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Favorite Comedies...
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matt header
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PostPosted: 02.11.2004 7:14 pm    Post subject: Favorite Comedies... Reply with quote

I watched "The Triplets of Belleville" for the third time last night, and each time it gets better, more amazing, more fresh, more hilarious. So much so that the movie becomes not only an homage to the legendary Jacques Tati, but perhaps even a wondrous comedy that would be on his level.

And it got me thinking...what are YOUR favorite comedies? Here are mine:

- "Adam's Rib," Cukor; the best Tracy/Hepburn romantic comedy, cynical but wholesome and cheerful all at the same time

- Airplane!, Abrahams/Zucker/Zucker; sets the record for most jokes per minute, and its nutty antics are often quite surreal (which I love)

- All About Eve, Mankiewicz; the most sharp-tongued comedy ever, a paradise of vicious back-and-forth bantering

- A Nous La Liberte, Clair; a milestone in the silent-sound transition, it has a frenzied, hilarious pace

- The Apartment, Wilder; this is my favorite Wilder film, a perfect combination of comedy and drama

- Being There, Ashby; a whopper of a social commentary with a disturbingly ambiguous ending

- Bringing Up Baby, Hawks; one of my favorite movies period - screwball comedy gold

- City Lights, Chaplin; my favorite Chaps, with one of the funniest silent comedy scenes ever (the boxing scene)

- The Court Jester, Panama/Frank; a showcase for Danny Kaye, who revels in pun, screwball, musical set pieces, and swashbuckling

- Dr. Strangelove..., Kubrick; see! Kubrick can be funny! scary as hell and still relevant

- The General, Keaton/Bruckman; I'm terribly unknowledgeable of Keaton, but this is my favorite I've seen of his - sublime

- Help!, Lester; I like this Beatles picture even more than Yellow Submarine (haven't seen Hard Day's Night); Ringo is the coolest guy in the world

- His Girl Friday, Hawks; the fastest comedy ever, you need to watch it several times just to get all of the jokes

- It Happened One Night, Capra; classic battle of the sexes courtesy of Capra pre-blatant-Americana stage

- The Kid Brother, Howe/Wilde; my favorite Harold Lloyd comedy, with a rousing climax that's as exciting and well-planned as anything in modern action movies (and much funnier - the monkey's wearing boots!!!)

- The Lady Eve, Sturges; Sturges at his best, and Barbara Stanwyck at her steamiest - this is one of the sexiest comedies ever made

- The Lavender Hill Mob, Crichton; Alec Guinness has never been funnier than in this Ealing Studios highlight

- Life is Beautiful, Benigni; the modern day not-so-silent clown made us believe that the human spirit could withstand the Holocaust; an underrated fable

- Manhattan, Allen; my favorite Allen comedy, a beautiful satire of the NY art scene and a celebration of love and cinema

- Mon Oncle, Tati; I will love Tati until the day I die

- Monty Python's Life of Brian, Jones; the troupe's best film, irreverent and hilarious ("You are all individuals!" "We are all individuals!!!")

- A Night at the Opera, Wood; Groucho & co have never been funnier

- The Philadelphia Story, Cukor; Grant, Hepburn, Stewart, awesome script, insanely fast pace

- The Piano Teacher, Haneke; ha ha, just kidding - wanted to make sure you were paying attention

- Return to Me, Hunt; you can scoff at this one if you'd like, but it's the best old-fashioned romantic comedy made in the last ten years

- Roman Holiday, Wyler; Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn; never before have I wanted to see two people fall in love so badly

- Rushmore, Anderson; this is why lots of folks are calling Wes Anderson "the most creative presence in American comedy since Preston Sturges"

- A Shot in the Dark, Edwards; Sellers at his funniest in the most elegant, nuttiest Pink Panther entry

- This is Spinal Tap, Reiner; the birth of the mockumentary

- Top Hat, Sandrich; Fred Astaire flirts and dances like a God, Ginger Rogers does what he does in high heels and looks unbelievably gorgeous

