecting that you may be a cranky, mad-at-the-world ass. I'm reminded of the old-time ballplayers that complain about the fact that all of the new players in the league are making millions of dollars and aren't playing for the "love of the game" anymore. Sour grapes, sir. Bottom line is, I am not ashamed when I sit in a theatre and bust out laughing at "Fat Bastard" squeezin' a fart out his cheeks, when Happy Gilmore is dreaming about a beautiful babe in lingerie on her bed while a midget dressed in a tuxedo rides his tricycle by or when Steve Martin recites his famous "I want a FUCKING car, RIGHT, FUCKING, NOW!!! To me, that is comedy. I can't remember ANY lines from any of your films, sir. My only words of advice from a fan of comedy to a so-called LEGEND such as yourself is........Go fuck yourself. Adam Sandler, Steve Martin and Mike Myers are the kings of comedy, you are one of many "comedians" (I use that term out of a lack of another to peg you at.) like Charles Grodin, Bill Maher and Rosie O'Donnell who are just plain, not funny. Have a nice day, Tim De Groot.

  • June 18, 1999, 8:13 a.m. CST

    Taking the High Road

    by BadAshe

    Everyone seems to think that Adam Sandler was attempting to dethrone Brooks, Allen, Monty Python, et al. as the kings of intellectual comedy with his brand 0f..."low-brow" humor. Well, that is not the case. How many 40 year olds have you seen clamoring to get in line to buy Sandler's latest CD or would rearrange their lives to see one of his movies? Sandler sells primarily to the college crowd. He knows this. That is his target audience and he gets hits his mark dead center. He sells to the beer-drinking, hangin at the frat house college boys and girls that are looking to have some laughs. Like it or not, Sandler delivers those laughs to them. I think it is pathetic that some of you people would dare to cut down Sandler for what he does. What the hell have you done with your life that is so ground-breaking? You (like me) are sitting on your asses, typing a message into a virtual chat room under assumed names. Wow! what risk takers we are!! I find it amazingly cowardly to take a high-minded stance in a situation like this. As for that moron that says he thinks Sandler is a sell-out for taking millions of dollars for his work. You, sir are a hypocrite. Everyone is a sellout. The minute you accept a monetary payment for a good you can deliver or a service you can provide you are selling out. Only people like Mother Teresa are not sellouts. I wish to God in heaven that I could drop off a $20 million dollar paycheck for making a few goofy voices and spouting a few good fart jokes. Oh, by the way Albert, the minute you signed you name to that contract to make The Scout, you became everything that you tried to tear Adam Sandler for. You sellout. Until you step-off your high-horse I think I'll stick with Sandler, at least I know what I'm getting every time with him.

  • June 18, 1999, 8:14 a.m. CST

    Cut and Paste???

    by Slappy White

    Moriarty..did you retype or just cut and paste about three quarters of Jeffrey Wells' (Mr Showbiz) piece on Brooks v. Sandler?? Take a look for yourself http://mrshowbiz.go.com/news/Todays_Stories/990610/showcon061099_1.html

  • June 18, 1999, 8:23 a.m. CST

    Say it ain't so, Al!

    by Perfect Tommy

    Oh man, this makes me sad. Al you're turning into Jerry Lewis. Your oh-so-serious dissection of "funny" is just plain wrongheaded. I hate Adam Sandler, but that doesn't mean that he doesn't have a right to make movies and pursue a succesful career. Shit man, why not? The world ain't fair, and Adam got himself a piece of the action. Good for him! Also, I think one can laugh at both Brooks' smart, satirical brand of humor and still enjoy something crude, like say, Howard Stern. Nothing wrong with that, people sometimes are just in the mood for one type of humor or the other. Some of the best actually (gasp!) combined the two! I saw Bill Hicks perform several times - the man was brilliant. His act was a heady mix of satire, genuine life lessons, and lowbrow dick jokes. No one, not even Pryor at his peak was as good as Hicks, IMHO. The man will be missed. So you see Al, I love your films, and it's a shame more people don't feel the same way, but we're all entitled to laugh at whatever the fuck we want to! Stop being bitter at Hollywood and go back to being bitter at life in general, it's what made your stuff painful and funny all at once. I'm still going to check out The Muse - maybe I'm a sucker, but even after all of this, I still have to give you a shot to prove Moriarty wrong.

