A Comedy Tonight!
Comedies Worth Watching

Throughout my lifetime, I've had the pleasure of watching many films.  My first review page on this Web Site was on the Horror and Science Fiction films I've watched over the years.  I started with this genre, because I've been into these types of films of late.  Now I'm ready to write about my favorite comedies of all time.

This page has taken me a long time to get motivated into writing.  I find that I would rather be watching all these movies than writing about them.  Visitor comments are at the bottom of this page.

Following are my absolute favorite comedies:

Groundhog Day with Bill Murray, directed by Harold Ramis, is my favorite comedy of all time (with Caddyshack a very close second).  This movie will make you laugh and if you let your guard down, it can almost make you cry, a little (well at least inside if not outside).  Anyway a man would never admit that a movie could affect his emotions so!  Andie MacDowell and Chris Elliott are anchorman Bill Murray's assistants on his coverage of Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.  The town is full of "small town hicks", as "Phil Conners" calls them.  Murray's character is both arrogant and self-centered as a news reporter.  If you think it would touch you to see such a man become caring and loving in a 24 hour period, which is repeated over and over with humor in every other line, then . . .  All I can say about this movie is "do it over and over and over until you figure it out and start getting it right."

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World is absolutely the largest comedy production ever made.  The ALL STAR cast was directed by Stanley Kramer and included everybody who was anybody in comedy in 1963.  The cast included Spencer Tracy, Milton Berle, Jonathan Winters, Buddy Hackett, Sid Caesar, Phil Silvers, Mickey Rooney, Peter Falk, Dick Shawn, Ethel Merman, Buster Keaton, Jimmy Durante, Edie Adams, Dorothy Provine, Terry-Thomas, William Demarest, and Andy Devine.  This movie is a masterpiece.  If you have not seen it (2 hours and 34 minutes long), go find a copy and rent it immediately.  Find out what made all these comedians masters in their own times.

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark is an entertaining farce.   Making the people of a small conservative community look very prudish.  Elvira is as loose as a goose, and that is putting it mildly.  She is so much into herself and so naive that it is almost beyond belief.  I love this movie.  Cassandra Peterson plays the part of Elvira and you don't get to see her face in the movie until you actually adjust your eyeballs and look up at her face.  She has some unique attributes, to say the least about the most!
 


Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery is a movie which could have featured the President of the United States (William Jefferson Blythe Clinton) as the main character.  Austin Powers thinks he is God's gift to women.  He is so self-centered and focused on sex that he is not even able to conceive of a woman rejecting him.  Mike Myers is "groovy, baby".  And Dr. Evil (also played by Mike Myers) is equally as focused on evil.  Mike Myers finally found his character after missing in Wayne's World (in my opinion).

Beverly Hills Ninja is a hilarious movie by the late Chris Farley.  How can a man be pathetic, pitiful and funny at the same time?  You'll have to watch this delightful movie to see his character for yourself.

Naked Gun, Naked Gun 2-1/2 and Naked Gun 33-1/3 make a very funny trio with Leslie Nielsen.

National Lampoon's:  Vacation, European VacationVegas Vacation and Christmas Vacation, with Chevy Chase is full of funny moments.  Randy Quaid is especially funny in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  This is a family Christmas classic with our family.  We laugh from the time the movie starts to the time it finishes.  One-liners galore.

Do not miss two great Bob Hope classics in The Paleface (with Bob Hope and Jane Russell . . . boy what a pair!) and My Favorite Brunette with Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour, Peter Lorre and Lon Chaney, Jr.  If you are younger and don't understand why Bob Hope is so popular with the older folks, see these two movies.  They do not look outdated to this very day.  These two movies have lifted me out of many a depression.  I use them like crutches.  I recently began enjoying Son of Paleface (the sequel to The Paleface).  Besides Hope and Russell (still quite a pair), it also stars Roy Rogers and his horse Trigger.  If you grew up on Roy Rogers & Dale Evans, then you will get an extra charge out of seeing Roy and Trigger perform their stunts and tricks.  Maybe even better than the first pairing of the two.

Trading Places is another one of my all time favorites.  The movie stars Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd.  Don't forget a cute Jamie Lee Curtis.  If the reader has not yet watched this movie, you have a real treat in store for you if you go out and rent it.

There's Something About Mary is full of funny scenes.  The movie does push the envelope on subject matters to be discussed on the screen and may make some families uncomfortable viewing it together.

