My Top Five Favorite Comedies
Okay, so the headline is slightly misleading. Wait, come back! Only “slightly”! While I often enjoy comedies, I really only have three “favorite” comedies, and then a bunch of others that I enjoy on various levels. But nobody is going to click on a Top Three list. And I really wanted to do this column because 1) I can’t make it to any new movies, this weekend, but I wanted to post something, and 2) I think we all need a laugh, right now.
So, I’m presenting to you my three personal favorite comedies and two more that came to mind before all of the rest because of . . . you know . . . reasons. For me, so many comedies that are widely considered all-time classics are just . . . okay. So, my list is almost certainly to be unlike anyone else’s. But I hope you check some of these out if you haven’t (or if it’s been a while) and get some enjoyment out of them. Away we go!
This 2012 comedy from director David Wain and starring Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston came and went without a whole lot of attention. And that’s a shame. The movie, itself, is consistently funny and Rudd and Aniston are surrounded by a stellar supporting cast but this one makes the list for primarily one single scene. Paul Rudd demonstrates that he may be the greatest comedic actor in Hollywood (a talent which also assists him in stealing every scene he’s in during this year’s Captain America: Civil War) by single-handedly delivering what I consider to be the funniest performance I’ve ever witnessed in any movie. Ever. It’s not for kids. It’s not even for many “adults”. But Rudd takes a solid comedy and, by himself – in less than two minutes – elevates the entire film and makes it entirely unforgettable.
4. Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls
I know, I know. “The first one is always better!” Well, that’s simply a myth. Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls was better than its predecessor in virtually every single way including the most important one: it was funnier. In fact, the one and only time in my entire life that I laughed until I cried while watching a movie was during this film. And the rest of the nearly sold-out audience was right there with me. Much like my number five movie on this list, that laughing fit came about due to one scene in particular (which wouldn’t have worked without Jim Carrey’s incredible performance) but the entire picture is an onslaught of wit, unpredictability, and maniacal exuberance from Carrey. And, on occasion, I still greet people by exclaiming, “Bumblebee Tuna! Bumblebee Tuna!” The resulting combination of confusion and repulsion has allowed me to consistently weed out those not truly deserving of my friendship. So, thanks, When Nature Calls!
3. Clue: The Movie
Here’s where my true list of beloved comedies begins. So many people mention The Rocky Horror Picture Show as though it’s the only reason Tim Curry should be so revered. Feh! “FEH!” I say! Aside from his startlingly frightening portrayal as Pennywise in the TV adaptation of Stephen King’s classic It, there’s his astounding Wadsworth in Clue: The Movie. Functioning as a locked-box mystery (and based on the enduring board game), Clue is a nonstop cavalcade of clever one-liners and brilliant satirical performances. As unrelentingly hilarious as each of the cast members are in their roles (and literally every. Single. One of them. Delivers. It’s an actual seven-way tie for who gives the best performance.), the characters have no idea that they’re hilarious. And whether you’re collecting recipes with Mrs. Peacock or learning math from Mrs. White, you’ll be laughing the whole time. In a genius creative decision, the movie was filmed with three different endings, which were placed randomly at theaters, so that audiences wouldn’t know which one they were getting. The movie frustratingly bombed, anyway (even in 1987, Americans Didn’t Want Movie “Originality”!). Yet, it has gone on to become the classic it deserves to be heralded as (there’s even a remake in the works). Everyone needs to see this one at least once or twice or forty times in their life.
2. Dumb & Dumber
Jim Carrey makes his second appearance on the list, this time teaming up with Jeff Daniels in The Farrelly Brothers’ all-time classic, Dumb & Dumber. I’m not sure there’s ever been a more quotable movie than this one, nor one that made it harder for me to choose my favorite part (leaning towards the snowball). The writing from the Farrellys and Bennett Yellin is ironically quick-witted and the consistency and quality of the performances from Carrey and Daniels are the stuff of legend. I’ve never seen such an intelligent movie so commonly be referred to as “stupid”, but make no mistake – though Harry and Lloyd possess less-than-average intelligence, the film, itself, does not. There’s one clever line after another. One unpredictable quote follows the next. And two completely committed performances finished the package off and helped make Dumb & Dumber a comedy that set the bar for any other comedy that came afterwards.
1. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
I love every single thing about this movie. I love the entire cast: Jason Segal, Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, Russell Brand, and – in smaller roles – Bill Hader, Liz Cackowski, Jack McBrayer, Jonah Hill, and Paul Rudd (who should be serving multiple prison sentences for once again stealing scenes). I love the Hawaiian setting (while watching the film, I thought that I’d love to stay at a resort like the one they were staying at. I went one better by booking a trip to Hawaii and staying AT the resort they were staying at.). I love the story. I love the character arcs. And I love the laughs. Forgetting Sarah Marshall has plenty of heart, but never forgets that its goal is to score laughs. It ends up being a cinematic total package that forces guffaws and feelings, while also scoring points for perhaps even causing some viewers to assess their approach to their own lives. This movie played a large role in providing me with the greatest week of my life, so maybe I’m biased, but Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a top-flight comedy that goes above and beyond to be so much more. It’s easily my favorite comedy of all-time.
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