Barry breaks down his favourite comedies of all time.
After talking about comedic films on Ep16 of Outta the Park, Matt the Producer recommended I blog about them. So here, in no particular order, are a few notes about my all-time favourites. I’ve included a memorable line from each. Since we have readers of all ages here, I’ve kept the quotes as close to PG as I could..
By far, the best comedy of the last 25 years. This was my first exposure to Zach Galifianakis and I loved everything about him. Mike Tyson can’t act, or sing, but he can punch and seeing him knock out Alan was classic. So many memorable characters and scenes; stealing Tyson’s tiger, a missing tooth, accidently taking roofies, finding a baby in the closet. It makes me want to watch it again now.
Stu Price: So, uh, are you sure you’re qualified to be taking care of that baby?
Alan Garner: What are you talking about? I’ve found a baby before.
Stu Price: You found a baby before? Where?
Alan Garner: Coffee Bean.
Some referred to this as the “chick flick” version of the Hangover, but let’s appreciate it for what it is. Kristen Wiig wrote and starred in this, proving to me she’s the funniest woman on the big screen right now. I also loved Rebel Wilson’s role, haven’t seen her as good since.
Brynn: I got a free tattoo. I could not believe it. The guy said, “do you want a tattoo?”, opened up the side of his van…
Brynn: …and said “it’s for free!” So I said, “sure.”
Horrible Bosses 1-2
The dirtier Jennifer Aniston is, the better, and her role as the sex addicted dentist made me a fan all over again. The chemistry between leads Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis is the driving force in this movie. Colin Farrell was very funny in part 1, while Chris Pine was equally as funny in part 2. Then there’s Kevin Spacey, who’s evil character works surprisingly well in comedy too.
Kurt Buckman: C’mon! Let’s do this! Think about Gam-Gam! Wouldn’t she want her favorite grandson to be happy?
Nick Hendricks: She wouldn’t want me to kill him.
Kurt Buckman: You gotta forget about Gam-Gam. She’s dead. Move on.
Come on, how can you not love a pot smoking, perverted teddy bear. If you are a fan of Family Guy, it’s hard not to love this. I’ve always prefered Mark Wahlberg in comedies, and then there’s Mila Kunis, who’s on my “list”. Throw in scenes at Fenway Park, and this becomes a movie I can watch over and over.
John: [calling 911] This guy took my teddy bear!
John: Hello? Hello?
This is the End
The idea of an ensemble cast, all playing exaggerated versions of themselves can go 1 of 2 ways, brilliance or a train wreck. I absolutely loved this. I only wished Michael Cera didn’t die so early on. Watching him trying to get it on with Rihanna, and getting slapped across the face was one of the highlights. So too was his death, but I don’t want to spoil too much for those who haven’t seen it yet.
Jonah Hill: “Dear God, it’s me, Jonah Hill… from Moneyball.”
40 year old Virgin
My rule of thumb with comedies is, if Paul Rudd is in it, I’m going to enjoy it. This also stars Steve Carell, before he left The Office. For some reason, all his best movies happened before he decided to do movies full-time. This was the first time I noticed just how funny Leslie Mann was. I’m also a sucker for explosive diarrhea, when used for a laugh.
Andy Stitzer: “You know what? I respect women! I love women! I respect them so much that I completely stay away from them!”
A Fish called Wanda
I’ve always loved the comedy of Monty Python and in this film, John Cleese delivers. Add in Kevin Kline’s sarcastically insulting character, along with a sexy Jamie Lee Curtis, and this movie is one I can watch anytime.
Otto: “I love robbing the English, they’re so polite.”
While some of the gags don’t resonate for me like they did when it was released in 1994, this is Jim Carrey at his zaniest. I’ve always been a Miami Dolphins fan, so Dan Marino was an added bonus.
Ace Ventura: “SHE’S NOT LOIS EINHORN!, She’s Ray Finkle, she’s a man.”
