Amph Time Out's 100 Best Comedies: 53 Way Out West (1937)

Discussion in 'Archive: The Amphitheatre' started by Nevermind, Sep 29, 2011.

  1. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    The 100 best comedies of all time? Time Out London has an interesting, extremely British list
    by Darren Franich

    "Making a ?greatest movies? list is always difficult. Movie quality is subjective, after all: Which is ?better,? the psychological depth of Citizen Kane, the relentless comic timing of Some Like it Hot, or the kinetic thrills of Raiders of the Lost Ark? By their nature, such lists are open documents, demanding debate. And that?s especially true of a list of movie comedies. The things that make us laugh are extremely personal and highly subjective. When someone tells me they don?t think Caddyshack is funny, I can?t help but judge them. (I, in turn, have felt the cruel judgment of close friends when I admit that I can?t stand Anchorman.)

    Still, a new list by Time Out London takes a good stab at compiling the 100 funniest movies ever by specifically building their list from the opinions of over 200 comedy professionals: Stand-ups, comedy writers, and other professional funnymen (and women, too!). The list certainly could have benefited from installing a quota. I can understand putting Trey Parker?s and Matt Stone?s South Park movie high on the list, but do Team America: World Police and BASEketball really deserve their places?

    Which brings up another problem ? which, depending on your perspective, might actually be a positive thing ? about the list: Quite a few of the movies seem to have earned their slot more because they contain a few extremely memorable scenes. (That?s certainly true of Team America, which has three or four of the funniest bits in movie history, but is unbearably draggy for much of its running time.) The list also suffers/benefits from Undeniable Britishness: Two Monty Python movies are in the top five.

    But it makes for a fun read. Even more fun: Time Out had all of its contributors include their own comedy top ten. (So now you can know just how much Edgar Wright loves Raising Arizona.) And the most fun thing about lists like this is just seeing the wonderful juxtaposition of apparently dissimilar films. You might think it?s funny to see Mean Girls (No. 90) right behind The Great Dictator (No. 89), but if you think about it, the two movies are strikingly similar: Gleeful mistaken-identity romps that suddenly go off the rails when they get really preachy at the end. (Tina Fey = Charlie Chaplin?)"


    Sister Act (1992)

    Dir Emile Ardolino (Whoopi Goldberg, Maggie Smith)

    ?Expectum. Espertum. Ca coomb. Too Too. Eplubium. Amen.?

    "White hot from an Oscar win for ?Ghost? and anticipating the next 20 years of song and dance-based TV light entertainment, Whoopi Goldberg stars in possibly the funniest nunsploitation soul-review chase comedy since Ken Russell?s ?The Devils?. Having accidentally witnessed a mob hit, she?s forced to lay low in a San Fran nunnery, where she duly drops a 20-megaton sass bomb all over the place and before you can say, ?Hey isn?t this all a bit racist and/or sacrilegious??, she?s got a gaggle of nervy white nuns gospelling their way to the pulpit. An everyday story. DJ"

    Originally written for Bette Midler, it's the reliable fish out of water trope. Goldberg isn't bad, and the movie is mildly amusing, but the best part is the music, especially "Oh Maria".
  2. Champion of the Force Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 27, 1999
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    Without a doubt, it's the songs that give the film it's longevity as Zaz points out. My mother loved the film for it's music and would often have it on every Saturday morning whilst cleaning - fast-forwarding to each musical item.
  3. Obi Anne FF admin Celebrations, Europe

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    I think it's quite a fun film, but as you say, it's the music that's truly great.
  4. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    Oct 14, 2001
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    Oh, Maria

    A lot of plot exposition is quite cleverly conveyed--without words--during the song.
  5. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

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    Quite funny- I remember my parents took us to see this on a whim when we were kids and we had no idea what it was about (well, they did, not us kids) and we all enjoyed it quite a bit. Pleasant surprise.
  6. Darth-Lando Chosen One

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    Aug 12, 2002
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    Going to Catholic school for 12 years, this movie was a staple for those rainy days where they wouldn't let us outside for lunch and recess.
  7. darthdrago Force Ghost

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    Dec 31, 2003
    star 4
    Same here. I had 12 years of Catholic school (I was already graduated/paroled by the time this film came out), but I have a soft spot for this movie as a whole. I think Catholics really took to the film, especially those who remember the pre-1960s days when all nuns wore the penguin suits.

    Almost no nuns wear the penguin suits any more, and not many wear the veil (certain orders still do), so I guess this is Hollywood's ham-fisted way of constantly reminding the viewer that you're watching nuns. But it's still hilarious to see Goldberg in the full penguin suit hamming it up. Back in the day, it was absolutely unthinkable to see a nun cut loose like that, which is IMO the reason why the music/songs work so well. It wouldn't have worked if it was a choir of laypersons singing the music instead.
  8. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2001
    star 6
    99. Carry On Screaming! (1966)

    Dir Gerald Thomas (Kenneth Williams, Harry H Corbett)

    'Frying tonight!'

