Movie News

Monica
Johnson
1946-2010

Published at: Nov. 3, 2010, 12:34 a.m. CST

I am – Hercules Monica Johnson, who co-wrote three of the funniest movies ever made – “Real Life,” “Modern Romance” and “Lost In America” – passed away Monday in Los Angeles following a battle with cancer. She also won an Emmy for her work on an episode of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and later had a hand in “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show.” Albert Brooks may be the funniest man alive, and the idea that he recruited Johnson to help him shape his screenplays suggests she really had something. (Her gene pool also produced her brother, Jerry Belson, the “Odd Couple” writer who scripted 1972’s “Evil Roy Slade,” possibly the funniest TV movie ever shot. Belson died of cancer in 2006.) Johnson’s passing gives us an excuse to remember some of my favorite moments in all cinema: “Just the idea makes me thirsty!”: “Buy the box. You’ll like it.”: “The bird lives in a round stick!!”:

Readers Talkback

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  • Nov. 3, 2010, 12:32 a.m. CST

    RIP Monica

    by CornNut007

    Lost In America is one of my favorites.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 12:38 a.m. CST

    strange humor..... RIP

    by Mundungus

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 12:38 a.m. CST

    Kubrick was especially fond of Modern Romance

    by Rev. Slappy

    Lost in America is one of my all-time favorite movies, that nest egg scene Herc has posted is just one of about a half dozen simply classic moments in that films ("the Desert Inn has heart"). And speaking of gene pools, the one that produced siblings Albert Brooks and Bob Einstein is pretty fucking great as well. The amazing thing about some of Brooks and Johnson's films is they were so far ahead of the curve they were nearly prophetic. Real Life predates the currently reality TV craze by decades. Lost in America was the first film to really satirize the excesses of the Reagan 80s. I found out today she was a novelist -- I wasn't aware of that. I would love to read some of her books. I'm glad her screen work will live on. It really deserves to.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 12:39 a.m. CST

    Good Bye Monica

    by WickedChicken37

    But why has this site said nothing about George Hickenlooper who died on October 30th?

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 12:52 a.m. CST

    RIP Monica - you had a hand in some screen classics.

    by vic twenty

    Great movies all. The Desert Inn has heart, and I'm sure it is breaking for you.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 12:55 a.m. CST

    Albert Brooks is wanker

    by Larrylongballs

    That Meryl Streep afterlife movie was smellier than my grandma's hairy balls. Too bad about Monica. She sounds like she was a cool lady. The tennis balls in John McEnroe's pockets must have been really warm and fuzzy.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 1:27 a.m. CST

    Uh, I guess I don't know cinema.

    by Tikidonkeypunch

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 1:30 a.m. CST

    Very Sad

    by Media Messiah

    Truly great films, indeed, and a brilliant writer. God bless you, on your journey to the next life, may it be a peaceful one, and thank you for making us laugh, and think.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 2:22 a.m. CST

    Albert Brooks was ahead of his time.

    by Orionsangels

    not only does he predict 3D coming back, but the reality show too lol.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 2:23 a.m. CST

    Monica Johnson too! RIP

    by Orionsangels

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 4:28 a.m. CST

    Also, legendary surfer Andy Irons has died from Dengue fever

    by Moa Kaka

    I know AICN is about movies, not sports, but Andy did a couple of surfing movies and he's on IMDB, ok? He was only 32 years old and expecting his first child next month. R.I.P., man.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 5:38 a.m. CST

    I have never heard of this lady..

    by emeraldboy

    albert brooks is a not very well known over in the uk/ireland. except perhaps for his work on the simpsons. doesnt he make very long winded movies. and wasnt there one movie where he stars with meryl streep. I cant remember the name of that.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 5:43 a.m. CST

    albert brooks..

    by emeraldboy

    made a film a couple of years ago called looking for humour in all the wrong places. and here is an example of type of humour in the movie. brooks addresses an indian crowd. why was the indian man so unhappy. cause somebody took away his ghandi...

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 7:14 a.m. CST

    Real Life

    by JMH1973

    ‎"Only six of these cameras were ever made. Only five of them ever worked. We have four of those."

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 7:41 a.m. CST

    I read in a book about Stephen Sondheim...

    by cookylamoo

    That Bogart could play chess in his head and they would play games without needing a board.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 7:42 a.m. CST

    R.I.P.

    by Munro Kelly

    Monica Johnson and Andy Irons.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 8:07 a.m. CST

    Modern Romance

    by dicbeaks

    One of the funniest films ever made. Brooks' phone calls on Quaaludes are a classic piece of comedy.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 8:07 a.m. CST

    Albert Brooks is NOT funny!

    by Drunken Busboy

    There I said it! He's kinda like that relative who insist on singing at your wedding. You know the relative I mean, the one everyone says how great they are but everyone knows they are mediocre at best. The only reason that you are letting them sing at your wedding is that they are your relative and they drove in all the way from Toledo.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 8:12 a.m. CST

    I agree with Ace of Wands 100%

    by Drunken Busboy

    Albert Brooks gets mild chuckles out of me at the most. "The Muse" anyone? Come on!

