TOP 5: Comedies

DANIEL’S FAVORITES

5. Superbad


This movie is a guilty pleasure for me. You either like this movie or you don’t. If you’ve seen this movie and like it, then you know what I mean. The characters are surprisingly endearing, and the movie is so much fun to quote. Yes, the objectionable content is through the roof, but so are the laughs. The movie follows three seniors in their last days of high school as they strive to fit in and take one last stab at winning the girl of their dreams. The resulting escapades amount to the best Judd Apatow film to date. If you don’t like this kind of humor, stay as far away from this movie as possible.

Evan: Stay calm, okay? Let’s not lose our heads. It’s… it’s a fine ID; it’ll… it’s gonna work. It’s passable, okay? This isn’t terrible. I mean, it’s up to you, Fogell. This guy is either gonna think ‘Here’s another kid with a fake ID’ or ‘Here’s McLovin, a 25 year-old Hawaiian organ donor’. Okay? So what’s it gonna be?
Fogell: I am Mclovin!

4. Liar Liar


Jim Carrey is the master of modern physical comedy,  and Liar Liar is the best example why. The movie essentially relies on one joke: when his son’s birthday wish comes true, a workaholic lawyer is unable to lie for 24 hours. Nevertheless, hilarity abounds from beginning to end, all thanks to the endless amount of energy Carrey brings to his role. Take, for example, the scene where Carrey tries to tell the prosecuting attorney his made up defense. Carrey’s facial contortions, muscular strains, and overwhelming frustration make us believe it is truly physically impossible for him to lie. The film was directed by Tom Shadyac, who also directed Jim Carrey in Ace Ventura and Bruce Almighty. In this author’s humble opinion, this is Carrey at the top of his game.

Cop: You know why I pulled you over?
Fletcher: Depends on how long you were following me!
Cop: Why don’t we just take it from the top?
Fletcher: Here goes: I sped. I followed too closely. I ran a stop sign. I almost hit a Chevy. I sped some more. I failed to yield at a crosswalk. I changed lanes at the intersection. I changed lanes without signaling while running a red light and SPEEDING!
Cop: Is that all?
Fletcher: No… I have unpaid parking tickets.

3. In Bruges

When a hitman botches a job and kills an innocent bystanding child, he must flee with his partner in crime to Bruges, the well-preserved medieval city in all of Belgium.  Comedy gold, right? In Bruges is a perfect example of a film that falls into more than one genre. It is a perfect of raw human emotion and side-splitting comedy. Colin Farrell gives his best performance as Ray, a man stricken with grief after murdering a child, but acts like a child himself. He’s in one of the most beautiful cities in all the world, but all he can do is pout and complain about being stuck in a boring city with his stoic friend Ken, played by the always-wonderful Brendan Gleeson. The movie also stars Ralph Fiennes as an eccentric mob boss. There isn’t a dull moment in the entire film, and I recommend it to any film lover.

Ray: A lot of midgets tend to kill themselves. A disproportionate amount, actually.

2. Bringing Up Baby

Comedic gold. Directed by Howard Hawks, this movie features Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn at their best. The movie follows the two as they struggle to take care of a leopard in Connecticut. Hilarity ensues.

David: The man who marries you is going to have a lifetime of misery!

1. The Big Lebowski

Only in a Coen Brothers comedy could a stoner, eccentric Vietnam war veteran, a group of nihilists, a feminist, and a billionaire with a trophy wife cross paths and give birth to one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. This movie, which features my personal favorite performance by Jeff Bridges, has so many great lines and is suprisingly multi-layered. It may take two or three viewings to get its humor, but that’s only because there’s no other movie like it. The Dude abides.

Dude: Let me explain something to you. I’m not Mr. Lebowski. You’re Mr. Lebowski. I’m The Dude. So that’s what you call me.


JOSEPH’S FAVORITES

5. A Fish Called Wanda

 

With a few more viewings, I can see this moving up a slot or two in the coming years. It’s a hilarious crime comedy with A-game performances from Kline (who won an Oscar for his role), Cleese (who wrote the movie), Curtis, and Palin. A Fish Called Wanda is funny, smart, and has one of my favorite parallel montages put to film.

Ken: Otto t-t-tried to k-k-kiss me.
Wanda: I thought he might.

