The Awesome Guide to Springfield, MO

Lost Reel Review: Brain Donors

Sometimes you want to sit at home. While it’s not encouraged, it’s understood. It sucks to rent a bad movie so the Lost Reel Review is here to help guide you on your path to good movie rentals.

 Lost Reel Review: Brain Donors

Turturro and crew got the brunt end when producers pulled a LeBron on Paramount after filming.

John Turturro, Bob Nelson and Mel Smith are absolutely hysterical in the unbelievably forgotten comedy Brain Donors (1992). Why was it so forgotten? Producers David and Jerry Zucker (remember Airplane! and The Naked Gun series?) jumped ship just before the film’s big-screen release. Initially, it was titled Lame Ducks and billed among the year’s funniest films. After the Zuckers ducked out Paramount pulled the marketing campaign and took it out of theaters after initial screenings. Instead it hit the video circuit and developed a decent cult following.

Directed by Dennis Dugan (who also directed Happy GilmoreBeverly Hills Ninja, and Don’t Mess with the Zohan among several others), Brain Donors is based on the Marx Brothers comedy A Night at the Opera. It follows Roland Flakfizer, a personal injury lawyer (played by Turturro), who battles attorney Lazlo to become director of the Oglethorpe ballet company. Nelson and Smith help Flakfizer’s mission and complete the trio of nonsense. It pulls from a lot of Three Stooges comedy, with no shame in seeking laughs while destroying one crowd’s night at the ballet.

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Dirty Work (1998) – Norm MacDonald plays Mitch who is down on luck and needs cash quick. So he begins a “revenge for hire” business with Artie Lange playing his best pal. The revenge gets entirely out of control. It has direct connections to Brain Donors with a hysterical broken up ballet scene, and no regard for comedic boundaries. Directed by Bob Saget with unforgettable cameos by Chris Farley and Gary Coleman – it was Farley’s final project.

The Jerk (1979) – Steve Martin‘s first leading role was a smash hit (which he co-wrote), so I feel like it’s sort of a cop out to recommend it like you haven’t seen it. However, since it’s more than three decades old, it works. The movie is based on gags (go figure) and the gags are based on many of Martin’s experiences as a youth working at a theme park (read his book Life Standing Up – just do it). Martin plays Navin Johnson, a white man raised by a black family, who moves to St. Louis to find a new life.

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