No doubt the hardest list I have made with my brother, we decided to write about the movies that make us laugh. Laugh a lot.
We both write a great deal about dark, visceral, director-heavy features in our blog posts, and if you read us enough, you probably have an image in mind of us writing in a dark room by candlelight, afraid to look through the slit in our castle chambers for fear of ruining our fiendish tastes on intertextuality or some elaborate element or another. I forget myself, so I’ll leave you to guess. While Ian and I do find considerable inspiration from the gnarly and atramentous films of the past and present, we grew up watching more light-hearted and goofball features and shorts like Bob Hope and Bing Crosby movies, or Laurel & Hardy (no Three Stooges; sorry, not sorry).
Ian will warn you too, but my choices for this list follow no pattern whatsoever. It was hard for me to boil down my choices to only ten. There have been so many movies that have made me laugh my ass off when they weren’t meant to…Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid (1969) is a good example, or Con Air (1997). Is the infamous The Room (2003) a comedy? Nay, verily. Is it funny? Painfully so. For that reason, Ian and I agreed we should only list movies that were intentionally created as a comedy…so we’re not including movies that were unintentionally so, i.e., Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966) or The Wicker Man (2006).
I personally had an additional hard time organizing the top ten. I’m still hesitant to share this post because I’m sure I would change the order slightly, or put one of the honorable mentions in the top ten, etc., etc. But I’m just going to suck it up, share it, and reap whatever comes of it.
Please don’t forget to check out Ian’s blog here. He’s significantly more articulate than me. I’m a lot more cut and dry.
Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
Road to Utopia (1945)
My Favorite Brunette (1947)
Tropic Thunder (2008)
Blues Brothers (1980)
The Pink Panther (2006)
Hot Fuzz (2007)
Get Smart (2008)
Father Goose (1964)
The Muppet Movie (1979)
We’re The Millers (2013)
10. A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
An undeservingly underappreciated British-American comedy. I wouldn’t call the writing as genius, but John Cleese (and co-writer/co-director Charles Crichton) deliver a painfully funny movie that has me hurting in spasmic laughter from beginning to end. Love the entire cast in this piece, with Kevin Kline’s performance of the super-ego Otto stealing the show, I will be able to watch this movie for years and still laugh at the same jokes over and over again. And I mean, c’mon–how many movies can credit for being so funny that a movie-goer actually died laughing from watching it.
Favorite Line: “You pompous, stuck-up, snot-nosed, English, giant, twerp, scumbag, f***-face, d***head, a**hole!”
Ian’s Pick: The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)
9. RED (2010)
RED‘s pure hilarity is made up by the veteran cast. I personally thought it was marketed as a big-budget action film, but it easily outshines its counterparts with its wit and style. I imagine it is what The Expendables (2010) was meant to be; a joyful ride–yet an unexpectedly funny one! Also, there is something incredibly satisfying to see Dame Helen Mirren let loose and be so damn funny.
Favorite Line: “You cannot trust the system! I told you when you’re in the system, they switch the flip and you’re done. Man, satellites, cell phones, chips, net, the web, the dentist…”
Ian’s Pick: The Muppet Movie (1979)
8. The Court Jester (1955)
One of the original genre spoofs, The Court Jester is a looked over gem that sits in the shadows of 1950s comedy classics like Roman Holiday (1953), Sabrina (1954), and Abbot and Costello movies. Danny Kaye is at his tongue-twisting best, along with a solid supporting cast, witty script, and swashbuckling-goofs galore. It severely deserves a spot on Top 10 Comedies lists’.
Favorite Line: (Easily the entire vessel with the pestle conversation)
Ian’s Pick: Mean Girls (2004)
7. The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)
You probably would never have expected to see this Disney film on a comedy list–let alone a Top 10 list. Audiences and critics have labeled The Emperor’s New Groove as a forgettable work by the animation studio–but how can I forget how many times it has made me laugh non-stop from beginning to end? I admit, it’s a goofy cartoon–but so much so that it will have you rolling on the floor in laughter, if you allow it. If nothing else, it gave us one of the greatest villain/henchmen partnership EVER: Yzma and Kronk.
Favorite Line: “Pull the lever, Kronk!” [Kronk pulls lever and Yzma falls into pit] “Wrong lever!”
