The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, May 6-12

05/06/2015 9:00 AM |

top secret_ZAZ

Top Secret! (1985)
Directed by Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker
Ah, the glory days of the movie spoof, when filmmakers like the Jim Abrahams/David Zucker/Jerry Zucker triumvirate proved that you could poke fun at other films in ways that weren’t cheap or lazy. For many, ZAZ’s reputation rests with Airplane! and The Naked Gun, but though not all of it has dated quite as well (Germany is no longer divided by a wall, after all), their spy/Elvis mash-up Top Secret! is, in many respects, if not necessarily better, than certainly weirder and wilder. This is especially evident in their purely visual throwaway gags: an Indiana Jones-style map sequence that turns into a Pac-Man game; close-ups of supposedly small objects that turn out to, in fact, be large objects in the next shot; a vertigo-inducing God’s-eye-view shot of…a miniature model of a city street that gets overrun by mice. And then, of course, there’s the Swedish-bookstore sequence that is basically a whole scene run backward; the filmmakers’ obsessiveness in trying to pull off that comic miracle boggles the mind. At the center of it all is a young Val Kilmer, giving his pretty-boy American rock star an earnestness that grounds this rapid-fire parodic maelstrom in something like genuine soul. Kenji Fujishima (May 9, 10, 11:45am at Nitehawk)