  • June 18, 1999, 8:41 a.m. CST

    Go Norm

    by Dingo Wrangler

    You know, I never would have imagined that Norm McDonald could have made Albert Brooks look like an insensitive moron, but he did it wonderfully. Who the hell does Albert think he is? I mean, he is one of the funniest men I have ever seen (Mother and Broadcast News were hilarious) but why does he have to knock other people in order to make his points? There is as much artistry in making a wonderfully funny joke that is disgusting as there is to making an intelligent joke. Hell, it might even be harder. Look at Something About Mary, that was a sublimely perverted comedy with some really big laughs. I can't remember ever howling like that at a theater. Then look at the diarrhea joke in Austin Powers 2. Only an idiot would think that was amusing. That was the worst executed joke I have seen in recent years. So there you go. It takes real genius to make something that sick be that funny. The Farrelly's are one of the few people who can actually do it, which is why I have looked forward to their films ever since Dumb and Dumber. Albert is pretty funny, but he does a lot of stuff that doesn't work either. Comedy is hit and miss. Sometimes you strike gold, sometimes you get shit. That's the nature of the beast. No comedian doesn't have a bad movie in their past. I don't like Adam Sandler much either. The only movie he has done that made me laugh consistently was The Wedding Singer. But that is my own personal opinion. I am not gonna piss on the man because I do not personally find him funny, just as I would appreciate people not pissing on Steve Martin (who happens to be one of my favorite comedians) because he is not necessarily their cup of tea. Comedy is subjective. By the way, let's get Norm into a good movie. i think the man is friggin hilarious.

  • June 18, 1999, 8:43 a.m. CST

    CSleepy & RedBaron: Responses

    by Moriarty

    Just to respond to the two above TALK BACKS: If you thought THE MUSE was a brilliant satire, explain to me on what level you think it works? The characters are perhaps the worst written of his career, with Andie MacDowell in particular having nothing of interest to do. Her storyline with the cookie business was phony and dull. Wolfgang Puck shows up as himself. Wow, how bold. How wacky. There is definitely a pervasive sense of self-loathing to the film, but this is the first time in Brooks' career where it isn't funny. It's a little sad, and it's desperate. Desperate isn't funny. Look at his wonderful LOST IN AMERICA. Even when things are totally bleak for that character, there's a humor to the film that is consistent. Albert in the crosswalk with the kids. Albert meeting Julie Hagerty's manager from the restaurant. These are classic images that feature desperate people without the film itself feeling desperate. THE MUSE flounders to hit the few comic grace notes it does; they almost feel like afterthoughts. It's the main body of the piece that's flabby, pointless, without teeth. If this film was the wicked satire that CSleepy claims, I'd no doubt love it. But taking shots at me as a viewer of "smart" movies? Come on, Junior... try a little harder, okay? RedBaron, I referred to Well's transcription of the event as well as two others in preparing my article. I used none of his actual article, though, since I've always found Wells to be a bit of a pinhead. "Moriarty" out.

  • June 18, 1999, 8:56 a.m. CST

    brooks no stream

    by angel

    i was there at the words into pictures conference too...funnily enough, they had two big tv's set upoutside the room so people could watch the panel outside the way-too-crowded room. but brooks refused to let them set up the momebody would bootleg tape the scene! the wga sold tapes of all the panels, but that one might not be available...it was a great weekend...brooks is a genuis, but his filmmaking skills are a li'l wonky. 'big daddy' looks like more mean-spirited frat-boy humor: "heh, he's pissin' on that wall. heh." just what the world needs.

  • June 18, 1999, 10:04 a.m. CST

    I was there too!

    by Brooker

    I was at that conference too and I was so totally disappointed by Albert Brooks rantings and ravings. Between his harsh words about Adam Sandler and Steve Martin, I lost all respect for Albert Brooks as a person, which makes his comedy pretty hard to take. He came off as bitter and washed-up and well aware of being just that. Too bad. He should have done Sgt. Bilko, maybe it would have been funny.

