Airheads is one of the most underappreciated comedies of the 90s. This spoof on the inner workings of the music industry is one that every movie and music lover should see at least once. This is regardless of what genre of music one listens to. And thanks to Starz and Anchor Bay Entertainment, everybody can enjoy this undervalued movie once again. It will be re-issued next Tuesday, May 28th on Blu-ray.
Everybody by now knows how difficult it is to break out in the music industry. So when three hard working musicians are turned down too many times by record label reps who barely give their demo tape the slightest listen, the trio—Brendan Fraser, Steve Buscemi, and Adam Sandler—known as “The Lone Rangers” decide to take a drastic step and hold a radio station hostage. Ironically, the deejay on staff at the time (played by Joe Mantegna—The Simpsons, Criminal Minds, Joan of Arcadia) ends up actually helping the young musicians as he has become so jaded by the music that he is forced to play by the station manager. Making things even worse is the revelation that the manager (played by fellow veteran actor Michael McKean) was going to sell the station and change its format, effectively laying off everyone on staff. Thus ensues an absolutely hilarious poke at those in the highest positions of power within the music business.
Steve Buscemi, Adam Sandler and Brendan Fraser have all gone on to relatively stable success, playing both more comedic roles and some very dramatic roles since the original release of Airheads in 1994. But there is no denying the chemistry that the trio had in playing their roles together. Nor is there denying how much fun they must have had, too. There is not one moment throughout the movie’s roughly hour and a half run time that doesn’t generate its share of laughs. This includes the late Chris Farley’s scene in which his character Wilson rips the nipple ring off of a man who was making fun of Wilson. The reaction both by Wilson and the man to this is absolutely hilarious. That and other moments are more proof that Farley was just as good on the big screen as he was as a cast member of Saturday Night Live. The same can be said of his cast mate, Adam Sandler. On a side note, Saturday Night Live hasn’t been as good to this day as it was in the 90s. When the last member of that cast left, that show went downhill.
The primary story of “The Lone Rangers” taking over the radio station will keep any comedy lover engaged throughout the story. It’s obvious that no one either behind the cameras or in front of them, had any intention of taking themselves seriously. That’s a big part of why this was such a fun story. It is just as obvious how much fun the cast and crew had when Ian The Shark (Joe Mantegna) goes off on Milo when he finds out that Milo was going to sell the station. It would have been funny to see a gag reel showing how many takes it had to have taken for that one scene, everything else aside. What many people don’t realize about the music industry is just how much radio personalities hate the music that comes through their headphones. Nearly twenty years after the movie’s debut, Ian’s statement that so much of the music sounds the same rings true. Making things worse is station program directors who are scared to death of trying anything new and different, I.E. Milo. It’s one of those timeless stories to which so many hopeful musicians can relate. Every struggling musician has reached the point of desperation because of those in positions of power. But none have ever gone to the lengths which “The Lone Rangers” went. Keeping that in mind, Airheads becomes one of those matters of circumstantial comedy that for once is actually funny and will be for another near two decades and then some. It will be available next Tuesday on DVD and Blu-ray and can be ordered direct via the Anchor Bay Entertainment website at http://www.anchorbayentertainment and sign up for the store.
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