About this column:
(A few years ago, a comedian friend of mine told me that she wanted to see a Top 100 Comedy List from me. Well, I LOVE making lists, even though it’s extremely hard. I’ve always been obsessed with lists throughout my life, studying them and trying to watch everything on every list I could find. While I have never thought lists were definitive, as every one is subjective, however I think they are great reference points and do a great job informing people about films they might not have known about, or maybe even get people to revisit a movie they love, or better yet, give a film a second chance because of someone else’s praise.
Anyways, back to me creating a Top 100 Comedy list: At the time, I decided not to work on the list until I see more films so it would be more complete. Well, life is a little too short for that. There are still several movies I need to see. Classic comedies that I probably should see before I make this list (THE THIN MAN comes to mind), but I have decided to make a list anyway. Because I want to.
Now, a little about this list: These are films that I think are the funniest. They have made me laugh more than any other. Now, some of these films may not be the best movies ever made, but they have certainly made me laugh the most. Also, some films that have made the AFI Funniest Film List won’t make mine because I don’t consider than straight up comedies. Films like THE APARTMENT, FARGO, BACK TO THE FUTURE, TOOTSIE, etc. While I love every one of those movies, and would certainly be contenders for my All-Time favorites films, I have seen films that made me laugh harder. Does that make sense?
And finally, the big question: How the heck am I going to rank these films? Well, I don’t think I really can. With the exception of one movie in particular, I don’t think I could rank these in any kind of order. Most of these movies require me to be in a certain mood in order to watch them. So I could like one film better than another on one day, but then the next day I could totally change my mind. So I’m not going to do that. Then I thought maybe I should just do them alphabetically, but that would eliminate the element of surprise. Well, maybe I should do them chronologically, but that could get a little dull. Ultimately, I decided to just do the list in a random order, pretty much like picking movies from a hat (I’m actually going to use the Random Number Generator).
I would like to reveal my list one film at a time. Ideally, I would love to reveal a film every day for the next 100 days, but with all of my “real life” stuff going on, that will probably be impossible. I will promise this: I will have my list done by the end of the year, and I will do my best to try to get one done every day.
The selection of this list was very difficult. I originally had over 300 movies. I had to narrow that down to 100, so there are still several great comedies out there that didn’t make this list.
One more thing: There is one movie that stands out as the funniest film I’ve ever seen, so I will reveal that one last.
So, without further ado….. I present to you:
THE TOP 100 FUNNIEST MOVIES THAT AUSTIN KENNEDY HAS EVER SEEN!!!)
95. GHOSTBUSTERS (1984) – Directed by Ivan Reitman; Starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, Annie Potts, Ernie Hudson and William Atherton.
There’s just no other way to put it. If you grew up in the 80’s, you probably consider this some sort of classic. I was 7 going on 8 when I saw this at the Village 4 Theater (a beautiful dump) in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. It’s one of those movies that I found so incredibly cool, that I immediately started playing “Ghostbusters” with my brother and friends around the neighborhood. And I wasn’t the only one. When this movie came out, it was just a HUGE phenomenon! That theme song was everywhere, there was breakfast cereal, toys, video games, and cartoon shows. I also remember that the movie played in theaters forever! Not like today when the latest hit grabs 200 million in 4 weeks and vanishes. This was out for at least half a year. It was HUGE.
Now, while I thought it was super cool when I was younger, as I got older I found more of the comedy in it. Not only does it have some nifty special effects and an epic scope (thanks to Director Ivan Reitman’s decision to film it in a 2.35 aspect ratio), it’s also hilarious.
On paper, the premise isn’t really all that funny. In fact, one could possibly think that it’s a straight up supernatural adventure about 3 scientists starting up a paranormal investigative agency. But the comedy element comes in when you cast the roles of the scientists with Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. You add in a couple of goofy supporting characters like Rick Moranis and Annie Potts….. and BINGO! You’ve got a recipe for a classic comedy.
The opening of the movie is perfect, starting up almost like a straight horror film as a Librarian is terrorized by a ghost. It’s a great suspense-building sequence. Then we’re introduced to Murray’s character, Peter Venkman, who is just a lazy schlub who uses his practice to pick up chicks. Aykroyd works well off of Murray as a slightly dopey, but ultra serious scientist. Then there’s Ramis as Egon who’s dry approach to the character makes him a target for many jokes. Moranis is also a hoot as a nerdy neighbor who tries SO HARD to be hip. And I just love hearing Annie Potts’ whiny voice as the Ghostbusters’ secretary.
There are some great comic set pieces here. The first scene when the boys are trying to capture slimer at the hotel is great stuff. That entire sequence at the hotel just sets the perfect tone for the rest of the film. Thrills and laughs together. That combo works out so well in this film. Just look at that finale with the demon dogs of Zuhl and the staypuff marshmallow man. It’s epic, but funny. One of my other favorite moments is when Murray is at Sigourney Weaver’s house for the first time searching for supernatural activity as he desperately tries to impress her. That whole element of Murray trying to court Weaver lends some great comedic moments to the film.
While Aykroyd, Ramis, and Moranis supply some big laughs, the majority of the humor comes from Murray, who is just red-hot here. Every line that comes out of his mouth in this movie makes me laugh. He always has some sort of smart ass comment, which makes this one of the most quotable comedies of all time. Lines like, “He slimed me!”, are now iconic. But there’s also some other hilarious lines that I love too, like: “Yes Egon, tell me about the twinkie,” “Back off man, I’m scientist”, “Yes, this man has no dick”. Just classic. Even his serious lines come across funny. I wouldn’t exactly call this “the Bill Murray show” (that would be the second one), but he definitely made a big contribution as to why this movie is one of my favorite comedies of all time.
GHOSTBUSTERS is a movie that I’ve seen well over a hundred times and I’m still not sick of it, nor do I think I ever will. It’s an iconic comedy that I think has held up very well over the past 30 years.