Austin Kennedy’s Top 100 Comedies of all time!!! (#10-1)

Finally!  I present to you my top 10 comedies of all time.  Like I said before, this list was extremely difficult to make.  I will stand by every film I put on my top 100, however, there were a few movies that I forgot about when I was making the list.  It’s quite possible that they would have made the list.  Those films are: GROUNDHOG DAY (1993), TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE (2004), WAITING FOR GUFFMAN (1997), BEST IN SHOW (2000), CABLE GUY (1996).  These may or may not have made the list.  If they did they probably wouldn’t have been higher than 80, but still, I wanted to at least give them a little recognition.

Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…… my 10 favorite comedies of all-time!!!!!!!

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10. THE GREAT DICTATOR (1940) – This is my personal favorite film by comic genius Charlie Chaplin.  Here he plays two roles.  One, a Jewish barber, and the other a German dictator which is a non-subtle parody of Hitler.  Like usual, Chaplin mixes drama and comedy seamlessly here, and the message is pretty strong this time out….. but so is the comedy.  This was also his first, full-out talkie, and it’s wonderful.  When, as the dictator, he makes his first speech which consists of gibberish and random German words, like sauerkraut, it’s utterly hilarious.  There’s countless set pieces that show just how talented the Little Tramp was.  An unforgettable, timely, and poignant comic masterpiece.

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9. WAY OUT WEST (1937) – Laurel & Hardy’s best feature film!  This one has the boys trying to deliver a deed to a gold mine to a friend’s daughter, but are swindled by the villainous James Finlayson and his wife.  There’s not too much story here as the material would’ve had normally only have sustained for a short, but Stan & Ollie are able to make it work by taking their time to sing songs and tell jokes.  Also, there’s a wonderful dance number between the comic duo that always puts a smile on my face.  So joyful and innocent, and sums up the spirit of this famous comedy team.  The film also contains what I think may be one of the funniest scenes ever put on film, which has Stan, who is hiding the deed in his shirt, is assaulted by Finn’s villainous wife as she tickles his way to the deed.  His laugh is so infectious that I dare anyone to keep a straight face during that scene.  This is a pure delight from start to finish!

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8. MONKEY BUSINESS (1931) – It’s so hard to describe a Marx Bros. movie.  You kind of just have to experience one.  This is easily one of their very best comedies as they play stowaways aboard a cruise ship and get mixed up with some gangsters.  Harpo supplies the usual genius slapstick, Chico delivers the fantastic puns, and Groucho provides the classic one-liners and insults.  Groucho’s “love” scenes with Thelma Todd are among the film’s many highlights.  So full of zany goodness.

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7. RAISING ARIZONA (1987) – The Coen Brothers’ hit comedy gold when they cast Nicolas Cage (who has never been better in a comedy) as a convict who marries a cop played by Holly Hunter, who can’t have kids, so they decide to kidnap one of their own.  The script is so tight and the editing is even tighter.  The film is also filled with hilarious eccentric characters from the lead right on down to the extras.  Everyone is funny here!  The dialogue is extremely quotable (“Why son, you’ve got a panty on your head”), and the direction is so in tune with the humor that even camera movements generate laughter.  The pre-title sequence on it’s own if brilliant.  Oh yeah.  And John Goodman screams a lot too!  I can’t get enough of this one.

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6. ADAM’S RIB (1949) – Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn hit all the right notes as a happily married couple who are also lawyers.  They end up on opposite ends of a domestic case in the court room, which turns into a sort of battle of the sexes.  Hepburn and Tracy look so comfortable with each other that they make their performances seem so effortless and natural.  Just the way they interact with each other in their home is a hoot to watch.  They work terrific together.  The script is also loaded with great jokes.  Judy Holiday as a woman who shot her husband is sensational.  I love her first scene with Hepburn as she explains how she found her husband cheating on her, it’s shot in one take and is a great example of perfect comic timing.  Both Hepburn and Tracy turn in great comic performances.  Don’t miss this one!

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5. BRINGING UP BABY (1938) – Howard Hawks’ classic screwball comedy starring snooty Cary Grant as a paleontologist trying to get funding for his next project, but then he meets accident prone Katherine Hepburn who falls for the soon-to-be-married scientist.  I love how this film escalates and how deeper in trouble Cary Grant gets the more he hangs out with Hepburn.  Oh yeah, and there’s also a leopard that they have to take care of too….. Don’t ask, you’ll just have to see it.  Grant and Hepburn play off each other so well.  They’re characters are total opposites and that’s what makes watching them so fun.  Hepburn has never been this zany!  I just love this movie.  I mean, you have two of the most respected actors in film history…… acting like idiots!  Classic comedy!

