Double Feature

December 2015 - As Steve Miller once sang, "Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin' into the future." I have totally slipped down that slippery slope, and have found no time to write a new column. So, here, with some minor revisions, is my column from 10 years ago – December 2005.

It started with Elf, a 2003 PG-rated comedy starring Will Ferrell. Ferrell plays Buddy, who, as a baby, crawled into Santa's bag one Christmas Eve. Santa (Ed Asner) whisks Buddy back to the North Pole to be raised by Bob Newhart.

Eventually, Buddy realizes that he's not really an Elf. For one thing, he's much too big. So, Buddy sets off to find his real father in New York City. That's where Buddy's unique brand of Elfen cheer helps him win over his dad, get the girl and save Christmas.

Overall review: Ehhh, it was OK. The first half of this movie is really funny; the second half, not so much. The movie has a happy ending, but I was just happy that it ended.

The second movie brings back memories of New Year's Eve about 25 (now 35) years ago (Maybe longer, but who's counting? Not me!). That's when I first saw It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World. This G-rated 1963 caper stars a who's who of Hollywood at the time – Spencer Tracy, Buddy Hackett, Mickey Rooney, Sid Caesar, Milton Berle, Ethel Merman, Jonathan Winters, Phil Silvers and more.

The movie begins when a speeding car tumbles down a cliff in California. Before the driver literally kicks the bucket, he tells some good-hearted citizens that he stole some money years ago and buried it in a park under a big W. The good-hearted citizens pass the info along to police, then promptly set out to find the money and keep it for themselves.

In their haste to get to the park, they're beset by a series of misadventures, mostly involving transportation. Once they get there and find the money, Spencer Tracy takes it and the chase is on again. In the end, the moral of the story seems to be that old rule of comedy: Leave 'em laughing!

Overall review: Liked it. When I first saw this movie, I recall thinking it was the funniest thing I had ever seen. Seeing it again years later, it's still pretty funny. The actors all play their scenes over the top. They know the whole thing is ridiculous, so why not enjoy it.