Unsolicited Thoughts / Notes On John Candy’s Going Berserk
– even though this 1983 comedy was meant to be some kind of breakout for Candy and his fellow “SCTV” co-stars Joe Flaherty and Eugene Levy, it is established within the first several minutes that Going Berserk takes place in the same fictional universe as “SCTV”; this is odd because the majority of the film’s events occur in Los Angeles and none of the characters these men made famous on “SCTV” make appearances (unless you want to count Candy’s admittedly hilarious impression of Jerry Mathers)
– I suppose placing Going Berserk in the “SCTV” canon allowed Candy et al a license to bend reality in the same manner that garnered them so much acclaim on the small screen, but the movie (which centers around Candy’s pending marriage to an influential politician’s daughter) never commits to being a total bonkers spoof or something grounded in reality that’s simply decorated with wacky elements (it’s sort of like Rock n’ Roll High School in that respect)
– whatever issues GB has (tone, budget, script) the nucleus of Candy, Flaherty, and Levy is potent enough to make it work; watching these guys mine hard laughs out of what is often thin air made me upset they didn’t get a chance to put something like this together in the early ’90s after Candy had become comedy royalty
– even if our Canadian heroes had failed (yes, I know Joe Flaherty’s from Pittsburgh, shut up) there is plenty of nutso window dressing to justify this movie’s existence: we have the Ernie Hudson sex scene; the Dixie Carter make-out scene; the Alley Mills nude scene; Lee Ving attempting to parody punk rock / himself with the song “Mom Is Dead”; the rap that describes the entire plot of Going Berserk and plays over the opening credits; the movie-within-the-movie, Kung Fu U, about a college for martial arts experts; and of course mustache-free Pat Hingle (never a safe bet)
– according to the Internet Movie Database, at one point Going Berserk had the working title of Numbnuts; maybe this film would be better known today had they stuck with that moniker
– press me to grade Going Berserk and I’ll give it a solid B (which does not actually mirror my intense fascination / obsession with this project)
Joe Flaherty Is Always Behind Us, Metaphorically Speaking
If there was ever one image to completely sum up the human condition…
I have a friend who insists the major fault of Ghostbusters is the film’s pronounced lack of Joe Flaherty. I still don’t know how to respond to (or how I’m supposed to feel about) that statement. It’s sort of like hearing someone say, “You know, all those Beatles albums woulda been better if Randy Rhoads had played the guitar solos.” Uh, maybe?
Where would you even put Joe Flaherty in Ghostbusters? Is he Slimer’s human form—that is to say, Slimer before he died and became a disgusting green blob? Is he the guy Ray buys the ambulance from? Hey, you tell me where I’m supposed to put Joe Flaherty in this thing. Maybe they can rerecord him doing Gozer’s lines for the next Blu-Ray release. “Hey JACKASS, choose the form of your destructor!”
Related factoid: Eugene Levy (that pile of sex in front of Joe in the picture above) was cut out of Ghostbusters II. He played Louis Tully’s brother, I think. Unfortunately for Gene, in the end the filmmakers decided they already had plenty of smirking Canadians in ill-fitting suits.
[“SCTV” screencap stolen from Comedy Time Warp, a great blog if you’re looking for black and whites of Albert Brooks.]