The scene made much more sense when I finally saw Alien.
I'm talking about Spaceballs, the part in which a small space creature rips through John Hurt's chest and starts singing, "Hello, my baby, hello, my honey, hello, my ragtime gal."
I've since seen Alien and just about every movie referenced in Mel Brooks' epic parody of Star Wars, but even without that helpful context, Spaceballs stands on its own. A good parody can do that.
Spaceballs, if you can believe it, is turning 30 this year. To celebrate, the Sunscreen Film Festival is showing a retrospective screening of the movie at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, with a special appearance by one of its stars, Daphne Zuniga. She talked to movie critic Steve Persall about making the send-up and running into princess prototype Carrie Fisher years later. Zuniga is also here to support her indie movie Those Left Behind, showing at Sunscreen. Steve has the full Sunscreen lineup right here.
If you can't make the Spaceballs screening, here are suggestions of parodies to line up for a lighthearted marathon this weekend.
Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)
Another Brooks classic skewers Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. It's pretty impossible not to love Cary Elwes in a forest setting, and the lyrics "We're men (manly men), we're men in tights" have been in my head for approximately 24 years. Bonus: Don't miss the film debut of a young Dave Chappelle.
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Zombie movies definitely need skewering, don't they? All that groaning and limping through fields and hiding from the undead in deserted grocery stores. Simon Pegg and friends give a genius rip on Dawn of the Dead. There's biting, existential crises and video games.
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (2010)
Here's one you may have missed. Eli Craig and Morgan Jurgenson's take on horror movie conventions challenges everything we're used to, in a smart, oddly sweet way. College students mistake some pleasant guys as murderers, and things only get more misunderstood from there.
Scary Movie (2000)
If you want something less subtle and more slapstick — totally understandable for your weekend needs — keep it Scary. This Wayans brothers extravaganza was originally called Last Summer I Screamed Because Halloween Fell on Friday the 13th, so you know it's good.
There are so many classics that could be included on this list, but lets go with Airplane! for the sake of decision-making. It takes on Zero Hour! and Airport 1975 among other disaster films, and gives us legendary lines including, "Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue." I pull that one out once a week.