Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Funniest Movies

I've seen a lot of comedies in my lifetime. Some were droll while others were retarded. Some were insightful while others were bizarre. Some were romantic while others were British. And some were brilliant while others were so bad they were funny. All of these were humorous in there own way (well some were pretty bad) and for different reasons, but only a handful do I recognize as being downright the most hilarious movies ever made. If you haven't already seen them, then it is your duty this summer to remedy the situation.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

I've already reviewed this movie previously and you can read that here, but if you're too lazy to do that then suffice to say that this movie is the more quotable than The Godfather and every scene is a classic. Monty Python is arguable the greatest comedy troupe of all time and nowhere is this more apparent than in Holy Grail.

Best Lines Taken out of Context:
"When danger reared its ugly head, he bravely turned his tail and fled. "
"Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries."
"Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony."

Blazing Saddles

Mel Brooks has made a lot of funny movies, but I find this one to be his most memorable and most hilarious. Essentially it's a spoof of westerns, but you don't need to be familiar with the genre to appreciate the humour. There are plenty of sight gags, one liners, and enough slapstick to keep anyone entertained. But the biggest laughs come from the jokes that break the fourth wall. Which are incredibly frequent. In fact Blazing Saddles took one look at the fourth wall and told it to fuck off. Not to give anything away, but the film ends with a massive brawl that consumes an entire Hollywood lot, and nobody seems concerned with this at all. In fact the characters seem aware that they are characters in a movie. Also this film gets a tip of the hat for most bold and innovative use of the word, "Nigger."

Best Lines Taken out of Context:
"Mungo only pawn in game of life."
"Tell me schatze, is it twue what they say about the way you people are... gifted? (zip) Oh, it's twue. It's twue. It's twue, it's twue."
"As honorary chairman of the welcoming committee, it's my privilege to present a laurel and hearty handshake to our new... nigger."


This movie has more jokes packed into it than any other movie I've seen in my life. It would not be an exaggeration to say that there is at least one joke every five seconds. It's like a non-stop barrage of craziness. The best part is their fondness for wordplay. It's hard to describe exactly how they do it. Often they take what a person has to say literally (It's a completely different kind of flying, altogether). Or twist around words to give them new meaning (like the famous "stop calling me Shirley" line). Sometimes they just order words in a certain way that make sense in context, but sound weird when you consider what it is they're actually saying (like the Hamm and Mayo line quoted below). Suffice to say they're very clever about it, and you'll probably miss a few the first time around, especially when you're distracted by all the sight gags, fourth wall breaking, and other jokes going on. What I am trying to say is: watch it twice.

Best Lines Taken out of Context:
"Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue."
"Joey, have you ever been in a Turkish prison?"
"Alright, give me Hamm on 5, hold the Mayo."

This Is Spinal Tap

Dubbed as being a "mockumentary" This Is Spinal Tap follows the misadventures of a washed-up British rock band as they tour the USA in a documentary-style fashion. Unlike the previous entries on this list, the characters in this film play it straight, as if their lives weren't laughably ridiculous. They say and do the dumbest things, but remain as oblivious to their own stupidity as they do to their own failure. In a way its tragic. But in a more important way its hilarious. So hilarious that when I first saw it, I actually rolled off the couch laughing. Only like maybe ten other things have made me do that in my whole life. And most of those involve Zach saying something retarded. My point is, this movie is really funny.

Best Lines Taken out of Context:
"I think the problem may have been that there was a Stonehenge monument on the stage that was in danger of being crushed by a dwarf. That tended to understate the hugeness of the object."
"You can't really dust for vomit."
"It's like, how much more black can this be? and the answer is none. None more black."

Dr. Strangelove

Who would have guessed that a man who named his blog after Dr. Strangelove, would rank it as one of his all time favourite comedies (in fact I'd go so far as to say that it's my all time favourite movie)? This film is played so straight you might almost mistake it for a tense drama. Which is unsurprising given its content. The Cold War and the ever-growing threat of nuclear annihilation are hardly fodder for comedy, but Dr. Strangelove takes these dire situations and serious issues and reveals the sheer absurdity of it all. It takes a nuclear holocaust, puts on a little Vera Lynn music, and laughs in its face. Of course the whole joke would fall apart if everything wasn't convincing, and the director, Stanley Kubrick, pays careful attention to detail to make sure everything is just that. How convincing was it? When Reagan was elected president he asked to see The War Room, which as it turns out exists only the film (perhaps that's a bad example though, I don't have much faith in the intellectual capacity of a man who named his nuclear defense program after Star Wars). The set for the bomber startled the air force with its accuracy. This attention to detail allows the actors to say ridiculous things and act/react in equally bizarre ways and come off as being completely serious, as if this were completely normal.
The end effect: If you are ever in doubt as to what satire is, just watch Dr. Strangelove. There is no better example.

Best Lines Taken out of Context:
"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here. This is the War Room!"
"I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids."
"Mr. President, I am not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Uh, depending on the breaks."

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