Ah, spoofs. The films made to tickle our funny bones by mocking other movies. There have been countless disappointments in the genre, particularly in recent years (Scary Movie, Disaster Movie, Epic Movie. . . need we go on?). But when done right, spoofs can have cinema goers in stitches. Here’s our list of the 3 best spoof movies ever made to prove it:
Back in 1980, we boarded a flight from LA to Chicago to witness slapstick silliness and hilarious happenings in the BAFTA award winning Airplane! Written and directed by the comedy filmmaking trio ZAZ (a.k.a. David Zucker, Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams), it lampoons air disaster films like Zero Hour! and Airport 1975. The story revolves around an aerophobic ex-fighter pilot named Ted Striker. Determined to win back the love of cabin crew stewardess Elaine, Ted buys a ticket on her next assigned flight. But when a nasty bout of food poisoning puts the captain out of action, it’s up to Ted (with the assistance of inflatable pilot “Otto”) to overcome his flying fears and ensure the plane safely touches down in Chicago. The movie has not only been voted one of the best spoofs, but one of the best films to come out of the ‘80s.
Favourite quote: ‘Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.’
Our rating: 9/10.
You’d have to be brave to mock a much-loved classic like Top Gun. The American aerial action drama instantly won the hearts of audiences everywhere on its release in 1986, and even went on to inspire a multi-million-dollar Diet Pepsi commercial and one of the best slot games to play online. But Jim Abrahams’ bravery was certainly rewarded with Hot Shots! The parody of Top Gun (which also dares to poke fun at scenes from other popular flicks, like Rocky, Superman and Gone with the Wind) details the life of fighter pilot Topper Harley. Haunted by the fate of his father, Topper leaves the U.S. Navy to live a simpler life amongst a tribe of Native Americans. But soon Lt. Commander Block comes knocking at his tepee asking for help with ‘Operation Sleepy Weasel’, a secret mission to destroy one of Saddam Hussain’s nuclear plants in Iraq. The film achieved huge critical and commercial success. It was even selected as the 1991 Royal Film Performance; no doubt it had the British monarchy laughing out loud.
Favourite quote: ‘My heart is falling down around my ankles like a wet pair of pants. My whole life, all I’ve wanted to do is fly. Bomb stuff. Shoot people down.’
Our rating: 8/10.
Shaun of the Dead
Four years after the commercial flop that was Scary Movie, Edgar Wright managed to restore our hope in horror parodies by proving they’re not all slapstick stupidity and farcical nonsense. With a clear appreciation for the art of zombie movies and strong sense of British humour, Wright’s Shaun of the Dead (the spoof that plays off Dawn of the Dead) makes its audience laugh without ever trying too hard to be funny. When Shaun Pegg is caught in London’s apocalyptic zombie uprising, the once-directionless Londoner finds an opportunity to turn his life around. He leads a rescue mission to a point of safety (i.e. local pub, The Winchester) and manages to save his failing relationship with girlfriend Liz in the process. The gloriously gory 2004 spoof received a BAFTA nomination and paved the way for Wright and Pegg’s famous Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy. In 2011, it was crowned the second-best movie of all time by BBC Radio 1 listeners.
Favourite quote: ’As Mr. Sloan always says, there is no “I” in team, but there is an “I” in pie. And there’s an “I” in meat pie. Anagram of meat is team. . . I don’t know what he’s talking about.’
Our rating: 9/10.