Richard Pryor

The Greatest Silent Comedians of the Sound Era

Attention cinephiles: your new must-have Blu-ray box set is Criterion’s Jacques Tati Collection, which assembles the six features and seven shorts of the exquisite French comic writer/actor/director, offering an immediate refuge from the cruelties of this ugly world. The first of them, the disarmingly lovely Jour de Fête, was released in 1949, which also makes Tati a bit of an anomaly: a performer leaning far more on physical than verbal comedy, yet working well within the sound era. The introduction of sound in the late ‘20s was, among many other things, a demarcation line for screen comedy: most of the silent icons struggled to make the transition (or chose not to make it at all; Chaplin was still making mostly-silent movies like Modern Times in 1936), as studios rushed to fill their talking pictures with talking comedians from the Broadway and vaudeville stage. But a few comic actors through the years have managed to preserve the invaluable comic tool of silence, even as sound raged around them. … Read More

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NBC Says Fuggit, Let’s Just Air ‘SNL’ Reruns in Prime Time

Saturday night is kind of a deserted, tumbleweed-y, post-Apocalyptic wasteland on television, from the standpoint of both ratings and… Read More

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10 Great New-to-Netflix Movies to Stream This Holiday Weekend

The long Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and you know what that means: cookouts, quickie getaways, watching some sort of organized sporting events on television (I think, maybe?). But the shut-ins among us — and your film editor would include himself firmly among that camp — will probably want to simply spend one more day doing what we do every weekend: queuing up a bunch of flicks online, surrounding ourselves with non-perishable food items, and locking the doors. Here are some of the recent(ish) streaming releases worth your Memorial Day weekend time; simply click the title to stream them right… Read More

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Revisiting Mel Brooks and Richard Pryor’s Subversively Brilliant Racial Satire ‘Blazing Saddles,’ 40 Years Later

For more than two decades now, the term “politically correct” has been, almost exclusively, the go-to refrain for reactionary scum and regressive cultural conservatives, bellowing self-righteously at the civilization’s hardheaded refusal to let them share their rape jokes or race gags or “feminazi” screeds in peace. Such complaints usually take a tone of wistful nostalgia, longing for a time when the “Thought Police” weren’t on constant patrol (and, thus, white men could pretty much do whatever they damn well pleased), so it’s with some care and concern that we take up the topic of one of the great comedy films, Blazing Saddles, which turns 40 years old this week. It is a film that, by almost any reasonable standard, is “politically incorrect”; likewise, it is a film that is all but impossible to imagine getting the green light today (from a major studio like Warner Brothers, anyway). But its genius, then and now, was the manner in which director Mel Brooks and his writers turned a broad Western spoof into what was, for its time, a revolutionary satire of race relations. … Read More

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Staff Picks: Flavorwire’s Favorite Cultural Things This Week

Need a great book to read, album to listen to, or TV show to get hooked on? The Flavorwire team is here to help: in this weekly feature, our editorial staffers recommend the cultural object or experience they’ve enjoyed most in the past seven days. Click through for our picks, and tell us what you’ve been loving in the comments. … Read More

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25 Great ’80s Movies Time Has Forgotten

Buried among the also-rans within this week’s Blu-ray releases, you’ll find the HD debut of Tequila Sunrise, Robert Towne’s 1988 mystery/love triangle thriller starring Mel Gibson, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Kurt Russell. It’s the kind of movie studios don’t make that much anymore — an entertaining and reasonably intelligent picture for grown-ups, done on a medium budget with the expectation of a medium return. There’s nosurplus of love out there for mainstream American moviemaking in the 1980s — and for good reason. But there are also a handful of films from that much-maligned era that have stood the test of time, and deserve more retroactive attention than they… Read More

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