- The Truman Show, Weir; what it's like to live in today's media-infested world; half screwball comedy, half social commentary

- Wallace and Gromit: The Wrong Trousers, Park; the funniest Claymation filmmaker packs more visual jokes into this short than many feature-length movies can muster

- Young Frankenstein, Brooks; the number of classic gags in this elegant spoof are testament to its comic brilliance

And what makes you laugh?
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The Third M?n
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PostPosted: 02.11.2004 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love anything with the Marx brothers in it, and comedic surrealism a la Airplane.
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The Third M?n
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PostPosted: 02.11.2004 8:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Favorite Comedies... Reply with quote

matt header wrote:
- City Lights, Chaplin; my favorite Chaps, with one of the funniest silent comedy scenes ever (the boxing scene)



Splendid film, and my favourite Chaplin, too. The music in the boxing scene is truly fantastic, as is its wondrous execution. My favourite scene, however, would have to be the very last one.
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matt header
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PostPosted: 02.11.2004 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, dude, I forgot the movie that started this whole thread:

The Triplets of Belleville, Chomet; indescribably weird, and weirdly hilarious; surrealistic humor at its best
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The Third M?n
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PostPosted: 02.11.2004 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt header wrote:


The Triplets of Belleville, Chomet; indescribably weird, and weirdly hilarious; surrealistic humor at its best


I may buy that on DVD soon -- it's out here already.
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The Third M?n
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PostPosted: 02.11.2004 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spaceballs rocks, too.

"I'm a mog! Half man, half dog. I'm my own best friend!"
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 02.11.2004 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Third M?n wrote:
Spaceballs rocks, too.


Am I the only person in the world that hates it?
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 02.12.2004 12:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
Am I the only person in the world that hates [Spaceballs]?


Nope.

Eric
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 02.12.2004 1:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Except for Being There (and Piano Teacher), I agree with every single title on Matt's excellent list; I'd even include Court Jester, Kid Brother, and Nick Park, and maybe even Return to Me. I'll try to merely post an addendum:

- Most Buster Keaton pictures, especially Sherlock, Jr. and Steamboat Bill, Jr..

- Fifteen Minute Hamlet (Louiso)

- Some Like It Hot (Wilder)

- Shop Around the Corner (Lubitsch)

- Music Box (Parrott). Throw in another half-dozen Laurel and Hardy.

- When Harry Met Sally... (Reiner)

- The Player (Altman)

- Smiles of a Summer Night (Bergman)

- Shoot the Piano Player (Truffaut)

- The Circus (Chaplin)

- Ruggles of Red Gap (McCarey)

- I Was a Male War Bride (Hawks)

- My Man Godfrey (La Cava)

- Diner (Levinson)

- Lost in America, and most every other Albert Brooks

- Ed Wood (Burton)

- Tootsie (Pollack)

- Alfie (Gilbert)

- Holiday (Cukor)

- The Icicle Thief (Nichetti)

- Father of the Bride (Minnelli)

- City Slickers (Underwood)

- Kind Hearts and Coronets (Hamer)

- Sleeper, Purple Rose of Cairo[i/] (and a bunch of other Allen)

- [i]Planes, Trains, & Automobiles
(Hughes). A modern classic.

- Stalker Guilt Syndrome (Kaplan)

Where do we stop?

Eric
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 02.12.2004 2:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm pretty persnickety when it comes to comedies. They don't tend to date or age very well for me. In trying to compile this list, I discovered most of my favorite comedies are actually horror movies, like Creepshow, Return of the Living Dead, An American Werewolf in London, Night of the Creeps, Tremors, Evil Dead 2, Basket Case, Re-Animator, and early Peter Jackson splatter flicks. I decided to dispense with them, as well as others that are humorous, but maybe not strictly comedies like Ed Wood, Ghost World, Motorama, and Yojimbo.



