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The five funniest movies a normal person has no clue about

April 30, 2011

My last movie list, The 5 greatest war movies you probably never heard of, was a resounding success (at least my stats page says so), and since I love to talk about movies, I figured I’d go for another round.  This time, obscure comedies.

What makes a good comedy?  It’s hard to say.  From the horribly long list of failed comedies, it seems there is no easy formula.  Even perennial funny men like actor Will Ferrell or director Judd Apatow don’t seem to have the midas touch when it comes to making a golden comedy, being hit or miss half the time with their products.  From the sheer goofy genius of Anchorman one year, to the utter stupidity and snooze inducing tired jokes of Semi-pro, Will Ferrell shows a lack of comedic consistency all too common in the film world.  Why is it so hard?

Some people would say the audience changes and thus comedy needs to change, but that would sort of make the Three Stooges sort of irrelevant, which I know a lot of peeps would argue vehemently against.  The key seems to be in not trying to hard.  Most failed comedies suffer from this problem, making their jokes stand out for what they are, an overt attempt to make you laugh.  True comedy is witty and unassuming, even if it is the slapstick in your face style of comedy a la the Zucker Brother’s fair.  Think of your favorite funny movies, and there is a line or two that stands out.  It is the writing, even in a movie like Airplane, that makes a comedy funny.  Who can forget the play on names from the cockpit staff in said movie?  Or the co-pilot, Wilt Chamberlain, going off on the kid whose dad says he doesn’t work hard enough on the court?  These memories are what make a good comedy.  These single lines and scenes that keep us coming back for more.

Of all the movies I love, a great comedy is the type I watch multiple times.  I can’t say how many times I have seen Ghostbusters, but its gotta be close to 100 times.  Same with Airplane, and Monty Python’s Holy Grail.  These are some of the funniest movies ever made and they deserve our undying affection.  The following five movies are also some extremely funny flicks.  Films I have seen at least 10 times each, I hope you will give each one of them at least a one time viewing.

5.  I’m Gonna Git You Sucka – This movie is hilarious.  Directed by and starring Keenen Ivory Wayans, this was the movie that started the comedic stranglehold the Wayans family has had on comedy for the last 20 years.  The Wayans do something no other directors/actors do in film-making, they remove the black community from its pedestal and lay it bear for all folks, black or white, to observe and enjoy the humorous aspects of being black in America.  This film stars Keenen Ivory Wayans as a soldier returning home to his urban family to seek out the cause of death of his brother.  The “official” cause of death was “Over-gold”, as in, he wore way too much gold chains, but Keenen must track down the men who forced his brother to such a drastic demise.  Along the way we are treated to vignettes of urban black culture , like the Neighborhood games, with such contests as stripping a car as fast as you can, or the looting 100m dash.  One of the funniest scenes stars a bit part from Chris Rock as a crack addict trying to by some food at a rib shack, very funny.  This movie will keep you laughing from start to end, it is probably the best version of “black-society” satire ever done, and is a total joy to watch.

4.  Delicatessen – This movie, from the brilliant minds of Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro, is simply amazing.  Something about French film-makers, they have a skewed eye of the world around us, makes their movies such a visual joy to watch.  Jeunet is such a director.  His slightly off kilter look at the world is always present in his movies, from The City of Lost Children (highly recommended) to his latest comedy Micmacs, Jean-Pierre just sees reality in a an oddball way.  No more is that view present than in Delicatessen.  It stars Dominic Pignon as a handy-man in a dystopian future.  The shop of the movies namesake lies below an apartment building at which Dominic is hired to work.  The catch, the folks living in the building only hired Dominic so that they could eat him, pretty weird huh?  Every good comedy has a scene that makes it memorable, in Delicatessen, it takes place when Dominic in painting the ceiling in the stairwell.  It is a montage scene, and it is so remarkable because of the music that is made by the cacophony of sounds from all the different players in the scene.  From the two toy-makers down the hall making there “Moo” toys, to the butcher who is having an intimate encounter with his lady, all these disparate events combine, sonically, into a grand orchestra that is sheer brilliance.  If that were the only scene in this film, it would be worth watching for that alone, but there are many more.  This movie truly is a joy to watch, and I can not recommend it more highly.

