Seeing the parodies first.

In my marathon-style of watching movies that I have yet to get around to, I finally watched Rambo: First Blood Part II today. Again I experienced watching a film after having seen it parodied several times over. Sometimes I’m not aware of what I’m watching is a parody of something else and I find out years later. In the case of Rambo spoofs I at least knew what he was. It was hard growing up in the eighties without coming across the image of Rambo at some point. Like everything else back then it got a cartoon show with a corresponding toy line. I knew going in that the movies weren’t going to be anything like the cartoon but that’s not the point. Because of the successful movies the image was out there for all to see.

It wasn’t until I saw the movie today that I realized how much the scene in UHF nailed it. I didn’t know that he had the shoot out with the soldier (who apparently had terrible aim with a hand gun) whom he shot with an explosive arrow. They even did the visual gag of leaving the smoking boots behind, even if we only did see them for a second. I couldn’t help but laugh at how goofy that moment was. Overall, I had a hard time taking the movie seriously. I normally wouldn’t mind but I think with this one I was supposed to.

Did I only find the movie, in particular the scenes that “Weird Al” Yankovic parody in UHF, that absurd only because I saw the parody first? Is it possible that the seeing the film only after jokes had been made about it I couldn’t take it as seriously if I hadn’t seen UHF?  Okay, the shoot-out described above was still pretty silly but even then I would ordinarily have enjoyed it based solely on its silliness. But on top of that, knowing that it was already the butt of a joke in another movie made me think of it as something to laugh at, not as a kick-ass action scene.

There’s still films that I haven’t seen but that I’ve seen several homages to. I can’t name any off of the top of my head but I’m sure that I’ve seen Looney Tunes cartoons have fun with several films and television shows that I’ve yet to watch (if ever). I remember that in the DVD audio commentary for an episode of The Simpsons that it’s possible to piece all of their parodies of Citizen Kane to make the complete movie. In that sense I have seen that one but only in that way (it’s also on my list of movies to get around to).

It’s weird that I’ll probably never see the things that I have seen tributes to, or if I do my viewing of them has already been affected by said tributes. It’s also weird to think of what will be parodied in the future. Will future generations not know that what they are watching is poking fun at T.V. shows like Breaking Bad or Arrested Development or movies like Frozen? Will it matter? It hasn’t changed much for me. I accept what I’m watching and move on. But it is interesting to think about.


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