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4. SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959) – Writer/director Billy Wilder’s comic masterpiece!  Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis play two musicians who disguise themselves as women so they can join an all-girl band going on tour in Florida so they can escape the mob (they witnessed the St.Valentine’s Day Massacre).  There are not many films that have the manic energy this one has.  Lemmon and Curtis give wonderful performances, and their takes on how to play women are priceless.  Wilder’s script is full of clever innuendos that one wonders how some of them got past the censors.  Oh yeah, and you also have Marilyn Monroe as Sugar Kane, the sultry Blonde that both of the guys (or in this case, girls) fall for.  At this point in her career, the only thing she could really do is just spoof herself and she does a great job at it.  And this film contains one of the best “last lines” in any movie, ever!  This film is timeless.

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3. THE BIG LEBOWSKI (1998) – The Coen Brothers do it again!  I saw this five times in the theater upon release and it just kept getting funnier.  The best thing about the Coen’s films is that with every viewing you notice hilarious details that you didn’t the first time.  Jeff Bridges IS The Dude!  It’s one of those performances that comes once in a lifetime.  It’s so iconic.  John Goodman as Walter, the Dude’s foul-mouthed, tightly wound sidekick is a riot.  John Turturro steals all of his 2 minutes of screen time from his co-stars.  Man, everyone is great here.  David Huddleson, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare, Julianne Moore, David Thewlis, Jon Polito, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Elliott…. What a cast!  The plot of this movie is intentionally and hilariously convoluted as the Dude tries to solve a kidnapping case.  The plot isn’t important.  It’s all about watching these characters interact with each other and what they do in these ludicrous situations.  Full of memorable lines and unforgettable images (love the bowling musical number), THE BIG LEBOWSKI is a true definition of a cult classic.

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2. SAFETY LAST (1923) – This is the movie that has that iconic image of Harold Lloyd hanging from a clock of a skyscraper, hundreds of feet in the air.  That finale is full of laughs and thrills.  But the rest of the film is just as excellent.  From the very first image (which fools the audience into thinking that Lloyd is about to be hung), this film captures your attention and holds it until the very end.  Lloyd plays an eager young man who moves to the city for work so he can afford to marry his fiancée.  He gets a job at a department store, which serves as the background for most of the gags.  Lloyd’s comic timing is at its peak here.  It’s inventive, full of verve, charming, and hilarious all at the same time.  People mention THE GOLD RUSH and THE GENERAL all the time as classic silent cinema, but this one deserves to be mentioned in the same sentence.  If you ever get a chance to see this on the big screen, do it!  It’s a one of a kind picture and a brilliant comedy.

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1. DUCK SOUP (1933) – The Marx Brothers’ masterpiece of comic madness.  It’s a war satire that is just insane.  I love that they don’t try to make sense in the one.  Groucho plays the leader of Freedonia, but their neighboring country wants to take it over, so they go to war.  But that doesn’t matter because the movie is so full of jokes that you’ll forget what the hell is going on anyway.  It’ll make your head spin with laughter.  Groucho’s one-liners have never been better (and some of them even risqué).  Harpo’s wordless performance is perhaps his craziest.  The jokes they attempt here are so ambitious and bizarre.  Like when Harpo has a tattoo of a house on his chest, and then a dog’s head pops out of it.  It’s so weird, but hilarious!  Every gag is an iconic set piece.  Like the moments with Chico, Harpo and Edgar Kennedy fighting each other next to their peanut stand.  This movie also contains the classic mirror sequence that is probably the funniest scene in film history.  The finale is a series of wacky sketches that spoofs every American war.  It doesn’t make a lick of sense, but it’s absolute genius!  The only way to describe this film is “bananas”!  This movie is bananas!  I have never laughed harder or as often as I have in this movie.  And I have seen this well over 100 times, and I always laugh just as much.  For me, this IS the funniest movie ever made!

And there you have it!  My top 100 comedies of all time.  I hope you have enjoyed the list, and have discovered some films that you want to check out.  And you really should see all of the these films!



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