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

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

  1. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 10
    This film just never clicked with me. I always tried watching it as a kid to see if I'd find it funny "this time" and just never did.

    I sorta gave up on it and never watched it again until last year, after someone on FB mentioned it as one of their favorite comedies. So, I went and recorded a showing on my DVR, figuring maybe giving it another shot now, being an adult, I'd get the humor.

    Sadly, it still remains an almost entirely laugh-free experience for me. I did love all the scenes with the "warthog from hell", and did get some good laughs out of the cop/polish bit at the end and a few scenes with John Goodman (mostly the emergence from the mud early on, which was admittedly hilarious).

    The huge chase scene was shot in a fun way, though, but it still didn't make me laugh, unfortunately.
  2. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 7
    Re: The Pink Panther; the David Niven stuff is a little slow, but Sellers is brilliant in it. His scenes with his wife are sidesplittingly funny - his sexual frustration is palpable. A Shot in the Dark is the better film, but this one is very good too.

    Raising Arizona is a raucous, frenetic, hysterical, high-pitched farce and it is brilliant. Holly Hunter and Nicolas Cage have maybe never been better; they've certainly never been funnier. It's a great movie.
  3. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2001
    star 6
    80. Clockwise (1986)

    Dir Christopher Morahan (John Cleese, Sharon Maiden, Penelope Wilton)

    ?It?s not the despair. I can stand the despair, Laura. It?s the hope.?

    "From a script by Michael Frayn, this classic farce starring John Cleese as a punctilious headmaster on a calamitous journey to a conference is something of a dry run for the actor?s turn in ?A Fish Called Wanda?. The plot moves along at a fair old lick, with Cleese?s Mr Stimpson roping in disaffected sixth-former Laura (Sharon Maiden) to get him to his destination. There?s plenty of spark to the dialogue and a very English sense of panic at the failure to meet conventional expectations. The real treat of it is Cleese?s performance, its elements of priggishness ultimately overcome by sympathy at his ordeal. BW"

    Never even *heard* of this one.
  4. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2001
    star 6
    89. Bridesmaids (2011)

    Dir Paul Feig (Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne)

    ?You smell like pine needles, and have a face like sunshine!?

    "The most recent film on this list makes a pretty strong showing, but it's hardly surprising: ?Bridesmaids? isn?t just the comedy smash of 2011, it?s one of the funniest movies in recent memory. The idea of taking the tired-old ?Hangover? lad-com template and simply switching genders doesn?t sound like an automatic win, but the appeal here isn?t in the bad-taste trappings, it?s in the silly-but-smart script, the lively direction from ?Freaks and Geeks? legend Paul Feig and the note-perfect casting. It?s hard to remember a performance more effortlessly star-making than Kristen Wiig delivers, showcasing a woman equally at home with satire and slapstick. You go girl. TH"
  5. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2001
    star 6
    78. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

    Dir Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris (Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear)

    ?Everybody just pretend to be normal!?

    "When their seven-year-old daughter is accepted to a beauty contest in California, her parents decide to drive from their Albuquerque home, with dysfunctional family members in tow. A wish-list of US indie stars ? Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell and a wonderfully irascible Alan Arkin ? are crammed into a VW camper van, the journey inevitably involves bumpy confrontations but, with a script that zings with one-liners and note-perfect performances, the trip is an utter blast. EL"
  6. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2001
    star 6
    Stir Crazy (1980)

    Dir Sidney Poitier (Gene Wilder, Richard Pryor)

    ?125 years... I'll be 161 when I get out!?

    "Could ?Stir Crazy? be the best prison comedy of all time? Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor ? as innocent New York buddies Skip and Harry who get banged-up for 125 years apiece for armed robbery ? were both at the height of their considerable powers, and given room to improvise by both scriptwriter Bruce Jay Friedman and director Sidney Poitier (wisely, as it turned out, considering the filmmakers' other works were notably laugh-free). It?s a tale of fear, ridicule and humiliation resounding with protestations: Wilder?s wild cries and motormouth mitigations competing with Pryor?s craven wimperings and gibbering incoherence. The plot does get bogged down ? in some overextended business involving Skip?s unexpected rodeo skills and the pair?s escape plans ? and the tension does slacken off, but the first half is comically inspired and hysterically funny. WH"

    I think these people are smoking something...
  7. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2001
    star 6
    78. Old School (2003)

    Dir Todd Phillips (Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn)

    ?Every now and then I get a little bit nervous then I see the ******? look in your eyes...?

