(Note... this was in The Dave100 at one time, when this was written several years ago. The new list has undergone several changes, and this movie ends up dropping out--upon another viewing, its a great movie, but it really, really doesn't hold up... so even though its listed as a Dave100 film, its not anymore. Just an fyi -- 1/29/12)
We enter the world of science fiction, as a spoof of Star Wars, perhaps not the first but the first that really worked, is in the Dave100... from 1987, its Mel Brooks modern classic "Spaceballs"
Starring: Bill Pullman, Rick Moranis, Daphne Zuniga, John Candy, Joan Rivers
The summary... The evil planet Spaceball is running out of air. The planet's ruler, President Skroob (a hilarious Mel Brooks) has devised a evil scheme, where he plans to steal the air from the atmosphere of the peaceful planet Druidia. When Druidia's ruler King Roland's beautiful daughter Princess Vespa (a pre-Melrose Daphne Zuniga, tackling the Leia character) and her loyal droid Dot Matrix (a C-3PO type robot voiced by Joan Rivers) flees from Druidia during her wedding to Prince Valium (the Hollywood Squares former stalwart JM J Bullock), the evil commander of the Spaceball fleet, Dark Helmet (a perfectly smarmy Rick Moranis, in the Darth Vader role) captures Princess Vespa so King Roland will be forced to give them the access code to the defense shield.
But heroic space pilot Lone Starr (Bill Pullman, back when he was a true That Guy, in the Han Solo role) and his sidekick, Barf (a still living John Candy, taking on the Chewie part) comes to Princess Vespa's rescue. With help from wise and powerful master of the magic ring "The Schwartz" Yogurt (Brooks again, as the Yoda-type wise sage), Lone Starr, Barf, Dot and Princess Vespa set out to save Druida and foil Dark Helmet and President Scroob's scheme and prevent them from stealing the air from Druidia.
That Guy Sighting... as mentioned, Bill Pullman, who had, before this, done one episode of Cagney & Lacey, and one other movie. Nowadays, he's not really a That Guy, though his lack of major roles lately threatens to make him an unrecognizable That Guy again. Oh, and yes, that's Brenda Strong of Desperate Housewives and Swayze's magnum opus Black Dog fame as Gretchen the Nurse.
Why Its in the Dave100... Are you kidding? Star Wars was one of those films that altered my life as I know it, and to have a movie like Spaceballs make fun of it in such a way that it made me laugh is fantastic. Spaceballs is just that... fun. Its silly, its stupid, but it spoofs Star Wars (and Star Trek and other space flicks, including a priceless Planet of the Apes jab at the end) not with mockery but with reverence. This came out when Bill Pullman was just becoming famous, John Candy was just beginning to peak, Rick Moranis was really at the height of his popularity, and Daphne Zuniga's movie career never was the same.
The nod to Alien towards the end is one of the stupidest, yet funniest bits ever. Though most people turn to "Blazing Saddles" as the definitive Mel Brooks movie, I daresay for our generation it has to be Spaceballs... I mean, it would be another fifteen years or so before another space spoof would be as effective, that being Galaxy Quest.
Dark Helmet: Before you die, there's something you should know about us, Lone Starr
Lone Starr: What?
Dark Helmet: I'm your father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate
Lone Starr: What does that make us?
Dark Helmet: Absolutely nothing, which is what you are about to become!
Random Fact... Not only did George Lucas give a nod to the film, being a Brooks fan, he has his Industrial Light & Magic effects team build the lightsabers for Spaceballs. Lucas did stipulate, however, that no merchandise from the movie could be sold, which is why there is a running gag about merchandise in the film.
Matt Latta says... Never seen it (believe it or not) and really don't want to... Its kind of like Monty Python--its been built up so that's there no way it could be as good as I want it to be. Oh well, my loss.