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 8:16 a.m. CST

    I thought MOTHER was brilliant, personally

    by John_Lithgows_Crusty_Balls

    I love most of Brooks' films. I did, however, see Searching for Comedy in the Muslim World opening night in LA and it was beyond terrible. But these three movies made me laugh quite a bit.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 8:39 a.m. CST

    Great clip with Albert and his brother!

    by jawsfan

    Hopefully all you Albert Brooks fans recognized Bob Einstein (Albert's real-life brother) as the salesman in the store.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 8:40 a.m. CST

    Mad eye mongo

    by caprica

    You aren't allowed to use the word funny or movie ever again. If you don't think Lost in america or Modern romance are great, you have no idea what you are talking about

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 8:40 a.m. CST

    RIP Ed McMahon, Roy Disney, Soupy Sales...

    by ricarleite2

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 8:41 a.m. CST

    RL, MR, and LiA are classics

    by jawsfan

    "Mother" was good, "The Muse" not so much, "Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World" certainly had its moments, and "The Scout" was completely, absolutely devoid of laughs.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 8:41 a.m. CST

    The Real Life in 3-D...

    by MainMan2001

    is amazing. It makes fun of 3-D like it should. Fuck 3-D. I'm over it. Even Avatar. Fuck it.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 8:41 a.m. CST

    almost forgot "Defending Your Life"

    by jawsfan

    Charming comedy that had some great bits in it. Not my favorite, but definitely watchable.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 8:49 a.m. CST

    Albert Brooks IS funny.

    by Sailor Rip

    Mother, The Muse, Defending Your Life and the others mentioned

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 8:50 a.m. CST

    RIP

    by veritasses

    .

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 8:52 a.m. CST

    "I lost a woman! A whole woman!"

    by jawsfan

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 9:22 a.m. CST

    Lost in America, Defending Your Life, Broadcast News

    by vic twenty

    Good stuff here, people.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 10:24 a.m. CST

    I agree that he's funny as hell . . .

    by Nice Marmot

    . . . but I felt let down a bit after viewing all of his "classics." I still feel like if the funniest writing in each film was poured into just one film, then you'd have a true classic comedy. Brooks is also, arguably, one of the best guest stars on The Simpsons. That's saying a lot, in my book.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 10:53 a.m. CST

    Lisa Blount 1957-2010

    by Ernst

    How come Lisa Blount has not been honored? She died last week at age 53.She played Debra Winger's friend Lynette in the movie "An Officer and a Gentleman" She also won an Oscar for a short film some time back.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 10:53 a.m. CST

    God bless your soul Monica

    by Meadowe

    Wasn't familiar with your name, but I agree that if Albert Brooks turned to you to help him out, you had some mad skillz lady!

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 10:55 a.m. CST

    also Albert Brooks in The Simpsons Movie was off the hook too

    by Meadowe

    When his charaqter's talking about how he wants this tough guys and the soft guys next to the tough guys to make the tough guys look even tougher, freaqin classiq.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 11:17 a.m. CST

    There are Albert Brooks fans....

    by IamZardoz

    and there are the rest of the goobers out there who prefer Jeff Foxworthy or whoever.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 11:22 a.m. CST

    Cancer is the leading cause of death for

    by UltraTron

    zillionaires with 29% of all the wealth that doesn't trickle down. They should donate more to research a cure. Modern romance is the greatest movie ever made. RIP

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 11:25 a.m. CST

    Jawsfan: defending your life a classic movie from

    by UltraTron

    frame one to the logo after the credits.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 1:10 p.m. CST

    Ace, "3 of the funniest movies ever" is NOT

    by Sonny_Williams

    the same as "the 3 funniest movies ever." Reading comprehension is important.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 1:44 p.m. CST

    James MacArthur

    by REDD

    The original Danno from 5-0, died last week.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 1:47 p.m. CST

    She was married seven times.

    by SnootyBoots

    I knew a woman from Scotland who married a gay man to get her green card.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 1:49 p.m. CST

    I love Albert Brooks' films...

    by eustisclay

    ...and he was good in Broadcast News and Out of Sight as well as Taxi Driver. And one of the funniest things I've seen on tv was Brooks on the old Tonight Show where he was showing Carson how to do impressions. He did Burt Lancaster by putting a hot baked potato in his mouth and did Curley from the 3 stooges by using pepper. Don't know what was funnier, Brooks or Carsons laughter. When that guy thought something was funny, it was infectious. Wait a minute, why am I praising Brooks? He's not the one who died.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 2 p.m. CST

    Lisa Blount died? She was in Prince of Darkness!

    by vic twenty

    Sucked into the mirror only to come back as the beast (if me dream transmissions were correct that is). <p> Crap, that deserves some notice. Good Call, Ernst!

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 3:32 p.m. CST

    Mention Real Life, Lost In America and Modern Romance

    by skimn

    and of course the subject will turn to Brooks, despite Monica Johnson's involvement and her passing. Would love to know how they colaborated since I would imagine Brooks would have 100 ideas a minute.<p>And what? No mention of Finding Nemo?? His pleading, emotional father fish is the emotional core of that movie. It would not work at all without his vocal work. And he was also great as the gambling dad on Weeds..left that season much too soon.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 6:12 p.m. CST

    "Real Life" was'nt ahead of it's time.

    by MST3KPIMP

    It was a brilliant satire of the the PBS show "An American Family" which followed a real family around. That show may have been ahead if it's time but Brooks was goofing on a current phenomenon.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 8:35 p.m. CST

    Defending your Life is in my top 10 movies..

    by Carl's hat

    Do yourself a favour, go and track down a copy. Watch it. Learn. It is the greatest life after death movie ever made. It's all about conquering your fears.

  • Nov. 4, 2010, 11:52 a.m. CST

    "I've seen the future..

    by nolan bautista

    ..its a bald man from New York!" gotta love "Lost in America"

  • Nov. 4, 2010, 12:49 p.m. CST

    Clooney

    by Sirmausalot

    And Brooks in Out of Sight. Now that's worth seeing!

  • Nov. 4, 2010, 5:33 p.m. CST

    Brooks IS the funniest man alive

    by Krinkle

    Notice how the talkbackers who claim to despise Brooks are also the same ones who can't spell or compose a sentence? What does that tell you?