I was only 12 when this came out in 1980, so this was the comedy that set the standard for me when it came to spoofing the English language. This was also the movie that prompted me to begin my lifelong obsession with inserting movie dialogue into everyday life.
Rumack: Can you fly this plane, and land it?
Ted Striker: Surely you can’t be serious.
Rumack: I am serious… and don’t call me Shirley.
Juvenile humour at it’s best. Having sex with a pie on the kitchen table? So funny. This is the first time I’d heard the term ‘MILF’ used and it also made me wish I had attended Band Camp as a teenager. Parts 2 and 3 were much better than most comedy sequels. Even the reunion movie in 2012 was surprisingly good.
Jim’s Dad: “We’ll just tell your mother that… we ate it all.”
What’s not to love about this movie. (Matt…you listening?). If I could invent a time machine, I’d love to go back to the mid 70’s and work with Ron Burgundy. Steve Carell stole pretty much every scene he was in. Too bad they exaggerated his character too much in part 2. I’ve always been a big fan of Christina Applegate, and she was perfect as Veronica Corningstone. Too many great lines to settle for just one..so here’s a couple.
Brian Fantana: “They’ve done studies, you know. 60% of the time, it works every time.”
Ron Burgundy: “Do you really love the lamp, or are you just saying it because you saw it?”
Brick Tamland: “I love lamp. I love lamp.”
It’s sad that John Belushi left us so early in his life. This was him at his best. It’s amazing how many sports teams still use “Bluto’s” speech on the jumbotron at a key point in a game. When I was 11, my older brother hosted a toga party. At the time, I had no idea why. A few years later, I saw Animal House and it all made sense.
Bluto:” What? Over? Did you say “over”? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!”
Mike Myers is very good at developing characters and this one has many; Dr. Evil, Fat Bastard (pt2), and Goldmember (pt3). Many have attempted James Bond satires, but these 3 movies do it better than anything else I’ve seen.
Dr. Evil: You know, I have one simple request. And that is to have sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads!
Best In Show
I admit, I was late to the show discovering this gem. A friend recommended it and I’m so glad he did. I’ve loved Christopher Guest since his SNL days and he does a great job directing, by allowing so much improv from a cast that thrives on ad libbing.
Buck Laughlin: And to think that in some countries these dogs are eaten.
Beverly Hills cop 1-2
Some may not consider these comedies, but Eddie Murphy makes me laugh out loud in many scenes, so, in my mind, it’s a comedy. This was the first time I had seen Judge Reinhold since Fast Times, and he managed to steal scenes over Murphy, and that’s not easy to do.
Axel Foley: [mocking him] You’re not gonna fall for the banana in the tailpipe? It should be more natural, brother. It should flow out, like this – “Look, man, I ain’t fallin’ for no banana in my tailpipe!” See, that’s more natural for us. You been hanging out with this dude too long.
Between laughs, I kept wondering how much of this was real and how much setup, but came to the conclusion I didn’t care. Sacha Baron Cohen had me laughing at things I really shouldn’t have been. I think I cringed as much as I laughed, but I still watched it multiple times.
Borat: This suit is NOT BLACK!
No one plays the role of God like Morgan Freeman. I could listen to him read the phonebook. As a TV reporter, I could relate so much to Bruce Nolan, although I’ve never lost it during a live hit, like he did. Steve Carell delivered the loudest laughs for me. Sadly, they decided to make an entire movie on the Evan character, which was a huge mistake.
Bruce: I’m Bruce Nolan for Eyewitness News. Back to you, f@#ckers!
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Michael Caine and Steve Martin as con artists, how can you not love that? Caine’s character, as Martin’s mentor is simply brilliant. I always love movies with antics, and this one has plenty of them.
Lawrence Jamieson: Ruprecht, do you want the genital cuff?
As Matt the Producer and I talked about on Outta the Park, this delivers in so many ways, but the way Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller play off each other works so well. As does Stiller’s real life wife, Christine Taylor, whom the two
both have eyes on.
