Movie. The Sunshine Boys, 1975.

Posted by T on April 19, 2008
By Title, Judaica, Movies

A movie made from the [Marvin] Neil Simon stage comedy. A couple old men that worked for decades together in vaudeville are to get back together for one more act on a television special. They couldn’t stand each other in real life, but worked well together in their shtick. All the life-long hostilities bubble to the surface, setting the stage for the comedy.

For me, it tries too hard to be funny and hardly ever is. Only once, near the end, in a twist that I won’t spoil, did they trick a good laugh out of me.

However, I recommend it as an introduction to the hebishkeitsreich. This movie — every actor, every line, every gesture, every accent — the talking with mouth full, the gruff rudeness, the ceaseless kvetching, the disparaging, looking-down-nose attitude to others, the gleam in the eye whenever money is mentioned, the pseudonyms, the nepotism, and above all, the casual, perpetual, incurable blasphemy — and all in the context of self-conscious humor, making light of everything — is, quite simply, as hebish as it gets. For beginners at decoding the jew, start by reading this introduction, then rent and watch this movie.

The old men are played by George Burns (né Nathan Birnbaum) and Walter Matthau. F. Murray Abraham of later Amadeus fame plays the mechanic under the car.

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