When I heard that Dom DeLuise died the other day, a bunch of things popped into my mind.

As a kid, I loved him in the Mel Brooks movies (Space Balls, History of the World, and Blazing Saddles). I also enjoyed him in the Burt Reynolds films; especially the closing credits, where they'd show outtakes from the movie.

I remember as an 11-year-old, my parents watching his movie "Fatso" on HBO. I barely remember that film, other then a scene in which he has his refrigerator chained up so he doesn't get to the food inside it. And I remember watching my mom laugh harder than I'd ever seen her laugh.

I wonder now what an overweight actor like that does when he's first given the script for that film. Does he call his agent and say "Why did they want me for this role?"

I called my mom and we talked about Dom. She mentioned he was a chef, something I didn't know.

I tried to think of what his earliest movie might've been. Sometimes you are surprised when you find out someone like Jack Nicholson, had bit parts in movies in the early 60s, a decade before he became famous.

Dom did a movie called: Who is Harry Kellerman and why is he saying these terrible things about me?

Gotta love the 60s. They had movie titles that were sentences.

They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

Yes, they do. And they also come up with normal movie titles that are only a few words long! I mean, how did they even put movie titles like that on those old marquees?

I remember a few weeks ago looking in the paper at what movies were playing. They had to shorten the movie title "Confessions of a Shopaholic" to "Con of a Shopaholic." And since a period wasn't used in "con" it took me a minute to figure out what that even was.

Anyway...something else popped into my mind with the death of DeLuise -- Those "death pools" that people always do. I've always thought they were in poor taste. And I always thought they were poorly done. Even though I did once participate in one, and I won big. Although, I cheated. I had heard that Don Ho was having heart problems, so I put him on my list. Three months later he died.

Part of the problems with a death pool, aside from the obvious that it's sick to be betting on which celebrities will die...some people just don't properly put them together. Because, you have jokers that just pick every actor over the age of 80. Other people do these where it's a point system, so the younger the person is, the more points you get. This way, you can't just pick the cast of Cocoon or The Golden Girls, and clean up.

The problem with those pools though, is everyone picks the Lindsay Lohens of Hollywood -- young actors that are known to party hard.

The year that I won it, I tried to get creative. I would pick younger actors, but I also went with heavy actors. I had John Goodman, who I had seen on Letterman the week before and he seemed to have trouble breathing. And it wasn't like he was running a marathon. He was just sitting there talking, and was getting worn out from the experience.

I'm guessing that someone won a Death Pool recently, with the death of Bea Arthur and now Dom DeLuise. But I'm guessing these people cost more people over the years. After all, Arthur lived into her 90s. And Dom was 75 when he passed away. Who would've guessed the'd live that long?


Josh Board May 6, 2009 @ 4:50 p.m.

I never watched the Golden Girls. I think one time it was on, and the laugh track annoyed the crap out of me. Something about an old lady saying something that was remotely cute, and hearing uproarious laughter...

They tried that same type of formula by casting one of those gals in a Stallone movie. Some title like "Stop or My Mom Will Shoot!" Again, another sentence. And sentences have no business being in movie titles. I don't care if they are adopted from books.

I did like the original movie title for "It Could Happen to You" (how generic and lame is that?) It was "Cop Tips Waitress $2 Million."

I also liked the movie, but didn't care for the title of: Bob, Carol, Ted and Alice.


SDaniels May 8, 2009 @ 1:49 a.m.

With respect, I don't see how you are improving upon the titles, or why a complete sentence is necessarily less interesting or more annoying than an incomplete phrase. I judge a book or film title on how it manages to hold or add to the overall themes of the piece.

"Finding Mary?" Eeeehggh. I would say that if I had a peeve, it would be with the "-ing" titles. Driving Miss Daisy. Boxing Helena. Saving Private Ryan. And so on, and so on.


SDaniels May 6, 2009 @ 4:55 p.m.

Why do sentences have no business being in movie titles, Josh? I think we need to get to the bottom of this.


magicsfive May 6, 2009 @ 5:15 p.m.

me and my 3 bffs are the golden girls...oddly enough (or not) i am dorothy :) I love that show.


Josh Board May 7, 2009 @ 9:38 a.m.

Yeah, I sort of felt the same way with Dom. As you got older, you realized he wasn't all that funny. But people loved him.


jhight May 6, 2009 @ 7:27 p.m.

First off, I had not heard that Dom had died. I am sorry to hear that. I remember when my parents went to see "The End" and I wanted to go but was too young. I remember watching "Silent Movie" on HBO with Dom Delouise. I remember watching a movie he directed called "Hot Stuff" over and over and over again on HBO. He played an undercover cop busting people in a stolen property scam... It was funny to a 12 year old kid. I loved the first Cannonball Run movie, but as I got older I realized he just was not that funny - he just was able to laugh at himself being fat.