White Goodman: Are you okay?
Kate Veatch: I’m fine. I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.
White Goodman: In some cultures, they only eat vomit. I never been there, but I read about it… *in a book*.
This has become a staple in my home. It’s been a Davis family tradition since 2003 to gather on Christmas Eve to watch. If you’re a Will Ferrell fan and you have young kids, this is one you can actually let them watch…unless you’re afraid they’re going to ask for maple syrup on pasta.
Gimbel’s Manager: Why are you smiling like that?
Buddy: I just like to smile, smiling’s my favorite.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
If you watch anything Sean Penn has done over the last 20 plus years, it’s hard to believe that’s him as Jeff Spicoli. This is one of my all-time favourite characters; a surfer dude ordering a pizza to his history class? Classic. But this goes well beyond Spicoli. Judge Reinhold, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Phoebe Cates all add to this amazing cast.
Mr. Hand: Mr.Spicoli, You’re on dangerous ground here. You’re causing a major disturbance on my time.
Jeff Spicoli: I’ve been thinking about this, Mr. Hand. If I’m here and you’re here, doesn’t that make it our time? Certainly, there’s nothing wrong with a little feast on our time.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
First of all…Mila Kunis…so this film already has that going for it. It also has Judd Apatow, who knows just what comedic buttons to press. As funny as a naked Jason Segel is, Russell Brand as Aldous Snow is my favourite character in this. Oh, and I can’t forget Jonah Hill, who ends up working with Brand’s Snow again. Unfortunately Get Him to the Greek was nowhere near as good.
Matthew: I have a question for you real quick Mr S, I was actually meaning to ask you, what did you exactly think of my demo? Did you get it? Did you get it?
Aldous Snow: Oh no. I was gonna listen to that, but then I just carried on living my life.
After being convinced by Matt the Producer that this was indeed a comedy, it had to make my list. For the purpose of this writing, I’m going to focus on the comedy in the movie and, by far, the best of it was supplied by Rick Moranis. I could go on all day with memorable lines from Luis. That’s not to take anything away from Bill Murray, who’s at his sarcastic best.
Louis: So, does anybody wanna play Parcheesi?
[Vinz Clortho growls from inside the bedroom]
Louis: [grinning] Okay, who brought the dog?
National Lampoon’s Vacation
So many great characters, from Clark to Cousin Eddie, to Eugene Levy as the car salesman and John Candy as the security guard, oh and Christie Brinkley driving around in the red Ferrari. The remake with Ed Helms isn’t bad at all, but the original still holds up so well. Of all the sequels, I’d have to say Christmas Vacation is my favourite.
Clark: We pass a damn gas station every hundred yards for a thousand miles, but when you really need one, you end up walking your ass off. This is no way to run a desert!
Planes Trains and Automobiles
I sometimes think about how many great comedies we’ve been cheated out of because we lost John Candy way too soon. I would have loved to have seen Candy and Steve Martin do a bunch of movies together. The character of Del Griffith was his best. He made you laugh and he made you cry. Steve Martin, who’s usually the goofball, shows he can also play a great straight man.
Neal: And I really don’t care for the way your company left me in the middle of f#@$% nowhere with f@#^&^ keys to a f@#%# car that isn’t f%$^# there. I want a f#%$@ car RIGHT F$%^# NOW!
There’s Something About Mary
The Farrelly brothers are the best at gross shock humour and this movie was full of it. I don’t recall laughing so hysterically in a movie theatre before. Ben Stiller allowed the situations to get the laughs and boy did they. From getting IT stuck in his zipper to the hair gel scene, this just delivers one laugh after the other. The hitchhiker scene also stands out as one of my favourites. Some of the best lines go to Matt Dillon, as Healey, most of them too offensive for me to actually write. But the scene with him trying to resuscitate the dog was again, so wrong, you couldn’t help but laugh.
