Tracking the Laughs

In Patrick Goldstein's "Hollywood Stoops to Conquer" (July 11), there are a few factual errors that need to be pointed out.

First, "Porky's" was released in 1982, not 1981. Second, Goldstein's statement that "until recently, [dumb comedies] were for the most part forgettable low-budget, B-movie fare that turned a fast buck and vanished" is patently false and simply self-serving to his article about lowbrow comedy becoming popular.

In 1980, "Caddyshack" made almost $40 million, based on a small budget, and inflated that figure would be huge today. "Porky's" made over $100 million in its domestic release, more that year than either "Star Trek II" or Clint Eastwood's "Firefox." And let's not forget about "Stripes" ($75 million), "Meatballs" ($40 million), "Animal House" ($100 million) and of course "Police Academy" ($90 million). All were big hits and today, adjusted for inflation, would be comparable to the amounts made by Adam Sandler films.

Basically, lowbrow comedy has always been there, for better or worse. Maybe The Times just now finds it politically correct to report on it. Talk about irony.


Los Angeles


How true is New Line Cinema production president Michael De Luca's quote: "People want to see someone poke fun at authority, to take the wind out of the windbags of our society." Mocking authority has been the very origin and nature of comedy since the days of the Greeks. And that this can be rather gross, by adult standards, is part of the package. After all, I enjoyed such movies at their age.

What is objectionable to myself, as a parent, is the fact that that's all there is out there to choose from for adolescents, which was not the case when I was their age. There were many other movies of thematic merit that were not only enjoyable to watch--"Spartacus," "The Longest Day," "Days of Wine and Roses," to mention a few--but that had a varied, thematic merit to them. They contributed, in essence, to our cultural heritage.

This is the greatest failure of today's movie industry. They have abdicated their responsibility as (one of the major) custodians of our cultural heritage: to cede unto the next generation a filmology that embodies ourselves, our lives and our values as a society. All of it, not just one demographic.



Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World