Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A-Z Challenge: The Jerk

Last night my dog tried to play out a scene from The Jerk.  It's uncanny, because I don't think he reads this blog so he had no idea I was going to post about this movie today.  At about 3am he came to my side of the bed and reached his little paws up to the mattress...he can't jump high enough to get on.

"Leo, go lay down," I said, half-asleep.  He jumped back up, trembling so hard it shook the mattress, which is pretty intense shaking for a neurotic miniature schnauzer.

"Leo, go lay down you f*&^%$ r&^$%#."  He ignored this advice and jumped back up, still shaking.  He never needs to go out in middle of the night, and his persistence, usually reserved for thunderstorms, made me a bit concerned.  I got up and let him out.  He seemed happy to go out, so I thought that may have been it.  While I was standing at the door I heard a chirp: The battery in a smoke detector was low.

I let the dog back in and went back to bed.  Chirp.  Leo jumped back up, trembling harder than ever, apparently trying to warn us of a non-existent fire so we could officially change his name to "Shithead."  He wouldn't quit, and I became fixated on the chirp and couldn't fall back to sleep.  Finally around 3:30am I got up again to replace the battery.  After standing under each smoke detector in the house for several minutes apiece to figure out which one it was, I found the culprit in the guest bedroom.  I made it back to bed around 4am.

So after that prelude, here's what I have to say about The Jerk: This is Steve Martin's signature performance.  The rags-to-riches-to-rags story probably couldn't get a greenlight today for all the racial humor (NOTE: I said racial, which is of or pertaining to race, and not racist, which is derogatory actions based on race, but that doesn't matter these days...if you acknowledge race in any way, shape, or form someone is going to have an uproar about it).  But still, there's something about the way he says, "I was born a poor black child" that's hilarious.

The movie is comedy gold, but so much more.  There's romance...
Patty: I got your name tattooed on my ass.
Navin: Oh, there it is under the Js...

There's Drama...
Navin: Well I'm gonna to go then! And I don't need any of this. I don't need this stuff, and I don't need *you*. I don't need anything. Except this...And that's the only thing I need is *this*. I don't need this or this. Just this ashtray... And this paddle game. - The ashtray and the paddle game and that's all I need... And this remote control. - The ashtray, the paddle game, and the remote control, and that's all I need... And these matches...

And let's not forget Action and Suspense...
Mr. Hartunean: Navin, those aren't defective cans.  There's a defective person up there.
Navin: He hates these cans. Stay away from the cans!

And Musical Interludes...
Navin: I'm picking out a Thermos for you. Not an ordinary Thermos for you. But the extra best Thermos that you can buy, with vinyl and stripes and a cup built right in.

And, of course, a shithead dog.

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9 comments:

Laurel said...

We play this game where we try to get each other stuck on the thermos song. I am particularly susceptible to earworms, so I usually lose.

Rick Daley said...

There are worse songs to get struck on...

Laurel said...

Believe me, I know. The Pirate is now in on this game, too, and his fallback is the "Dynamite" song. It does me in every time. My weapon of choice is anything by They Might Be Giants: Here Come the ABCs, the 123s, or Here Comes Science.

Rick Daley said...

Max likes the Dynamite song, but he's never gotten me stuck on it. Did you know the theme music for The Daily Show and Colbert Report is from They Might Be Giants? Also The Big Bang Theory. And from when the kids were younger, Higglytown Heroes.

D.G. Hudson said...

Haven't ever seen this movie, Rick, but I'm a Steve Martin fan, due to SNL.

I enjoyed the 'prelude' about the dog and the smoke alarm. He sounds like a nice dog to me, he just has with an anxiety complex about his human 'pack'.

Rick Daley said...

DG- He's a good dog, but he has his share of quirks. His anxiety extends beyond his pack, trust me! He is very cute, though, and loving to boot.

Johanna Garth said...

I've never seen The Jerk. I feel like I wasn't allowed to see it as a kid or something.

Rick Daley said...

Johanna (and DG)- You need to add "Watch The Jerk" the your bucket list.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It was one of his best movies.