"Here's the story of a lovely lady . . .who was bringing up three very lovely girls" . . .Brady Bunch Movie and A Very Brady Sequel make fun of the Bradys living in today's modern world.  But a closer viewing will show that this ideal family is actually normal and the rest of the world is screwed up.  Both movies are full of nostalgia for those who long for the old TV programs which teach morality and virtues.  These two movies, although hilarious in each scene, show how far we have drifted.

This is Spinal Tap is the movie that most readers are not going to be at all familiar with.  It is a cult classic directed by Rob Reiner which presents itself as a serious Rock-umentary about a British rock group touring the United States.  They think they are great, but their fan turnouts are very small and they never quite figure out that they are not going anywhere.  This movie pokes fun at so many things about rock music and rock music artists.  Yet the actors who played the band love rock music. I actually like the parody songs.  Such songs as "Hell Hole", "Big Bottom", "Sex Farm", "Cups and Cakes", "Stonehenge" (watch out Jethro Tull) and "Listen to the Flower People".  It is definitely a sleeper and is one of my favorite comedies.

Now that I've taken care of my absolute favorite comedies,
I'll get a little more scientific
and bring in some other people's opinions.

I will begin by listing the comedies listed on the American Film Institute's (AFI) 100 Greatest Movies in 1998's poll of 1,500 leaders of the American movie community:
#6 was The Wizard of Oz.  This movie, although a children's classic is actually, in my opinion, a comedy as well as a musical.  If you can't chuckle while watching this great movie, I would suggest you make an appointment with a doctor and have your funny bone examined.  #7 was The Graduate.  The Graduate was the first film I remember seeing Dustin Hoffman act.  It is one of the funniest films ever made, mainly because it is about very serious matters to a young man fresh out of college, being thrown into a sexual situation with an older woman, which ends up tempting him beyond his better sense.  Later, he falls in love with the woman's daughter and the rest is easy to visualize.  This movie is a must for the person who somehow missed seeing it to this point in his or her life.  It is full of mature situations, but then so is life.  Anne Bancroft and Katharine Ross act out great performances as the mother and daughter.  One word:  "Plastics".

#14 listed was Some Like It Hot.  I don't remember ever seeing this movie with Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis.  I will have to rent it sometime soon to see why my rating books gave it such a high rating and why the AFI put it in such a high position on their list.  (I have since watched Some Like It Hot and do see that it is a funny movie.)  #26 was Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.  I've watched this film 3 or 4 times in my life.  Directed by Stanley Kubrick, this film is very funny, with an all-star cast of Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Slim Pickens (hilariously riding the bomb dropped from the airplane at the end of the movie), Keenan Wynn and a young James Earl Jones.  Everyone should see this movie at least once.

#35 was It Happened One Night with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert.  This 1934 light comedy was the only film to capture all the major Academy Awards.  This movie was put together quickly, so Claudette Colbert could go to the set of Cleopatra.  It was a magic display of talent on the screen and as they say, "the rest was history!"  Rent it as soon as you can.  #56 was M*A*S*H and the movie inspired a long running Television series.  There are many funny moments in this classic movie.  #62 is Tootsie.  This was an early Dustin Hoffman movie, where he showed his talent for acting.  The concept was redone later in the movie Mrs. Doubtfire with Robin Williams going into drag as a woman. Mrs. Doubtfire is also an enjoyable flick.

#71 is Forrest Gump.  Tom Hanks did an outstanding job in this funny movie.  See my Letter #36 for my review of this great film.  #74 was The Gold Rush.  This old 1925 movie with Charlie Chaplin is so funny and shows the viewer why Chaplin was the early King of Comedy.  Movies like The Gold Rush will be missed by the younger generation, if they are not prone to go searching for the classics.  This lack of inquisitiveness is such a loss on their part.

#77 American Graffiti is a good film.  I have never been wild about it, but I have seen it about 4 times and enjoy it each time I watch it.  Great Rock and Roll sound track and situations that confront young people are all throughout this "lively" movie.  Look for a young Harrison Ford driving "the strip" in this film which inspired the Happy Days T.V. series.  #81 is another Charlie Chaplin movie entitled Modern Times.  The scene of Charlie trying to keep up with his factory machinery was remade with Lucille Ball trying to keep up with the chocolates in one of her T.V. episodes.  The Chaplin scene in Modern Times is just as hilarious if not funnier.

