The Three Stooges

On Tuesday night I watched the new Three Stooges movie directed by the Farrelly Brothers.

I’ve been a big Stooges fan since I was a little kid and watched them on VOK (Voice of Kenya) in Nairobi. It was the publication of Moe Howard’s autobiography Moe Howard and the 3 Stooges: The Pictorial Biography of the Wildest Trio in the History of American Entertainment that really sealed it for me, though. That book humanized the trio and I began to like them not just because they were funny, but for the story of who they were. Since then I’ve read everything I could find about the Stooges including not one, not two, but three biographies of Larry Fine, the Stooge in the middle. (One Fine Stooge: Larry Fine’s Frizzy Life In Pictures is the best, by the way).

I attended a 9:40 showing at a multiplex on Akron’s west side. I was the only one in the theater in which the Stooges film was shown. That was pretty weird. I’ve been to a few showings at such multiplexes where very few people showed up. But this was the first time I’d watched a movie in a theater completely alone. Would they have shown it at all if I hadn’t been in there? Is this a koan?

I liked the movie but I didn’t love it. I wanted to love it. But I couldn’t. Here’s what was good about the movie. Larry David was terrific as Sister Mary-Mengele, a nun who bears the brunt of most of the Stooges outlandish behavior. All of the actors who play the Stooges do a tremendous impressions of the real guys, particularly Chris Diamantopoulos as Moe. He really has the voice and the mannerisms down. And there were some genuine laugh-out-loud moments. I’m usually not the type who LOLs at movies even when there’s an audience in the theater with me. But I actually laughed aloud several times during my private screening.

But maybe I came to the film with too many fanboy hopes. See, if I were to make a Three Stooges movie, I would recreate some of the iconic Stooge moments. I’d have Curly trap himself in a maze of pipes while trying to fix a leak. I’d have Moe do the Niagara Falls routine. I’d have them do the maharaja routine. I’d hire Samuel L. Jackson in a cameo to do Dudley Dickerson’s “This house has sho’ gone crazy” line. I’d get someone to say “Hold hands you love birds.” I’d also put in some references to Shemp, Joe Besser and Curly Joe DeRita. There is one scene in the movie where a rat makes Shemp’s trademark “Eep-eep-eep” sound. But that’s as close as we get. Maybe I’d have them get a sandwich at De Rita’s Delicatessen or have them meet a character who does Joe Besser’s effeminate mannerisms and make something out of how that would play in the 21st century.

The Farrelly Brothers seem to understand that part of the key to the Stooges’ humor is all about the lower classes making fun of the upper class. But they never really take it far enough. The representatives of the upper classes are bad people because they’re plotting a murder. In the Stooges’ films the upper classes were always just twits because they were twits. Not that the Stooges were intrinsically better. I think what I like best about the Stooges’ films is that in them everybody is an idiot, even the main characters (the Stooges) you’re supposed to identify with.

It’s funny to see the Stooges portrayed as they were in the 1930s having to come to terms with contemporary American society — like having Curly try to use an iPhone and Moe getting cast on The Jersey Shore. But even these feel a bit half-hearted. Why not do a whole movie about this? It’s never really explained why the Stooges alone dress, talk and act like people from the 1930s while everyone else exists in 2012. I kept wondering if these bits were left over from some unused version of the script in which the Three Stooges time travel to our era.

All in all, it’s a good movie, but not a great one. Am I weird for thinking there actually could be a great movie about The Three Stooges?

81 Responses

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  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 26, 2012 at 11:22 am |


    nyuk nyuk nyuk!

  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 26, 2012 at 11:30 am |

    "Am I weird for thinking there actually could be a great movie about The Three Stooges"?

    Maybe not.. I can see Mike Cross as Moe. You as Larry and Jundo Cohen as Curly.

  3. Harry
    Harry April 26, 2012 at 11:37 am |

    Ahhhh, classic number one.

  4. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 26, 2012 at 11:55 am |

    Harry could be Moe if Mike Cross isn't up for it. Pierre Turlur could easily manage curly if Jundo passes. Could see Mysterion in any of the three parts actually!

  5. Mysterion
    Mysterion April 26, 2012 at 12:08 pm |


    There can not be a great movie about anything.

    The finger pointing at the moon is not the moon.

    Besides, don't point that finger at the moon. There's a nail in it.

    There can, however, be a great movie about nothing. It's the movie that they do not show when you do not go to the cineplex.

  6. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 26, 2012 at 12:15 pm |

    Am I weird for thinking there actually could be a great movie about The Three Stooges?

    No. Not because of that.

  7. Jinzang
    Jinzang April 26, 2012 at 12:29 pm |

    Am I weird for thinking there actually could be a great movie about The Three Stooges?

    Maybe if Jean-Luc Goddard directed it.

  8. threethirty
    threethirty April 26, 2012 at 12:36 pm |

    I can solve your koan.

