179. The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975)

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*The Warlock opens the door to his lair. He’s wearing a Rabid Grannie t-shirt, black leather jacket, blue jeans, white sneakers and gargoyle shades. He’s holding a coffee mug of root beer*

Warlock: Welcome to my lair….welcome I don’t think so, but enter. Enter my lair if you dare. I’m your host The Warlock

*Warlock levitates before walking inside*

Warlock: Tonight’s movie is The Prisoner of Second Avenue. A 1975 comedy about a man going through a mid-life crisis with his wife, slowly losing his sanity.

*Neyzor Blades is in the recliner wearing standard attire*

Neyz: So in other words, you in 20 years.

Warlock: Shaddup, that’s not nice.

Neyz: Whatever, just get it started.

*Warlock sits in the middle of the couch*

Warlock: So let’s get started with The Prisoner of Second Avenue.

 

*The Warlock reads the tag-line*

Warlock: “A suddenly unemployed ex-executive suffers a nervous breakdown.”

Neyz: That’s unfortunate.

 

*Movie opens with panoramic view of New York City with the opening credits and a news report*

Neyz: What are you making me watch?

 

*News said the days temperature is 96 degrees with no relief in sight*

Warlock: Hahaha look at the people on the street.

 

*Mel Edison (Jack Lemmon) runs for the bus. He is ordered off by the driver (Fat Thomas) for not having exact change. Mel “I wasn’t born with 35 cents in my pocket”*

Warlock: That’s the breaks.

 

*Edna Edison (Anne Bancroft) drops her laundry in the street. She shouts for Joe (M. Emmett Walsh) who ignores her*

Warlock: That was Senator DeHaven in GI Jane.

Neyz: She was young here.

 

*Mel hops in a cab and the driver (F Murray Abraham) shouts at him*

Warlock: Wow, he’d go on to be in a lot of good movies.

 

*Mel shouts to take him to 47th and Madison but there’s no air conditioning. “Up there its great, back here its a coffin”

Warlock: Heh, even the extras in this movie went on to stardom.

 

*Mel tips the driver 35 cents and kicks his way out of the cab. The driver yells he’s not picking him up again because he hates nervous people*

Warlock: He;ll shoot him.

 

*Mel tells Charlie (Gene Blakely) that Edna is okay. Mel gets stuck in the elevator with Charlie and a host of others, they’re all jam. Mel starts shouting for help*

Warlock: That’s really not going to help.

 

*Mel shouts but the doors open, they weren’t jammed at all. He sheepishly walks out*

Neyz: This poor guy is having a shitty day.

 

*Helen (Dee Carroll) forgot to make Mel fresh coffee*

Warlock: Wow good call.

 

*Helen says people are getting laid off left and right. Mel is sad because the company blocked his company charges of lunch per day*

Warlock: A big pickle.

 

*Mel wakes Edna up in the middle of the night. “If I could sleep you think I’d be calling God at 2 in the morning.” He complains the AC is too cold. “Its 84 degrees outside and 12 degrees inside. One of these they’re gonna need a flamethrower to get us out in the morning”

Warlock: That’s me hahaha.

 

*Edna asks what Mel what his problem with since he’s been grouchy for a week. He dodges the question by complaining about trivial stuff. He then says he can hear the neighbors next door. Edna says she can’t hear it. Mel makes her press her against the wall and she says now she can hear it. Mel says “See, now you know why I can’t sleep.” Edna “Well don’t sleep with your head against the wall, sleep in the bedroom.”

Warlock: Hahahaha

 

*Mel freaks and punches the wall and it cracks*

Neyz: Ohhhhh.

 

*Mel freaks again, Edna says the crack was already there. Mel rants and raves and Edna says he’s having an anxiety attack. He says he’s a little tense. She says to take valium and he says they don’t work. Mel shouts at the wall again and Edna wants to know what’s wrong. Mel “I ate crap today.” Edna “Where did you eat.” Mel “A health food restaurant. If you can’t eat healthy anymore what can you at?”

