Through the Funhouse Lens of Memory – “Murder by Death”

It’s long been established that human memory is an imperfect mechanism.

Like my perpetual motion machine.  Curse you laws of thermodynamics

But back to memory.  Fact is, your memory is a decaying structure of facts, half-truths, prejudices and saucy water-cooler rumors about which celebrity is currently sleeping with which other celebrity.

Which is why you know that these two are perfect for each other…

…can’t remember anything you were taught in trig class…

…and vaguely remember having seen this in one of the Jaws movies. . .

Every memory you have is decaying.  Some, like the name of that douchebag at the bar last night, will decay very quickly.  Some, like your name, will take a very long time.

But all memories grow old, pruney and die.

A visual of a memory at death’s door.

Which brings me to the movie, “Murder by Death.”

Several years ago my brothers and I got together and started spouting out movie quotes from this movie, a shared favorite from our misspent youth.

My brothers and I in our salad days.

And while we were quoting it we decided we needed to see it.  After all my brothers’ wives hadn’t seen it and this was an atrocity of unparalleled proportions that had to be remedied.

Like this.

So we found a copy of the movie and put it in.  The opening credit rolled.  The movie ran.

 And awkwardness ensued.  My sisters-in-law reaction can be summed in one word.


Their reaction was strong enough that one of my brothers actually revisited his opinion of the movie.

Now, sure, the movie wasn’t the sum of its greatest lines.  It was dated, silly, and a tad offensive I suppose.

The “We Don’t Ever Want To Imagine Sir Alec Guinness‘ Naked Wrinkled Body Society” certainly might have a bone to pick.

But it still was pretty damned funny.  Peter Sellers, David Niven, Alec Guinness, Peter Falk is a cast to die for, and reading Neil Simon lines . . . I will not apologize for liking this film. 

This is a film that people to need to apologize for liking.

The fact of the matter is I don’t mind being judged for liking “Murder by Death.”  And I’m the kind of guy that thinks a person should be sent to some fiery Hell unless they repent having ever enjoyed one of the Jackass movies. 

Also, I don’t believe repentence should be allowed for having liked certain other things . . .

So, yeah, maybe “Murder by Death” is dated, and maybe it’s a little better in my memory than it actually is when projected on a television screen.  But, you know what?  That’s okay. 

Because while liking this movie may not make people think of me the way I want them to…

Like so

…at least it makes me laugh. 


5 comments on “Through the Funhouse Lens of Memory – “Murder by Death”

  1. having loved WC Fields in my “salad days” I firmly believe that if I showed his movies or even the Marx Brothers movies to the young people in my life today, it would shatter their belief that I am an intelligent woman with impeccable taste! I know where you’re coming from, young Craig. That is why in my decaying brain, I can still remember Fields muttering about water being something fish shit in.

  2. Pitch perfect, bro! Now back to my piece on why I love movie musicals and my wife thinks that makes me just a tad gay. Also, too why I think she’s sadly mistaken.

  3. You made Jennifer laugh with your personification of her utter horror at Murder By Death.

  4. Sadly, I think I fell asleep during the viewing of Murder By Death; I’d rather fall asleep than see my wife make that face… I suspected Julie would not like the movie.

    Generally I feel the build-up of a movie is always better than the real thing. To this day I prefer to quote lines from any Mel Brooks movie with a Mel Brooks fan than actually watching one of those movies. I’m guessing it has something to do with a reflection back to when you first saw the film and it was SO fresh and funny. Ok, maybe I prefer to watch Young Frankenstein, but I definitely prefer quoting blazing saddles and spaceballs.

  5. Well, as one of the viewers at that nostalgic evening, I enjoyed being with those who had originally enjoyed it with me. I didn’t think that my wdil’s (wonderful daughters-in-law) would “feel the joy” of going back in time. Alas, nothing can compare with the first time you view a great movie or (maybe) read a great book.

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