  • June 18, 1999, 10:45 a.m. CST

    Albert Brooks vs. Steve Martin

    by cookiepuss

    Albert Brooks, Albert Brooks... First of all, his brother is Super Dave Osborne...STRIKE ONE! Secondly, he hired Sharon Stone to be the lead in his newest comedy - based on a character notion out of Kevin Smith's widely-circulated DOGMA script...STRIKE TWO! And, finally, he puts down Steve Martin - who's movie "The Jerk" will still be watched hundreds of years from now, while even Brooks' best movies will look dated and tepid...STRIKE THREE! Albert Brooks is a sad, bitter man who has made a handful of good movies, but he's no Woody Allen or Steve Martin. (And, I noticed he didn't mention the "brilliant" Super Dave in his dumbing-down of America.)

  • June 18, 1999, 10:46 a.m. CST

    Casting the Muse

    by emilio

    does anyone else find a great deal of irony in the casting of sharon stone as the muse? she hasn't even been able to inspire any of the writers or directors of the movies that she has been in, much less inspire herself to turn in a decent performance. i'm not speaking of casino, which was good in spite of her. whenever i see her interviewed, she seems to be trying so hard to prove to anyone who's listening that she is a very intelligent woman. you wanna prove your intelligence to me? start making smart decisions regarding the movies you choose to be in. regardless of my opinion of brooks, which is not really altered by his unsurprisingly cranky behavior, i will not see a movie which casts this undeservedly pretentious "star" as some sort of artistic catalyst. talk about unrealistic.

  • June 18, 1999, 10:54 a.m. CST

    Albert vs. Adam

    by Orca

    First off, anytime Norm McDonald is the sense of reason on a panel, there are problems. I have always found Albert Brooks a very witty, creative comedian who has made some of my favorite movies. Yet, it amazes me that a man whom most of America vaguely knows would knock a comedian who has a following of millions of Americans. Is Brooks suggesting that all the individuals who enjoy an Adam Sandler movie are intellectually inept? Is he suggesting that somehow his movies are the epitomy of what comedy should be, and Sandlers movies epitomize the mud of humor today? Adam Sandler, while not one of my favorite comedians, provides a humor that most Americans like to see, low brow. He gives the beer drinking, party animal college student a chance to go to a comedy and have a good time. Some of Sandlers movies, such as Happy Gilmore, have provided me with knock down, drag out funny moments that had me leaning off of my chair. Sadly, I have never had a moment like that with a Brooks production. And to say that Steve Martin, who is one of my favorite comedians, has never "clicked" in a movie is amazingly ridiculous. Martin is ten times the comedian Brooks ever was or ever will be, and I find it very telling that Brooks, a man who made The Scout and Mother, which despite other posts was a boring film, would attack Steve Martin and his body of work. Brooks strikes me as a bitter comedian who understands that he is talented in a specific genre of humor, which at the time is not desired by the public. I think Albert realizes that, while Sandler could never put over a very funny movie such as Defending Your life, Brooks could never put over a Wedding Singer movie, and right now that is what the public wants to see. Austin Powers II, a movie based almost soley around low brow humor, has exalted Mike Myers to elite comedian status, and rightfully so. No where is there written that someone can't be "creative" with toilet humor, as Myers more than anyone else proves. A note to Albert Brooks, before you knock Adam Sandler or Steve Martin, make a movie that appeals to more than just a select audience. Make a movie that is "funny" instead of just "witty" or humorously insightful. And if you do that, maybe then you will be able to take care of your kid.

  • June 18, 1999, 11:28 a.m. CST

    Just a note to Sithslayer

    by KROENEN

    Zero mean spirit Mr. S, but I'LL DO ANYTHING is NOT an Albert Brooks film. It's a Jim Brooks film -no relation- so I guess that makes you absolutely unfamiliar with A.B. work. I have had the pleasure of being seated one or two chairs away from Brooks in a banquet and he is indeed one of the most intelligent, funny men in the biz. Sadly he is also understandably bitter. He should remember that most of the time the best artistic work is the least popular work. When you choose a road you can't envy the fate of those who take a different path.

