One of the funniest references to a movie in another movie or TV show came in an episode of "The Simpsons." During an argument over whether they ever enjoyed foreign films, Marge said, "Come on, Homer, you liked 'Rashomon' " -- and Homer replied, "That's not how I remember it."
Stephen Colbert nearly matched that gag last week on "The Colbert Report." At the end of Colbert's interview with the astronauts now manning the space shuttle Atlantis, they each flipped a Colbert WristStrong Bracelet off a wrist. We suddenly heard "The Blue Danube" as these silicone coils danced weightlessly around their heads.
Of course, Stanley Kubrick had put that Waltz King classic on his soundtrack when his space shuttle in "2001: A Space Odyssey" approached a space station (above).
Viewers can appreciate the humor and in Colbert's case the odd beauty of these references even if they've never seen the original movies. ("Rashomon," the ultimate cinematic statement on the subjectivity of "truth," is at the AFI Silver this week; it has an honored place in my Sun web gallery of unabashed movie ecstasies.)
But when a movie as desperate as "Marmaduke" plays off a movie as great as "The Wizard of Oz" -- the family moves from Kansas to "the O.C.," and the dad's new boss calls him "Dorothy" -- the connection is forced, and the attempt at entertainment-by-association is excruciating. ("The Wizard of Oz" is also on my favorite-film list.)
When have movie-to-movie (or movie-to-TV) jokes amused or appalled you?