I remember a reader writing a letter to the editor of MAD sometime in the 1970’s. He said, and I quote from distant memory, “I watch a movie because I like it. And then, I read the MAD satire to let me understand it.”
That sums up exactly why the MAD satires were some of the most brilliant examples of journalism during the 60’s and 70’s. They were well thought out, biting satire that nailed the weak points of films and TV shows that needed nailing.
A few of the satires that I fondly recall, along with translations of the more subtle ones, include Star Blecch, Crymore Vs. Crymore, A Crock of (blip) Now, What’s the Connection? (The French Connection), Balmy and Clod, The Zing (The Sting), and, most telling, Up With the Academy.
Up With the Academy was a very brief admission by MAD that it had made a mistake in lending its name to a typical 80’s R-rated trashfest comedy called Up the Academy. MAD admitted publicly that the movie sucked. The “satire” was a single page long, a telling statement in itself.
Now, who can’t respect straightforwardness like that?
I have to admit that I’ve lost recent contact with MAD. Perhaps they are still letting the air out of of grossly overinflated Hollywood egos. But I know that when I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, they shed a new light on movies that the critics and the general public went ga-ga over. I try to maintain the same tradition meself.