The A to Z Write-Off --- The Best Comedies of all timeMay 27, 2005 (Updated May 30, 2005) Write an essay on this topic.
The Bottom Line Movies are a dime a dozen, but the truly funny ones stick with for a long time after the credits have rolled.
My own take on the latest Write-Off by romasuave
The trick is to name a movie starting with the first letter of each letter of the alphabet. I decided to go with comedy as my genre, and the best comedy of each letter as I went. So here we have a bunch of great choices for great comedies and I hope that you enjoy them :)
A- Army of Darkness (1993) -- Sam Raimi wrote and Directed the third movie in the Evil Dead series. Ash Williams (played by Bruce Campbell), returns to do battle in the year 1300. Having been sent back in time, he must help save a civilization from an army of the dead, and find the Necronomicon (a book), in order to learn how to get back home. The movie is as cheesy as they come, but so cheesy in a good way, that it is memorable not just for the story, but for the character's dialogue, and how he deals with each situation that comes his way.
B- Big Lebowski (The) (1998) -- Written and Directed by the infamous Coen brothers, we have a story here with many, many levels. Failing to look past the initial joke can be the downfall of a viewer, because the comedy is simply genius in this film. It follows Jeff Bridges as "The Dude" who is mistaken for another, much richer, Lebowski. Befriended by John Goodman, and Steve Buscemi, this movie is a lesson in subtle humor. The jokes are interplayed in the plot, not relying on making sure you know it is supposed to be funny, but rather letting you figure it out yourself. Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Turturro, Tara Reid, and Julianne Moore also star as characters within this film. To fully understand how funny this movie is, you may even have to watch it a second time.
C- Clerks (1994) -- Kevin Smith brought us the first big-screen introduction of characters that would spawn several more movies and a television series. A day in the lives of two convenience store clerks is shown, using a lot of depth for the characters, and involving everyone around them. Though the premise seems a little flat at first, the movie does a great job at providing various types of humor for its viewers. Along the way we are introduced to Jay and Silent Bob, and many other characters that we would hear from again. Shot in black-and-white, this film shows that a low budget film can still turn out to be very successful, and very funny.
D- Dogma (1999) -- Another film by Kevin Smith, Dogma follows a descendant of Christ who must realize who she is, in order to save everything we know. At the same time, two angels, played by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, are trying to prove that they can do anything they want on Earth, and still be accepted by God. The loophole that they have discovered could end the Earth, and Linda Fiorentino is the only one who can stop it. Along the way, she picks up a group of people that will help her quest; Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Chris Rock, and Salma Hayek are all along for the journey to help this mission succeed. There are a ton of funny scenes in the movie, and the intent is really to show that nobody knows what comes next in life, and that we need to live our best, now.
E- Election (1999) -- Election is a dark comedy about a high school election which one girl will stop at nothing to win. Reese Witherspoon plays Tracy Flick, who thinks that the ultimate point to her life, is to become the President of her senior class. She isn't very nice, but tries to play up to people in order to get their votes. Her advisor (Matthew Broderick), however, doesn't think she should get the job and he enlists another student (Chris Klein), to run against her. From there a lot of dark humor is used to relate the characters to the story, and tell exactly what they are thinking at any given moment. The movie works, only because it doesn't take itself too seriously, and the audience must make sure to not do that either.
F- Fletch (1985) -- Chevy Chase starred in the first film of a Los Angeles journalist who does any and everything to get the great story. That can involve going undercover, or solving a crime himself just to get to the bottom of something. The comedy in the film is great, as Chase changes outfits more times than the Batman franchise has changed actors. Slapstick at times works for Chase here, but it is more that we believe that he really is this character that makes the movie work so well for him. It was no wonder that there would be a sequel, because this one leaves everyone laughing out loud.
G - Grumpy Old Men (1993) -- Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau star as feuding friends who have been at it for years. They take pride in making the other person miserable, and it is the audience that benefits from their actions. It is hilarious to see just how these two cranky old men deal with each other, and the situation gets even worse when Ann-Margret moves in across the street from them. There are several scenes in the film that are just too funny for words, including the fish tossed in the back of Matthau's truck. In fact even the opening credits are funny as the song "Heat Wave" is played while we are shown a snow-storm has hit their small town. Funny throughout, it was great to see that comedy isn't always relying on slapstick, but on well thought out stories that are just very funny.