  • June 18, 1999, 12:04 p.m. CST

    I'm a complete moron

    by Sithslayer

    That shows you just how much I know about what the hell I'm talking about, I'm a complete moron. I got Albert Brooks confused with James Brooks. Somebody shoot me before I get any more dangerous than I am. Could you imagine if I was having a debate about this with Ebert while I'm doing a guest spot on Siskel & Ebert? I guess that makes me a comedian. Hey, it's not as hard as I thought.

  • June 18, 1999, 1:02 p.m. CST

    Harry, what was that postscript?

    by Regis

    Moriarty's piece was one of the most interesting and well-thought out items I've seen on here in awhile. Why did you have to add that rambling about Oldsmobiles at the end? You should have just let the article stand on it's own.

  • June 18, 1999, 1:23 p.m. CST

    BRAVO

    by AlanSwann

    Well done Professor! As a fellow Albert Brooks fan, it bothered me to see how bitter he's become. You don't have to love everybody's work, but there's no reason to be a prick about it...in public, no less! I'll still see the Muse AS WELL AS Big Daddy, because I only care about the funny.

  • June 18, 1999, 1:52 p.m. CST

    we don't all have to be nice

    by Marljay

    Frankly, Brook's expressions are refreshing. He is honest and that doesn't have to equal nice and watered down. He is one of my favorite flim makers, and even if The Muse isn't his best, his worst could pass for very good in comparison to many.

  • June 18, 1999, 2:01 p.m. CST

    by avbarker

    Moriarty wrote: "There's no more inherent value in a smart joke than a dumb one. " It seems to me that's just not true. A smart joke may be no funnier than a dumb one - in a physiological makes-you-go-"ha-ha" way. But a smart joke may have the inherent value of making you think, of making you see things differently, like all really good movies can, comedy or drama.

  • June 18, 1999, 2:06 p.m. CST

    Men and their works

    by Charlie Oakley

    You may believe it or not, but someone can be a total bitch in real life and still be a genius -and funny as hell!- on the screen. Rumors run amok about many funny men being sour muthas, the list is a veritable who's who: Mike Myers, Martin Short, Steve Martin: solemn and pompous, Jerry Lewis: an absolute asshole, Woody Allen, etc, etc. Brooks may be bitter, but he's still a genius. And I agree with the poster above: It's okay to criticize, even savage those that you agree not in your line of work, C'mon, are we complaining about bitching in fuckin' TALKBACK (a.k.a. Bitch Capital City), give the man a break! Adam Sandler is either a sub-moronic smear of crap or a genius according to each viewer's opinion, let Brooks have his!

  • June 18, 1999, 2:14 p.m. CST

    smart jokes and dumb jokes

    by avbarker

    Moriarty wrote: "There's no more inherent value in a smart joke than a dumb one." It seems to me that's just not true.A smart joke may be no funnier than a dumb one in a physiological makes-you-go "ha-ha" way. But a smart joke can make you think, change the way you look at things in a way that Adam Sandler acting like a mentally impaired person never could. (oops! left out the subject line on previous post. makes me dumb i guess)

  • June 18, 1999, 2:24 p.m. CST

    I'll be the Greeks told fart jokes

    by ilsa

    It seems to me that comedy is a very broad topic and Mr. Brooks is really comparing apples to oranges. Low comedy and high comedy scratch two completely types of itch and I, for one, have both. Ther's nothing better than a well-placed fart joke and I KNOW bathroom humor is nothing new under the sun. But Brooks's humor appeals to my intellect and in the end I get more out of it It's a lot easier to revisit a well-crafted joke that works on many levels...after a while a fart is just a fart. Heard 'em a million times. But Adam Sandler compels me to laugh. I can't help it. It's FUNNY. Viva variety!

