Everybody knows Chaplin, and Buster Keaton hardly qualifies as “forgotten” anymore, but Harold Loyd remains obscure. And that sucks, since he is completely awesome. You could endlessly debate the merits of the three comedians, but why bother? All three are fantastically good and made enormously entertaining movies. Safety Last is simply a gem of slapstick comedy and a fantastic movie to boot.
It says something about the state of the racism debate in the US that one of the most thoughtful movies on the subject also has a minute-long fart gag. Joking aside, this is a supremely random movie, and probably Mel Brooks’ best. It’s also the the best example of the Jewish-American style of humor that doesn’t concern a certain bespectacled New Yorker.
Movies about geeks are a dime a dozen these days, but films about true losers are rare. Perhaps the lack of compassion for the failures that are its protagonists is what makes Napoleon Dynamite so hilarious: these aren’t lovable goofballs, these are full-on freaks. Well, that and Napoleons killer dance moves.
Plan 9 From Outer Space
This is the only movie that really didn’t want to end up on this list. But hot damn, does it deserve it. The funny thing is that while everything that could be bad about this is even worse, it’s impossible to hate because it’s so clearly a work of love. Watching Ed Wood beforehand is advisable, though.
A Fish Called Wanda
Every time my dad gets cut off in traffic, he shouts “Asshole!” to no-one in particular. Then he giggles. All of this years after having seen the movie for the first time. Probably the funniest thing to come from the British Isles since the Pythons were active.
Don Hertzfeldts sadistic little cartoons aren’t for everyone’s (read: sane people’s) taste, but I am simply howling with laughter if people as much as mention this fantastic little gem. It’s also the only movie on this list to win an Oscar.
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
Perhaps not the strongest thing Trey Parker and Matt Stone ever made, but since I can’t include a 14-season series you can consider this their representative entry. And what is left to say about the special brand of comedy these two guys have unleashed on the world? Perhaps only my congratulations on being completely fucking rad.
(The following to be pronounced as if you were a smoker since age 12)
In a world… where violence is the law… two hilarious Brits… will have to kick ass and eat ice cream.
But the problem is… they’re all out of ice cream.
(Cue “Village Green Preservation Society” by The Kinks)
A group of actors, all in brown cloaks and masks, stand serenely in the ruins of a Greek theatre. Slowly and rhythmically, they start their lament on the perils of motherhood: “One hopes it’s not to fill some growing void in their marriage. Leave her be. A woman’s urge to motherhood is old as the earth. Children grow up! They move out! Sometimes to ridiculous places, like Cincinnati. Or Boise, Idaho.” Welcome in the crazy world of Woody Allen.
Black Cat, White Cat
My father (and my grandparents) are from Hungary, and while I don’t feel a special relationship to Eastern Europe I have spent several vacations there since childhood. This movie is a throwback to those summers, where my sisters and I would east watermelon on the shores of the Balaton lake and listen to the weird Hungarian language without a worry in the world. Great music, too.
Agree? Disagree? Anything I missed? Let it be known in the comments!
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