Neyz: Oh my god it is you!

 

*Edna asks what’s wrong with Mel. He says he used to love food, he hasn’t eaten it since he was 13. He walks out onto the balcony and takes a deep breath. “Christ, what a stink! I can smell the garbage from 14 stories up. Why do they put garbage out in 84 degree heat?”

Warlock: This is scaring me. This really is me in 20 years.

 

*Mel makes Edna smell the garbage. Edna says they have to throw it out sometime, that’s why its garbage. Mel starts screaming and Edna freaks telling him not to take whatever is bothering him out on here. She goes to storm off but Mel finally opens up. He calmly tells her he’s losing his mind. He forgot to work the water cooler at work*

Neyz: Mid life crisis.

 

*Mel says he’s slipping and he’s scared*

Neyz: Oh no.

 

*Mel says the last shrink he saw died after taking 23 grand from him*

Warlock: Should have stole the will.

 

*Someone phones the apartment. Edna “Who could that be?” Mel gets a call from the next door who bangs on the wall. Mel makes Edna beat herself up banging at the wall in return*

Warlock: Poor her.

 

*Next morning Helen says Mr Brockman was fired. Then the phone rings and she answers it. Without saying anything, she nods at Mel. He’s gone too*

Neyz: This guy’s getting the shit stick every 5 minutes.

 

*Mel can’t sleep at night. Edna says his brother Harry (Gene Saks) invited them out. Mel blows her off because Harry give him breathing lessons. Edna says they’re already going. Mel says to just tell him then instead of ask. Next frame is them driving over the George Washington Bridge*

Warlock: Heh, GWB.

 

*2 German shepards greet Mel*

Neyz: Awww they’re the babies.

 

*Mel “Are these your mosquitoes too?”

Warlock: Hahaha.

 

*Belle (Maxine Stuart) talks with Edna about her organic plants and vegetables. They play with dirt*

Neyz: Hahahaha.

 

*Mel says he’s 48 years old and feels old, Harry says he’s 55 and feels like a kid. Living in the country cured him*

Warlock: Hahaha that’s true.

 

*Belle scolds Edna for painting side to side, not up and down*

Warlock: Ughhhh I hate that shit.

 

*Harry in his study asks Mel what his problem is. Mel admits he got fired. Harry says not to panic and its not the end of the world. Harry rants and raves not to panic and Mel says he was there for 22 years. Harry says to join him in the Lighting Fixture business and turns on his lights. Mel blindly says “Can you turn off the lights, it feels like a night game at Shea Stadium”

Warlock: Heh, Flushing.

 

*Mel says he hasn’t told Edna yet. Harry says he doesn’t want to be around for her reaction. Edna walks in and says “To what?” Harry “To dinner.”

Warlock: Nice recovery.

 

*Later in the car Edna asks what’s wrong and he says he needs a dollar for the toll*

Warlock: The toll is like 5 now.

 

*Next morning the news says its 5 o’clock and temperature is 92 degrees. Tells a story of an Albanian man was mugged but didn’t know the English word for help*

Warlock: HAhaha

 

*Edna returns home and find the place ransacked. She calls the police. Mel walks in and completely  ignores the mess*

Warlock: He doesn’t even notice.

 

*30 seconds later Mel finally notices*

Neyz: About time.

 

*Mel shouts for Edna, she nearly takes him out with a lamp. Mel says the place is the mess and Edna says they’ve been robbed. Mel says “How could somebody rob us?” Edna “They just walked right in, what do you think they made an appointment?”

Warlock: Jesus Christ this IS us in 20 years.

 

*Mel is sad they took the television. Edna “What did you want me to do, make a citizens arrest?” Mel is distraught when they find out the liquoir is gone. He runs out the balcony and shouts to the street below “YOU SONS OF BITCHES! DIRTY ROTTEN BASTARDS! YOU HEARD ME!!!”

