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.

Academy Awards Predictions: Part 1

The following are my tentative predictions for the 2009 Academy Awards.

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Best Picture
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
*I’m being pretty risky with my picks this year, with the Slumdog train constantly picking up momentum, but this was such an incredible film. And winning would help make up for Zodiac not receiving one nomination last year.

Best Director
David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
*Even if Slumdog manages to take best picture over Button, Fincher still deserves the best director award. (Did I mention that Zodiac didn’t receive on enomination last year?)

Best Screenplay (Adapted)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Eric Roth)
*From what I’ve heard (Planning on reading the short story soon), Roth’s adaptation took the story to a whole nother level. It definitely has it’s Forrest Gump influences, but it’s still a great story.

Best Screenplay (Original)
In Bruges (Martin McDonagh)
*There’s a lot of good competition this year, so it’s a hard call to make. Relative newcomer McDonagh wrote a mighty fine script. The underdog award goes to him.

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Best Actor
Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)
*Just watch The Wrestler, already.

Best Actress
Kate Winslet (The Reader)
*I admit that I haven’t seen The Reader yet, but I plan doing so before the ceremony. Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep also have a decent chance here as well.

Best Supporting Actor
Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
*Especially in a year where there isn’t much competition in the supporting actor award (Why is Josh Brolin in there?), this is a lock.

Best Supporting Actress
Penélope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)
*Again, haven’t seen it, but it should be coming in via NetFlix today. I wouldn’t mind seeing Amy Adams or Marisa Tomei taking the award, either.

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Best Animated Feature
WALL-E
*Grade A work from Pixar, from start to finish.

Best Documentary Feature
Man on Wire
*Totally took my breath away; kicking myself that I didn’t see this in the theater when I had the chance. It is nice to see Herzog nominated as well, though it’s not one of his best films. I still have to see the other three nominations.

Best Foreign Language Feature
Waltz With Bashir
*I’m picking this solely on the buzz. I haven’t seen any of the films in this category yet.

I’ll continue with the technical awards at a later date…

NetFlix Update

1. Be Kind Rewind (Dir. Michel Gondry)

Why Did You Pick That?

I love Gondry’s films and the preview for the film was awesome.

2. The Station Agent (Dir. Thomas McCarthy)

Why Did You Pick That?

I’ve heard about this one for years. I actually picked it up at the library once, but the disc was unplayable. I recently heard about next film, The Visitor, so my interest was piqued again.

3. In Bruges (Dir. Martin McDonagh)

Why Did You Pick That?

Rave reviews from many different sources. It just sounds like something I don’t want to miss.


DVD Releases 6/24

I don’t do this kind of post often, but there are a lot of films coming out this Tuesday that I’m interested in. And since I’m not being paid,I don’t have to talk about crap like this.

1. The Spiderwick Chronicles
Why? I saw this in the theater and loved it. Much more original and fun than it looked.

2. In Bruges
Why? A plethora of positive reviews.

3. Persepolis
Why? Any film that challenges Pixar deserves to be watched.

4. Charlie Bartlett
Why? The preview was cool, and I haven’t seen Anton Yelchin in anything.

5. Definitely, Maybe
Why? I don’t know. It looks fun yet smart, and got a good rating on IMDb.