Watch Steven Wright & Rowan Atkinson In Their Oscar Winning Short

The Appointments of Dennis Jennings

Won Best Live Action Short Film Of 1988

I remember watching this on HBO in 1988 or 1989. I recorded it on my super snazzy hifi vhs recorder. I was all about recording back then. Boxes of tapes. Simpsons, The Young Ones, Blackadder, HBO comedy specials…. these are the days my friends. It could be Franky. It could be very fresh and clean.
… but I digress. The Appointments of Dennis Jennings is a bleak, stark, monotonous piece of dark humor, that has (unfortunately) fallen off the radar of pop culture. It’s a shame because it is brilliant. Grim. That is the vibe that carries through this piece. Funny is another word. It’s really, darkly, cumulatively so, but funny nonetheless.

"Why would anybody sleep with a parachute on?"
“Why would anybody sleep with a parachute on?”

I hadn’t watched it in at least 20 years, maybe longer, but I was reminded of it and thanks to YouTube, it’s available for all.

Steven Wright does his whole monotone deadpan thing, to perfection. Laurie Metcalf, who was hilarious on Roseanne, and Rowan Motherfucking Atkinson (Blackadder, Mr. Bean) are brilliant. This film takes time to put together, but it’s really rewarding, and completely deserving of an Oscar.

It has the dread and unease of a Terry Gilliam film, like 12 Monkeys but with none of the danger, tension, or life.

Brazil sans whimsy.

It’s kind of like a mashup of the non scary parts of Jacob’s Ladder and The Lobster. 

It’s absolutely worth the half hour to watch it. After all, it won an Oscar. 🙂

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