    "Britain's best loved low-budget comedy outfit pays tribute to its best loved low-budget horror outfit: the Hammer studio. The twelfth movie in the ?Carry On? series revolves around monsters and mad scientists in Edwardian London, features perfectly over-the-top performances from Kenneth Williams and Harry H Corbett (standing in for an unavailable Sid James) and lovingly sends up the lurid style and torrid blood-letting of the Hammer crowd. It's surprisingly scary, too. EL"

    Seen a good many Hammer films, but never even heard of this one.
  9. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    Nov 2, 2000
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    I've heard of the Carry On series. Carry On Up the Khyber, a spoof of war films, and Carry On, Doctor, a spoof of medical dramas, are also supposed to be very funny. Never seen any of them though.
  10. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2001
    star 6
    Brazil (1985)

    Dir Terry Gilliam (Jonathan Pryce, Robert De Niro, Michael Palin)

    'An empty desk is an efficient desk.'

    "Terry Gilliam?s dark, dystopian sci-fi isn?t, by a long stretch, a happy-go-lucky film, but its absurd, appalled, incredulous portrait of a repressive future state is, without doubt, richly comic, its savage wit owing a debt to diverse sources from Franz Kafka to Monty Python. The American studio behind ?Brazil? didn?t see the joke:?they refused to release the film, and relented only after it won a major US award that year. Superb performances all round:?De Niro plays a revolutionary, balaclava-clad plumber (naturally) and that nice Michael Palin off the telly is a government torturer. EL"
  11. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    97

    Swingers (1996)

    Dir Doug Liman (Vince Vaughn, Heather Graham, Jon Favreau)

    ?There's nothing wrong with letting the girls know that you're money and that you want to party.?

    "Cast your mind back, way back to the days when critics would ritually employ the term ?bequiffed stringbean quipster? to describe Vince Vaughn, and you?re slap bang in the middle of ?Swingers? territory. Definitely one of the stronger titles in the cloying late-?90s wave of post-Tarantino, cine-literate genre flicks, this sweet ?n? loose, Jon Favreau-penned buddy comedy managed to add a bit of heart and soul to the nose-tapping, movie-referencing shenanigans. Favreau and his limelight-stealing crony Vaughn are the slick-haired minnows in the shark pool of LA?s dating scene, and their comic search for some old-school action takes them on a eventful twilight tour of long-forgotten hostelries and nightspots. The fluid, naturalistic patter between the two leads is what makes the film: you might even see it as the missing link between John Cassavetes, Mumblecore and an X-rated Rat Pack Christmas special. DJ"
  12. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
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    96. BASEketball (1998)

    Dir David Zucker (Trey Parker, Matt Stone)

    ?Only my friends can call me pig****er.?

    "Based on an epistolary novel by a little-known eighteenth-century French novelist, this is a casually erudite comedy of romantic manners and linguistic confusion set among a group of Marxist semioticians, attending an academic conference in Geneva, and performed entirely in rhyming iambic pentameter? Oh no, hang on, it?s actually a sports comedy directed by the ?Airplane!? guy and starring the dudes who wrote 'South Park', with puke jokes and stuff like that. EL"

    Haven't seen this. Alas.
  13. Drac39 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 2002
    star 6
    Really?!?! BASEketball is an absolutely terrible film IMO. The kind of bad movie where I felt like asking for my two hours back from a higher power. Trey Parker and Matt Stone are hilarious but they didn't write this film and acting isn't their strong point. Zucker topped with Airplane and Naked Gun and hasn't really produced anything of worth after that and BASEketball is by far his worst film. I think Parker and Stone themselves have disowned it.
  14. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

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    I never cared for Swingers... just kinda bored me and I neded up fastforwarding just to get to any scenes with Heather Grahmn but she doesn't show up until, like, the last 2 minutes.


    BASEketball was pretty funny, though. Not as funny as Matt & Trey's own work, and not as funny as Zucker's past films but still had a few tear-inducingly hilarious moments (the Beetlejuice bit, for example).
  15. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    Oct 14, 2001
    star 6
    95. The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976)

    Dir Blake Edwards (Peter Sellers, Herbert Lom, Burt Kwouk)

    "Now then, what do we know? One, that Professor Fassbinder and his daughter have been kidnapped; two, that someone has kidnapped them; three, that my hand is on fire!'

    For many, this is the most consistently funny film of the Inspector Clouseau series, which is bizarre considering it is the fourth in the chain. It earns its place on this list with a surfeit of hilarious scenes, most notably the famous dentist sequence during which Clouseau administers laughing gas to himself and Herbert Lom's increasingly insane former Chief Inspector Dreyfus. In fact, this scene alone sums up Peter Sellers in a nutshell ? his laughter is so infectious, so authentic and so emotionally uplifting that your heart melts at the thought that we'll never see the likes of him again. DA"
  16. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    Oct 14, 2001
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    94 Midnight Run (1988)

    Dir Martin Brest (Robert De Niro, Charles Grodin)

    ?Nothing personal, but **** off.?