    Yes, they would have. I worked as a projectionist for ~5 years

  9. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 26, 2012 at 1:35 pm |

    "I wanted something to be a certain way and then it wasn't". Weird? No, perfectly normal.

  10. Jerome Lester Horwitz
    Jerome Lester Horwitz April 26, 2012 at 2:11 pm |

    Jean-Luc Goddard?

    not Francois Truffaut?

    Jean-Luc Goddard?

    not Claude Chabrol?

    "I wanted to make a film about stupid people that was very vulgar and deeply stupid. From that moment on I can hardly be reproached for making a film that is about stupid people."

    who is Jean-Luc Goddard?

  11. roman
    roman April 26, 2012 at 2:23 pm |

    it is incredible how patiently and consistently the fake Buddhists keep attacking Brad, I am fed up with you, fake fakist non Buddhists, read this you silly pseudopeople, hahaha, if i believed in hell, you would definitely be fried like Mc Donald's fries

  12. Daniel
    Daniel April 26, 2012 at 2:44 pm |

    Hi Brad,

    do you breath slowly and deeply (abdominally) during zazen?

    I don't mean if you do so by intention but if you check while sitting for half an hour, do you do so?

    Thank you,


  13. Mysterion
    Mysterion April 26, 2012 at 3:01 pm |

    Jee-zzz-ahhh-zuz Jerome, I never knew Curlie was a Hindu!

    As for stupid people, I have little doubt that new wave film critics like Claude Chabrol were inspired by Archie Gottler.

    Many now suggest that "ancient Israel could have been a matriarchal society…"

    Of this, I have little doubt. Thus, the role of women in the Stooges short films is less than heroic.

    I didn't even know the fat one died so young!!!



  14. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote April 26, 2012 at 3:07 pm |


    From Sean's interview of Chunyi Lin, on 'The Tao Bums" forum site:

    'S: What is the significance of reverse breathing? Do you recommend practicing reverse breathing frequently throughout the day, or would it be better to only practice this when doing Spring Forest Qigong exercises?

    CL: Reverse Breathing is a very beneficial technique in balancing your body's energy. In Reverse Breathing you pull your lower stomach in a little as you inhale and let it out a little as you exhale. The upper part of the body belongs to yang energy; the lower part of the body belongs to yin energy. Breathing in is a part of yin energy; breathing out is yang. One of the reasons we get sick is that yin and yang energies are not communicating well. By pulling your lower stomach in as you inhale and letting it out as you exhale, you are enhancing the communication of the yin and yang energies. When you do Reverse Breathing focus on your skin that is even better.

    While I believe Reverse Breathing is the most beneficial way to breathe and I breathe this way all of the time do not get caught up in trying to breathe this way if it is challenging for you. Remember, we teach Good, Better and Best. It is more helpful for you to relax than to be stressed over how you breathe.

    Breathing slowly, gently and deeply is the most important thing. This automatically helps your body to relax. It helps expand your lung capacity enabling you to uptake more oxygen which is critically important since oxygen is your body's number one fuel and you get most of it from breathing.'

  15. fakist non- bud
    fakist non- bud April 26, 2012 at 3:16 pm |

    Roman, you've got a lot of 'splaining to do

    to Beelzebub!

    Us non-Buddhist spelunkers need love, too, bro.

  16. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote April 26, 2012 at 3:18 pm |

    Shoulda said that what I found significant in the Chunyi Lin response was his statement, "I breathe this way all of the time", and his mention of "reverse breathing (with a) focus on your skin".

    I personally don't believe in instructions that advocate specific action in the meditative arts. I think most of the folks with mastery who instruct in this way do so in the belief that it's helpful to beginners, and maybe I'm nuts for believing that the instruction to the beginner should be the same instruction the person with mastery would want to receive themself. Gautama's fourfold setting up of mindfulness has only two overt actions: 1) relax the activity of the body (in the in-breath or the out-breath); 2) calm the activity of mind (similarly, in the in-breath or in the out-breath).

  17. john e mumbles
    john e mumbles April 26, 2012 at 3:27 pm |

    I'm a HUGE fan of The Stooges! RAW POWER BABY!!!

    All hail the heavyweight champion of Rock and Roll, IGGY fucking POP, bitches!

    He just turned 65 last Saturday.

    Happy Ass Birthday, Iggy.

  18. nowthis
    nowthis April 26, 2012 at 3:52 pm |

    The Stooges … it's a boy thing, right?

  19. anon #108
    anon #108 April 26, 2012 at 4:07 pm |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. anon #108
    anon #108 April 26, 2012 at 4:09 pm |

    Hi Roman,

    It is bloody annoying, isn't it? How stupid people can be. How 'fake'. How people who are so clearly wrong insist that they're right. How people who don't get it are so sure they do. But what are you gonna do? They think the same about you.

