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Film: Stir Crazy
"That's right! That's right! We bad! Uh huh!"

Skip: What are you doing?
Harry: I'm gettin' bad. You better get bad Jack, cuz you ain't bad, you gonna get fucked!

Stir Crazy is a 1980 comedy directed by Sidney Poitier re-teaming Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder four years after their hit Silver Streak.

Fed up with living in New York City, struggling playwright Skip Donahue (Wilder) and his best friend Harry Monroe(Pryor) an out of work actor, decide to drive to sunnier, friendlier Los Angeles. They end up getting framed for a bank robbery in Arizona and are sentenced to state prison for 125 years! While waiting for their appeal, Skip and Harry must get through mean guards, an overly friendly gay convict, and a scary, bald behemoth named Grossberger. When the corrupt warden sees that Skip is the only prisoner that can ride his mechanical bull at full power, he tries to force him to participate in the annual rodeo competition.


Tropes include:

  • Big "WHAT?!": Harry's response to learning the guy next to in the prison hospital had one of his nuts removed by mistake: "SAY WHAT?!!!"
  • Black Best Friend: Harry is this to Skip.
  • Brooklyn Rage: Part of the reason Skip wants to move to LA is that New Yorkers are so unfriendly and hostile to each other.
  • Camp Gay: Rory (George Sanford Brown) who keeps calling Harry "My dear" and making passes at him.
  • Corrupt Hick: The warden and the head guard.
  • Dissonant Serenity: The young black prisoner in the bed next to Harry in the hospital wing is incredibly nonchalant about having a testicle removed by mistake! (shrugs)"Ain't nothin' I can do about it now."
  • Gentle Giant: Grossberger becomes this after making friends with Skip and Harry.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: Subverted where the guards puts Skip in a small, dark box for a few days of solitary confinement expecting to find him a crazy mess when they bring him out. Instead he asks for one more day: "Please, I was just beginning to get into myself!"
  • Great Escape: Skip, Harry and a few fellow inmates plan an escape during the prison rodeo.
  • Groin Attack: Skip and Harry are in a restaurant when a tall man and short taxi driver burst in arguing because the man refuses to pay the driver. Skip decides to be a good samaritan and walks over to diffuse the situation. Just before he gets there, the taxi driver grabs the man 'down there' with a pair pliers and twists, which Skip fails to notice. Of course, the man is now far more co-operative and pays the taxi driver, all while Skip is talking calmly to them both. When the driver releases the pliers and both men leave, Skip walks away thinking it was all his doing.
  • Hello, Attorney!: Meredith(Jo Beth Williams), the surprisingly hot cousin of Skip and Harry's lawyer who's working with him to prove their innocence. Skip is immediately attracted to her.
  • Marijuana Is LSD: In the beginning when Harry is working as a waiter at a fancy dinner party, his stash of grass is mistaken for oregano and put it into the food. We next get a scene of rich white people tripping.
  • Prison: The movie was filmed in a real maximum security penitentiary in Arizona. Richard Pryor talks about it in his concert film "Live At the Sunset Strip".
  • Salt and Pepper: Skip and Harry.
  • Scary Black Man: The prisoner wearing a cowboy hat who asks Skip and Harry for a light when they're first incarcerated.
  • Those Two Guys: This is the second of four films Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor made together.
  • Working on the Chain Gang
  • Vocal Dissonance: Grossberger is a big mean looking giant but sings like an angel.

Stardust MemoriesFilms of the 1980sThe Stunt Man

alternative title(s): Stir Crazy
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