    "If you?re looking for the best comedy film of recent years, it might not be ?Old School?: the film has bags of charm, cracking one-liners, memorable supporting characters (?You?re my boy, Blue!?) and pitch-perfect performances from its three zeitgeist-grabbing leads as the ageing college buddies who move back on to campus in an effort to revitalise their fading youths, but it?s not quite ?Rushmore? or ?Superbad?. But if you?re looking for the biggest single laugh of the decade ? the spit-out-your-popcorn, drop-your-coke, didn?t-see-it-coming zinger to end ?em all ? this movie?s wedding scene takes some beating. Its fabulously earnest, foul-mouthed version of ?Total Eclipse of the Heart? performed by regular frat-pack cameo artist Dan Finnerty in a wide-collared concierge outfit, is a powerfully strong contender. TH"
  8. Todd the Jedi Mod and Sitcom Dad of SWTV

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Oct 16, 2008
    star 5
    ^ So we can swear if it's in a quote? :p

    Little Miss Sunshine has a lot of great individual parts, like when the cop stops the family's van and his interactions with the dad. Steve Carell and Alan Arkin steal the show throughout with their snark, delivered deadpan by the former and load and overt by the latter. Plus my cousin is an extra in the competition scene.

    Still hard to believe that little Abigail Breslin was wearing a fat suit.
  9. The2ndRest-in-Peace Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 27, 2002
    star 3
    I'd edit Zaz's post, but I'm not on my Mod computer right now.


    Litle Miss Sunshine was a nice little flick. Old School is one of my favorite comedies, though- extremely funny and basically cemented "the frat pack" for several years.
  10. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2001
    star 6
    75. "Bananas"

    Dir Woody Allen (Woody Allen, Louise Lasser, Carlos Montalbán)

    'Blood! That should be on the inside!'

    "Before he became overly preoccupied with love and death, Woody Allen was primarily a gag man, and the jokes are never more silly and inspired as they are in this early directorial effort. Mixing silent cinema buffoonery with the absurdity of his '60s stand-up routines, the movie sees Woody head down south to join a revolution in a small fictional Latin American country. With Woody adopting radical politics to win the affections of right-on Louise Lasser, ?Bananas? is Allen?s most avowedly Marxist film ? Groucho, that is, not Karl. EL"

    Before he got pretentious, he was very funny.
  11. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2001
    star 6
    The General (1926)

    Dir Clyde Bruckman, Buster Keaton (Buster Keaton, Marion Mack)

    ?There were two loves in his life: his engine and??

    "Western and Atlantic Railroad engineer Johnnie Gray?s southern belle fiancée Annabelle Lee (Marion Mack) and his beloved locomotive, The General, get abducted from Georgia by Union spies in Buster Keaton?s 1926 American Civil War masterpiece, the sole silent film to be chosen by our voters. Keaton, as actor, writer and performer, was a master of all the usual elements of pre-sound comedy cinema ? demonstrative acting, precisely timed sight gags, elaborate set-pieces, stock characters, physical humour and slapstick ? but he surpassed himself in ?The General?, one of the most elaborate, inventive, expensive and completely satisfying movies of its, or indeed all, time. Regarded purely as a comedy, it?s also, among much else, a thrilling adventure yarn, a touching love story and an extraordinary, sensitive and informed historical drama. It epitomises Keaton?s remarkable deft, subtle and sophisticatedly ?dry? approach to film humour and is crowned by the greatest of Keaton?s own physically agile, beautifully modulated, affecting and inimitably stone-faced performances. WH"

    Keaton's a sort of silent-film Charlie Brown ("I got a rock"). Life's constantly handing him lemons, and he's just as constantly making lemonade. Unfortunately, this film is often shown in a really crappy print that somewhat dilutes its impact.
  12. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2001
    star 6
    Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

    Dir Mike Newell (Hugh Grant, Andie MacDowell)

    '****-a-doodle-do!'

