Surely You Can’t Be Serious: The True Story of ‘Airplane!’

Macmillan Audio. Oct. 2023. 7:53 hrs. ISBN 9781250290427. $19.99. FILM
Film directors Jim Abrahams and brothers David and Jerry Zucker reminisce about the creation of their 1980 movie Airplane! This audio memoir, narrated by the authors and a star-studded cast, takes off once the authors describe Los Angeles of old, where a movie theater could still be rented for 600 bucks a month and some sweat equity. Charting their rise to fame and, of course, the movie that made them, the three creators are engaging, thanks to their obvious mutual affection and deadpan delivery of killer one-liners (even if the laughs aren’t as nonstop as they were in Airplane!). They explore why the movie’s jokes worked—and how they cut out the segments that didn’t, until what remained was the disaster-movie parody of the century. They are joined in retelling the story of Airplane! by show business friends and fellow creators who helped bring their hit to theaters, including stars Julie Hagerty and Robert Hays. Unfortunately, while writers are name-checked at the beginning of their passages, audio contributors aren’t similarly recognized; this structure leads to some uncertainty, as listeners may not be able to determine whether a less-familiar reader is a contributing author or a narrator stand-in.
VERDICT This audiobook about the creation of an iconic film lands successfully. Recommended.
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