Neyz: Did he just flip them all off?

 

*Mel and Edna shout at each other. Mel “There’s nothing to drink and there’s nothing to watch.” Edna says 86 dollars in cash was taken. Edna admits she left the door unlocked. Mel says junkies look for openings. Mel goes into the bedroom and finds all his clothes gone. He says they left him khaki pants and a golf cap*

Warlock: Very poor caddying.

 

*Mel finally breaks down and admits he’s been fired. Mel says to take down the living room drapes and make him a suit so he can find a new job*

Warlock: Hahahahha

 

*Edna wants to move Mel says where to. He says out of work lumberjacks saw the legs off chairs because they have nothing to do.*

Warlock: That’s a great line.

 

*The detective (Stack Pierce) walks in as Mel spots two cheerleaders and 2 jocks, he scoffs*

Warlock: What was the point of that?

 

*Mel pays for lunch and leaves the diner. He walks the street with Edna and tells her he’s been fired for a week. He buys a bottle of Chivas Regal and says miracles don’t happen when you’re 48. Moses saw the burning bush at 24, not 48. When they get back to the apartment Mel says “Hello, we’re baaaaack”

Neyz: Hahahaha.

 

*Mel throws various magazines around and plays a music box. Edna “Dinner is served”

Warlock: Doing the best she can.

 

*Frozen pizza and beer is dinner*

Warlock: What a feast.

 

*Mel says he’ll quit his gym membership, he’ll run around the bedroom. Its the only way to keep warm*

Warlock: Good thinking.

 

*Mel punches the wall and it cracks again. He has a panic attack and freaks out. He goes to the balcony and shouts. The guy upstairs (Joe Turkel) tells him to shut up because he has children. Mel shouts that he was robbed and he has nothing. The guy asks if he’s drunk. Mel says they took the liquor, he can’t possibly be drunk. The guy shouts if he has any respect for anyone. Mel “RESPECT? YES, I’VE GOT RESPECT. FOR MY ASS!!!!”

Warlock and Neyz: Hahahahaha

 

*Mel dances a jig and the guy’s wife tosses a bucket of water on him*

Neyz: He deserved that.

 

*Edna walks outside and says “I apologize for my husband’s language but God will punish you for that!”

Warlock: Its Glory, God and….

Neyz: Okay that’s enough.

 

*Edna says they can start a summer camp and their daughters would be the counselors*

Warlock: Sleepaway Camp….the prequel.

 

*Edna doesn’t want to live in this world without Mel*

Neyz: Awwwwwww that’s sad.

 

*Edna visits Wayne Morgan (Alan DeWitt) and he says Mr Cooperman (James McCallion) recommended her. She’s a tv studio secretary. Meanwhile Mel can’t find a job in his trench coat*

Neyz: What about the unemployment office?

 

*Mel visits the unemployment office. He tells the clerk (Ketty Lester) that he’s been out of work for 10 weeks. She asks if he’s been looking for work.*

Neyz: They do this shit over the phone now.

 

*Mel says he’s been looking for 10 weeks to find work. He freaks when she asks if he’s turned down work.”Why would I turn down work? I wouldn’t be here asking for work!”

Warlock: Good point.

 

*Edna comes home bustling with activity and news and Mel is throwing a softball into glove*

Neyz: Why is he blowing her off?

Warlock: He’s Mr.Mom 10 years earlier. His pride is hurt, especially in those days. The man was supposed to work and woman furnish the house. Now its a lot different.

 

*Mel says the highlight of his day was going to the toilet*

Warlock: Dayum.

 

*Edna gets pissed because he patronizes her*

Neyz: He’s being a royal dick.

 

*New York Times delivery guy drops off bundles of newspapers*

Warlock: Look at the size of those newspapers back then.

 

*Mel runs in his pajamas stealing food and the newspaper from his neighbors*

Neyz: What is he doing?

