Movie still flies high above competition

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons LESLIE NIELSEN plays Dr. Rumack in famed comedy “Airplane!”

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
LESLIE NIELSEN plays Dr. Rumack in famed comedy “Airplane!”

By Andrew Hill
Arts & Life Co-Editor

“Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?” asks Captain Oveur, played by Peter Graves. The question arises from nowhere in particular, but it sticks with the viewer.

This is exactly how “Airplane!” is: audiences needed only one viewing to know this would be an instant classic. Almost 35 years after its initial release, how does the movie stand up to current releases?

Released Jul. 2, 1980, “Airplane!” was truly the first spoof to captivate audiences.

It tells the story of Ted Striker, a former military pilot from “the war” who finds himself on an airplane headed to disaster. His romantic interest Elaine, played brilliantly by Julie Hagerty, is a flight attendant. Captain Oveur, Roger Murdock and Dr. Rumack round out the crew on board.

As the members of the cockpit succumb to food poisoning, Striker finds himself thrust into a rescue scenario.
Despite all the action, this is by no means a drama. The film has spawned so many popular jokes and imitators that it is impossible to deny its influence on popular culture.

Though it is a spoof, the jokes are so universal that it is not necessary to understand the source material to enjoy them. Therefore, the comedy present in the movie has truly stood the test of time.

In 2012, British Netflix equivalent, LOVEFiLM, declared “Airplane!” the funniest movie of all time based on laughs per minute of the viewing audience.

The film generated an average of three laughs per minute, beating out nine other LOVEFiLM comedy movie favorites. It would be a crime against humanity to ruin any jokes, though, so it is best to watch the film for yourself.

“Airplane!” is truly one of the pioneers of modern comedy, and it still stands head and shoulders above the competition. The storyline is great, the jokes are intelligent and the acting is perfectly overplayed. I would recommend this film to any comedy fan, especially those who like spoofs. If you like comedies and dislike this film, I have only one thing to say to you: “Surely you can’t be serious.”

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