H- Happy Gilmore (1996) -- What comedy list would be complete without an Adam Sandler movie? With Happy Gilmore we have his best and funniest film that I have seen. Gilmore (played by Sandler) must take up golf to help earn enough money to save his Grandmother's home from being destroyed. To do so, he must harness his temper, win over the girl, and turn into a world-class golfer in the span of the film. Starting out as a hockey player, he is powerfully strong, and thus is able hit golfballs a long distance as well. Quotes from this movie are all over the place, as Sandler presents us a comedy classic. Want some? O.k. "Are you to good for your home?" "Just tap it in... Just tap it in... Tap tap taparoooo"
I- Incredibles (The) (2004) -- Another blockbuster from the people are Pixar Studios, The Incredibles is about a family of super-heroes that must cope with living their lives as normal people. With powers being banned from use, they must pass as normal citizens, and not give away their secret identities. Superheroes are now shunned, and they are being discriminated against simply because they have powers a normal person wouldn't have. The family must come together as a plot to kill off all superheroes springs to life, and we get to see the whole family jump into action. The film is very funny as it shows the family try to at first hide their powers, and then in turn, try to use them for the good of us all. The Incredibles is just the latest in a line of great movies from Pixar.
J- Jerry Maguire (1996) -- With the team of Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding Jr., we get to see how the inner working of sports agent/superstar athlete work. Cruise is so very funny at his roll, but I think it is because he has Gooding to bounce all of the lines off of. This is a romantic comedy, with Rene Zelwegger starring as the object of Jerry's affections, and the only person that is standing by him through a rough patch of life. The quality of the writing for this film was top notch, and even if you found yourself not liking one of the actors, the script carried this film all the way to the end. With a great supporting cast, and a lot to work with, this is one of the better films for both the lead actor's careers. It even became award winning for Gooding.
K- Kindergarten Cop (1990) -- Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as Detective John Kimble who must take over teaching a kindergarten class when his partner falls ill. Being a tough-guy in charge of little kids is funny enough, but with Arnold, we actually see a different and more innocent side to his character. The film works because of the delicate balance between his two facades, and the interactions he has with the children are almost as funny as they are cute. The combination really works, and this is one of those films that appeals to everyone, because it ties in the action to an emotional attachment with all of the characters involved.
L- Life Less Ordinary (A) -- Ewan McGragor and Cameron Diaz star in this independent film about a janitor who has had enough, and his going to make his boss pay. His plans fall apart, and he ends up kidnapping the daughter of the boss. Ewan plays the kidnapper, and Cameron plays the kidnapee. What starts out as a crime gone wrong, turns into a love story, and little do the two main characters know, but they have people running around trying to get them together. Both actors are very funny in these roles, and their chemistry together is top-notch in the film. This is really one that has slipped through the cracks, and I am proud to say that it is in my collection at home.
M- Money Pit (1986) --The Money Pit came out way back in 1986. This was way before Tom Hanks became the hugely successful actor that he is today. But, this movie helped to show him off on the comedic aspect of things. He stars as one-half of a couple that has decided they need to move into a bigger and better house in order to start up a family. Shelley Long plays his wife in the film. The problem is that there are not many homes that the couple can afford. So, of course they are looking for help wherever they can find it. The help, as can be predicted, comes from a lonely old con artist who wants to sell them a mansion for an extremely low price. The only catch is that they have to move into the house very soon if they want to enjoy the great deal. This is where everything starts to go wrong for the couple. Nothing works right with the house, and the comedy comes out when everything starts to go wrong. Through all of the high-class humor and house building, Hanks shines in a role that made him famous.
N- National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989) -- Chevy Chase stars in what I feel is the best of all of his National Lampoon Vacation movies. This one is less of a vacation, and more of a family gathering at his house for Christmas. Chase is great as the father who can't seem to do anything right, but has faith that his Christmas bonus this year will get the family the new pool they have always wanted. Randy Quaid stars as his wife's brother, who drives in a RV housing his entire family for the holidays. The whole family is funny to watch as the movie progresses, and there are constant funny moments that make this a treat for every Christmas. Also, just a tip, keep the cat away from the Christmas lights.
O- Office Space (1999) -- By now, this movie has really been overplayed on television, and the jokes have become knowledge to everyone, but the fact remains that this was one very hilarious movie. Depicting just how dreary an office setting can be, it looks at one man, who really has had enough of the corporate world, and just doesn't care anymore. The company workers all hate their jobs, and they strike out to make the "man" pay for everything they hate about their jobs. The funniest part of the entire movie is a man that has been fired, but has yet to receive the memo, so is thus continuing to come in to work day after day. This movies truly shows everything that is bad about working in an office, and turns it all into one big funny joke. By the way, where is my stapler?
P- Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987) -- Steve Martin and John Candy star in this film about two men traveling across country to get home for the holidays. Martin is a businessman, and Candy is a salesman, and they have been thrust together in the unlikeliest of circumstances, always crossing paths, until eventually they decide to travel together. This is one of the funniest movies I have seen, as everything goes wrong on their trip, until the point that both men want to just break down and cry. With all of the jokes and the comedic elements, the film even ends great with a lesson in how people should look out for one another. Martin and Candy are simply at their best in this film, and it is another one that can be watched over and over, and still remain funny.