-After Hours (Scorsese, 1985) Speaks to my paranoia and sense of bewilderment regarding most people. This is only a comedy because if you don?t laugh you?ll go mad.

-Airplane! (Abrahams, Zuckers, 1980) Probably the movie I?ve quoted the most over my lifetime. I'm serious, and don?t call me Shirley.

-A Christmas Story (Clark, 1983) A sentimental movie expects an emotional response from you, but doesn?t earn it. This movie, on the other hand, offers real sentiment, and earns its hold on your heartstrings.

-Back to the Future (Zemeckis, 1985) Great concept, great characters, great story, and funny as hell. What more do you need?

-Big Trouble in Little China (Carpenter) Jack Burton is a legend in his own mind. I don?t think many people got any of the gags when this movie was first released, and I think they still don?t get them today; but I did, I do, and it makes me laugh my ass off every time.

-Beetlejuice (Burton, 1988) I love movies that suggest a larger world, and Beetlejuice?s bureaucratic afterlife is somehow comforting to me. My only complaint that that Betelgeuse doesn?t quite live up to his menacing potential.

-Being John Malkovich (Jonze, 1999) One of the most original movies I?ve ever seen. This is a Monty Python skit written by Kafka.

-Beverly Hills Cop (Brest, 1984) Just an absolutely flawless comedy.

-Blazing Saddles (Brooks, 1974) This movie would flat-out not get made today, and proves that low-brow, improper humor doesn?t have to be dumb.

-Bridget Jones's Diary (Maguire, 2001) An anomaly. I have no idea why I like this flick so much. Probably has something to do with the prodigious use of the word ?fuck? in the dialogue.

Chasing Amy (Smith, 1997) I appreciate that Smith pulls no punches with his characters, and there are a lot of personal reasons why this movie hits home with me.

Dazed and Confused (Linklater, 1993) Nostalgia; I was still a child in ?76, but the characters in this movie were my friends? older brothers and sisters.

-Dr. Strangelove (Kubrick, 1964) Our politicians should be locked in a room and forced to watch this over and over again until they finally fucking get it.

-Election (Payne, 1999) I don?t think many people realize what a dark, subversive movie this is. Its shocks are subtle, because its tone is so flippant, but there?s some truly brutal social commentary going on here.

-Get Shorty (Sonnenfeld, 1995) Great Elmore Leonard characters and plot combined with a scathing satire of Hollywood mentality.

-Ghostbusters (Reitman, 1984) This is how the paranormal ought to be.

-Groundhog Day (Ramis, 1993) Many fantastic movies are so intrigued with their own concept they forget the human element. This movie uses it to reveal character.

-Heathers (Lehmann, 1989) Some people regard this movie as too mean-spirited, but I don?t think the clique mentality of high school deserves any kindness. This is the one-two punch it deserves.

-Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (Gilliam, Jones, 1993) ?Fishy, fishy, fishy, fish! And it went ? wherever I ? did go.?

-Nurse Betty (LaBute, 2000) A romantic comedy for people who hate romantic comedies.

-Office Space (Judge, 1999) Underseen gem which boasts the best use of gangster rap in a motion picture.

-Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (Burton, 1985) Funny, sweet, and just freakin? surreal. Can?t be bad.

-Pink Flamingos (Waters, 1972) I?m not easily shocked, so any movie that can honestly provoke that response in me earns my respect. Plus, Waters?s narration just cracks me up.

-Planes, Trains, & Automobiles (Hughes, 1987) A movie that loves it characters for their flaws, rather then deriding them.

-Raising Arizona (Coens, 1987) Probably my all-time favorite comedy. Love the characters, love the lines, love the story, love the soundtrack.

-Stardust Memories (Allen, 1980) Not a huge fan of Woody Allen, but I do like some of his movies, especially the early, funny ones.