Ian’s Pick: RED (2010)
6. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
Writer/Director Shane Black is no newcomer to buddy comedies. With action-comedies like Lethal Weapon (1987) and The Nice Guys (2016), and even Iron Man 3 (2013) under his belt, he can pretty much turn anything into some unimaginable hoopla. The two greatest strengths of KKBB: Downy and Kilmer’s remarkable pair-up, and Black’s writing–neither of which could have existed without the other for this film. The movie is wrapped up in a bow of witty fast-talk and gunplay, topped off with ridiculous situations and far-fetched schemes that make you either groan or cover your eyes in shame. I can’t get enough of the scene partnered with the line: “Where….is….the girl!?”
Favorite Line: “Where….is….the girl!?”
Ian’s Pick: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)
5. Blazing Saddles (1974)
Originally received mixed reviews, Blazing Saddles has branded itself a comedy classic over the years. An enormous guilty-pleasure of a film, the low-brow humor makes up the yuks you may (or may never) pass on to your friends, or your kids. With borderline offensive jokes and gags forty years after its release, it’s easy to find reasons to say you don’t like Blazing Saddles–but so many more reasons to watch and laugh your butt off. Love Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Harvey Korman, and adore Madeline Kahn in this movie. Blazing Saddles is a gleefully off-color spoof of the Western genre, and a definite watch for laugh-out-loud comedies.
Favorite Line: (There are so many!!!, but…) “…I must have killed more men than Cecil B. DeMille.”
Ian’s Pick: Groundhog Day (1993)
4. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Out of this list, Monty Python and the Holy Grail has probably the greatest legacy. Unquestionably one of the greatest nonsense movies of all time, the silliness is none-stop from the opening credits to the abrupt end. Low brow? Absolutely. But you need a certain level of intelligence to better “get” the stupidity portrayed onscreen.
Favorite Line: (The back and forth between King Arthur and the Black Knight at the bridge)
Ian’s Pick: Way Out West (1937)/Sons of the Desert (1933)
3. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)
This odd-couple comedy is so good is sneaks up on you without you consciously realizing it. Michael Caine and Steve Martin have such astonishingly great chemistry in the movie I am honestly surprised that they never become a comedy duo for another film or two. Under the watchful eye of director and former Muppeter Frank Oz, DRS keeps a light tone while delivering a wink-and-smile feel throughout.
Favorite Line: “Ruprecht!”
Ian’s Pick: Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
2. Way Out West (1937)
A classic Laurel & Hardy film, featuring most of their famous gags while simultaneously showcasing the pair at the ultimate high-point of their long partnership. I’m piggybacking a ton of what Ian has to say for our favorite comedy duo, but there is not one scene with the two of them in Way Out West that isn’t funny. I struggled to place this or their other recognizable movie Sons of the Desert (1933) on my radar, but ultimately, I will remember this one for longer.
Favorite Line: “This is another nice mess you’ve gotten me into.”
Ian’s Pick: The Court Jester (1955)
1. Young Frankenstein (1974)
If you paid attention, you saw I already wrote Blazing Saddles into my Top 10 list, so you more than likely figured I at least had a quantum-level appreciation for Mel Brooks’ other famous comedy, didn’t you? Well, not just admiration. In fact, I’d go as far as to calling it the funniest movie of all time (*wincing as I type that sentence). Made with clear affection for the original movie it spoofs, Young Frankenstein was made to laugh your heart out. There’s a sentence from a review on IMDb by gbrumburgh that I absolutely agree with: “Mel Brooks’ parodies are like your favorite, worn-out couch. You know it’s not the greatest in style, taste and quality, but it just feels so damn comfortable”. The movie feels more like a team effort than merely Brooks’ next parody. With co-writer Gene Wilder at the forefront of the acting troupe, we’re led down the familiar steps of the Frankenstein story to a place dripping in comedy goo (poor choice of words). With highlight performances from Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle, Cloris Leachman, Madeline Kahn, Teri Garr, Kenneth Mars–even the unrecognizable Gene Hackman comes to ham up the screen for five minutes! The movie is far from flawless…but that adds to the ridiculousness of the comedy. Having probably seen this film 20+ times, it still leaves me in stitches. Way too many one-liners to pick a number one, but I’ll concede for the sake of continuity.
Favorite Line: “Stay close to the candles. The staircase can be treacherous.”
Ian’s Pick: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
Ian and I are planning on doing more posts this coming year, so please come back and visit both our blogs in 2018. Cheers!