Now that the Halloween season is almost upon us, I figure I may as well watch a few scary movies. Or at least parodies of scary movies.

If you enjoy Mel Brooks's older movies, you may be disappointed in DDIL on the first viewing. For example, in my favorite Mel Brooks movie, Blazing Saddles, the jokes are more frequent, more consistently funny, and tend to have sharper edges.

If you can view DDIL on its own terms, though, it gets better. Since my original viewing, I've seen it maybe three times, and I keep coming back every couple years. Unlike Blazing Saddles, the humor in DDIL is more in a vein that was common in the movies of the 1930's to 1950's -- it's broad, mostly inoffensive, and not afraid to take a minute or two to let you see the joke parading up Fifth Avenue toward you, and then draw it out as long as needed and then a few seconds more. It is, in a word, corny.

If you can live with that, it's a fun movie with some spirited performances, and it may even make you laugh out loud a few times, as I did.

[Bonus tip on movies in general: Through years of meticulous research, I have found that comedies are almost always funnier if you are watching with a friend or a group. I watched this movie alone last night and still got some laughs out of it.]
"Ay! Ee! Aie! Oh! Ooh! ...Why?!"
It's been a while since I've seen this one and I don't remember much about it except for Peter MacNicol, who was brilliant as always. I have to say that while I like Blazing Saddles, it has never been one of my favorites even for a Mel Brooks movie. It degenerates into a sillier ending than most and just seems unsatisfying for that reason. Robin Hood: Men in Tights has been growing on me more and more each time I see it.

For my money though, his best work was Spaceballs. In Spaceballs of course he had John Candy and Rick Moranis to work with. But what really wins it over is that Mel Brooks' tendency to heavy-hand a joke and then keep slapping you with it till it's a limp fish is muted by the go-go-go scene switchery and some running gags (Spaceballs: The running joke) that work very well. In other words, instead of dropping a corny joke like a turd in goldfish bowl and then pausing to wink to the audience, the pace of the plot doesn't give him much time to wink. Instead he pitches the jokes more rapidly like in Airplane! and other classic ZAZ films, where even if one joke strikes out you're too busy laughing at the next one to care. And did I mention John Candy? The ears get me every time.
I think the first time I saw Blazing Saddles I was disappointed in the ending too, but over the (many) years since then I've come to enjoy the ending a lot more.

I like Spaceballs a lot too. My favorite line is Dark Helmet's explanation of why evil will always triumph. Of course he gets proven wrong in the end, but it's hard to argue with his reasoning.