Q- Quigley Down Under (1990) -- Mostly a drama, this film featuring Tom Selleck does have its own brand of humor at times, that ends up leading to more dramatic moments later on in the film. Basically about a gun-man for hire, Quigly tells the story of a man (Selleck) who is hired to go to Australia. When he gets there, he discovers that the intent is to have him kill all of the people inhabiting the area. Only later does he redeem himself, by turning against the very people that hired him in the first place. Comedic parts are the only reason that this movie was put here, because Q is not a funny movie letter to begin with.
R- Raising Arizona (1987) -- The Coen Brothers brought us another great story about a couple who cannot have children, and decide that they are going to steal one from a woman that has just had quintuplets. Because they won't miss just one right? Well the entire scenario is played out in a very funny fashion by the two main characters played by Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter. The two new parents don't know a thing about raising children, so the comedy comes in as they try to care for a child while being on the run. It doesn't seem very funny in concept, but on the screen the Coen brothers did a great job to turn the story so that we actually want the two kidnappers to succeed.
S- Strange Brew (1983) -- Who said Canadians aren't funny? Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas show that even North of the border, hilarity can be shown that works just as well for us Americans. Two people down on their luck, end up helping a woman who has been left a brewery from her now dead father. Two teams of crazy hockey players and an odd brew master stand in her way, and in their way of helping her. The problem being that the beer the company is producing will have ill effects on whomever drinks it, and out team of Canadians must stop it from hitting the market. The film is so funny at times, that it starts to hurt to laugh, and you cannot wait to see what the next joke is. There is non-stop fun to be had with this film, and this team of Rick and Dave was excellent.
T- Toy Story (1998) -- Starring the voices of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, Toy Story is a Pixar cartoon about the lives that toys live when people are not watching. The story is about a new, more advanced toy, coming into a house where a child's favorite toy had always been a cowboy doll named Woody. Fearing he is being replaced, he is at first mad at the new Buzz Light-year toy, who is more flashing light than substance. The toys all go on an adventure good enough to be live action, and with these two comedic geniuses at the helm, the movie just gets funnier and funnier as it progresses. It was so good in fact, that there was a sequel, and I have recently heard talk that a third could be coming soon.
U- Uncle Buck (1989) -- John Candy has always been a great actor, and he shows another funny side as an Uncle to children whose parents must leave town suddenly. Never being one that did well with responsibility, being in charge of children is nobodies idea of normal. As their last choice, Uncle Buck is put in charge of the kids, and many, many funny scenes involving his parenting skills are put on display. He was always great in rolls that seemed off for his character, and this is just one more example of how funny of an actor he was.
V- Van Wilder (2002) -- Though it does have its funny parts, Van Wilder mostly makes this list, because there are not a lot of comedies which have started with V, and which I have also found to be funny. A lot of the humor in this film is crude, and some parts, like the children drinking weren't funny to me at all. But, the film on a whole, has a lot of funny parts about a 7-year college student who is finally being financially "cut-off" from his dad's money. Tara Reid stars as the love interest in this National Lampoon film that shows yet another funny side of college life.
W- What About Bob? (1991) -- What About Bob is a hilarious film Directed by Frank Oz, and starring Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss. Dreyfuss plays a doctor, who eventually loses his own mind after a patient (Murray) returns for help, and instead drives Dreyfuss insane. Bob had been considered a friend of the family, but when Dreyfuss and his family just want to get away for a while, Bob has dependency issues, and tracks them down to seek company and assistance. It is funny to see that the person who is insane, really is in the eye of the beholder, and Oz does a great job of making a very difficult topic come off as being extremely hilarious. This is one of those films that just sticks with you for a long time, and is funny to watch again.
X- XXX (2002) -- Though a stretch to call this one a comedy, there are parts of XXX that were very funny. Vin Deisel stars as a new agent that Samuel L. Jackson's character has recruited to go deep undercover for the Government. He is a new breed of secret agent, and he does well at getting the job done. His rough ways lead to a lot of humorous moments, and his interactions with Jackson that include many jokes make this a good film, and the best possible comedy starting with the letter X. ;)
Y- Young Einstein (1988) -- A very goofy and very offbeat comedy, Young Einstein is not your typical successful comedy. Instead it tries to show how funny science can be, and how out-of-touch people that are as smart as Einstein could be in the streets. Showing him at a younger age, the film depicts him more as a rock-star than a scientist, and there a several moments where funny jokes spring forth. Not a great movie by any means, this movie did have some funny parts to it.
Z- Zoolander (2001) -- Ben Stiller strikes again, but this time as a male model in what he claims to be the hardest job out there. He and a fellow competitor model (Owen Wilson) must overcome being brainwashed to kill the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Will Ferrell is great as the bad-guy in this film, and there are many funny scenes involving Owen, Stiller, and Christine Taylor. The film doesn't really have any range at all, but there are moments that you can't held yourself but laugh at what the characters are going through on the screen.
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