Charlie Jensen: Is it the frank or the beans?
Ted: I don’t know, both I guess.
Warren: [from outside] Franks and Beans! Franks and Beans!
This was Jonah Hill’s breakout movie. A story that takes place in one day, and introduces us to Emma Stone, who’d go on to win an oscar a few years later. The idea of a bunch of high schoolers looking to party and get laid is nothing new, but the characters are what drive this and make it stand out from the pack. Jonah Hill delivers so many of my favourite lines, but most aren’t family friendly, so I’ll give one of the rare clean ones.
Seth: “He is the sweetest guy. Have you ever looked into his eyes? It was like the first time I heard the Beatles.”
A movie about a spelling bee? How can this possibly be funny? I’ll tell you how…Jason Bateman. He plays a 40-year old high-school dropout, who find a loophole that allows him to enter a kids spelling bee, where he puts the little ones in their place. Not the most politically correct film, but I don’t see it as offensive either.
Guy Trilby: Hey, Moms, let’s break out the rubber pillowcases tonight. Little p**cks, you’re gonna be countin’ tears, not sheep.
Just imagine waking up every morning, just to repeat the same day. Many feel that’s reality, but I just love the concept of being able to have a redo on a bad day. The only difference is, once I got it right, I wouldn’t want to be stuck there. Bill Murray has a way to make a miserable character funny, and he does it quite well here.
Rita: Do you every have déjà vu?
Phil: Didn’t you just ask me that?
The Wedding Singer
With Adam Sandler it’s always been hit or miss for me and this is a huge hit. From the 80’s music and references to the chemistry with Drew Barrymore coupled with a sweet love story this movie has a definite place in my heart.
Linda: No… I don’t need more time, Robbie. I don’t ever want to marry you.
Robbie: [takes a deep breath, sighs] Gee, you know that information… really would’ve been more useful to me *yesterday.*
A bunch of grown men rent a house to start their own college fraternity, and recruit an assortment of members, including a little old man, in addition there’s a streaking Will Ferrell and cameo from Snoop Dogg. Man, Todd Phillips is a genius.
Frank: I told my wife I wouldn’t drink tonight. Besides, I got a big day tomorrow. You guys have a great time.
College Student: A big day? Doing what?
Frank: Well, um, actually a pretty nice little Saturday, we’re going to go to Home Depot. Yeah, buy some wallpaper, maybe get some flooring, stuff like that. Maybe Bed, Bath, & Beyond, I don’t know, I don’t know if we’ll have enough time.
The Invention of Lying
The biggest challenge in movies these days is coming up with something original but Ricky Gervais somehow managed to do that. I’m sure he offended many with his concept, but not me. Just think, living in a world where we have no idea how to lie. They say the truth hurts, and Gervais shows us why sometimes lying isn’t such a bad thing.
Blonde: Don’t look at me, I’m not attracted to you.
Mark Bellison: No listen…
Blonde: Don’t bother, I’ve heard it all before.
Mark Bellison: The world’s gonna end unless we have sex right now!
Blonde: [She turns around, worried] Do we have time to get to a motel, or do we need to do it right here?
The Other Guys
I love Will Ferrell, but Mark Wahlberg steals the show in this one as a pair of bad cops, who are even worse when working together. Of course, somehow, in the end, they are the heroes. There’s even a cameo from Derek Jeter, who gets shot by Wahlberg. Eva Mendes is terrific as Ferrell’s wife and the scenes with the three of them are some of my favourites.
Terry Hoitz: Your farts aren’t manly.
Allen Gamble: Are you serious?
Terry Hoitz: They sound like a baby blowing out birthday candles.
I could go on all day, but I have to end it somewhere. So, I’ll leave you with some of my honourable mentions:
Dumb and Dumber
The Naked Gun
I love you man
Little Miss Sunshine
Meet the Parents
My Cousin Vinny
She’s Out of My League
This is Spinal Tap
What About Bob
When Harry Met Sally
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