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Richard Pryor Triple Feature review

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PRIOR GREATNESS Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor in Stir Crazy (1980)
Everett Collection

Richard Pryor Triple Feature

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
runtime:
315 minutes
performer:
Richard Pryor
distributor:
Image Entertainment

We gave it a B

To those for whom stand-up is a religion, Richard Pryor is a god, partially because he was one of the first to use the mic as a confessional. Pryor mined his own misery for laughs, most famously when he turned a 1980 freebasing accident that left him covered with third-degree burns — he later admitted it had been a suicide attempt — into a legendary bit. In Hollywood, however, Pryor wasn’t able to be quite as unfiltered. He couldn’t star in Blazing Saddles, which he co-wrote, because the studio wouldn’t insure him, and playing-it-safe movies like Brewster’s Millions and Superman III seemed to be a waste of his talent. The films included in the Blu-ray Richard Pryor Triple Feature (1980–89, 5 hrs., 15 mins., PG/R) aren’t all his finest work, but they do demonstrate why Pryor remains one of the greats. Stir Crazy is easily the best of the three. Improbably directed by Sidney Poitier, Pryor’s funniest collaboration with Gene Wilder is an outrageous prison farce. Their subsequent blind/deaf buddy comedy See No Evil, Hear No Evil is less successful, as is the not-quite-for-kids children’s film The Toy. But Pryor wrings as many laughs as possible out of them, again making the best of a bad situation. B

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