Sunday, October 7, 2018

COMEDY FILM RECOMMENDATIONS: A random list of films as a response to BBC and TIMEOUT's Top 100 lists.

Hmmm. I know I’m supposed to write something about, whatever’s going on in the entertainment world at the moment, but honestly there’s not too much I really feel like talking much about, even like a minor way. I mean, other than the fact that IMDB’s new buttons on Movie, Top and TV News are just stupid and awful and they should totally go back to how it previously was on their webpage, but what’s going on, anything? Kanye West is being stupid? Yeah, that’s not news. There’s some casting choices that I don’t care about and won’t have an opinion on until after the movie comes out. I mean, I guess there’s some stuff going on with Weinstein, but I think we’re all sick of that, and besides, most of us are more focused on the even more egregious crap going on in Washington, where they’ve come up with the idea of “Let’s find the drunk-as-a-skunk Biff Tannen version of Harvey Weinstein meets jock itch and forcing him onto the Supreme Court, which is still like, barely in the Top 20 of horrible ideas they’ve had lately so, yeah it’s hard with that kind of bullshit going on to pay attention to anything going in the Hollywood at the moment. #FreeAmy.

So, instead of dwelling on anything going on in the real world, I think we can use a break from the real world and perhaps a laugh. Now, a few months back there was a Top 100 Comedy films poll released by BBC Culture, you can view the list at the link below:

Also, coincidentally or perhaps in response to the list, TimeOut also produced a Top 100 Comedy Films list a couple months back, that link is below: 

I won't comment on every film on either list although any one I haven't seen on either, I'm currently adding to my Netflix. (Well, I will be soon at least.) I must confess though that, well, it's been harder and harder to laugh lately. While here, I'm an entertainment blogger, when I'm working on my screenplays and work, usually I tend to consider specialty to be comedy. Most of my heroes are comedy writers to one degree or another, either working in film, television, stand-up, sketch, variety, etc., and I still consider being a comedy writer one of my biggest strengths and in many cases, I think comedy is the biggest and most important art form in some mediums. It amazes me how little sitcoms are given credit for instance in regards to television today, especially when they're usually still bigger and more important and culturally relevant than even the best drama series and will be remembered far longer and with more revery than it's sister genre. Yet, I can't remember the last time Comedy Series was considered the premiere Emmy Award and was announced last as it had traditionally been years earlier. However, I do understand the shift. Frankly, I've wanted to laugh less and less lately over the years and right now, without giving away too much of what I'm doing personally, I haven't written a full comedy script or even a sketch of one in years and the current project I'm working on, is of all genres, horror. I mean, it's more thriller horror than blood-and-guts slasher or anything, but still, this is such a vast 180 from even a couple years ago for me personally, much less years earlier back wence I started this blog that my mind boggles if I think too long about the path I've taken to get here. 

Still though, if anything, this feels like a sign to me that comedy is just as important, if not moreso than ever. Sometimes we really need to laugh. I'm not sure we'll always be able to in these times, but we have to try; we have to laugh. 

So, what am I going to do, just list a bunch of Comedy Movies? (Shrugs) Yeah, I think so. 

I mean, I-, well, I hate to be so,...- eh. Yeah, I don't really know what else to say or do really. 

I mean, I could tell jokes or something but...- um, alright I'll write a joke real quick. Um let's see-eh, a guy walks into a Talent Agent's office, "He says, I've got an act for you," and the talent agent says, "You're not gonna pitch me The Aristocrats again, are you?", and the guy goes, "Oh, so I've been here before? Well, alright, I got other acts for you, I represent Dane Cook, Bob Saget and Carrot Top," and the Talent Agent looks on deep in thought for a minute and says, "Alright, let me see The Aristocrats again."

(Shrugs) That's the best I got on short notice, unless you want to hear a two minute rant about supermarkets lines being too long, so...- 

Alright, I'm not doing a Top 100 Comedy Films, it probably wouldn't be that different from the lists above anyway, although I definitely wouldn't mind knocking a few titles off both those lists. So, I'm just showcase some other comedies that didn't make either list. There's no order or anything, just some funny movies that I highly recommend people watch. 

THE THIN MAN (1933) 

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I've written on "The Thin Man" before, you can find that Canon of Film post below:

I guess some would claim that this isn't so much a comedy as it is a mystery, but we're mostly watching these films for the drunken banter and absurdist wit of Nick and Nora Charles. There might be a serious mystery around them, but life is a fun-loving comedy to them. 