-Super Troopers (Chandrasekhar, 2001) Like Blazing Saddles, a movie that proves that low-brow doesn?t have to be stupid or mean.

-The Princess Bride (Reiner, 1987) A charmer, and a great, affectionate send-up of the fairy tale.

-This is Spinal Tap (Reiner, 1984) A comedy that goes to 11.

-When Harry Met Sally (Reiner, 1989) Unlike most romantic comedies, the relationship between the two main characters is forced, and isn?t a given. By the end, we want them to be together.

-Young Frankenstein (Brooks, 1974) The one-liners and shticks remain as fresh as when this movie was first released. Plus, it?s a great tribute to the classic Universal monster movies.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 02.13.2004 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Night Watchman- You've listed a great many I should have included, especially Back to the Future, After Hours, Airplane, and Election. I didn't list it because Matt already had, but I think Spinal Tap is wet-your-pants funny. And Rushmore is my go-to movie whenever I need a lift. It might be my favorite movie, alongside Truman Show. My adoration of them both completely and utterly transcends anything resembling "critical appreciation." They speak to my insides. Them and Cutting Edge.

Eric
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Rob Vaux
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PostPosted: 02.14.2004 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does Buckaroo Banzai count as a comedy? Genres get so delightfully blurry on the edges...

Some great choices so far (with the exception of Life Is Beautiful, which I find a work of purest blackest evil. Very Happy ) A quick ? and very subjective ? list, off the top of me head, excising those which have already been mentioned:

? The Big Lebowski

? The Blues Brothers

? A Fish Called Wanda

? Galaxy Quest

? The Hudsucker Proxy

? Joe Vs. the Volcano

? Mars Attacks!

? Mystery Men

? The Producers

? Say Anything

? Secretary

? Top Secret!

? Wag the Dog
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 02.14.2004 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I adore Say Anything..., and Top Secret! is one I definitely should have listed. ("I know a little German... and he's right over there!") Simultaneously spoofing Elvis musicals and WWII spy movies--genius. Might be my favorite of the ZAZ canon.

Rob, I've heard all the moral arguments opposing Life Is Beautiful, but I'd still love to hear your take on it.

Eric
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 02.14.2004 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I should have listed Top Secret!, as well as Secretary, which is one of the best movies I've seen in the past couple of years. I should have also probably included Lebowski, Hudsucker and O Brother, but I didn't want a list of Coen movies. And,yeah, I'd definitely consider Buckaroo Banzai a comedy -- one, sadly, I want to like more than I actually do.
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Rob Vaux
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PostPosted: 02.20.2004 5:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
Rob, I've heard all the moral arguments opposing Life Is Beautiful, but I'd still love to hear your take on it.


Sorry for the delay, I was marshalling my bile. :)

My main argument is less against making light of the Holocaust than BENIGNI making light of the Holocaust. I find him remarkably unfunny and while certainly that's a highly subjective opinion, it's more than just that. Because he's a comedian, and willing to make himself look foolish for a laugh, he cleverly disguises the fact that his ego is just enormous. Monstrous. Grotesque. This is a man who thought he could replace Peter Sellers in the Pink Panther films. This is a man who thought he could play Pinocchio at age 50. His cringe-worthy display at the Oscars only compounded what was already a fatal case of narcissism. And when you look at what it does to this film, the results are just unwatchable. Every frame was an exercise in self-indulgence ? to his clever ideas, to how funny he could be, to Nicholetta Braschi and the little boy staring at him with open, adoring eyes. His muggings and pratfalls were intended to evoke Chaplin or Keaton, and he was clearly in love with the idea that this cemented his legacy by their side. I don't think the film served any purpose other than that, and the fact that I found his routines tired and desparate only compounded the notion.

Add that to the Holocaust argument ("gee, it's too bad all those other Jewish fathers weren't clever and funny like Roberto, or they could have saved their kids too") and it really gets evil.

Thoughts? Rebuttals?
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