4. The Apartment


The Apartment is border-line comedy to be sure, but it deserves to be in the genre. Written and directed by Billy Wilder, The Apartment is proof that you don’t have to write comedies and dramas separate from each other. Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine play opposite each other perfectly, and Fred MacMurray again plays the ‘villain’ for Wilder.

Margie: ‘Twas the night before Christmas and all throughout he house, not a creature was stirring…nothing’…no action…dullsville!

3. Duck Soup

 

A comedy list of mine would be incomplete without the Marx Brothers. The machine gun zingers from Groucho, the unrelenting puns, and the slapstick duo of Harpo and Chico make this a must-see.

Rufus: I got a mind to join a lib and beat you over the head with it.

2. Monty Python and the Holy Grail

 

There’s a goldmine of comedy across the pond, and a lot of it comes from the messed up minds of the Monty Python troupe. Holy Grail should have an award for memorable quotes by people who haven’t even seen the movie. It’s totally absurd, episodic, and joyfully scales the fourth wall. Llamas.

Sir Bedevere: What makes you think she’s a witch?
Peasant: Well, she turned me into a newt!
Sir Bedevere: A newt?
Peasant:  … I got better.

1. Raising Arizona

 

This is a movie that I instantly fell in love with. The Coen Brothers know how to write an engaging, humorous story, and have a knack for surrounding themselves with just the right talent for their characters. This is my favorite performance by Nicholas Cage, who should return to more comedic roles in the future.

Evelle: These [balloons] blow up into funny shapes and all?
Grocer: Well no…unless round is funny.

Weekend Warrior: Horrible Bosses and Zookeeper

Horrible Bosses
Directed by: Seth Gordon
Written by: Michael Markowitz / John Francis Daley / Jonathan M. Goldstein
Starring: Jason Bateman / Charlie Day / Jason Sudeikis

The Consensus: At 74% from Rotten Tomatoes and a 58 from Meta CriticHorrible Bosses is the freshest mainstream movie we’ve had in a while. With Seth Gordon (The King of Kong) at the helm, and a wealth of talented, funny actors, it looks like it could be a really fun film. But after seeing the trailer repeatedly and noticing the plethora of writers on board, once has to wonder.

Negative Take:

Warner Bros. and New Line’s attempt to find out exactly where the bottom is for R-rated comedy these days results in Horrible Bosses, which probably isn’t horrible enough to excite younger viewers and will certainly not attract anyone else. Well, check that: The movie has a glittery cast that makes you wonder about the dynamics between actors and their representation, but that’s subject for somebody else’s head-shaking think piece. For a reviewer, the lameness of the gags and dialogue and the film’s frequent deep dives for the bottom at the expense of real comedy speak to desperation in Hollywood to figure out the audience for contemporary naughty comedy.

Kirk Honeycutt (Hollywood Reporter)

Positive Take:

Although the premise is far-fetched and the plot at times ridiculous, there’s enough comedic firepower in Seth Gordon’s film to carry you over the rough patches. With a cast that includes Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Kevin Spacey and Colin Farrell, all of whom can be really funny, the laughs aren’t a surprise. What may be, to the uninitiated, is that Charlie Day, so great in TV’s “It’s Always Funny in Philadelphia,” is the funniest of the bunch.

Bill Goodykoontz (AZCentral)

 


Zookeeper
Directed by: Frank Coraci
Written by: Nick Bakay / Rock Reuben / Kevin James / Jay Scherick / David Ronn
Starring: Kevin James / Rosario Dawson / Leslie Bibb

The Consensus: With a rotten 13% from Rotten Tomatoes and a 33 from Meta Critic, Zookeeper is definitely the one to avoid this weekend.

Negative Take:

“Zookeeper” is a children’s comedy about talking animals that feels as if it were written by children or, perhaps, by talking animals.

Which isn’t bad if you’re under 8. Even then, though, this wacky family movie is split between “Dr. Dolittle”-like chattering critters and a Kevin James slapstick relationship comedy.

Joe Neumaier (New York Daily News)

Positive Take:

Look, a great movie this is not. A pleasant summer entertainment it is. I think it can play for all ages in a family audience, it’s clever to have the animals advising humans on their behavioral strategies, and besides, I’m getting a teensy bit exhausted by cute little animated animals. The creatures in this zoo all have the excellent taste to be in 2D.

Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times)

 

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