Are there any good comedies out there?

tap2I guess I was sufing Netflix and I was let down by the lack of choices I haven’t seen.  Mostly, there are a hell of a lot of crappy spoof movies.  Recently, it’s been spoof movies by the Wayan brothers that have gotten on my nerves.  Over the years, Marlon Wayans has weighed in with such crap as Haunted House, Haunted House 2, and all his crappy Scary Movie entrees.  Shawn Wayans hasn’t done much better, with crap like White Chicks in 2004, Little Man, and Dance Flick, which I haven’t seen.  It sounds awful though.  Leslie Nielson and Chevy Chase have long since retired, so I’m pretty much out of options for good comedies.

chevyI guess with spoof movies at the bottom, the next best comedy subgenre is either crappy teen comedies or romantic comedies.  I haven’t seen one of those in a while, and I could only think of Clueless or Groundhog Day as an example, but that’s not really a true romantic comedy.  Crap like The Englishman or Bridget Jones’ Diary I’m not even touching.

I guess my favorite comedies are satires or sarcastic dark comedies like Clerks.  Those take real acting effort, I should think.  Anybody can trip and fall, though there’s something to be said for Chevy Chase falling off a roof in Christmas Vacation.  I think the group dynamic is something that helps a comedy out and something like that makes movies like Anchorman or Ghostbusters really funny.  It doesn’t hurt they are both written well.

My top ten comedies:

10.  Shaun of the Dead (2004) – This spoof and lambasting of zombie movies sneaks on my list after I railed on spoof movies for two paragraphs.  Oh well.  This movie shows how funny Simon Pegg really is when he has good dialogue.  The man can deliver a line.  That’s why this movie works.  Also, he has good chemistry with his friends.  I think this movie came at a good time too, back when zombies at the theatre were more popular and you could get away with lampooning such a niche genre.

9.  Spaceballs (1987) – I guess this is a spoof movie too so I really don’t know what I’m talking about.  Honestly, this is a lampooning like Shaun of the Dead, except of science fiction, specifically Star Wars.  It loosely recreates Star Wars in funny ways and it has a great pair of main characters, just like Shaun of the Dead.  No wonder these two movies work so well.  It goes a little over-the-top, but that’s how these movies are.  I also like Robin Hood, Men in Tights, which is pretty much the same type of movie, but uses the Robin Hood legend instead of Star Wars for a subject.

8.  Clerks (1984) – Clerks is a situational dark comedy, I guess, about retail workers.  Kevin Smith and his pals work at a tiny convenience store and dream of better things.  They get involved in the usual stuff friends might get into, and it’s sorta follows the tone of Seinfeld, where it’s really about nothing.  I like the sarcasm.

7.  Beverly Hills Cop (1984)  – There are a few Eddie Murphy films I like, but Beverly Hills Cop is probably the best one.  Bronson Pinchot shows up in the most memorable of scenes that everybody used to quote all the time.  I even like  Eddie’s car.

6.  Groundhog Day (1993) – I guess this is technically a romantic comedy, but it has enough other stuff for me to enjoy it.  It’s just not about the back and forth between guy and girl, like in When Harry Met Sally, which I hate.  It has a good story and even a lesson for the main character, Phil.  This is one of the better Bill Murray comedies I remember watching in the theatre.

5.  This is Spinal Tap (1984) – This mockumentary is friggin hilarious.  It really is.  It feels like the whole thing is done with improv, that’s how natural it feels.  I can’t even believe it.  Some of the dialogue is just perfect, as one of the guitarists describes an amp that turns up to eleven.  Rob Reiner plays it like a straight-man to the band’s comedy and it works.  Classic.

4.  Anchorman (2004) – Anchorman feels like a throwback comedy and Will Ferrell is way, way, way over-the-top, I don’t care what anyone says.  I think that’s why it’s funny, though.  Unlike most comedies, this one was generally accepted by critics.  It could maybe use a little trimming, but it is still funny.

3.  Ghostbusters (1984) – Holy cow, a lot of good comedies came out in 1984, didn’t they?  I think I need to come into the modern age, but it’s just a given that Ghostbusters is on a top list of comedies, isn’t it?  I think this movie has the most quotable lines I’ve ever heard.  Bill Murray again shows why he belongs in comedy and he’s joined by a strong cast.  And this movie is on TV all the time.  It’s not because nobody watches it.

2.  Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) – Monty Python is a slapstick, farce comedy group and this feels like one of their skits brought to life on the big screen.  It has a lot of sarcasm and dry wit.  There are so many one-liners, it’s just crazy.  The whole thing just works, except maybe the end, but even that fits the style and it’s chuckle-worthy.

  1.  National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) – Although only good around Christmas time, this movie is my personal favorite comedy of all time.  This was back when Chevy Chase was still relevant and in some good movies.  Yes, he had…a couple.  I guess Fletch and the original Vacation are good movies, but Christmas Vacation tops them both with scenes reminding us why stupid families are so funny.