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5 reasons why 'Trading Places' may be the greatest holiday movie of the '80s




Why doesn't 1983's Trading Places get more love this time of year? It's rarely on TV or cable. There are no movie marathons featuring this Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd classic. No movie houses will have special screenings of it. And yet, it endures.

"What's most visible in the movie is the engaging acting," Chicago Sun-Times movie critic Roger Ebert wrote in his original review. "Murphy and Aykroyd are perfect foils for each other in Trading Places, because they're both capable of being so specifically eccentric that we're never just looking at a 'black' and a 'white' (that would make the comedy unworkable). They both play characters with a lot of native intelligence to go along with their prejudices, peculiarities and personal styles. It's fun to watch them thinking."

But you want five easier-to-digest reasons, don't you? Well, Merry Christmas.


5. THE CHARACTERS: Louis Winthorpe III. Billy Ray Valentine. Mortimer and Randolph Duke. Ophelia. Great names. Great characters. When a drunken Louis eats the stolen salmon as he hits rock bottom, I fell instantly in love.

4. TWO HOLIDAYS: It's not only a Christmas movie; it's a New Year's Eve movie. A two-fer! Hell, come to think of it, maybe Thanksgiving was in there somewhere.

3. THE BIT ROLES: Frank Oz as the cop. Paul Gleason as Clarence Beeks. Even Jim Belushi has a bit role dressed as a gorilla on the train ride to NYC. Every time I watch this movie, I spot a new character worth looking up.

2. THE LINES: "Karate man bleed on the inside!" "Look at that S-Car go." "When I was growing up, if we wanted a Jacuzzi, we had to fart in the bathtub." "It ain't cool being no jive turkey this close to Thanksgiving." (See! Three holidays!)

1. JAMIE LEE CURTIS: Standing in front of the mirror. Topless. Don't make me say it.

[Last modified: Sunday, December 18, 2011 12:12pm]


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