  • June 18, 1999, 2:56 p.m. CST

    Funny is subjective

    by SnapT

    Most film comedies suck ass to the extreme. But one movie I loved was Albert Brooks' MOTHER. And I also loved Adam Sandler and Tim Herlihy's THE WATERBOY. Both were each hilarious in their own way. Both even tackled virtually the same subject, the relationship between a mother and her son (Debbie Reynolds in MOTHER and Kathy Bates in WATERBOY). MOTHER was handled in a realistic fashion, while WATERBOY was more of a crazy fantasy. But they were both done equally well in different ways. I think the people who don't see that have some kind of insane grudge against Adam Sandler that they can't get past. Or they just don't enjoy that kind of comedy. Either way, it's their loss.

  • June 18, 1999, 4:20 p.m. CST

    Do you have Prince Albert Brooks in a can?

    by Lord Bullingdon

    Then you better let him out before he suffocates on his own pretentious yammering (rim shot). Sorry, I couldn't help it. Anyway, I love a lot of what Brooks has done. He's unquestinoably a talent. But to aim the insults at Sandler, as though he began this trend in comedy? That's plum stupid. I wonder what Brooks thinks of the Three Stooges. Or the Zuckers' films. Or, for that matter, *Mel* Brooks -- does Albert know that in the 70's audiences flocked to a film in which a cowboy actually punches a horse? Or in which a campfire scene consists almost entirely of flatulence humor? Anyone who attended that recent Friedkin retrospective in L.A. probably heard him yapping about the same thing - the dumbing down of American film. It's really just sad to hear these great directors assigning the blame for their films' downward trajectory in popularity (and quality?) on some kind of "trends" which have in fact been in existence since before either of them were working.

  • June 18, 1999, 4:26 p.m. CST

    What a whiner

    by Sicuv Uyall

    What a sour bitter man. He's obviously going the way of that other bitter asshole, Jerry Lewis, who, in person, is as warm and friendly as a zit on my ass. Even though he criticized Adam Sandler's comedy, he forgot to mention the main culprit responsible for ruining comedy and movies in general..... Jar Jar Binks.

  • June 18, 1999, 8:15 p.m. CST

    common denominator

    by matrix69

    I for one don't care to see films or "comedians" who pander to the common fucking denominator. I didn't laugh once at "There's Something About Mary" or "The Waterboy" or "Happy Gilmore". Most everyone else in the theater was laughing, but who fucking cares? I'd rather see "inside" clever humor than this broad country shit that passes for "funny" these days. Most people are idiots.

  • June 18, 1999, 8:59 p.m. CST

    jealousy

    by copernicus

    Moriarty, I really enjoyed that review - it was a great piece of writing. Harry you get plus 10 cool points for setting it up well, but then minus 10 for cutting in at the end. Things are funny or either they aren't, and I really do think they different kinds of jokes appeal to different parts of the brain. Sure it is nice to have some witty humor, and you can make a movie (or show) out of witty humor, give it a theme, have something to think about, etc. And you can make money off of this - the Simpsons has been doing it well for years. But rarely does witty humor cause me to lose control of bodily functions. That hair gel scene in There's Something About Mary is just about as low-brow as it gets, but goddam that has to be one of the funniest scenes ever in the history of movies. The amount of laughter that scene caused for humankind is more than Albert Brooks has caused from all his movies added up. Not to say that he is a bad guy, but that just isn't the niche he's chosen. He's chosen to appeal to the intellectual elite and he should be happy with that. No he's never going to make as much money as one would by applealing to the least common denominator - that is what "least common denominator" means! This is like some great chef complaining that so many people eat at McDonalds. McDonalds pleases a hell of a lot of people. And you know what - they choose to eat there! If you try to tell them that you know better than them because you don't eat there, you just end up looking like an elitist bastard.