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One of the first comedies to satirize the film industry itself, this dark comic silent classic has only been rediscovered recently. It's part cameo-fest for the time, but it's also sometimes downright insane.


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"Duck Soup" is rightfully considered The Marx Brothers best movies, and deservedly so, but then usually people seem to go to "A Night at the Opera" which is a good movie, but I think "Horse Feathers" is by far their next funniest. 

I'M NO ANGEL (1933)

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How do they not have a single Mae West movie on either of these lists? I've written on this one before too:


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Okay, it's a little more understandable to me that they both left off W.C. Fields, it's somewhat tricky to distinguish what his best film might be, but-eh, seriously, how do they leave off W.C. Fields? 


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I'm not the biggest Howard Hawks guy, but this is some wonderful screwball nonsense of his. It probably helps that Billy Wilder wrote the screenplay. 


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I'm honestly a bit surprised Preston Sturgess got this one past the Hays Code back then; it's actually pretty racy when you think about it, even for the time. 


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Speaking of Billy Wilder, I know this is generally considered more of a drama as well, but there's definitely a dark-comic edge to some of his most serious films. You can probably throw "Stalag 17" and "Double Indemnity" into this category as well. 


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Yes, Ingmar Bergman does comedy and he does it well. This is probably one of his most overlooked movies, but it's as batshit insane any other "The Rules of the Game" re-imagining you can think of. 

ADAM'S RIB (1951) 

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There's a lot of great Tracy & Hepburn films I can put here, "Pat & Mike" for instance I think is fairly underrated, but "Adam's Rib" is the probably the top go-to. I wrote on this one earlier too.


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I'd say this holds up well as a comedy, don't you? There were musicals on several of those lists; and this is a great comic musical. And besides that, even if you can't get a laugh, at least you get The Beatles. 


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How did this masterpiece completely miss both lists? It's another one I've written on before, but I can't imagine anybody who hates this one; there's always something funny in this one if you wait a minute.


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Another one of the films I've already put in the Canon of Film, and personally, not only is this film still pretty funny; I must say that while there's definitely competition, this is what I consider to be Truffaut's best film.


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I know it's not en vogue now, but it's still one of his best films. I've also written on this one:


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Boy, they really did miss a bunch, didn't they? Including this, George Lucas's greatest film! (Yes, it is!) I've written on-, eh, you know the drill by now.


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I know most people just think of this movie as the film that Richard Dreyfuss won the Best Actor Oscar for, but I think people forget that this is a great Neil Simon work that's absolutely hilarious. I mean, Dreyfuss has to play a flaming homosexual Richard III in the worst production of it ever! Seriously, watch this one some time. 


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Anyone want to take the side of "This isn't a comedy"? I think it's like the one movie that everyone can possibly agree on, but-eh, somehow missed both lists? Yeah, I've written on it already too!


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I'm guessing this one might've suffered from not being particularly en vogue at the moment either. You know, with all the underage sex and teenagers sleeping with teachers, and...- yeah, yeah, yeah. I've made for the argument for this one already too.


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Okay, they didn't forget all animation, both these lists anyway, how do you miss "Who Framed Roger Rabbit"? I think sometimes the voters just weren't thinking.


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There's a couple '80s Woody Allen's I could list, but I'm surprised this one doesn't pop up more often as one of his more beloved ones. 

ARTHUR (1981) 

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Have people forgotten how great the original "Arthur" was? Or do they just hate that it's a movie that make fun alcoholism? I don't know, still a great film to me.

STRIPES (1981) 

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I don't know why "Stripes" keeps getting forgotten among '80s comedies either. Honestly, I think it's a lot better than some of the other '80s comedies starring these guys. More than some of the more popular ones. 

ROXANNE (1987)

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Are we not all in agreement on "Roxanne" being Steve Martin's best comedy film?! A-pparently not. (Depressed sigh) 


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I think people have just forgotten how inventive and creative this film was when it was originally released.


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I'm always happy when people discover Mike Leigh's films, but they don't discover this one enough. I mean, c'mon! It's Gilbert & Sullivan, you're already at comic genius before you add Mike Leigh! 

ELECTION (1998) 

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Alexander Payne completely missed both lists; I have no idea why or how that is even possible. (Consider this the entry for all his films)


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For some reason, this David O. Russell masterpiece constantly gets overlooked and I legit don't understand why we don't talk about this as easily his best film. 

