Duck Soup (AFI #60)

“I realized that I keep on picking movies that I want to see, and skipping over those that I have no interest in. I figured I should mix in a few of the ones that Im dreading now, before Im only left with a whole bunch of movies Im wary of. Duck Soup is one on that list.

I’d actually seen this one before. I think it was soph year that I took a (primarily) literature class called Comedy. Besides a few books and plays, there were a few movies we watched. Since I couldnt make most of the screenings, I them, which turned out well since 3 of those are on the AFI list: The Philadelphia Story, City Lights, and Duck Soup. I’d also ended up getting Noises Off and His Girl Friday. And we saw Eddie Izzard’s Dress to Kill (which was my favorite part of the class), but I already owned and loved that.

I totally get why this movie is considered one of the best movies of all time. The slapstick is masterful and all the puns are expertly delivered. I just dont find that stuff too funny. I laugh when a joke catches me off guard, not when I see it coming from a mile away. A lot of it was also just too non-sensical for my taste (taking a pair of scissors to every cuttable object you see? really?).

I’ve said before that plot is important to me. I like to be told a story. For this movie, the plot was very thin secondary to the comedy. It was basically there to connect all their schtick–not good for catching my interest (again, personal opinion).

I’ll close with an amusing anecdote. I heard once that when interviewing some really high up there politician (who I can’t remember right now) a reporter once asked him what his thoughts are on the situation in Freedonia, and what we can do to correct it. The politician then went on a tirade about how awful the situation was and our responsibilties toward it, blah blah blah. Yeah um, Freedonia is the ficticious country that Groucho Marx’s character is the leader of in Duck Soup. The reporter was running a bullshit test. The politician failed.”

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