Today I will be sharing on one of my favorite movies of all time – sci fi parody Spaceballs (1987) directed and co-written by comedy master Mel Brooks (Young Frankenstein, High Anxiety, Blazing Saddles, Robin Hood: Men in Tights).
Spaceballs is a laugh-a-minute send-up of the Star Wars franchise with some jabs at Star Trek, Alien and Planet of the Apes thrown in for good measure. In the film our heroes Lone Starr (a combination of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, played by Bill Pullman) and his mawg (half-man, half dog, he’s his own best friend) sidekick Barfolomew (Barf for short, played by late funny man John Candy) must rescue Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga) and her sarcastic robot Dot Matrix (voiced by the late Joan Rivers) from the villainous Spaceballs. The villains are President Skroob (Brooks) of Planet Spaceball and Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis as a ridiculous Darth Vader spoof) who have captured Vespa as part of a plot to steal her planet’s air supply.
This movie makes me laugh every time I see it. It is full of meta jokes, puns, absurd humour and lots and lots of Star Wars references, which makes it a double delight for fans of the epic space opera franchise. So with a SPOILER ALERT here are my top 10 most ludicrous moments:
#10 An awesome bumper sticker
Our first moment comes from the start of the film. To spoof the opening long shot of the Star Destroyer in A New Hope we get a very, very, very, very long shot of the Spaceball One ship. And on the bumper sticker? “We Brake for Nobody.” I love it.
#9 Beyond warp speed
The Star Wars hyperdrive and Star Trek warp speeds get their share of lampooning with this scene. Spaceball One needs to catch Lone Starr and our heroes in their Winnebago spaceship Eagle 5. To catch them Dark Helmet demands they go to “ludicrous speed” despite the protestations of Colonel Sandurz (George Wyner), who he accuses of being “chicken”. Colonel Sandurz. Chicken. Get it? You get it.
The ship greatly overshoots Eagle 5 (their light stream turns “plaid”) and Helmet gets smashed into some equipment. Awesome sauce.
#8 Hello my baby!
This next moment comes near the end of the movie. Lone Starr and Barf are in a bar in space when John Hurt reenacts his iconic xenomorph chest-bursting scene from Alien. After the alien bursts out he says “not again” and then dies. Hilarious.
Then the xenomorph breaks into a rendition of Michigan J. Frog’s “Hello My Baby” complete with hat and cane. The movie essentially stops just to have this nonsensical scene. And it so worth it.
#7 Be kind, please rewind
In the most fourth-wall breaking scene in the film, and possibly in the history of all film, Dark Helmet and Colonel Sandurz try to find out where the Eagle 5 has escaped to.
So how do they do it? They watch the Spaceballs VHS video cassette. Yes, you read that right. They watch the video of the movie that they are in. They rewind, fast forward and watch a scene while the scene is happening. It is simultaneously the most clever and the most ludicrous thing ever.
#6 Yogurt home shopping
Brooks loves to appear in his films and in Spaceballs he does double duty as Skroob and Jedi Master Yoda spoof “Yogurt.” Yogurt teaches Lone Starr about “the Schwartz”, a spoof of “The Force.” But his best part is when he shows our heroes all the Spaceballs merchandise that he is selling, including a talking Yogurt doll and a flamethrower. The kids love the flamethrower.
The joke has a double meaning as it referenced the stipulation by Star Wars creator George Lucas that the parody could not sell any merchandise. #themoreyouknow
#5 A very special alert
On Yogurt’s planet Lone Starr and Vespa start having a romantic moment. But it is suddenly interrupted when Dot Matrix’s “virgin alarm” goes off and she breaks it up. She then interrogates Vespa on how far he got. C-3PO never had one of these.
#4 The direst of threats
How do you get the king of a planet to give up his planet’s air supply? You threaten to do a “reverse nose job” on his daughter. And you thought threatening to blow up Alderaan was bad. PS – Notice Princess Vespa’s first name is “Princess.” I literally just noticed that.
#3 Look who you captured!
In another fourth-wall breaking moment Lone Starr, Barf, Vespa and Dot are escaping down a corridor on a base on Spaceball City. After they leap through a door (which is almost closed but then opens again in the next shot) they are captured by the Spaceballs.
But wait a minute! The Spaceballs actually captured “their stunt doubles.” And Vespa’s stunt double has a huge moustache. I’m laughing just thinking about it.
#2 A most delicious death
In Star Wars Han Solo has to repay a debt to the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt. In Spaceballs Lone Starr has to repay a debt to the vile gangster Pizza the Hutt, who is an anthropomorphic pizza.
And how does Pizza meets his end? He gets accidentally locked into his car and “ate himself to death.” Whatever these writers were smoking, it was some high grade stuff.
#1 You’re my what?
But my number one most ludicrous Spaceballs moment, and a line I have quoted on a few occasions, comes during the final confrontation between Lone Starr and Dark Helmet. During this climactic showdown Helmet reveals a secret connection between them:
Dark Helmet: Before you die there is something you should know about us, Lone Starr.
Lone Starr: What?
Dark Helmet: I am your father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate.
Lone Starr: What’s that make us?
Dark Helmet: Absolutely nothing! Which is what you are about to become. Prepare to die.
So have you seen Spaceballs? (If the answer is “no” go watch it now! Right now!) Did I leave out your favorite ludicrous moment from the film? Feel free to comment wherever you’re reading this. And if you enjoyed this list how about a like and a share. Your support is really appreciated.
For more Sci Fi movie hilarity you can check out my review of “Worst Movie Ever” Plan 9 from Outer Space here.