The other day, I tried to identify the funniest movie I've seen...and came up with a dozen titles off-hand and no clear favorite. On top of that, there are those I've probably forgotten and need my memory jogged.
Either way, the idea is haunting me. So I thought I'd throw it up here for your ideas and thoughts.
Candidate the First:
The Producers, 1968.
Not the movie-of-the-musical-of-the-movie---that had its moments but didn't hold a candle to the original. Zero Mostel as Max Bialystok and Gene Wilder as Leo Bloom, who get together and contrive to scam the Broadway crowd and put on the worst Broadway musical ever and then skip town with the money they didn't spend on it.
Screamingly funny---once you've seen the "Springtime for Hitler" number you'll never forget it. Also a commentary on the miserable state of Broadway circa 1968---running the gamut from "wildly inappropriate subject matter" to "rock-and-roll doesn't belong there," with a lot in between.
And manages to tell a human story within---how Max Bialystok teaches Leo Bloom how to be a human being.
COLD COMFORT FARM is very funny, and much better than the book. You probably have to see it more than once, to really appreciate the humor, though.
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Iíll offer up three oddball suggestions in case youíve never heard of them: Out Cold, Rat Race, and Pure Luck. None of these are ground breaking cinema; itís just that I couldnít stop laughing for two full hours. Especially Rat Race, I understand that itís a retake, but my sides and my face were nearly aching by the end.
I also love the humor-in-action-movies stated previously: RED, Knight and Day, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Bad Boys (1&2), and I would submit the Lethal Weapon movies as well. I would also add a shameless plug for one of my all-time favorite TV shows, Burn Notice, that routinely cracks me up.
quote:I'm curious to know if anyone here who's seen IT'S A MAD MAD WORLD thought it was funny. It's almost pure slapstick, and I found myself thinking, especially at the end, with the fire engine ladder, that if this had been really happening, it wouldn't have been at all funny.
But then, that's my sense of humor. Just not into slapstick.
I found parts of it funny. Not the ending particularly, where just about everyone gets badly hurt. That's not funny to me.
I have a strange sense of humor. I enjoy the "in" jokes in animated movies like "Ice Age" (all three of them) and "Shrek".
For a funny movie, I checked my DVD drawer--the movies I liked well enough to invest in them and watch them over again. They're not the classic choices.
"Little Shop of Horrors" (I watch that every Halloween without fail, along with "Young Frankenstein". Keep your scary movies)
"Halleluiah Trail" -- Bet you never heard of it. Go look it up. Rent it. It does for westerns what "Murder by Death" did for mysteries, with a very funny three-way battle during a sandstorm.
"Cat Ballou" -- It's the characters. And the drunk horse, of course.
"First Wives Club"
And almost anything with Danny Kaye, but especially, "The Inspector General" and "The Court Jester".
I'd pick Monty Python and the Holy Grail over a lot of other funny movies...the "Camelot" number usually has me in hysterics.
Speaking of hysterics...
Candidate the Second:
"Porky's." Sometime in the early 1980s, I forget. (My reference books are in my other room.)
Now, this is pretty sophomoric, and pretty sexist to boot. And it's a crude production. But on first viewing it reduced me to rolling around on the floor laughing, and thinking about some of the scenes in it makes me chuckle. I guess it's the granddaddy of all the gross-out comedies of today.
"We're No Angels," not the dreadful remake-in-name-only, but the original, from sometime in the early 1950s. Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Rey, and Peter Ustinov as escapees from Devil's Island who, without particularly intending to, help out a family. Particularly the scene where Basil Rathbone takes a container containing a poisonous snake into his bedroom and Bogart and Rey and Ustinov discuss whether they should tell him.
Probably too bleak for the era it was released in, but seems funnier every time I catch it...
Laurel & Hardey's only academy award winning effort. The men move a piano, slapstick at its best. My Dad loved these guys and although I'm a 3 stooges guy first, this one tops anything they did.
This is the airplane catagory. Val Klimer spoofs every war/spy movie made from the 40's thru 70's. The ridiculous premise had the movie set in communist East Germany (why would East Germany have a french resistance?). The crowning moment was the cow. Two agents were supposed to be inside a cow suit to infiltrate the enemy compound but the director used a real cow wearing army boots throughout the scene (makes me laugh just thinking about it). Favorite line of the movie was when the two agents argued who would be in the rear of the costume. After a bitter arguement Latrine acquiesces with the line "Fine. Go ahead and be an a**hole."
Stage comic hitting the big time
I don't care who you are, if you ever saw Rodney Dangerfield on the Tonight Show and didn't laugh, you probably should have seen a shrink a long time ago. "Easy Money" was his type of movie, fitting so well with his style of humor. This movie had Joe Pesci as his best friend. So many funny lines hard to pick one but I am going with the final one in the movie.
"My mother-in-law. For years I wouldn't kiss her face and now I'm kissing her a**."
