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Who Needs the Three Stooges?

April 16, 2012

I not ashamed to admit that I like the Three Stooges. Yeah, they’re goofy and they’re violent and they’re corny slapstick, but I like them and I have since I was a child. Really, next to bathroom humor, a finger poke to the eyes or a hammer to the head – with the appropriate sound effect – is pretty much guaranteed to get at least a smile out of me. I understand none of that is maybe the highest level of comedy, but it’s still comedy nonetheless and while I know it’s not for everyone, it can be funny.

(And just for clarification, when I talk about the Three Stooges, I’m really talking about the four guys: Moe, Larry, Curly and Shemp. I don’t have much time for Joe Besser or Emil Sitka, or Joe DeRita, either as a Curly stand-in or teamed up with vaudevillians Frank Mitchell and “Mousey” Garner bringing a live Three Stooges show on the road after Moe died.)

So since I’ve been a life-long fan, why aren’t I excited about the Farrelly Brothers new Three Stooges movie? Maybe because in the case of the Farrelly’s movie,  if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck it’s really not a duck, and this new movie, with actors in costume doing impersonations of the originals, it’s not the Three Stooges.

Based only on the previews I’ve seen, I can say the three actors do a good job impersonating the original Stooges, but that says little to me. Put me in a bowl haircut wig and I might be able to pass for Moe myself, and without any costuming I can do a pretty good Curly, but that doesn’t mean someone should call me a Stooge and write a movie script for me.



The problem is Hollywood and I understand that Hollywood seems to be out of fresh ideas and screenwriters and producers nowadays are content to make sequels of sequels and prequels of sequels and re-imaginings of stories that were successful in the past and to, well, pretty much give us anything that minimizes financial risk as much as possible even if it means the quality of what they offer suffers. While I can understand that on one level, I don’t understand how putting three guys into costume makes them the Three Stooges or why anyone involved with the movie would ever think it’s something real Three Stooges fans would want to buy in on.

So what’s next now that Hollywood is cashing in on impersonations of classic comedy teams? Maybe take a fat guy and a skinny guy, put them in coats and hats and give us a Laurel and Hardy movie? Maybe the Baldwin brothers in costume re-working the Marx Brothers? Anyone up for a possible Jim Carrey and Mandy Patinkin re-imagining of the old Bob Hope and Bing Crosby road movies? No, I’m sorry, but these comic acts have left behind a rich enough legacy where I don’t have to rely on Hollywood junk to feed any sort of need I might have. Not when I can just slip in a DVD and watch the originals.

And will I continue to watch those old movies? Soitenly!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Bill Dunlap permalink
    April 16, 2012 12:11 pm

    Sorry, Michael, but the Three Stooges Movie fill me with joy. Yes I know they are only actors immitating them, but imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I hope this movie encourages an entire new generation to buy the DVDs and discover the artistry which were the Three Stooges.

    Yes, artistry. Those guys did live action Bugs Bunny stunts. They were phenominal athletes, especially Curly who, like me, suffered chronic pain. I see the movie as keeping their legacy alive. I am grateful.


    • Michael Fishman permalink
      April 17, 2012 5:04 am

      I see your point, Bill, but I don’t know, in this case, if imitating the Stooges is flattering. I do like the thought of new generations discovering and appreciating them, but I guess I’d rather they discover the Stooges through documentaries and their movies and shorts. Sorry to hear about your chronic pain 😦


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