134) The Ladykillers (1955). I figured I'd see this before the Coens' version since I heard that theirs wasn't too good, and it was a good excuse to get in another Peter Sellers performance. I'm not so much of an anglophile when it comes to humor. A lot of British humor seems to center around the supposed inherent hilarity of just being British. My miserable whore of an ex-girlfriend got into The Young Ones when the pretentious jackasses she worked with told her it was good so she naturally thought it was brilliant, because she's a miserable and stupid whore. For example, when Van and I tried to get her to watch Black Adder, a legitimately funny British series, she thought it was stupid. A few months later she came home talking about this great British series called Black Adder that one of her co-worker douche bags had shown her and how I should watch it and I told her "I have. A long time ago. I tried to get you to watch it and you thought it was stupid." and her brilliant retort was "Well I must not have been in the mood for something like that then." Looking back that's probably the point when I should have realized I had lost her to the dark side completely and shown her miserable whore's ass to the curb. But I digess. Anyway, the show was terrible and it seemed like the implied punchline of every joke was "only in England!" and it was just terribly, terribly lame. There are several absolutely brilliant British series: The aforementioned Black Adder, Mr. Bean, Are You Being Served? and The Office are all incredibly funny, and their success lies in their ability to appeal to the general sense of humor of anyone who watches them. Some of the slang and pop culture references might be confusing, but the situations and reactions are fairly universal and anyone can tie into them. But a lot of the rest I've seen tends to revolve around the humor (or should I say humour?) the ensues from the particular character traits and manners inherent in British culture. Thus, the "comedy of manners" is a staple of British film and stage while it has never truly taken hold here in The U.S. The idea is also prevelant in other genres, like the "manor mysteries" of the 30s (see Gosford Park for a more contemporary example). All of the characters are so very British that even a murderer in their midst can't cause them to lose their manners or act inappropriately. So that's the problem I have with this movie. There are some fairly universal comic setups (the "crooked" house, the nosy old woman, etc.), but for the most part the whole thing revolves around the crooks and their need to maintain their properly British appearance. And Peter Sellers was a bit role that he never got to do anything with so that was also a disapointment. Oh well, I'll see the Coens and probably hate it too, but it's one more notch on the old DVD player.
134 down, 866 to go.