    "For a film that celebrates English reserve and self-deprecation, it seems somehow wrong that 'Four Weddings... ' garnered such huge international success. And yet this modestly budgeted British ensemble comedy was a massive hit, thanks to a sparkling script by Richard Curtis and winning performances by its cast of wedding-hopping well-to-do Londoners, not least Hugh Grant whose floppy charm and even floppier hair turned him into one of the decade?s leading romantic men. EL"

    This film would be unbearably twee without the funeral.
  13. darth_frared Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 24, 2005
    star 5
    haven't seen it in a long time, but yeah, gave richard curtis carte blanche with all the worse films following it.
  14. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2001
    star 6
    73. The Party (1968)

    Dir Blake Edwards (Peter Sellers, Claudine Longet)

    ?Birdie num nums.?

    "And there I was thinking I was the only one who put this bundle of slapstick hilarity in their final top-ten list. This is, after all, the least politically correct title in the pack. Back in 1968, of course, much of the general public thought nothing of one of the country?s most beloved comedians darkening his face to play a bumbling Indian actor at the party of a high-ranking studio exec. But the truth is, the filmmakers needn?t have bothered with questionable identities and extra make-up because Peter Sellers could have pulled it off by simply being himself. From the moment Sellers?s overly inquisitive extra arrives at the party, a battery of slapstick misfortunes begins to evolve as the clumsy but well-meaning guest crashes from one hilarious mishap into another. A near silent comedy that clearly inspired elements of ?Naked Gun? and ?Mr Bean?, 'The Party' is warmly deserving of a place in the kingdom of comedy. DA"
  15. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2001
    star 6
    Bedazzled (1967)

    Dir Stanley Donen (Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Eleanor Bron)

    ?I, Stanley Moon, hereinafter and in the hereafter to be known as ?the damned?? The damned??

    "Forget the underwhelming remake with Brendan Fraser and Liz Hurley. The original ?Bedazzled? is a vintage piece of Swinging London comedy and probably Pete and Dud?s finest big-screen outing. Dudley Moore is a sad-sack cook mooning after a waitress (Eleanor Bron) and Peter Cook plays the devil, who procures his soul in exchange for seven wishes. What follows is a Faustian series of set-pieces ? some witty, some garish, some a tad aged ? that offer plenty of opportunities for the duo?s distinctive power-play. BW"

    It's very, very uneven, but there are brilliant bits in it.
  16. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2001
    star 6
    69. Clerks (1994)

    Dir Kevin Smith (Brian O?Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Marilyn Ghigliotti)

    ?I?m not even supposed to be here today!?

    "It?s hard to shake the feeling that Kevin Smith?s filmmaking career has been one of diminishing returns ? few, other than true believers, can have been devastated by his recent announcement that he?s folding away his director?s chair. But ?Clerks? was a genuinely refreshing and entertaining debut, its monochrome, formal simplicity a fine match for the pop-culture savvy yet vocationally adrift twentysomethings whose snarky interactions were charted over a day?s work at a convenience store. From roof hockey to ?Star Wars? minutiae, it captured a moment of generational ennui with brio and gave the world the mixed blessing that is Jay and Silent Bob. BW"
  17. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 7
    I'd take the Brendan Fraser/Elizabeth Hurley remake of Bedazzled over the original any day. I can't believe that 'insect' sequence actually made it into an actual film. That said, the climax at the nunnery . . . is one of the funniest things I've ever seen. I backed the DVD up and watched that bit about ten times and I about peed myself laughing every time. Dudley Moore blowing raspberries . . . doesn't sound like much on the page, but, God, it's a riot.

    I don't find Four Weddings & a Funeral to be all that great. John Hannah is marvelous in it and the highlight is definitely the funeral. But I find Andie MacDowell's character to be a right turn-off and the climax, in which the commitphobic Hugh Grant summons up his courage and asks her not to marry him has got to be one the stupidest endings in cinema history.