    "The movie that silenced those critics who complained Robert De Niro could not play comedy, 'Midnight Run' sees the method man as a bounty hunter taking bail jumper Charles Grodin on a cross-US?trip back to prison, pursued by the mafia, the FBI?and memories of his broken past. De Niro's streetwise belligerence is perfectly matched by Grodin?s deadpan suavity, and they?re beautifully served by Martin Brest's punchy direction and the salty, wisecracking script. So after this splendidly funny turn, De Niro only ruined it with those 'Focker' films. EL"
  17. soitscometothis Force Ghost

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    Jul 11, 2003
    star 5
    Yeah, I've always enjoyed Midnight Run. Good film.
  18. Todd the Jedi Mod and Inquisitor of SWTV

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    I don't really consider Brazil a comedy, but whatever, it's awesome enough that I'll overlook that small detail. Haven't seen BASEketball but I recently saw Passion of the Jew again and Stan cites it as the only other movie where he's asked for a refund, so I think that pretty much conveys what Parker and Stone feel about it.:p

    Midnight Run was pretty good, with Grodin as a good foil for De Niro.
  19. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    The Pink Panther Strikes Again is the best of the Clouseau movies outside of A Shot in the Dark. The laughing gas scene is indeed a highlight; I remember just laughing until I cried watching that scene. But A Shot in the Dark is still the best of them.
  20. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2001
    star 6
    93. Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

    Dir Frank Capra (Cary Grant, Priscilla Lane)

    ?Insanity runs in my family... it practically gallops.?

    "Although Frank Capra is best known for his occasionally maudlin studies of working-class triumph over the political machine, this madcap screwball farce feels more in line with the motor-mouth comedies of George Cukor or Howard Hawks. A theatre critic who has gone on record as detesting the institution of marriage, Cary Grant?s Mortimer Brewster is finally ready to bite the bullet and get hitched to (literal) girl-next-door Priscilla Lane, but the ensuing chaos in trying to save his name leads him to discover some dark secrets about the two little old ladies who brought him up. Based on a mammoth Broadway hit, some have criticised the film for being too theatrical, and you can see how Capra simply allows Julius and Philip Epstein?s gag-laden script to do the talking. But it?s damn funny stuff: Grant floors it from beginning to end, especially good when sharing the screen with Uncle Teddy (John Alexander) who lives his life as Teddy Roosevelt. Charge! DJ"

    Not 'too theatrical', too hysterical. Grant's worst performance by a mile, and one of Capra's worst films. Dialed way too high.
  21. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2001
    star 6
    92 Nuts in May (1976)

    Dir Mike Leigh (Roger Sloman, Alison Steadman, Anthony O'Donnell)

    ?"I want to see the zoo," she said. "I want to see the zoo."?

    "Although Mike Leigh is a director known for finding humour in a number of unlikely locations (the incessant, free-form ramblings of a rapist-on-the-run in ?Naked? or the frigid mutterings of courting suburbanites in ?Bleak Moments?), his 1976 ?Play for Today? about a pair of socially maladjusted, aggressively persnickety, tea-cosy-hat-wearing campers is probably his funniest film. On one level, ?Nuts in May? presents the queer British pastime of camping as a fool?s game: logistically awkward, deathly boring and a magnet for various different types of (generally low-income) souls who perhaps shouldn?t be thrown together in a big empty field. Tossing out a conventional three-act structure in favour of small, tragicomic vignettes, the film?s humour comes from sustained moments of intense unease rather than a hackneyed string of contrived gags. Very funny but also, in the end, very sad. DJ"
  22. CloneUncleOwen Force Ghost

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    Jul 30, 2009
    star 4
    [face_laugh]

    Pure, unadulterated comedy.
  23. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    Arsenic & Old Lace isn't subtle, but I love it. Raymond Massey, as a man incredibly annoyed at how much he looks like Boris Karloff, steals the show in my opinion, but I really love the whole movie. It's a hoot.
  24. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2001
    star 6
    91 Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004)

    Dir Rawson Marshall Thurber (Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn)

    ?If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.?

    ?Aim low? is the motto of the dodgeball team Vince Vaughn sets up to compete for a cash prize that will stop the slimy Ben Stiller from taking over his gym. With plenty of jokes revolving around weedy, unfit men being hit in the most sensitive regions by big, rubber balls, the film also adopts Vaughn?s words as its guiding principle. For newcomers to the sport, this movie provides a quick primer to the rules of dodgeball but you don?t need them to enjoy this very daft, amiable movie. Dressed in a pneumatic codpiece and helipad-sized shoulder pads, Stiller checks in his dignity from the word go, and he?s rarely been funnier. EL'
  25. Todd the Jedi Mod and Inquisitor of SWTV

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    Dodgeball's just lots of crazy fun. Very quotable too. "I ain't crazy, and I ain't a guy." Plus the obvious deus ex machina at the end was just too funny to complain about. Also Jason Bateman and Gary Cole stole the show as the commentators.