TOP 20 GREATEST COMEDIES OF ALL TIME!
Let’s have fun with this post, eh? I wasn’t really in the mood to sit down and crank out a deeply-rooted, mind-bending post tonight. Due to the fact that I kinda guzzled a Mt. Dew recently and cannot seem to stop blinking…I feel kinda punchy and find myself giggling at the silliest things these past few minutes. (Like, for instance, someone dropped something outside in my subdivision, and the cat jumped really high. But, that’s not exactly what made me laugh. It was the look of shear disgust he had on his face afterwards. Dude…he was mad. Hilarious.)
So, I thought I would throw out my top 20 favorite comedies of all time! You have to understand, before I even attempt this, I’m basing my list on a standard rule. Does it make me laugh, and do I want to see it again when I need a “good laugh.” That’s my criteria. Plot, actors’ performance, etc… none of these matter to me right now. Simply…does it make me laugh.
20. MODERN TIMES – Vintage Charlie Chaplin at his very best. While this isn’t how a lot of people would like to start off a BEST OF…list, I’m going to have to defend this black-n-white semi-silent film. This film has a brilliantly simple storyline that is executed with charm, style and grace by the world’s finest clown. If you’ve never seen this film…it is wildly funny, and has a hidden tragic inner-lining. Favorite Moments include the “feeding machine” (just look at his facial expressions!) and the roller-skating department store scene. Rumor has it that he did that scene in ONE take, and that was a real hole in the ground, and there wasn’t any safety net. (Chaplin had the reputation for being a smidge crazy.) Good stuff.
19. ZOOLANDER - I love Ben Stiller. In my opinion, he one of the hardest working men in comedy today. He takes his craft very seriously and always manages to deliver. There are several Stiller films that could walk onto this list, but Zoolander has to be my favorite. *cough cough* “I think I have the black lung.”
18. COMING TO AMERICA - Let me just say that Eddie Murphy isn’t really the comedic actor that he was. He’s kinda like Mike Myers…loved his stuff when he first was getting big. But now that he’s HUGE…don’t like him so much. Luckily, this movie came out on the heels of his Saturday Night Live stint, and it’s GOLDEN. Rich guy becomes poor, poor guy becomes rich. Two grumpy old men. This also featured the first Multi-Murphy scene where he played several characters. This is also the funniest movie I’ve ever seen James Earl Jones featured in. “Darn shame what they did to that dog.”
17. L.A. STORY - First and foremost. Steve Martin is a genius. There, I said it. This is a GREAT movie about L.A. in the early 90’s and the stereotypes that come along with being a Californian. Absolute favorite line: “So, I hear you’re studying the art of conversation?” …..”Yes.”
16. SHAUN OF THE DEAD – In light of the fact that I don’t care much for horror movies, (Ok, I despise them, really) this would also count as probably my favorite horror movie too. But, let me just say that there are some moments in this film that are not only laugh out loud funny, but amazingly clever. Reoccurring bits that are brought up with perfection JUST when you think they were dead. ……Like a zombie!
15. THE JERK - I’ve already said Steve Martin was a genius. But this solo effort at the very beginning of his film career is probably the craziest…silliest movie I’ve seen starring Martin. While there are a few moments that should have wound up on the editing room floor in my opinion, (it drags), when he grabs that dog and carries it in front of him because he’s naked…I almost wet myself.
14. DUMB & DUMBER – Ok, if anyone argues with this, I’m afraid we’re going to have to resort to fisticuffs. This is, by far, Jim Carrey at his best. Forget the solid acting efforts…forget IN LIVING COLOR…this is gold. Jeff Daniels and Carrey should be working as a team in every movie they do. While over-the-top in every way, and highly one-dimensional in structure…it makes me laugh EVERY TIME. I love watching the OTHER actors in the scenes with Carrey. You can seen a hint of “DEAR GOD, DON’T LAUGH!!!” in their eyes, every time they have t remain serious in a scene with Carrey.
13. A CHRISTMAS STORY – This movie gets a nod because this is my Christmas tradition. If Ted Turner ever stops his yearly 24-hours of “Christmas Story” on Christmas Eve, I think I’ll protest. For the past 10 years, my wife and I have been chanting “you’ll shoot your eye out” and running around the house acting like Randy. (Weee! A Zeppelin!)
12. PEE-WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE – I know Paul Reubens got into trouble a long time ago. He was a naughty boy. But, an actor’s personal life never really got in the way of my enjoying their work on screen. This is a predictable, silly, colorful fun-house ride. Unforgettable scenes…an innocent storyline…and I always in myself quoting this movie for about three months after I watch it. “…IN THE BASEMENT!”
11. FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF - When you look up classic move in the dictionary…there is a picture of Matthew Broderick singing danke shane. (sp?) I was in class the other day talking with my high schoolers about…eh, something, I don’t remember….and I referenced Ferris Bueller. They didn’t know what I was talking about. I almost lost it. I couldn’t believe it. Mr. Rooney!!! Grace!!! Cameron!!! JEANIE!!!! Needless to say, I assigned it for homework.