  • June 18, 1999, 10:26 p.m. CST

    I Hate My Generation

    by Krinkle

    It is a bloody, bloody shame that the only comedian that the under thirty generation has to lionize is Adam Sandler. As funny as Sandler can be (usually during improvisation), he is in an entirely different comic realm than the great Albert Brooks. Mr. Brooks makes deeply FUNNY films, falling somewhere between the starkly urban Woody Allen (also a genius) and the deeply empathic James L. Brooks (him, too.) "Modern Romance" (which Stanley Kubrick apparently one time called "the greatest movie he'd ever seen") is a great anti-romantic comedy. "Lost In America" is the definitive post-hippie / pre-yuppie American road comedy (and probably more important than "Easy Rider", the film whose legend Brooks' spun his film around.) "Defending Your Life" is an ABSOLUTELY INVIGORATING and DEEPLY SOULFUL comedy about an imagined afterlife wherein one is encouraged (or,rather, reminded) that the most important thing is to NOT FEAR. And "Mother", a personal favorite of mine, is one of the most forward-thinking comedies of the decade, deeply humanistic and original, and funny as hell. Albert Brooks, who only makes one film for every five that Woody Allen makes (if that), still reigns with Mr. Allen (and perhaps James L. Brooks and Cameron Crowe) as the finest writer of comic dialouge alive. He is our Billy Wilder, or one of our Billy Wilders. Adam Sandler is, of course, our Jerry Lewis--and there's nothing wrong with that. "Billy Madison" and "Happy Gilmore" are negligible, but "The Wedding Singer" is a sweet romantic comedy for younger people. (I cannot, however, say anthing nice about "The Waterboy. I'll betcha even Adam Sandler knows that it's the worst movie ever to break a hundred million in America.) Sandler is not a FUNNY guy, like Albert Brooks is funny. Where Sandler is worthwhile is in his exuberance to make an ass out of himself. We need those guys, too, and I certainly get less narcissism from Sandler than I do from Jim Carrey. BUT to compare the generally uninspired buffonery of Sandler (as opposed to the inspired buffonery of, say, Peter Sellers) to the deeply important and rewarding HUMOR (actual humor) of Albert Brooks is absurd. The reason my generation is so quick to deify Sandler is the same reason that they deify noodling bands like The Grateful Dead or Phish: it's EASY to noodle. It's EASY to make fart jokes. What is NOT easy, though, is to turn a comedy into an actual work of American art. These people who attack Albert Brooks for CARING too much about the state of comedy are the same hollow ghosts who hate Martin Scorsese's "Age Of Innocence" because they couldn't possibly imagine a situation wherein one would be in love with Michelle Pfeiffer and NOT consummate. My generation (I'm 26) is soulless, ugly, inconsiderate, deeply lacking in passion and conviction, and completely ignorant to the notion that popular entertainment has any inherent value after viewing (or listening) is finished. And you wonder why I go for long walks on the beach by myself. (By the way, I don't think it's our fault. We are taught in school that BOOKS ARE GOOD and MOVIES ARE WHAT YOU DO ON THE WEEKEND. BOOKS ARE ART and MOVIES ARE DISPOSABLE. No wonder we balk at anything cerebral. No wonder every film with more dialogue than action is called a "chick flick." No wonder "Armageddon" was such a hit.) Oh, and by the way, why is it that everyone on this web site feels comfortable calling celebrities by their first names? "Adam?" "Albert?" This is not right, people. It's pretentious and sad. You don't know these people informally any better than I do.