Made for a teenager but still funny today
Cheech and Chongs Up in Smoke
They say it glorified drugs but if you saw it you can't imagine anyone would run out start doing them based on the events of this movie. Stacy Keach made half of this movie. I remember a joke he said about catholic nuns that I couldn't dress up to be okay to post here no matter how hard I tried. Favorite part of the movie was the opening when Cheech is checking out his pimp mobile with the shag purple interior while the song Low Rider played.
My Cousin Vinny
Joe Pesci at his best. Classic culture clash humor. Ralph Machcio unwittly confessing to double murder was great. If you never saw this movie go rent it.
I could go on all day....
[This message has been edited by snapper (edited April 21, 2011).]
[This message has been edited by snapper (edited April 21, 2011).]
Road to Morocco, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Dorothy Lamour, sometime in the 1940s.
This was probably the funniest of the seven "Road" movies Hope and Crosby made...certainly their "ad-libs" around whatever passed for the script were worthwhile all the way through all seven movies...besides, this was the one where a camel "ad-libbed" and spat in Hope's eye.
Pyre Dynasty's comment reminded me of another candidate.
Candidate the Fifth:
Plan Nine From Outer Space, directed by the legendary Ed Wood. Mid-to-late 1950s. Bela Lugosi, the nominal star and big name, died after shooting a few scenes...when shooting resumed, Wood recast the role with a guy who's taller than Lugosi and had blondish hair as well.
It's a very funny movie...perhaps all the more so because the director and cast did not set out to make a funny movie. In a way, that's sad...but if you feel sad about it, watching the movie should cheer you up.
Picking the funniest Abbott & Costello movie is like figuring out which raindrop fell first---but, out of many options, I'll pick this one. As is often said, this one works because A & C are funny, and the monsters play it straight. It's the granddaddy of all the horror-humor combinations, and one of the best.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Maybe it's just because I was travelling so much when it came out, but my wife and I walked by it in the rental store, started talking about it, and were laughing all over again.
Also I found "What's up Doc?" Pretty funny, not many have seen it though.
This one usually turns up routinely on "bad movie" lists (Roger Ebert included a review of it in his "This Movie Sucks" collection.) But I liked it---Ringo always did have a lot of appeal for me, the parodies and jokes about other "caveman" movies worked for me, the effects were good, the actors were good---and a lot of it made me laugh my head off. (Saw it recently, on cable sometime in the last year---it holds up for me.)
I usually have a rather visceral negative reaction to Streisand---this goes back long before any difference in politics came about---but, awhile back, I wanted to inspect the originals of the scenes of "Hello Dolly" that were in "WALL-E," and I found the movie surprisingly enjoyable---even Streisand, though she was clearly miscast and much too young for the part.
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To toss out some old classics that have already been mentioned: Court Jester with Danny Kaye and Pure Luck.
But honestly the movie I laughed the most at, ever, so much so that everyone in the theater had to be ticked off with me and my friends, was meant to be a serious movie. Dungeons and Dragons. We busted up laughing as soon as Damadar with his blue lips popped onto the screen, and didn't stop until it was over. The combination of bad makeup and props, bad acting, bad dialogue, and ludicrous plot was just too much.
The Inspector General, Danny Kaye, 1946 or somewhere in that decade. A loanout of Kaye to Warners. Reputedly based on a Gogol story, I think---I've never seen it. A corrupt town worried about a visit from the Inspector General mistakes a wandering tramp for him.
Secondary, of course, to Danny Kaye and his comedic acting and patter songs. I'm fondest of the song known as "Soliloquy for Three Heads"---how many songs or movies from the 1940s would have its characters exhort one to "give him the fist...give him the wrist...give him the finger!"
I know some folks think "George of the Jungle" as way too juvenile, but the first time I saw it, the part where Shep fetches the logs had me laughing harder than I have in years. I think it helped that I grew up with the cartoon series. Sheesh! There I go telling my age <<blush>>!
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One other kind of movie I don't find particularly funny: just about anything that derives from a "Saturday Night Live" sketch. Exceptions: "The Blues Brothers," "Coneheads," and (to an extent) the first "Wayne's World" movie. (Several movies in the "SNL" alumni roster seem like blown-up sketches that weren't ever on the show, actually...some of them are funny, kind of...)
Another note: there's a lot of "funny" in the Pixar movies, but, as a whole, they don't come across as "funny movies," and not quite what I had in mind for The Funniest Movie I've Ever Seen.
quote:I'm curious to know if anyone here who's seen IT'S A MAD MAD WORLD thought it was funny.
I haven't watched this one since I was a kid. Slapstick, yes...but it did make me laugh. I should add this to my Netflix list.
Another slapstick movie that became one of my favorites of all time is "The Great Race." Even after all the times I've seen it, I still laugh like like an idiot. Jack Lemmon was especially over the top in this one, but he definitely stole the show.
Also on my list: "The Pink Panther Strikes Again." The dentist scene alone is worth the price of admission.
Hey...it just occurred to me...both of these are Blake Edwards movies.
Casablanca, Bogart and Bergman, 1942. You might not think this is a funny movie, and the main story is serious, but the greats of filmmaking knew (and still know) how to leaven a serious story with humor---and so much of the humor in Casablanca has entered popular culture.