Airplane! – A Mini Book Review

Back in 1981, Dad rented a movie and a VCR from the local video store. We didn’t own a machine yet, so Dad had to rent that too and figure out how to hook it up. Mom made popcorn in the kitchen, and we all sat down in the living room to watch Airplane!

Airplane! is one of those movies that you always quote and never forget. Like:

“Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking.”

“I just want to tell you both good luck. We’re all counting on you.”

“Excuse me, stewardess, I speak jive.”

If none of these classic one-liners are ringing a bell, please stop reading my blog right now and go rent this movie.

For the rest of you, this movie cemented my love of comedies. Up until that point, I may have watched an old Woody Allen film, whose humor I never understood, or TV reruns of “Your Show of Shows” with Carl Reiner and Sid Caesar. But this movie was different. It was smart, original, and hilarious. The jokes never stopped and in between them was a storyline I had to see to the end.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen the movie, but it remains one of my all-time favorites. This is why I couldn’t wait to read the book “Surely, You Can’t Be Serious: The True Story of Airplane” written by the three directors who made the film.

Unfortunately, this book was not what I expected. Let me just say this is one of those times when the movie is so much better than the book. I was expecting a lot more behind the scenes stories from the movie. The authors did include tidbits about casting and production, but not enough for me. Instead, they wrote all about their journey from Midwest novices to Hollywood royalty, and how the film went from the screenplay to the silver screen. They dedicated so many pages to their first film “Kentucky Fried Movie” which I have never heard of and have no interest in seeing. When they start to talk about Airplane!, most of that story focuses on who turned them down when they tried to sell the script. The rest of the book is a trip down memory lane filled with all of the mistakes they made along the way.

In general, the book is self-serving to the authors and not the fans. It’s not that I don’t like the back story. I read “The Church of Baseball” which was about the making of Bull Durham and that author did a much better job creating that balance between film production and movie trivia.

I’m not saying don’t read the book. I’m just saying borrow it from the library. And definitely don’t listen to the audio version. It’s cringy. The writers are the narrators, and they should really stick to film making.

So there. 😉


5 comments on Airplane! – A Mini Book Review

  1. Tamara
    October 16, 2023 at 11:58 pm (4 months ago)

    I had to stop reading and am still trying to figure out where one rents movies these days 🤪

    • Elisa
      October 18, 2023 at 4:58 pm (4 months ago)

      LOL! I think it’s called Netflix now. 🙂

  2. Paul Taubman
    October 16, 2023 at 9:14 pm (4 months ago)

    I am going to have to go back and watch Airplane! again! i loved that movie!! And you last quote – ““Excuse me, stewardess, I speak jive.” – And at the end of that conversation with subtitles!) Sheeee**! “Golly” Cracks me up all the time!

    Based on your review on the book, I think I will pass and just enjoy the movie! Thanks!

    • Elisa
      October 18, 2023 at 5:00 pm (4 months ago)

      I did see a hard copy of the book today, and it was very much like a scrapbook. I’m guessing that’s why it didn’t transfer well on Audible. Still sticking with my review, but the book had pictures and captions that I missed out on bc I listened to it.

  3. Florence Callender
    October 16, 2023 at 8:39 pm (4 months ago)

    I agree that it’s disappointing when a book doesn’t meet one’s expectations, especially when it’s about a beloved movie… like Airplane! That’s why I stick with one or the other.