    There's nothing wrong with confessing contempt for pseudo-people, fast food junkies and other low-life fakes. I share your frustration, your contempt. I confess it. But confessing and reflecting on, not indulging and rejoicing in, is what needs to be done with stuff like that, I think.

    People are different. Different people want different things from philosophy and religion. Maybe different people need different things from philosophy and religion.

    Anyway, did Brad get 'attacked' for the DSI announcement? Not so much, as I recall…If he did, that'll have been some folks taking a leaf out of our book 😉

    All the best,

  21. Michael Gibbs
    Michael Gibbs April 26, 2012 at 5:27 pm |

    I love watching movies when I'm the only one in the theater. That happened to me a couple months ago, but I can't remember what movie I watched. I know I liked it a lot though. I think I'm going senile.

  22. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 26, 2012 at 6:05 pm |

    Anon #108 has just humiliated the puerile "Roman."

  23. Judah
    Judah April 26, 2012 at 6:17 pm |

    They are doing the exact same thing: "Roman"generalized his frustration by exposing an obvious lack of Buddhist cool while 108 made his specific to a particular individual.

    Their "practice" needs more.

  24. Jinzang
    Jinzang April 26, 2012 at 6:40 pm |

    The trouble with meditation practice is that once the novelty wears off, meditation is troubling and unsatisfying. There's a feeling that you aren't doing it quite right. And you're staring down a tunnel with no end in sight. Actually that feeling is a feature and not a bug. It's great doubt's little brother, nagging doubt.

    But there is a downside, sometimes people repress this sense of doubt and project it outwards on others. When in the grip of this projection, you are the "good Buddhist" and everyone else is lazy, degenerate, clueless, or whatever. It's quite a fix to be in. I often say the worst thing that can happen to a practitioner is to become a "good Buddhist."

  25. Rick
    Rick April 26, 2012 at 6:42 pm |

    Moe! Larry! The cheese!

  26. anon #108
    anon #108 April 26, 2012 at 6:53 pm |

    Anon #108 has just humiliated the puerile "Roman."

    Not my intention.

    "Roman" generalized his frustration…108 made his specific to a particular individual.

    Not at all. Unless you mean me.

    I suspect Roman(real name) was just giving his blog post a provocative plug, but I share his frustration. I have concerns about where such frustration comes from, what it is and the usefulness of expressing it. Those are the points I wanted to make, the issues I sought to raise. I was talking to myself as much as to him. Obviously.

  27. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 26, 2012 at 6:59 pm |

    Roman's a fucking asshole. Just a typical, ordinary, run-of-the-mill schmuck trying to elevate himself above and apart from others.

    "I and others like me are REAL BUDDHISTS, unlike those FAKE BUDDHISTS."

  28. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 26, 2012 at 7:04 pm |

    Anon #108,

    You're probably delivering a gentle message with gentleness on purpose. I don't know what the best way to deliver such a message is, but I have strong doubts that the soft touch is best.

    I might be wrong. I really don't know.

    Read that fucking shit at the link he posted. I think the guy is sick in the head.

  29. anon #108
    anon #108 April 26, 2012 at 7:20 pm |

    Hi 7.04pm,

    So now you're frustrated with Roman and his sick fucking shit. Fair dos. Call it as you see it.

    But gentleness aside, isn't the whole point of this Buddhist business to find out something true and useful about ourselves rather than be getting pissed off at the stupidity of others and pointing out their faults? There's no end to that kind of thing.

    Hey, I really don't know either. Perhaps it's all good.

  30. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 26, 2012 at 7:21 pm |

    Not sure what you mean, I read (skimmed) it. Just seems lame.

    Reminded me of Harry's blog.

    Just kidding about that last part.

  31. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 26, 2012 at 7:30 pm |

    Anonymous said…

    From the Urban Dictionary: 108:

    A number synonymous with evil; a number that can represent and manifest evil; an evil omen; often identified with cult practices
    The killer's identity was obviously foreshadowed when he stayed in room 108.

    According to the dead sea scrolls, the anti-christ's birthday will be on October 8th (the tenth of August in Europe).

  32. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 26, 2012 at 7:32 pm |

    I'm not pissed off.

    I'm just discussing the best way to deliver a message. Perhaps I'm not doing a good job of communicating in print. Makes sense. I don't do a particularly good job in person either.

  33. Mysterion
    Mysterion April 27, 2012 at 12:18 am |

    According to the dead sea scrolls???

    The DSS say nothing of Christ or AntiChrist.

    There were some evolving Jewish parallels in the DSS cache, but the community itself may have been something other than Jewish (e.g. multi-cultural).


    The materials found in Ql are taken from the Buddhist Dhammapada and Undanavarga. The Gospel of Thomas is clearly influenced by Buddhist ideas.

