If you want to view paradise
Simply look around and view it
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There's nothing to it
Gene Wilder gave us some sage advice in his role as Willy Wonka. These lyrics really highlight the whimsy he brought to one of his most famous roles. As I got older, though, I grew to appreciate the madness that simmered right below that top hat.
Yesterday Gene Wilder passed away at the age of 83. He hadn’t been very active in recent years, but so many of his works have stood the test of time. In honor of Wilder, his life and his career, here are my favorite movies of his.
Young Frankenstein isn’t only my favorite Gene Wilder movie, but it’s one of my favorite comedies of all time. It is absolutely hilarious. Wilder as the reluctant mad scientist is perfectly cast, getting crazier and crazier as he embraces his family’s legacy. Wilder is amazing, but so is the rest of the supporting cast. I also have a fondness for this movie because by parents saw it on their first date. Apparently my dad was laughing so hard that my mom wasn’t sure he would get a second date. I’m thankful he did because, if he hadn’t, I wouldn’t have been born and wouldn’t have been able to see Young Frankenstein.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
As a child I didn’t really appreciate Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which is a shame because I feel like I watched it in class every year of junior high. I still get a little freaked out by the psychedelic boat scene and I’m not sure if I should hug the Oompa Loompas or be terrified by them. However, the older I’ve gotten, the more fully I’ve appreciated Wilder’s performance. As I wrote above, he plays Wonka with equal parts whimsy and insanity, just teetering on the edge of losing it. This aspect to his character makes his testing of Charlie at the end all the more believable.
Blazing Saddles could never, ever get made today. It is filled with offensive language and ideas, which skewer anyone who would seriously use such language or embrace such ideas. Wilder wasn’t the star of Blazing Saddles, but his role as the Waco Kid brought a sense of melancholy to an otherwise ridiculous movie. Blazing Saddles finds Wilder playing a much more subdued character, but even then his comedic genius shines through with the likes of Mel Brooks, Harvey Korman and Madeline Kahn going completely over-the-top.
Gene Wilder was great and even though he hadn’t really performed in years, we can relive so many of his greatest performances, most likely quoting and singing along with him.
What’s your favorite Gene Wilder movie?