 

*Mel says there’s a hair stylist job opening. He says he’ll practice on her and if she doesn’t go bald he’ll take the job*

Warlock: Hahaha

 

*Mel increasingly belittles her and she walks out the door as he waters his plants*

Neyz: She needs to give him a big whack.

 

*Mel has a large package and he hands the bellhop a few bucks. He asks when the man upstairs gets home. Mr Jacoby (Ed Peck) gets home at 6. Bellhop asks if he wants to send him a message, Mel says he’s got a message*

Warlock: He’s losing it.

 

*Edna gets groped by a man on the bus and she says to try his perversions somewhere else. Back home an increasingly unkempt Mel laughs at himself. Edna asks why he’s laughing, Mel says private joke. Mel will tell her when the time comes*

Warlock: This autta be good.

 

*Mel has a mischievous smile on his face. Edna says to stop staring at her. Mel says there’s a conspiracy plot for him not to get a job. Edna “Oh that plot”

Neyz: Hahaha

 

*Mel goes on another insane rant about social economics*

Warlock: He’s lost it.

 

*Mel holds Edna’s face and says this is going to frighten her. There’s an invisible plot that only a handful of people know about it. They’re after everyone*

Neyz: The book of the month club.

 

*Mel says the human race is behind the unemployment. Edna mocks him and he freaks. Mel then goes on an actual sane rant about how she has no idea what its like being unemployed, mocked for being unemployed and had a bucket of water thrown on him. He then runs out on the terrace and screams “I have NOT forgotten you you sonovabitch!”

Neyz: My grandmother would do that.

 

*Edna wants Mel to see a doctor. Mel rants and raves as Edna makes a phone call to a shrink. Mel then goes insane with a knife and opens his package, its a snow shovel. He’s going to bury Mr. Jacoby*

Warlock: This is hard to watch.

 

*Mel tells the shrink (Ivor Francis) he couldn’t sleep. He gets cut off because his time is up. Mel “Jeeeeeeesus”

Neyz: Hahaha

 

*Pearl (Florence Stanley) is crying at Harry’s dinner table because Mel suffered a nervous breakdown. Harry says to give him a loan until he gets a job and pay them back. Their sister Pauline (Elizabeth Wilson) protests. They talk about his head falling off*

Warlock and Neyz: Hahahah what?

 

*Pauline, Harry and Pearl visit Edna to help her take care of Mel. They want to give her money but Edna has no idea how much it’ll cost. It may cost 25 grand. Pauline wants to talk in private but Harry says out with it. Pauline says they found out what X was. Edna is thankful for their help but Pauline says she hasn’t been invited over in 9 years. Edna says Mel needs to get out of New York City and move the country. Harry agrees. Edna says they should start a summer camp in Vermont*

Warlock: Vermont.

 

*Edna says she needs 25 grand for a summer camp. The price is 100 grand. Harry finally snaps and says 100 grand for someone on the verge of a breakdown is insane. He says he’ll help when Mel is better. Edna snaps at them and says they suck for wanting to help when he’s okay but not when he’s down. She tells them to get lost for another 9 years when Mel walks in fucked up from sedatives. Harry, Pauline and Pearl say hello but he;s out of it*

Neyz: Did they put him in a day program or something?

Warlock: What’s that?

Neyz: Like for crazy people.

Warlock: Hahaha that would be hilarious.

 

*Mel thinks Harry is the one who’s sick and he starts giving tips*

Neyz and Warlock: Hahaha

 

*Radio news says crazy kids cut obscene words in the grass in central park*

Warlock: This reminds me of MASH with the “attention all personnel” announcements.

 

*Mel says to the shrink he’s gonna use his shovel and drop snow on Jacoby’s head. Mel says his brother laughs at the Farmer’s Almanac. Mel has an epiphany that Harry is more like his father and he’s never stood up to him or anyone and that’s why he’s in this position. His time is up “Jeeeeeesus”. Radio announcement says the gay liberation basketball has only been playing with themselves since December*

Warlock: Good luck getting away with that joke now.

