I could never really quite get into MASH and that baseball game is wasted on me. Mike Nicol's Catch 22, though, that's different. It's instant. Straight away it just clicks as being a film that is warped enough to be well outside anybody's box. I know that MASH is Vietnam and this an Italian airbase somewhere in the Med in WW2, but from here-on in, there are big similarities.
Alan Arkin has never been better and though I haven't read the book and probably never will, you can tell straight away that he was born for the role. His only other performance that comes near was his Oscar winning one as grumpy old uncle in Little Miss Sunshine. As the US airforce captain hell-bent on proving his insanity, Capt Yossarian has to try and convince everybody, especially himself.
The film is on so many delicious levels that it can be seen many times and a different stance or joke is revealed that you didn't see before. I'm on my third. Dreams, nightmares, psychosis, nudity, superb, adventurous cinematography AND Orson Welles, that's one helluva combination. The stunts are worthy of expensive 'proper' war films and it must have been a very brave film for Nicols to even contemplate making.
There's one hell of a cast too, aside of Arkin and Welles - Anthony Perkins, Richard Benjamin, Art Garfunkel, Martin Balsam, Jon Voight and Martin Sheen - that's an invite list to the Oscars!
My policy with such off the wall movies is not to try and understand them, unless it comes to me. Logic and reasoning can be an awful barrier to enjoyment, sometimes! For this reason alone, I'm not even going to try to explain the plot here.
You'll want to watch Catch 22 for its WW2 satire, the imaginative direction, the well executed stunts and maybe above all these, the cast - and the humour that is so unreal, it's almost happening outside of one's mind and body.