About the death pools, I did this one New Year's Eve and I was pretty (excuse the pun) "dead wrong" on my picks. It got pretty shameful when it went from celebrities to people we knew. Anyways, thanks for writing about Dom Delouise. I loved that laugh of his... His passing was sad news, but then again, I am sure he would have been the first to tell you he lived a happy life with no regrets (except for maybe "Cannonball Run 2").


TFB May 6, 2009 @ 10:15 a.m.

OMG - death pools. I never heard of this. At first I was thinking of famous people who die IN their pools, because that seems to be another strange phenomenon.

But I have to laugh at your ethical conundrums. Saying death pools are in poor taste...and they're done so poorly, is a lot like "the food was terrible...and with such small portions!"


magicsfive May 6, 2009 @ 10:49 a.m.

have you been visiting rotten, josh? ;)


shizzyfinn May 6, 2009 @ 3:27 p.m.

I miss Bea Arthur, too, for one simple reason: Golden Girls.

In hindsight, it's kind of funny that the show appealed to me, given that, back then, I was a pre-pubescent lad whose other interests included skateboarding and fireworks. But there was something about the Golden Girls formula that was just right...Rose, the airhead; Blanche, the slut; Dorothy, the angry one; and Sophia, Dorothy's mother, who always had sassy put-downs for everybody. Damn, what a show.

So RIP, Bea. In your honor:

if you through a party and invited everyone you knew you would see the biggest gift would be from me and the card attached would say thank you for being a friend


SDaniels May 6, 2009 @ 10:50 a.m.

Josh wrote:

"Gotta love the 60s. They had movie titles that were sentences.

They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

Yes, they do. And they also come up with normal movie titles that are only a few words long! I mean, how did they even put movie titles like that on those old marquees?"

Many film titles are sentences. Many are adaptations of novels of the same name. And...what do you mean by "normal?" What's a "normal" movie title, and who prefers it to any other?

Josh wrote:

"I'm guessing that someone won a Death Pool recently, with the death of Bea Arthur and now Dom DeLuise."

No one won anything, clearly. I always wondered how long someone like Dom Deluise could hold on, after all of the pasta carbonara and valpolicella. Like Pavarotti, each time you'd glimpse him on tv, a little gasp--is he bigger yet? Yes, he was by all accounts an enthusiastic and wonderful chef, a great lover of food and drink, friends and life. We should be so lucky!

I haven't followed Bea Arthur's career, but my twenty-something cousin is seriously grieving her loss. I think it has to do with a certain sensibility portrayed by Arthur, a tough, no-nonsense, world-weary city girl?


Josh Board May 8, 2009 @ 1:35 a.m.

Sorry, SD. I never answered your question. You asked why a sentence can't be a movie title. Well, basically, because it's just goofy.

For example, the new teen comedy Adventureland. The title says it all. It didn't need to be "Billy Gets a Job at Adventureland."

Back to School. Perfect. It didn't need to be "Bobby Goes Back to School With His Son."

Don't get me wrong, I have seen some sentences that were movie titles that worked; or that I just liked for whatever reason. But, I feel the same way with band names.

I dig that band from Texas "...And you Will Know us by the Trail of Dead."

But that's just a stupid band name. I'm sorry.

That Fiona Apple CD, that had the title that was 85 words, that everyone just calls by the first three words "the pawn...something or other....

There's Something About Mary....would've been better as "Something About Mary." or "Finding Mary." I know the movie poster was great, though. Until it got censored (her hair was sticking straight up in the original, from the "hair gel").


Josh Board May 8, 2009 @ 9:37 a.m.

Boxing Helena. I thought that was going to be a sports movie about a female fighter. Imagine my surprise when a guy is cutting off a womans limbs and putting her in a box (oh wait...it was all a dream and never happened; what a cop out).

Yeah, the "ing" can get old.

But, I may not judge a movie by its title, or a book by its cover....but it leaves a bad taste in your mouth when it's a dorky sounding title.

And, a perfect example of titles and what they can do.

My friend would not see "Diggstown," even after I told him how much fun it was. When I finally got him to see it years later, on video, I asked why he was so opposed to a film with Bruce Dern, Lou Gossett, the underrated Oliver Platt, former boxer Randall Tex Cobb....

He said that the title was just so stupid, he didn't think it could possibly be any good!

Although, I do know a foreigner that was disappointed when he took his wife to see "An Officer and a Gentleman." He thought it was going to be a double-feature.


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