 

*Mel gets pick-pocketed by some guy (Sylvester Stallone)*

Warlock: This is the reason why we’re watching this movie. Recognize the pick-pocket?

Neyz: Rocky!

 

*Mel figures out the pick-pocket stole his wallet and he chases him into Central Park*

Neyz: So you mean to tell me before he became a big boxer, he was on the streets of New York robbing people of their wallets?

 

*Mel keeps up with the pick-pocket in a chase scene. He tackles him to the ground and demands his wallet back. The pick-pocket gives it up and runs away, jumping over cabs*

Warlock: Stardom was right around the corner for that guy.

 

*Mel tells a guy with a dog (Harry Ray) to curb him*

Neyz: Awww its a babies.

 

*Joe the bellhop says the elevator is out. Edna has to walk up 14 flights with grocery bags. Meanwhile Mel scampers in the building. Joe tells him the same story. Mel says he’ll pray for rain on the way up*

Warlock: He’s more skippy.

 

*Edna is passed out on the couch. Even Mel is tired as he makes it in the door*

Neyz: That’s me.

 

*Mel “I just walked up fourteen flights.” Edna “You should have called me, I would have carried you” Mel is ecstatic because he stopped a guy from mugging him and pulls out his wallet. Edna “Mel, that wallet is black, yours is brown. You left it on the dresser this morning.” Mel “By God, I mugged a kid.”

Warlock and Neyz: HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA

 

*Edna takes the cash out of the wallet and says they need it. SHE’S been fired too*

Warlock: Ohhhhhh.

 

*Edna goes berserk like Mel did like he did when he got fired. She snaps “What are you, out of your mind???” She stops and apologizes*

Warlock: How are they gonna end this?

Neyz: She’s scarrrry.

 

*Mel says he’s gonna take care of them. He claims he’s got his strength back. Edna says they should just leave and have some water to take a bath. Mel says this is HIS city and she’ll get water. The doorbell rings and Edna goes to mug the person. Its Harry, he wants to talk in private*

Warlock: What’s he want?

 

*Edna can’t flush the toilet*

Neyz: Hahaha that’s me.

 

*Harry hands him a check for 25 grand and says to start his summer camp. Mel says he can’t accept it because he’s all better now. Harry then goes berserk saying he was never cared about as a kid and Mel got all the attention. Peal and Pauline favored Mel, not Harry. Harry then says that he feels Mel is the spoiled, undisciplined baby yet he envies him because he has everything Mel doesn’t but he’d like to have the attention Mel gets just once*

Neyz: Awwwwww

 

*Mel and Harry make up and Mel tears up the check before Harry leaves. Back upstairs Edna freaks out and screams before Mrs Jacoby (Patricia Marshall) shouts to shut up. Edna runs out on the terrace and screams at her. Mel ushers her inside and HE takes the bucket of water meant for her. Mel says they’re gonna be okay as it starts snowing. Mel grabs his shovel and sits on the couch with Edna. They laugh evilly as we get the end credits*

Neyz: That’s me and you. He went crazy which drove her crazy and she went crazy because he was crazy.

 

Neyzor Blades Assessment: It was a good one, I’ll give it an 8.

The Warlock’s Assessment: 7 out of 10. Its a comedy without much substance to it. It was more a story of emotions than it was physical. Its worth a watch but its old time comedy, not new school raunch. Its an acquired taste.

Final Grade: 7.5 out of 10 – Brilliant

 

*Warlock rises from the couch*

Warlock: Alright I’m officially freaked out now. That was too close to home and I think I may have to run away now. The movie was great for its time even if it hasn’t aged well. Everyone turned in great performances and two extras went on to star in iconic movies still talked about today. That about wraps up another goodtastic adventure, have a pleasant evening.

*Warlock runs out of the lair screaming*

 

 

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