    Bananas is far and away my favorite Woody Allen film; it opens with Howard Cosell narrating an assassination and it gets tackier and funnier from there. This is easily one of the most consistently hilarious films I've ever seen; there's not a single dead patch in the whole thing.

    The General is a great Keaton flick, but I don't know why it's the one everyone always puts on lists like this. I think Steamboat Bill, Jr., is his best with Our Hospitality a very close second. The General, which is good, comes after those two at least.

    I'm not a Kevin Smith basher; I think he matured pretty well after Clerks, for a while. Chasing Amy and Dogma are both about perfect movies. I'm in a minority here, but I think Clerks II, a typically profane look at what happens when slackers realize they're downright old, is actually better than the first Clerks.
  18. CloneUncleOwen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2009
    star 4
    Personally, I wouldn't necessarily define someone as a Kevin Smith basher for painting what they see when they take a solid
    look at Kevin, and you don't have to look very hard to see an attention junkie who, unfortunately, has found that being
    'controversial' tends to generate as much attention as writing, producing or directing a competent film.

    IMO.

    I agree with you about CLERKS II. Although the original gave KS his start, the second is a far better film.






  19. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2001
    star 6
    68. The King of Comedy (1982)

    Dir Martin Scorsese (Robert De Niro, Jerry Lewis, Sandra Bernhard)

    ?Better to be king for a night than schmuck for a lifetime!?

    "Delve into our celebrity pollsters? picks and you?ll find that none other than Canadian comedy titan Dan Aykroyd has ? quirkily, perhaps, but quite reasonably ? listed ?Goodfellas? among his top ten. And, indeed, you?d have a fighting chance of convincing many film fans that Martin Scorsese?s sprawling, hyperviolent meatball opera deserves a place on this list ahead of the bleak, flinty comedy of desperation that swirls within the dark, disconsolate heart of ?The King of Comedy?. One spends as much time mopping one?s brow as slapping one?s thigh on a queasy, gut-clenching journey through the blue-black marrow of the funny bone that could arguably be said to have been the jumping-off point for the awkward, needling, confrontational comedy of the Farrellys, Ben Stiller, Bobcat Goldthwait and ? without a doubt ? Larry David. Nurse ? the glucose! ALD"
  20. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2001
    star 6
    His Girl Friday (1939)

    Director: Howard Hawks

    From Time Out Film Guide
    "Perhaps the funniest, certainly the fastest talkie comedy ever made, this inspired adaptation of Hecht and MacArthur's The Front Page adds an extra dimension of exploitation by turning Hildy Johnson into Walter Burns' ex-wife. Grant's Burns performs astonishing feats of super-quick timing as he garrulously manipulates a gallows case - Qualen, a simpleton mercilessly jailed for killing a black policeman - to further his own ends: first, to win back his wife from staid insurance salesman Bellamy (wonderfully slow in gumboots and bovine smile); second, to win back his star reporter (Hildy again); and third, to beat the rival rags to the full story of the political corruption that casts a shadow over the judicial system demanding Qualen's death. But Grant is not alone in his masterly expertise: Charles Lederer's frantic script needs to be heard at least a dozen times for all the gags to be caught; Russell's Hildy more than equals Burns in cunning and speed; and Hawks transcends the piece's stage origins effortlessly, framing with brilliance, conducting numerous conversations simultaneously, and even allowing the film's political and emotional thrust to remain upfront alongside the laughs. Quite simply a masterpiece."

    From Wiki:

    "His Girl Friday was originally supposed to be a straightforward adaptation of The Front Page, with both the editor and reporter being men. But during auditions, Howard Hawks's secretary read reporter Hildy Johnson's lines. Hawks liked the way the dialogue sounded coming from a woman, resulting in the script being rewritten to make Hildy female and the ex-wife of editor Walter Burns.[4][5][6] Most of the original dialogue and all of the characters' names (with the exception of Bruce Baldwin, Hildy's fiance, who was of course a woman in the play) were left the same.

