Oscar, The film that should have won one.
I’m sure all of the readers here are well aware of who Sylvester Stallone is. If you aren’t a fan of his PTSD fueled rampages of destruction in the Rambo series, you are at least a fan of his training montages with the greatest motivational music ever playing in the background.
But what if I told you that the greatest work this man has ever done in film, is neither of these? That he doesn’t even throw a punch or a grenade is his magnum opus, his Beethoven’s 9th symphony, his masterpiece. What in the world is my deranged mind rambling about? I’m rambling about Oscar. What is that you say? You have never heard of this movie before? Well you are going to hear about it now.
Some background on this movie. First, it was directed by the great John Landis. The same man who gave us Animal House, Blues Brothers, Spies like us, Three Amigos, Beverly Hills Cop 3. Okay we can’t blame him for the last one. It was the 90’s, and people make mistakes. It was the times. Anyway. Landis excellently directs this 1930’s period piece comedy based on a french stage play. See finally getting to use that Theatre header properly. The movie features an all star cast including but not limited to, Sylvester Stallone, Tim Curry, Marisa Tomei, Kurtwood Smith, Joey Tavolta, Art La Fleur, and William Atherton. If you don’t know who half those people are, go look them up on IMDB. Trust me, you know them. The casting and acting are perfect. Every character plays off of each other. Every joke builds off of each other. You feel like, “Yes, I can definitely see this as a real and truly insane family.” “BUT WHAT IS THIS THING ABOUT? GET ON WITH IT?” Well first, thank you for your Monty Python reference dear reader, and second, let me tell you.
This, this was supposed to be the moment that changed legendary gangster Snaps Provolone’s (Stalone) life forever. On his father’s (Kirk Douglas) death bed, he promises to become an honest man. He will give up the dishonest life he lives to make his papa proud. The interactions between the two men in this scene are hilarious. If I can do half of this to my kids on my own death bed, I’ll die happy. Well at least laughing. Not sure if I’ll ever be happy with death. Still working on that philosopher’s stone. Snaps gives his word and a month later is on the verge of becoming a banker. The entire rest of the movie takes place before the bankers come at noon. But don’t worry. His last day before “turning legit” will not go at all to plan.
Any time your bookkeeper shows up before 9am, you know it is going to be an expensive day. And then, he has the nerve to tell you he woke you up to ask for a raise because he is in love? And that that love is your daughter. There is only one thing to do. That’s right, exactly what I was thinking. Convince him your tailors are cold blooded hit-men.
The best part will be when he believes you and hands you back all the money he stole from you. Oh, he didn’t mention that at first? Yeah, he stole $100,000 from you. If this practical joke isn’t up to scratch for you, that’s okay. There are plenty of other jokes to enjoy as you watch. This movie slings dry humor and jokes at you like the gun slinging mobsters it hilariously portrays. Every character has an angle they are working at, whether it is Little Ant’ny (Vincent Spano) the accountant who just wants to marry Theresa (“Who’s Theresa”), Lisa (Marisa Tomei), the daughter who just wants to escape, or Dr. Poole (Tim Curry) who just showed up wanting to teach some elocution lessons and gets roped into the madness. The antics they all go to will leave you in stitches, and things just get more ridiculous as the day progresses. By the time the fuzz finally decides to show up and crash the party, things have progressed far past the realms of credulity.
There is even a shell game with bags going on in the background that you should try to keep up with. Needless to say the bankers, there to “steal” money off the gangster, get their just deserts and even the cops get some as well, just maybe not the bust they were hoping for. I am trying not to spoil too much of the plot as part of the greatness of the movie is going, no it can’t get sillier, and then the next shoe drops. You’ll just have to try all these shoes on for yourself. Or at least pick them up. Someone could trip on those you know. Like I said, this is the movie that Stallone should have been known for. It will leave you giggling like a small child, or at least non-stop face palming.
You should be able to find Oscar on Amazon, or if you are really lucky Goodwill or Half-Priced Books. Occasionally it does show up for free on Youtube every once in a while but trust me, this is one you will want to own. If you do watch it. Throw your favorite one liner in the comments.