Five More Great Minority Movie Heroes (to Root For)

It’s Black History Month once again, and in celebration of the month, I thought it’d be a great time to continue our saga of Great Minority Movie Heroes. With diversity becoming more prominent in modern pop culture, we’re witnessing an influx of people of color leading epic sagas, and fighting evil. I, for one, am enjoying it. Here are five more Great Minority Movie Heroes you can root for.

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Harvey Korman: Number 1 Second Banana

Harvey Korman was one of the funniest supporting comedy actors of all time, brightening up the big and small screen with his memorable performances. On this episode of “The Online Movie Show,” the funnyman’s son and biographer Chris Korman discusses his father’s career and off-camera life.

The episode can be heard here.

Spaceballs (1987)

It makes me laugh quite a lot that modern Hollywood are planning to spoof “Star Wars” when Mel Brooks pretty much supplied the definitive “Star Wars” spoof thirty years ago. You can argue maybe there’s more to offer, but no, Mel Brooks did it first and best. He mocked the characters, he mocked the plot holes, and he even mocked the rampant consumerism that George Lucas partook in when “Star Wars” became a cash cow. “Spaceballs” involves the evil President Skroob kidnaps Vespa during an arranged marriage, in an effort to steal planet Druidia’s fresh air. The evil Lord Dark Helmet is assigned to complete the task of sucking Druidia’s air, and hires Lonestarr and his pal “Barft” (The mog, a half man and half dog) to find Princess Vespa when she escapes the arranged marriage.

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Norman Lear: Another Version of You

norman_learPart of the “American Masters” documentary series, “Norman Lear” is a very bittersweet look in to a man who changed culture and television as we know it. Before Norman Lear, not many television shows and mainstream television networks were willing to step forward and address issues that confronted social and economic problems. Norman Lear is a man who grew up in a troubled family and spent a lot of his life remolding television in to a medium that could change how we think and ask us to reflect on our lives. Mr. Lear used a lot of his own experiences to help create some of the most important television series of all time. From “All in the Family” which brought important issues to our homes through comedy, “The Jeffersons” about changing the racial dynamic in a higher class setting. There was “Maude” which explored a very strong sitcom heroine of the feminist ilk, and “Good Times” which explored the life of a family in poverty.

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Young Frankenstein (1974): 40th Anniversary Edition [Blu-Ray]


It’s tough to imagine a better horror comedy for fans of golden age horror. Director Mel Brooks concocts a formula that’s almost impossible to duplicate, playing brilliant comedy with deadpan dramatic sincerity, and implements a wide cast of amazing comedy actors to perform what is a demented twist on “Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein.” One of my favorite memories about “Young Frankenstein” was when I was a kid and my mom brought home the VHS to watch for the night. For all intents and purposes, the movie looked like a horror film, and I went in to it convinced of the idea. Mid-way I was laughing so hard, it was impossible to hear the dialogue.

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Blazing Saddles (1974)


You have to give credit to Mel Brooks for being so ballsy. In today’s day and age, a movie like “Blazing Saddles” would never get off the ground and become a mainstream comedy. Even with its material, Brooks runs the risk of becoming low brow, but thankfully manages to create the best comedy of all time. It’s my favorite from Brooks, edging out “Young Frankenstein” if only for the lead performance by Cleavon Little. “Blazing Saddles” satirizes the Western sub-genre, while also mocking its inherent racism, setting it in the middle of the slave era. Though the film is biting in its social commentary, it still manages to be incredibly funny, sidestepping the mockery of the slavery, and instead poking fun at the Caucasian characters.

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Young Frankenstein (1974)


Mel Brooks’ horror comedy classic completely and utterly challenged any and all norms and perceptions of formula comedy that I had when I was a kid. It was a black and white movie that was a comedy and though the film bordered on absolutely insane in the comedy meter, the cast in the film played everything with a straight face. Particularly Gene Wilder whose entire performance is deadpan and dramatic in spite of the fact he’s probably the funniest character in the film.

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