  • June 18, 1999, 10:28 p.m. CST

    I Hate My Generation

    by Krinkle

    It is a bloody, bloody shame that the only comedian that the under thirty generation has to lionize is Adam Sandler. As funny as Sandler can be (usually during improvisation), he is in an entirely different comic realm than the great Albert Brooks. Mr. Brooks makes deeply FUNNY films, falling somewhere between the starkly urban Woody Allen (also a genius) and the deeply empathic James L. Brooks (him, too.) "Modern Romance" (which Stanley Kubrick apparently one time called "the greatest movie he'd ever seen") is a great anti-romantic comedy. "Lost In America" is the definitive post-hippie / pre-yuppie American road comedy (and probably more important than "Easy Rider", the film whose legend Brooks' spun his film around.) "Defending Your Life" is an ABSOLUTELY INVIGORATING and DEEPLY SOULFUL comedy about an imagined afterlife wherein one is encouraged (or,rather, reminded) that the most important thing is to NOT FEAR. And "Mother", a personal favorite of mine, is one of the most forward-thinking comedies of the decade, deeply humanistic and original, and funny as hell. Albert Brooks, who only makes one film for every five that Woody Allen makes (if that), still reigns with Mr. Allen (and perhaps James L. Brooks and Cameron Crowe) as the finest writer of comic dialouge alive. He is our Billy Wilder, or one of our Billy Wilders. Adam Sandler is, of course, our Jerry Lewis--and there's nothing wrong with that. "Billy Madison" and "Happy Gilmore" are negligible, but "The Wedding Singer" is a sweet romantic comedy for younger people. (I cannot, however, say anthing nice about "The Waterboy. I'll betcha even Adam Sandler knows that it's the worst movie ever to break a hundred million in America.) Sandler is not a FUNNY guy, like Albert Brooks is funny. Where Sandler is worthwhile is in his exuberance to make an ass out of himself. We need those guys, too, and I certainly get less narcissism from Sandler than I do from Jim Carrey. BUT to compare the generally uninspired buffonery of Sandler (as opposed to the inspired buffonery of, say, Peter Sellers) to the deeply important and rewarding HUMOR (actual humor) of Albert Brooks is absurd. The reason my generation is so quick to deify Sandler is the same reason that they deify noodling bands like The Grateful Dead or Phish: it's EASY to noodle. It's EASY to make fart jokes. What is NOT easy, though, is to turn a comedy into an actual work of American art. These people who attack Albert Brooks for CARING too much about the state of comedy are the same hollow ghosts who hate Martin Scorsese's "Age Of Innocence" because they couldn't possibly imagine a situation wherein one would be in love with Michelle Pfeiffer and NOT consummate. My generation (I'm 26) is soulless, ugly, inconsiderate, deeply lacking in passion and conviction, and completely ignorant to the notion that popular entertainment has any inherent value after viewing (or listening) is finished. And you wonder why I go for long walks on the beach by myself. (By the way, I don't think it's our fault. We are taught in school that BOOKS ARE GOOD and MOVIES ARE WHAT YOU DO ON THE WEEKEND. BOOKS ARE ART and MOVIES ARE DISPOSABLE. No wonder we balk at anything cerebral. No wonder every film with more dialogue than action is called a "chick flick." No wonder "Armageddon" was such a hit.) Oh, and by the way, why is it that everyone on this web site feels comfortable calling celebrities by their first names? "Adam?" "Albert?" This is not right, people. It's pretentious and sad. You don't know these people informally any better than I do.

  • June 19, 1999, 4:34 a.m. CST

    by Bert E. Numnums

    Well double-spoken , Krinkle !! Great comedy , like spaghetti , sticks to the wall . Nowadays , sadly , we have a lot of clean walls . Albert Brooks' bitterness may stem from his surveying the wreckage of modern American pop culture and realizing that we seemingly are no longer capable of producing the vital comic voices that we did 60 , 50 , 40...hell , even 30 years ago . The media-blitzed beer-sodden youth of today enjoy Adam Sandler...BULLY for them !!! Sixty years ago young people liked Burns and Allen and the Ritz Brothers , so go figure !! Youth is wasted on the young . And tooth is tasted on the tongue . And whatever Groucho said about rhubarb years ago still holds true today...if it bends , it's funny..(sorry Woody)...if it breaks , it isn't funny !! Albert Brooks bends with the VERY best of them , me thinks them being John Cleese as Basil Fawlty , Groucho as Groucho , Richard Pryor in Concert(s) , Jack Benny on radio , Lily Tomlins' glory days , the few fleeting moments when Saturday Night Live was funny...WHATEVAH !!! To Cheech his own . Jim Carrey might just fulfill the wicked promise that was the early Steve Martin...who knows ??? Not to knock Steve ,or Woody , or Cleese , or even Albert Brooks , but the wild and crazy and angry young comics often mellow with age...it happens . As refreshing and rare as Albert Brooks' candor is , I personally wish he would conserve his venom for the one place it REALLY matters...up on the screen and in our faces !!!

  • Aug. 4, 2006, 9:54 a.m. CST

    Oy! Is Muse and Squirrel!

    by Wolfpack