    Hawks had a very difficult time casting this film. While the choice of Cary Grant was almost instantaneous, the casting of Hildy was a far more extended process. At first, Hawks wanted Carole Lombard, whom he had directed in the screwball comedy Twentieth Century, but the cost of hiring Lombard in her new status as a freelancer proved to be far too expensive, and Columbia could not afford her. Katharine Hepburn, Claudette Colbert, Margaret Sullavan, Ginger Rogers and Irene Dunne were offered the role, but turned it down, Dunne because she felt the part was too small and needed to be expanded. Jean Arthur was offered the part, and was suspended by the studio when she refused to take it. Joan Crawford was reportedly also considered.[5]

    Hawks then turned to Rosalind Russell, who was annoyed that she was not his first choice, even arriving at her audition with wet hair. During filming, Russell noticed that Hawks treated her like an also-ran, so she confronted him: "You don't want me, do you? Well, you're stuck with me, so you might as well make the most of it."[4] In her autobiography, Life Is A Banquet[7], Russell wrote that she thought her role did not have as many good lines as Grant's, so she hired her own writer to "punch up" her dialogue. With Hawks encouraging ad-libbing on the set, Russell was able to slip her writer's work into the movie. Only Grant was wise to this tactic and greeted her each morning saying, "What have you got today?"

    It could be the best American comedy: it has everything. Role reversal, romcom, satire, parody, farce. Grant is sublime; Russell's nearly as good.
  21. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2001
    star 6
    66. National Lampoon?s Animal House (1978)

    Dir John Landis (John Belushi, Peter Riegert)

    'Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?'

    "Frat-boy humour executed with magna cum laude distinction, this campus-based comedy is ostensibly set in the Kennedy era, but it channels the rude energy, punkish irreverence and riotous bad behaviour of the 'Saturday Night Live' crowd at their late ?70s best. For connoisseurs of cinematic impersonations of zits, John Belushi?s contribution to the field (aided by half-digested cream cakes) remains the greatest. EL"
  22. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2001
    star 6
    65 Elf (2003)

    Dir Jon Favreau (Will Ferrell, James Caan, Edward Asner)

    'Santa! Oh my God! Santa's coming! I know him! I know him!'

    "Already something of a Christmas classic, this blizzard of charm sees Will Ferrell as a human raised by Santa?s elves, on a journey to find his real dad, a gruff New York businessman played by James Caan. This is a lovely blend of great one-liners, balletic pratfalls and genuine warmth. Ferrell is simply superb as the guileless simpleton who causes a trail of destruction and has deep unresolved issues with his dominating father (we note without comment that Ferrell was fresh from portraying George W Bush on 'Saturday Night Live'). Above all, how can you not love a film with Ed Asner as Santa? EL"

    Infantile boy-man cliches. This is better than "His Girl Friday"? Give me a break. But Bob Newhart is some kind of brilliant as Ferrell's foster father. He never breaks character, ever, and his twitching in the face of Ferrell's pratfalls is hilarious.
  23. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 7
    Elf just isn't as good as a lot of people think it is. Yes, Newhart is amazing and James Caan is pretty great too, but Ferrell is not very good.
  24. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2001
    star 6
    Coming to America (1988)

    Dir John Landis (Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones)

    ?The royal penis is clean, your highness.?

    'By 1988, just a few years after he became the biggest box-office draw in America, Eddie Murphy?s golden period was drawing to a close: after ?Coming to America? it was all regrettable sequels, disastrous vanity projects and inexplicably popular family-friendly crud. But this tale of African princes and fast-food heiresses is a scrappily suitable swansong for the Eddie we loved in the ?80s, offering his signature blend of crudity, sweetness, wit, style and vague politicking, all wrapped up in a high-concept romcom package. And there?s a bonus for ?ER? fans, as that show?s Eriq La Salle appears in full jheri-curl nightmare as hair-product salesman Darryl. Just let your Soul Glo... TH'


    Are you seriously *seriously* placing a movie by John Landis on this list? And are you *seriously* rating it ahead of "His Girl Friday'? Then you are seriously an idiot.
  25. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 7
    Coming to America is an enjoyable enough comedy, but I wouldn't put it on a list of the 100 best.