My Favorite Year (1982)

“Katherine, Jews know two things: suffering and where to find *great* Chinese food. ” – Benjy

Number of Times Seen – 1 (21 Jun 2017)

Brief Synopsis – A young assistant on a variety show in New York is tasked with “babysitting” the prima donna weekly guest star in order to keep him out of trouble during the days before filming.

My Take on it – This is a film that I got interesting in seeing after learning that it is somewhat based on the life experiences of Mel Brooks when he was an assistant on a variety show in the early 1950’s.

That fact alone makes this idea more intriguing because with a comedian like Brooks, you know that you will get some great plot threads that are both funny and poignant.

I loved the way that many of the anecdotes that happen here could conceivably happen even now in the same kind of variety show.  TV shows like 30 Rock have shown us what kind of things go on behind the scenes of these kind of shows.

One of the problems of this story is that it would have been more interesting if it would have stuck with the main character more because there was much potential there.

Peter O’Toole is very convincing as the womanizing and boozing “star” who does anything he pleases no matter what anyone thinks or says.

One would normally assume that he was miscast in the role, yet he does it quite realistically.

Bottom Line – Interesting view of the behind the scenes of a 1950’s variety show.  The fact that this is somewhat based on Brooks’ experiences make things even more interesting but the story unfortunately deviates too much from the Brooks character who should have remained the main focus the whole way through.  O’Toole is great as the womanizing/boozing Hollywood star who does whatever he pleases and despite seeming to be miscast, he is extremely convincing in the role.  Loved how it seems as if many of the backstage shenanigans here are similar to things we have seen recently on shows like 30 Rock that parody variety type shows.  Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – The character of Benjamin Stone was based on Mel Brooks, while Alan Swann was based on Errol Flynn. Also, one of the lines Swann uses was based on something said by another actor with a drinking problem, John Barrymore. (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy


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4 thoughts on “My Favorite Year (1982)

  1. This film was actually based on the experiences of the legendary writing staff of “Your Show Of Shows” starring Sid Caesar and Imogen Coca. Besides Brooks, the staff included such writing greats as Woody Allen, Mel Tolkin, Neil Simon and his brother Danny, Selma Diamond and “Tootsie” + “MASH” (the TV version) writer Larry Gelbart. the assembled talent in that room – cranked out iconic material for Caesar – was incredible. Many went on to win Emmys and Oscars for their work. the movie, as you said, chose to focus on one particularly crazy week when a hard-drinking Errol Flynn was the featured guest. I thought they did a terrific job. You might want to check out Simon’s stage play “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” as a companion piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1982 |

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