    Some of the scrolls are anti-Jewish and even anti-Semitic (a more general description of the Levant).

    And the "widow's mite" coin is a Buddhist coin from Seleukos II.

    Smoking guns everywhere and the denial gunpowder ever existed.

    I'll side with the archaeologists over the mythologists on this one.

    google it all for yourself.

  34. Khru
    Khru April 27, 2012 at 12:36 am |

    Brother Mysterion,

    Some similarities for your perusal:

    The poor widow who gives her two mites and the three merchants who use their money-"talents" in the Bible…chapter_63.htm

    The man born blind, the disciple put a salve on his eyes and he can then see…chapter_64.htm

    The lost, prodigal son…chapter_65.htm

    The woman at the well…chapter_76.htm

    The disciple walks on water, lacks faith and starts to sink…chapter_85.htm

  35. Khru
    Khru April 27, 2012 at 12:47 am |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  36. Khru
    Khru April 27, 2012 at 12:57 am |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  37. Khru
    Khru April 27, 2012 at 1:00 am |

    The links aren't working correctly…I'll re-post later.

  38. roman
    roman April 27, 2012 at 1:05 am |

    anon, I was half joking in the post here, but not joking in my article

    of course, i don't hate anyone just saying my opinion of ppl who claim they are buddhists and Brad for them is not good enough etc. of course, they will go to hell if they are not honest and sincere enough, but that's not my problem, i am not frustrated about someone going to hell, no compassion here for them

  39. Khru
    Khru April 27, 2012 at 1:05 am |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  40. Harry
    Harry April 27, 2012 at 1:58 am |

    Urban dictionary revels in the nondual:


    A contraction of "Best" and "Worst". Used to qualify something that is both the best and the worst at the same time.

    "This is the borst"

    "You're the borst"

    "Borst dance move evar!"

  41. anon #108
    anon #108 April 27, 2012 at 3:46 am |
  42. Harry
    Harry April 27, 2012 at 3:51 am |

    The One Stooges.

  43. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 27, 2012 at 4:52 am |

    The Stooge

  44. roman
    roman April 27, 2012 at 5:44 am |

    anyway, Malcolm, I know your nick, so thanks for the messages

    i hardly read stuff here, but i just had to mention that surprise how many flies stick to this blog keeping the shit dropping job

  45. anon #108
    anon #108 April 27, 2012 at 5:55 am |

    I hear you, Roman.

    But that shit fertilises…I like to think.

  46. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote April 27, 2012 at 7:56 am |

    "Gospel of Thomas is clearly influenced by Buddhist ideas"- there are many things in Thomas expressed in a way not heard in the Pali Suttas, to my knowledge. Here's some:

    'when you make the male and the female into a single one, so that the male will not be male and the female (not) be female, when you make eyes in the place of an eye, and a hand in the place of a hand, and a foot in the place of a foot, (and) an image in the place of an image, then shall you enter [the Kingdom].'

    (The Gospel According to Thomas, coptic text established and translated by A. Guillaumont, H.-CH. Puech, G. Quispel, W. Till and Yassah ‘Abd Al Masih, pg 18-19 log. 22, ©1959 E. J. Brill)

    Khru, I'm pretty sure you were quoting parallels between the Gospels and the Buddhist Scriptures, but I wonder which ones.

  47. Mysterion
    Mysterion April 27, 2012 at 9:09 am |

    "Throughout the exhibit, a huge amount of emphasis is placed on a small group of Scrolls researchers sometimes refer to as “sectarian.” To their credit, the organizers seem reluctant to directly support the old idea that the Scrolls were written by Essene monks in the desert near the caves where they were discovered, since that idea may well have been debunked in recent years. But they still make all sorts of gestures in that direction, and this is where they start to make false, misleading, and erroneous statements.

    A theme thus keeps on popping up that, as the exhibit’s curator Dr. Risa Levitt Kohn puts it in her introduction to the exhibit catalogue, the Scrolls “illustrate the rituals and practices of a unique community.” The term “the community” appears over and over, even though writings sometimes tied to such a single “community” are only a tiny proportion of the Scrolls, which actually seem to have been written by many different Jewish groups." source

    Unfortunately, there remains a Jewish-centric view of the scrolls by some. The idea that this was either an Essenian or Zealot community was long ago discredited and even "the community" notion is a bit misleading.

    An apologist's summary is HERE.

    The entire "Buddhist Jerusalem" of Seleukos II is swept under an already lumpy carpet by people with the amazingly fantastic idea that god spoke hebrew.

    We all know that She spoke Hawaiian.

  48. Mysterion
    Mysterion April 27, 2012 at 9:23 am |

    the occidental (Greek) spelling is


    so it would be:

    the Buddhist Jerusalem of Seleucus II

  49. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 27, 2012 at 10:52 am |

    Brad attends movie alone. Was Mellisa busy? School night?

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