DOGMA (1999)

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There's a lot about Kevin Smith that I relate to and appreciate, maybe moreso than others might, even today, (It's a Jersey thing) and I think it's debatable what his very best film is, but I probably have the softest spot for "Dogma". You don't just find smart comedies about high-minded subjects like this anymore. 


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I really need to put more foreign comedies on here, and frankly I should probably watch more, and Ang Lee wouldn't have been my original thought as a director in this regard, but this is a delightfully fun, family comedy, with a delightfully fun family in the middle. 


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I wrote on this one, a long, long, time ago....


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In this dead era of rom-coms most of the bad ones have either not learned any lesson from "High Fidelity," or were blatantly trying to copy it. 


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I guess I could single out almost any Coen Brothers film that they missed, (Which reminds me, I totally missed how both lists, totally missed "Fargo".) but I think this one deserves more love. 


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I promise, someday I'm gonna talk more about how great "Adaptation." is; I just haven't gotten to it yet, but it is genius. Just trust me, I really know how genius this film truly is. 


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Yes, it's a comedy, and a funny and touching one at that. 


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I really need to seek this movie out and rewatch it. I have to include at least one Robert Altman here. 


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I don't get why there's so much animosity towards this film. Just because other rom-coms failed to try to remake it dozens of times, doesn't make the original worst.

BAD SANTA (2003)

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"Fuck me, Santa! Fuck me, Santa! Fuck me, Santa!" Sorry, that always makes me laugh. Also, we don't give Lauren Graham enough sexy roles. 

SAVED! (2004)

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I do love "Mean Girls", I know I should probably get more on board with that film, but, here's the thing, "Saved!" is the teen comedy that I always gravitated towards. 


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This is a seriously underrated film. I'm not a Mike Binder guy, but he really nailed this one. It's like what a modern-day "Terms of Endearment" should be. 


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To me, this is premiere mumblecore film. 

JUNO (2007)

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I still think it should've won Best Picture that year. I don't get the supposed, "At first we liked it, now we hate it," thing; "Juno" has always been great. 


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Fine, I put a stoner movie up, you happy? This actually is a really good modern one though. 

(500) DAYS OF SUMMER (2009)

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Still one of the best rom-coms this century. And best use of Hall & Oates in a movie, ever!


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(Sigh) I'll get shit for this, but I don't like "Shaun of the Dead", like at all. "Zombieland" I think is funny as hell though. I know it came out first, but I've tried, "Shaun..." is cute and all, but it bores me. 

3 IDIOTS (2009)

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I don't know enough about Bollywood or Indian cinema in general to know for certain how highly I should rank "3 Idiots" but-eh, this is the best of those films that I've seen, and like, by a mile the best I might add. 


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People who complain about movies not having original or unique stories and say that they don't like "The Lobster"; I'm not sure what to do with them honestly. 


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I'm definitely happy that "Anchorman..." got so many votes on those lists, but just because it's a movie about a serious subject, doesn't mean it's not a comedy too. 


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"Trainwreck" is the movie that Mae West would've made if she were around today, and it's Judd Apatow's best film as a director yet. Also, Amy Schumer haters can suck it.


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I never got the hatred for this film either. "It's too Scorsese" or whatever. A. That's not a bad thing; B. it's not. You want proof, watch this after "Three Kings" and imagine this was the movie David O. Russell did after that film. 


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Speaking of Scorsese, look, I'm happy "The King of Comedy" showed up on both those polls, and deservedly so, but c'mon, this is his comedy film. 


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This might not be what anybody would call a "laugh-out-loud" comedy, but god, this movie is twisted as Hell. 


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Again, there's other post-'80s Allen's that deserves mention too, although "Bullets Over Broadway" should be more appreciated, but I don't know, in a world that seems run on nostalgia lately, um, this one feels the most relevant to me. 


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Totally just realized that I don't have too many African-American comedies listed. I'm not sure "Bowfinger" should even count but it's the best Eddie Murphy comedy not on either list. 


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You know, I think I underrated this film when I first saw it. I liked it a lot, but mostly felt like it was thirty years too late, but now that some time has passed; I realize that it's so over-the-top that that doesn't matter too much. 


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Now that I'm thinking about it, I originally skipped over "Lethal Weapon" even though I did notice that it was missing from the lists; at first I thought, eh, maybe it's too serious. I don't know what I was thinking there; this is the movie that all buddy cop movies try to be, even today. And you know what, a couple of the sequels are really funny too. 

Well, that was way more than I thought it would be. Lotta work and a lotta movies, and at least I hope they lead you guys to getting a lot of laughs if nothing else? 

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