A few weeks ago JessB mentioned she had seen a list of the 100 greatest comedies (I think it was Bravo's list) and that it was pretty lacking. The full list can be seen here, in Manroom Magazine
, and no, I didn't just make up Manroom Magazine, it actually exists.
At the time a few of us remarked that although constructing a definitive list would be difficult, we could come up with 100 that were, on average, much better than the Bravo list and even the fancy important AFI list
So I am issuing two challenges:
- To all Unsought Input writers: I am seeking your input to a list of the greatest comedies. Write a follow-up post with some of your picks.
- To all UnsoughtInput readers: give us suggestions and critique our choices in the comments section.
- They have to be filmy, theater-style movies. No short films, made-for-TV movies, etc.
- They don't have to be American like the AFI list, but they do have to have actually played somewhere in the U.S. at some point, available on DVD, etc. Art house is fair game, but "screened at Professor Lindski's seminar class on Polish cinema of the 1920s and 1940s" is not.
This won't be easy. Comedy is very subjective, and we're not even going to further constrain the judging criteria by asking for the "funniest" or the "most biting social satire."
To get us started, I'll throw out a few picks of my own. Here are ten movies I would put on the list, in no order. I'm sure I can come up with more. We'll decide on the final list through a scientific process of bickering.
Waiting for Guffman
(1996) - In my opinion, this is the best of the Christopher Guest mocumentaries, even though Spinal Tap was more influential and A Mighty Wind and Best In Show both made more money.
(1974) - Nothing is funnier than racism. Hey, where the white women at?
(1984) - When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child, and I loved Ghostbusters. When I became a man, I put aside childish things, yet I still think Ghostbusters is a brilliant movie. I think Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis just disproved the Bible.
(1941) - A film producer sees the suffering of his fellow man and decides to abandon his comedies and make a moving film about the plight of the poor. Eventually he discovers that escapist entertainment really is valuable. Although it might seem like the film ends on a high note, I've always thought it was ambiguous - the protagonist learns this while watching cartoons with fellow inmates in a starkly-lit scene filled with exaggerated, haggard laughter. I put this one in to show I'm more cultured than you.
Rumble in the Bronx
(1995) - For all the Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton on other lists, I can't understand why Jackie Chan never gets any love. He is the best physical comedian alive and has incredible timing. This movie has the perfect intersection of these talents, vague ideas about American culture, and poor dubbing. Watch Jackie fight the most ethnically diverse gang in the history of New York City:
Being John Malkovich
(1999) - A movie about a puppeteer and a sweaty portal into an actor's head. In my opinion the chase scene through Malkovich's subconscious is the best chase scene filmed.
(1998) - I liked The Royal Tenenbaums and Bottle Rocket, but I think this is the best Wes Anderson film. Co-written by Owen Wilson. I can't think of a comedy that makes better use of music, or better use of Bill Murray.
(1991) - I've enjoyed a number of anime movies and series, but I tend to find comedic anime somewhat tiresome. Perverts trying to obtain panties... nerds getting embarrassing nosebleeds around women... women stumbling in such a way that you see their panties, causing said nosebleeds... it's only funny so many times. Roujin Z, on the other hand, is sort of a parody of the giant robot / mecha genre of anime that takes jabs at how modern society treats the elderly.
What's Up, Tiger Lily?
(1966) - I was really considering not mentioning any Woody Allen movies because they fill up everyone else's lists faster than a page fills an Congressman's heart with lust. So out of spite I am recommending What's Up, Tiger Lily?, one of the few Woody Allen movies that doesn't show up on any lists and the only Woody Allen movie to make me actually laugh out loud.
Shaun of the Dead
(2004) - This movie manages to reference every zombie movie ever made, get you really interested in the characters, kill off almost all the characters, and still be as funny as hell. Seriously, if you are ever really looking to kill some time, read the IMDb trivia page
for the references to other movies.
There we go - ten movies to start us out. Now post more of the best comedies and get bickering!