10. THREE AMIGOS – Ok, this film features my favorite villain. Alfonso Arau is a highly under appreciated actor. El Guapo is so hilarious, I imitate him every time I truly get angry. “Plethora” alone is a stand-by word in my vocabulary, just in case I need to emphasize something. Chevy Chase is another one of those guys who, in his hay day, was amazing, but faded fast. Christmas Vacation barely missed making it onto my list, so I’ll tip my hat to him for that, but the collaboration between Chase, Martin and Short…dude, it’s crazy funny. “My little buttercup, I–love–you!”
9. MONTY PYTHON & THE HOLY GRAIL – Obvious choice, right? A best of list of ANY kind cannot be passed by without Monty Python at least getting mentioned. (That includes BEST CHOREOGRAPHY, BEST FINE DINING SIDE DISHES and BEST WORST SCENE.) British people are funny….there silly ways of talking and stuff. They say silly things…and fall down a lot. And then when the do it together in armor….very much ha-ha.
8. OSCAR – Here’s where I’m going to have to do some explaining. I LOVE this movie, mainly because I like situation comedy a lot. I also like word play and quick dialogue. (That’s why I can’t watch movies in the movie theaters anymore. Everything has become such a social event, nobody wants to listen to a movie.) This has some STELLAR dialogue, hilarious situations, and it is presented in real-time, which I love. Stallone is at his VERY BEST in my opinion. Tim Curry, Chaz Palminteri (before he got skinny), Peter Reigert (before he got chubby)….amazing cast!
7. CLUE – Call it a plug for the play my wife is directing this year, or not. I don’t care. I wouldn’t spend two years working out kinks and adapting a screenplay for the stage if I didn’t think it was worthy of high praise. This is a crazy funny movie with an all-star cast of some of the funniest people in the history of movies. (Madeleine Kahn, Martin Mull, Christopher Lloyd, Tim Curry…to name a few.) A smidge grainy…and the editing is poor (the post-production voice-overs are SOOOOO noticeable and annoying) but whatever. I love the screenplay, and it builds upon an already solid game board foundation that everyone was anxious to get a little elaboration on. “Oui, oui mad’am.” “No, I just want to powder my nose.”
6. THE PRINCESS BRIDE - This movie is funny. But, I like it chiefly because I find myself getting lost in the movie every time I watch it. Do you know what I mean? Ok, here’s an example…I’ll be at the dining room table grading papers, and if I shuffle thru the television stations to simply see what’s on…if I catch this movie playing…the world stops and I have to watch it to completion. It’s a fun, silly movie….with heart.
5. BEST IN SHOW – Christopher Guest is simply amazing at what he does. There are several movies of his I could add to this list, but out of all of them, I like this phony documentary the best. This is another example of AMAZING ENSEMBLE. Fred Williard should be paid as an actor by the word. Everything that guy says is hilarious.
4. SPACEBALLS – Raunchy…sure. Stupid…oh, yes. Weak plot…”what plot?” It’s a high budget, Mel Brooks-a-thon. It’s like someone gave him millions of dollars, a week to write a script…and said “now go!” Its unbridled, reckless silliness. I love it, I love it, I love it. John Candy is his own best friend…plain yougurt….and Dot Matrix. I mean, sure it could have been pieced together at a film school frat party for kicks and giggles, but it seems to work. And if you asked me, it was a huge risk throwing something like that out there. But, it remains a cult-classic! Brooks is either a genius…or a wacko!
3. YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN – Yet another Mel Brooks classic. This story is great, but the true joy in this film (and quite frankly, the reason it’s so high on my list) is because of Gene Wilder. What a gift to the screen. He’s probably the world’s best straight-faced comedic actor. While I’m not a huge fan of Teri Garr’s, I do think she’s brilliant in this film too. What “Frankenstein” might lack in recklessness (compaired to “Spaceballs”), it picks up in substance. This is Brook’s finest screeenplay in my opinion.
2. CADDYSHACK – Where do I start? This is a diamond in the rough. This is one of the MOST QUOTED movie of all time. I say lines from this movie daily. It has a weak plot, and some of the jokes are totally obvious, but who cares! Ted Knight is amazing in the film…Bill Murray is a wonderfully loveable character…and you find yourself rooting for the underdog in the end. (You really don’t know why…but you do.) I even like the fact that the girl that plays Meggy is SUCH a terrible actress. I even find THAT funny.
1. GHOSTBUSTERS – Some of you old school movie critics may say “but I would define this as a full-blown comedy.” Fair enough. But, this movie is great on so many levels. It’s a respectable special effects movie (especially in its time), it features an amazing ensemble, the script is hilarious, the pacing is perfect….I mean, I could go on and on. While the story is a smidge “whatever”…it remains my favorite comedy of all time. I’ve probably seen Ghostbusters a million times. Another highly quotable movie for me. It the type of movie, that YEARS later when I’m sitting on my couch watching the movie on TV, I’m thinking to myself, “I wonder i these guys KNEW what they were making, when they were making it.” It’s just legendary. Legendary.
Well, that’s it. I would highly recommend you catching these films if you haven’t already. I would also love to hear your opinions. Did I miss one that should certainly be on the list? Am I nuts? You tell me. I’d love to hear your top 20 as well.
Some movies that just barely didn’t make it on the list, but worth mentioning:
- Noises Off
- Planes, Trains and Automobiles
- The Birdcage
- The Producers (the original)
- Hear No Evil…Speak No Evil
- Blazing Saddles
- Police Academy Movies (I’m a sucker.)
Blessings to you all until next time!