#85 is Duck Soup with the Marx Brothers.  Duck Soup is considered the greatest classic of the Marx Brothers, even though, at the time, it failed miserably at the box office.  Although they had many funny movies, I still favor their movie A Night at the Opera.  If you only take the time to watch one Marx Brothers movie, make A Night at the Opera your choice.  If you don't think it is hilarious, then don't bother renting any of their other movies.  Bringing Up Baby was the AFI #97 choice on their Top 100 Greatest Movies List.  This 5 Star movie was a Howard Hawk's film that put Cary Grant with Katherine Hepburn together on the big screen.  Katherine is a daffy rich girl to Cary's absent minded professor role and although I've only seen this movie one time that I remember, it is well worth watching.

Now, I will list the ten films that are on a very popular poster which can be seen hanging in college dorms around the country.  On the poster are quotations from these 10 movies. Below is an alphabetical listing of the 10 movies:

(National Lampoon's) Animal House
Blazing Saddles
The Blues Brothers
Caddyshack
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Fletch
Sixteen Candles
Stripes
Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Of these 10 movies, I rate 3 of them as exceptional. Caddyshack is without a doubt, in most comedy lovers minds, the greatest quotable comedy ever made.  I would have to create an entire Website to do this classic the full justice it deserves.  Let me just say, that it is one of the only movies I could watch 7 days in a row without getting tired of it.  In other words, I would look forward to each and every scene in this hilarious movie which does such a great job of displaying every type of character anyone is ever likely to run into in life:  "the average guys", "the idiots", "the arrogant snobs", "the ladies of loose virtues", "the self-centered people", and on and on.  Display of so many of life's characters is the magic formula that makes this an all time favorite of so many.

The Blues Brothers is also in a league of it's own.  I could also watch this movie over and over.  John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd will give the viewer laugh after laugh in this classic.  The first time I watched this movie, I was not that impressed.  I did not have the capacity to appreciate all that this flick had to offer.  I have since developed a lot of capacity to appreciate such great movies as The Blues Brothers.  Director John Landis scored high marks in my book with this movie.  Speaking of John Landis, National Lampoon's Animal House is another very funny movie from the above 10 quotable poster movies.  I would be ashamed to say how many times I have watched this funny film.  Again John Belushi, who's life was cut short from his reckless lifestyle, is a hoot in this flick.  This movie is so popular, I really don't need to say any more about it in this one page review of comedy films.

To mention the other 7 movies on this poster, I'll just rate them in the order I would choose to watch them.  They are all funny, but I like the ones at the top of this rating better than the ones at the bottom:  Blazing Saddles, Sixteen Candles, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Fletch, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and Stripes.  Blazing Saddles is just one of a long list of funny Mel Brooks films, which are all worth watching.  My favorite Brooks movies in addition to Blazing Saddles are (in alphabetical order):  Producers, Robin Hood:  Men in Tights, Spaceballs, and of course--Young Frankenstein (my favorite Mel Brooks film).  Igor:  "Well they were wrong then, weren't they!"  In Sixteen Candles, Anthony Michael Hall and Molly Ringwald are superb as young kids trying to find their way in the confusing world of love and sex.  The Producers has one of the funniest song scenes I've ever seen when Dick Shawn, auditioning for the roll of Hitler in a play the producers are putting together as a "sure flop" to make money from naive investors, sings a song about love and power.  He is great in the whole film playing Hitler during the broadway play scenes.

Hall is also great in Weird Science.  This movie, with the beautiful Kelly LeBrock (who is also very charming in the movie The Woman in Red with Gene Wilder--"Don't hate me because I'm beautiful"), is full of funny scenes.  In Weird Science, two boys create ala Frankenstein fashion the "most beautiful girl imaginable" and Kelly LeBrock fits the bill when she appears on the screen.  She is available for their every whim, but they soon find out they are falling in love with real girls.  The situations that occur in this movie are precious.

Besides the Marx Brothers films, I also love Abbott and Costello films.  I especially like the ones with monsters, such as Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein and Hold that Ghost.  Lou Costello's scared facial expressions are worth the price of admission.  Lost in a Harem is also exceptionally funny.  I can set down and watch any of their movies and I greatly appreciate their brand of comedy.

When I was younger, I repeatedly watched Private Eyes, with Don Knotts and Tim Conway.  The movie puts me a lot in mind of Clue--(Clue is one of my favorite relaxing comedies).  Every line out of every mouth of Private Eyes is loaded with humor.  Knotts and Conway at their best!

