“The Quaalude Scene” from “Modern Romance” (1981) dir. Albert Brooks

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Before Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” there were Albert Brooks’s squirm-inducing comedies. “Modern Romance” is the funniest of Brooks’s comedies and also the most uncomfortable to watch.

In this scene, Brooks’s ultra-neurotic character just broke up his long-time girlfriend and now, regretting his decision to do so, is completely miserable. A work colleague gives him some quaaludes to help him out and he takes all of them. Brooks’s character goes through the entire emotional gamut in under 10 minutes, including several luded-out phone calls. Hysterically funny … and while I’ve never taken ludes, I can’t say I haven’t made some embarrassing phone calls myself in an altered state of mind back in the day.

According to legend, this was one of Stanley Kubrick’s favorite films.

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“Our Mr. Brooks” Interview with Albert Brooks by Judd Apatow, Vanity Fair January 2013

http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2013/01/albert-brooks-this-is-40?mbid=social_mobile_email

A wonderful and revealing interview with comic legend and writer/director Albert Brooks by Judd Apatow. I can’t add any more to this description. Just read it!

“Modern Romance” (1981) dir. Albert Brooks

Video

Before Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” there was the brilliant cringe-inducing comedy of Albert Brooks. And if there’s a comedy you have to watch through your fingers, it’s 1981’s “Modern Romance.” Brooks plays the most annoyingly neurotic character in movie history trying to deal with a romantic breakup. It’s extremely funny, but will make you hide your eyes.

This is the infamous scene where Brooks’s character decides he wants to take up jogging after his breakup and his encounter with a sporting goods store salesman is priceless. The salesman is played by Brooks’s brother Bob Einstein, who later went on to play Marty Funkhouser on “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” I feel this way every time I walk into Jiffy Lube.