3.  Kung Pow: Enter the Fist – This delightful comedy directed and starring Steve Odekerk, fulfills the childhood fantasy of any kid who grew up to Kung-fu Theater on Saturdays.  Basically, it takes 2 real kung-fu movies from the 70’s and redubs them with some of the funniest off the wall stuff you could imagine.  Memorable scenes abound in this film, from the bad-guy wanting to be called Betty, to the good sensei explaining the history of the “chosen one” and how the dog got killed.  I know it doesn’t make a lot of sense, but the movie is freaking hilarious.  If you like kung-fu movies, but ever wanted to put you own lines in the film, have a go at Kung Pow, it will keep you laughing from start to end.

2.  Hot Fuzz – This film by Edgar Wright is, in my opinion, one of the best movies ever made.  Wright is a freaking genius whether through his eyes as scene on the film, or his words which make up the writing, Hot Fuzz is amazing to say the least.  The film stars Simon Pegg as a super-cop who is moved to the British countryside because he is making the other cops of the London Metropolitan police force look bad.  Most of the comedy is had by his inability to slowdown to the pace of country life and country policing, where his biggest collar is a shoplifter.  But things start to heat up, as murders start occurring with a frequency unheard of in the small town.  Pegg’s instincts tell him something is amiss, though all the other cops believe the murders were just accidents, they can’t believe anyone would be so violent in their idyllic town that has won Village of the Year 5 times in a row.  Something certainly is amiss, but I won’t tell you what it is, you gotta check the movie out to see.  To truly enjoy this film, you need to watch it at least twice – the writing is so layered you will not catch everything the first, or hell, even the fifth time you watch it.  The first time, just watch and enjoy.  The second time though, pay attention to the foreshadowing in the writing – basically this movie tells you who and how everyone will die before it happens.  Excellent writing, hilarious acting coupled with a weird eery score that adds to the building tension, this is a must see movie I can not recommend enough.

1.  Big Trouble in Little China – Going out on a limb here, this is probably the movie most of you have actually heard of, but that’s okay, I couldn’t do a cult comedy list without including my favorite movie of all time.  This John Carpenter film stars Kurt Russell, and is probably the most quotable movie in film-making history.  There are so many notable one-liners in this flick it is impossible to list them all, but Russell’s character, the bumbling anti-hero Jack Burton, is the author of most of them.  Burton is a truck driver who goes to help his buddy pick up his Chinese girlfriend at the airport, unfortunately she is kidnapped in the process, and the movie unfolds as the heroes try to get her back.  What ensues is 90 minutes worth of hilarious comedy coupled with fantastic special effects and amazing martial arts.  I love this movie like no other, and I know I have seen it at least 100 times, you should at least check it out once.

Well that’s my five obscure comedies, if you have any to add to the list put them below.  Go rent them and enjoy!

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21 Comments leave one →
  1. April 30, 2011 1:06 pm

    Nice collection. I haven’t seen all of them, but it gives me some ideas.

  2. April 30, 2011 3:10 pm

    The only one I’ve seen is Big Trouble in Little China. It was actually pretty good. I’m sorry to say I have not heard of the others.

    • April 30, 2011 3:25 pm

      Yeah, that was the one I was sure most people have heard of. The others are pretty dang good, highly recommended.

  3. April 30, 2011 5:47 pm

    I love Delicatessen (and City of Lost Children, and Amelie). Some of my favorite movies.

    • May 1, 2011 9:02 am

      I actually enjoy the City of Lost Children more than Delicatessen, but its a little too dark for inclusion on this list. That said, it is a visual masterpiece, and the story is fantastic, especially between the little girl and Ron Perlman.