Rodney Dangerfield is one of my favorite comedic actors.  His Back to School is very funny.  He keeps asking a professor to call him for a date and she keeps telling him, with her busy teaching schedule, that she has class.  So Rodney says, "Well call me when you don't have any class." Easy Money is another great Dangerfield movie.  The scene where they throw a wedding reception in his front yard squeezed in between two tight houses on either side brings me out of my chair.

I like 1941 because of the great array of actors in it.  The movie itself is considered a flop, but Belushi is hilarious in this Spielberg movie.  Other movies I enjoy are Airplane, Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, and Leap of Faith (a great Steve Martin effort about phony evangelists--in the Elmer Gantry role). Martin is also good in The Man With Two Brains where his wife is using him for his money (a familiar theme) and he cannot get her to try for children (to put it delicately)(--where a man hangs his hat is his home). Neighbors is a great Aykroyd/Belushi combo.  This movie also has some extremely funny moments with Belushi playing a straight role.  I can't believe the number of people who are not familiar with Neighbors.  It's similiar to Tom Hank's "The Burbs."

Don't overlook such old time greats as The Great Dictator with Charlie Chaplin at his best.  Court Jester with Danny Kaye is a classic comedy which shows the multitalented Kaye at his funniest (a master at double-talk).   Silver Streak is the intro to a young Richard Pryor.  Gene Wilder and Jill Clayburgh are superb in the Silver Streak.  The movie has Patrick McGoohan (The Prisoner), Ray Walston (My Favorite Martian), Ned Beatty and Richard Kiel.  Also, the music soundtrack is super.

Speaking of Pryor, his funniest movie was Which Way is Up?  Although the movie deals with some pretty explicit adult themes, like adultery, adultery and adultery, it is floor rolling funny in some parts.  It's about the price one pays for rising up in some job environments.  His marriage is shaky, but he complicates it with a lady friend on the other side of town and getting involved with a minister and his wife, after the minister gets involved with his wife.  It's too complicated to explain much more than that here.

National Lampoon's Class Reunion is a movie I enjoy occasionally, though I can't explain why.  Don't miss Bill Murray in What About Bob?  The classic Airplane continues to tickle the funny bone of people who have watched it several times.  Revenge of the Nerds is a good College Movie and makes you appreciate nerds, . . . not!  I like Peggy Sue Got Married. I get chills when she wakes up in the past during her childhood days in high school.   Nicholas Cage showed in this movie that he would be recognized some day for his acting ability.  Also, look for Jim Carey in a small role as one of Cage's high school band members.

Kingpin with Woody Harrelson and Randy Quaid is a very funny movie.  Don't miss Overboard with one of my favorite male actors, Kurt Russell, and his charming companion, Goldie Hawn Russell.  Spy Hard is a great spoof of James Bond movies with Leslie Nielson--a laugh a minute.  Also, "Weird Al" Yankovich does the opening song for Spy Hard.  Yankovich is a hoot in his own right.  I Thought Tommy Boy was Farley's funniest movie until I saw Beverly Hills Ninja (mentioned above).
 
 
 


Every once in a while, I have to watch the six PINK PANTHER entries of the humor of the great comedian Peter Sellers:  Pink Panther (1964), Shot In the Dark (1964), Return of the Pink Panther (1975), The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976), Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978), and Trail of the Pink Panther (1982).  Sellers found his character in the French Inspector Clouseau.  The original Pink Panther introduces him as a side character and then he was featured in the other five; even with the last one being patched together in the last half of the movie with past scenes due to the actual death of Peter Sellers before completion of the film.  His visit to the nudist colony in Shot In the Dark is carefully handled with great effect--being funny without showing any actual nudity!  Revenge is considered by some as the top entry, followed by Shot and Return.  I enjoy his interview of the potential killers in Strikes Again.

I'll end this review page by naming five off-beat comedies that I would not even suggest anyone else would like, but I enjoy all five of them.  The movies are UHF with "Weird Al" Yankovich, Adventures of Ford Fairlane with Andrew Dice Clay, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (Natalie Wood, Robert Culp, Elliott Gould and Dyan Cannon) . . . (funny, funny, funny), Cold Turkey with Dick Van Dyke about a whole town trying to stop smoking at once for a grand prize from one of the cigarette companies (Bob Newhart is excellent as a cigarette company man trying to get people to break the community pact after he offers the challenge, thinking no community could come together for such an accomplishment).  The last movie I will list here is Heathers.  This movie is totally surreal.  I do not even recommend it, but I do see a lot of humor in.  The humor is what is known as "black comedy".  Not for everybody!

