Last week I wrote about a movie that always makes me cry, so to balance out the Force, I decided that this week I would write about movies that make me laugh. Happy stuff! We all need a little bit of stress relief for the holidays, and what better way is there to de-stress than laughter? (Yes, I know--but this is a family show, at least for today.)
For the record, I most definitely Laugh Out Loud. I snicker. I chortle. I guffaw. I even snort on occasion. If something cracks me up, anyone in a five mile radius hears me. These are movies that always make me laugh out loud, no matter what mood I am in or how many times I've seen them. There is a small voice in my head telling me to list these movies in alphabetical order. A small voice which shall soon be drowned out with wine.
Blazing Saddles One of the most irreverent films I've ever seen, this is also one of the funniest. I can't hear "Camptown Ladies" without thinking of this movie. I secretly wait for moments when I can enter a room and say, "What in the wide, wide, world of sports is a-goin' on here?" This is by no means a 'politically correct' movie; it was made well before such nonsense. It shows racism and other things, sure, but these topics are shown in the bright light of comedy, and the result is positive. Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder seemed to have such an easy chemistry on screen that they always look like they're having a blast. In fact, the entire cast appears to be having a great time, and that is contagious.
Young Frankenstein I first saw this movie by myself in Germany when I was nine or ten. I got very few of the jokes at the time. I remember loving Marty Feldman arguing with Gene Wilder about the correct pronunciation of "Frankenstein". I watched the movie again when I was a teenager; we were one of the first families around with a Betamax. This time, I actually got all of the jokes, and fell in love with the movie. I wore that tape out. It turns out that just about every second of that movie is a joke of some kind, either a sight gag or a play on words or a word in another language(Schwanstuka, anyone?). My friends and I would take turns laughing about "Abby-someone", and reciting other lines, such as "Could be worse. Could be raining." The dart game between Dr. Frankenstein and Inspector Kemp is still one of my favorites.
Dodgeball I did not want to like this movie, but I ended up laughing so hard that I had to go get my inhaler. I actually remember playing Dodgeball in school; I was one of the kids who always had red welts on my arms and face from being pegged out. The nerdy guy who reads about obscure sports, the guy who thinks he's a pirate, the teenager who longs to be a cheerleader instead of a football player--perfect misfits Rip Torn with his "If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball" routine was both insulting and hilarious at the same time. I am pretty sure that Rip Torn was actually wasted while filming that part, and that is okay. It made the point without overstating it. Ben Stiller shone as White "Nobody makes me bleed my own blood!" Goodman. ESPN should actually have a channel called The Ocho, and Cotton McKnight and Pepper Brooks need to be announcers at the Super Bowl. Plus, this movie has Chuck Norris in it. If you don't laugh, Chuck Norris will come to your house and punch you in the face.
Airplane! The key to this entire movie is that it was filmed as if it weren't a comedy, but a drama. It was supposed to be a spoof of all the airline disaster movies that were popular during that decade, but Airplane! is so much more. Peter Graves, Robert Stack, Lloyd Bridges, and Leslie Nielsen, and the others made this movie the classic that it is, by keeping a straight face while reciting some pretty off-the-wall things, such as "Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue". Even the names of the characters were part of the joke, as in Roger, Victor, and Clarence. And who hasn't sat next to someone like Ted Striker, who won't shut up for the entire plane ride? Surely you can't be serious!
Monty Python and the Holy Grail I actually have a stuffed animal of the evil bunny from this movie; you can make his mouth open to see his little teeth. The Holy Hand Grenade would hold a place of honor on the mantle, if it hadn't been blown to bits. Movies with straight-faced British actors always seem to be a little smarter because of their crazy accents, and I don't think that any American could have made Holy Grail. The tale of King Arthur is a British story, after all. We didn't have any Black Knights defending bridges. We didn't have any "Bring out your dead!" carts rolling about. And none of the Salem witches was ever accused of turning anyone into a newt. No, Holy Grail is most definitely a British film. The sight of that cow flying over the wall of the castle has me cackling ever time.
Honorable Mention: The Naked Gun, There's Something About Mary, Tropic Thunder. They all crack me up!
Have I missed any good comedies? Let me know--I'm always looking for a good laugh!