Thursday, June 27, 2013
Day One Hundred and Seventy-eight - Radioland Murders, "How much YOU love ME? Well, how about how much I love YOU?!"
Just thinking about it, I feel like Gene Hackman's character at the end of The Birdcage, exasperated and confused, spouting, "I don't understand!"
Set in the late 30's, the golden age of radio, Radioland Murders is a quirky murder mystery with tons of slapstick and wit wrapped around a melodramatic series of murders on opening night of WBN's (stand in for Chicago's WGN) brand new radio network.
The night is utter chaos already as debut jitters have everyone from the writers to the sponsors birthing kittens, but as the bodies stack up, the laughs just get louder as leads Brian Benben (Dream On) and Mary Stuart Masterson (Fried Green Tomatoes) try and track down the killer while dealing with their own marital issues.
Supporting them is probably one of the greatest ensembles of character actors, comedians, and old standbys that I have ever seen assembled, including: Jeffrey Tambor, Ned Beatty, Corbin Bersen, Michael McKean, Christopher Lloyd, Harvey Korman, Peter Macnichols (whom regular readers know that I just adore), and Larry Miller... as well as the last film appearances of George Burns and Rosemary Clooney.
And Stephen Tobolowsky... Steven-freaking-Tobolowsky... while I love him in pretty much everything he does, this has to be one of my favorite roles for him. Usually when I see him, he's a one-trick background pony like the role as Ned Ryerson in Groundhog Day or Sammy in Memento... great, but just a side note to the primary action. Here, he's a major character with an end twist that allows from some really riveting climax drama and action.
He's just golden.
And pretty much the same can be said for the majority of the film. I cannot understand why it has such a bad rap.
Sure, it's cheesy and melodramatic, but that's half the fun! The other half being a stylized romp through the nostalgia of the radio era. I have to say, I get much more enjoyment out of Radioland Murders than Woody Allen's Radio Days.
Sometimes the tastes of others just boggles my mind.
I love Radioland Murders and I think, if you give it a chance, you will too. It has that same sort of retro sheen and witty banter that made Clue so great (though the latter is obviously superior). But, who knows, maybe I'm wrong? Going over the critics, I find myself soundly in the minority.
Until tomorrow, Potatoes~