RECENT COMEDIES . . .

Oh, and Adam Sandler in The Wedding Singer is exceptionally funny.  I would highly recommend this movie, although I am not a big Sandler fan, he is funny here.  Office Space is very funny, characterizing various types of office workers and bosses.  Another comedy that I enjoy is Night At the Roxbury.  Haddaway's catchy song "What Is Love" is played throughout this movie, with three of the Saturday Night Live Cast members turning a TV skit into a movie.  It is a very funny movie and I get as much of a kick out of watching it as any recently made comedy.

Meet the Parents is a fun movie to watch on each viewing.  Robert De Niro as an over-protective parent is so serious, he is a laugh a minute.  The Whole Nine Yards is also a recent funny movie with one of my favorite actors, Bruce Willis, as a hit man with twists and complications thoughout the whole nine yards.  You never seem to guess where the plot is going from minute to minute.

For my take on the Comedy/Musical O Brother, Where Art Thou?, go to my Musicals page and read what I think about this hilarious musical.  And speaking of the Coen Brothers (Ethan & Joel), do not miss The Big Lebowski with Jeff Bridges (as "The Dude") and John Goodman.  This movie will have you rolling on the floor.  "The Dude" is mistaken for a millionaire by the same name, Jeffrey Lebowski, and the action goes from there when he is thrown into a confusing line of events that usually go along with mistaken identity plots.  This is one you will have to watch over and over to enjoy it more and more.

Go out and rent some of these comedies and laugh your head off!

There is a good chance I'm watching one right now as you read these words.

Visitor Comments . . .

"I don't know if you are still maintaining the page (this comedy page) but if you are I have three comments about it.  The first is that it is a very informative and well written page (the well written is quite unusual in today's internet world.  I sometimes wonder if people even know how to use spell checkers anymore).  The second comment is that I believe that the third naked gun movie was 33 1/3 rather than 3 1/3 (thanks, I corrected this immediately).  The third is ... where is Real Genius?  Has nobody in the world seen this movie staring a young Val Kilmer?  If they had I think I would have seen it in the top 10 ... *sigh* the good ones always go un-noticed ... much like This is spinal tap (truly a sleeper waiting to awaken)"--3/28/01, name & email address withheld for privacy

Comedies listed on this page



1941
Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein
Adventures of Ford Fairlane
Airplane
American Graffiti
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
Back to School
Beverly Hills Ninja
Big Lebowski, The
Blazing Saddles
Blues Brothers, The
Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice
Brady Bunch Movie
Bringing Up Baby 
Caddyshack
Christmas Vacation
Clue
Cold Turkey
Court Jester
Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid
Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Duck Soup
Easy Money
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
European Vacation
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Fletch
Forrest Gump
Gold Rush, The
Graduate, The
Great Dictator, The
Groundhog Day
Heathers
Hold that Ghost
It Happened One Night
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
Kingpin
Leap of Faith
Lost in a Harem
M*A*S*H
Man With Two Brains, The
Meet the Parents
Modern Times
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Mrs. Doubtfire
My Favorite Brunette
Naked Gun
Naked Gun 2-1/2
Naked Gun 33-1/3
National Lampoon's Animal House
National Lampoon's Class Reunion
National Lampoon's:  Vacation
Neighbors
Night at the Opera, A
Night At the Roxbury
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Office Space
Overboard
Paleface, The
Peggy Sue Got Married
Pink Panther (1964)
Pink Panther Strikes Again, The (1976)
Private Eyes
Producers
Real Genius
Return of the Pink Panther (1975)
Revenge of the Nerds
Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978)
Robin Hood:  Men in Tights
Shot In the Dark (1964)
Silver Streak
Sixteen Candles
Some Like It Hot
Son of Paleface
Spaceballs
Spy Hard
Stripes
There's Something About Mary 
This is Spinal Tap
Tommy Boy
Tootsie
Trading Places
Trail of the Pink Panther (1982)
UHF
Very Brady Sequel, A
Wedding Singer, The
Weird Science
What About Bob?
Which Way is Up?
Whole Nine Yards, The
Wizard of Oz, The
Woman in Red, The
Young Frankenstein

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Note:  I've watched 100's of movies since I wrote
these movie review pages, but I have not kept
up with listing movies I've seen and liked in the last few years.
So, just because an old or recent movie is not listed
doesn't mean I haven't seen it or liked it.
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