  4. April 30, 2011 8:12 pm

    I have to admit that I haven’t seen any of the movies on you list, but I agree that the Holy Grail is one of the greatest comedies of all time. A classic.

    • May 1, 2011 9:03 am

      Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelled of elderberries!

  5. April 30, 2011 8:39 pm

    No Way To Treat A Lady (1968) One of my all-time favorites. Rod Steiger is wonderfully over-the-top as the urbane, mother-fixated serial killer Christopher Gill, while George Segal provides the perfect counterpoint as Moe Brummel, a homicide detective saddled with an overbearing Jewish mama.

    From Wikipedia – a darkly comic thriller directed by Jack Smight, with a screenplay by John Gay adapted from William Goldman’s novel of the same name. The film starred Rod Steiger, Lee Remick, George Segal and Eileen Heckart. Segal was nominated for a BAFTA for his role as Detective Moe Brummel. In 1987, Douglas J. Cohen adapted the film into a musical comedy, which was revived Off-Broadway by the York Theatre Company in 1996. That production was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical Revival.

    • May 1, 2011 9:04 am

      Great suggestion, I will have to check it out. Not a huge Segal fan (though I loved him in King Rat), but Steiger is the man.

  6. April 30, 2011 8:42 pm

    Huh, never heard of Delicatessen. Will have to look out for it. I’m Gonna Get You Sucka is indeed a serious classic, although it’s been so long I’ve forgotten much of it. One guy has stacks with goldfish in the heels, right?

    My favorite comedies are probably not that obscure: Raising Arizona, The Full Monty, and OFFICE SPACE one of my ALL TIME faves.

    I remember Drop Dead Gorgeous as being funny. Is that one obscure?

    • May 1, 2011 9:07 am

      Yeah, the guy who won Pimp of the Year wore platform shoes with goldfish in the heels. =)

      I would say your faves are relatively obscure, especially the Full Monty. Office Space is definitely a classic, what a great movie!

      Never seen Drop Dead Gorgeous, looks suspiciously like a chick flick. =P

      • May 1, 2011 9:27 pm

        It’s occurred to me, that my hub’s faves might be worth sharing. Team America and The Life of Brian.

        I’ll always be a Holy Grail gal, myself, but that doesn’t hold a candle to Life of Brian according to hubs.

        Have you seen these two?

      • May 1, 2011 11:25 pm

        Seen them both, and like them both. Trey Parker and Matt Stone are some genius comedy guys, though a bit crude at times – I love Baseketball, lol.

        I am with you, Life of Brian was hilarious, but The Holy Grail is still my fave. Though I love the part in Brian when John Cleese as a Roman centurion corrects Brian’s grammar when he is writing graffiti, then makes him repeat it 100 times throughout the plaza, freaking hilarious!

  7. JustFacts permalink
    April 30, 2011 9:30 pm

    Actually one of my most favorite comedies is A Fish Called Wanda with Jamie Lee Curtis, John Cleese, Kevin Kline, and Michael Palin. Just something about those Monty Python guys makes you want to laugh.

    • May 1, 2011 9:08 am

      Excellent call. In my opinion, any time you cast John Cleese, you are a long way from going wrong.

  8. April 30, 2011 9:46 pm

    Might want to see The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Their Love. Last line is the best!

    • May 1, 2011 9:10 am

      I will have to check that out as well, thanks. =)

    • May 1, 2011 9:24 pm

      Um just a fair warning. I thought The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Their Lover was awful. I saw it in 1989 when first released, mind you. Not sure if it would’ve improved with age . . .

  9. May 10, 2011 2:56 pm

    I wish the Wayans still had it like they did in the late 80’s/early 90’s.

    • May 21, 2011 5:07 am

      The Scary Movie franchise is still pretty funny, though the Zucker Brothers have a lot to do with that.

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