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« August. It's a Wrap | Main | »
Friday
Aug302013

I Love Good Silly.

I needed a really good laugh this week and Jean Hagen in Singin' in the Rain provided (again). Today apropos of nothing I thought of Chad Feldheimer (aka Brad Pitt) in Burn After Reading's overemphatic jogging/crying/phone-antics and started laughing. Silliness is so underrated in the movies... and in life.

When I was a child Cloris Leachman in The North Avenue Irregulars (1979) made me squeal with laughter - I had totally forgotten about that until she popped up in her own comic bubble in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid which we were just watching.

What's your favorite goofy thing in cinema with no pretense other than to have fun / be funny? I saw Mel Brooks Silent Movie for the first time a couple of years ago and was dying at Bernadette Peters' striptease... and at several other scenes, too. I was surprised because Mel Brooks doesn't always do it for me. For reliable laughs even if you've never heard of the movie, nothing beats 30s and 40s era screwball comedies in general or Carole Lombard specifically. I can't say that 80s comedies hold up all that well for me (Tootsie being a glorious exception) but I was thinking the other day that maybe 90s era comedy will last forever... so many genuinely hilarious movies that decade: CluelessWaiting for GuffmanBullets Over BroadwayFlirting with Disaster, Election!

Bernadette Peters in Silent Movie (1976)

Give us good rental suggestions to keep us giggling.

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Reader Comments (29)

SOAPDISH! I can watch it anytime. Sally Field and Cathy Moriarty are pure comic gold in it! It got me into soap opera...

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMintless

Young Frankenstein makes me laugh every time.

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrandz

Young Frankenstein is great, but Women on the Verge is the best.

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

Old school: Bringing Up Baby, one of the first screwball comedies.
New school: Drop Dead Gorgeous, a film that is so mess-ily made but so hilarious. I never know how to grade it.

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Fletch is not a great movie, but it is HI-lariously silly, and wickedly quotable.

"What kind of a name is Poon anyway?"
"Comanche Indian."

"She looks like a hooker. Look at her. Look at her! Could you love someone who looked like that?"
"What are you talking about? Of course not! Five, ten minutes tops, maybe."

So stupid and silly.

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCharlieG

When the cop car gets split in two down the middle in Freaky Friday (76). Can't breathe.

August 31, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Noises Off! Every damn time Carol Burnett starts talking about that fucking plate of sardines I start laughing all over again.

Also: Clue.

August 31, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

joan cusack in broadcast news

August 31, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermatt

What's Up Doc
Madeline Kahn and Barbra Streisand

August 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEllsworth

The original of The In-Laws with Alan Arkin and Peter Falk.
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
Idiocracy
L'Affaire est Dans Le Sac

August 31, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteradri

Those female-centered comedies from the aughts that are on all the time, like Mean Girls or Bridesmaids or 13 Going on 30. There's always something new and hysterical to be found on repeat viewings of those movies, usually a really clever edit or a particularly funny line reading, rather than a self-conscious comic set piece. Most recently, I cackled at the quick cut to Lindsay's appalled parents immediately after the Plastics slap their thighs during that hilariously risque "Jingle Bell Rock" number. And I absolutely lost it upon hearing Bridesmaids' secret weapon Wendi McLendon-Covey deadpan line reading of "I cracked a blanket in half..."

Also, a moment of pure silliness in a not-so-silly movie that always, always gets me: Ellen Page's uproariously ridiculous pronunciation of adoption attorney "Gerta Rauss" in Juno.

August 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Eng

I guess I'm easy, and this is maybe too obvious, but oh well--I'm a pushover for clever dumbness. So, Airplane, the Naked Gun series...pretty much anything from the ZAZ heyday. (Though, weirdly, Top Secret! never really did anything for me. And the less said about Airplane II the better.)

And Caddyshack. Can't forget Caddyshack for a reliable laugh.

From a bit later vintage, I can't really explain it, but Billy Madison always makes me guffaw. So quotable, so silly, so great. (And it's the only one of Sandler's that really does anything for me--Happy Gilmore makes me smile, occasionally, but that's about it, and none of the rest really get that far.)

Oh, and some of the "Frat Pack" stuff--Dodgeball, Old School, Tropic Thunder, and of course Anchorman, mostly. I'll stop now, before so get much more carried away. (What can I say? To borrow a phrase, I love to laugh, and these movies all hit my sweet spot.)

August 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterOptramark

The entire cast in "Wet Hot American Summer." Doesn't pretend to be anything other than a fun excuse for great comic actors to be silly and funny.

August 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

Jennifer Coolidge ALWAYS makes me laugh.

August 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

^ Jennifer Coolidge! Where has she BEEEEEN? She looks hysterical in the Austenland trailer but OMG she needs more perfect runaway cameos in e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.

August 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark The First

A youtube video probably everyone knows. Chris O'dowd, Kristen Wiig and Steve Carell + a fly in the Graham Norton Show.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKM4FdApxQA

August 31, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteriggy

Mark The First, Jennifer Coolidge is in 2 Broke Girls, a show that full of extremely racist jokes but still very addictive. But the show kinda underused her, giving her nothing much to do week after week. She practically only has one story arc in that show which is to bang the horny cook. But for silly fun, this show is a guilty pleasure.

Speaking of that show, I am totally okay with Emmy overlooking it in every other category, I just could not understand how they did not nominate Missi Pyle for Comedy Guess Actress? Maybe she's not a big star enough? You know how Emmy only nominate famous movie stars who cross over to TV. You know that right? Look at Drama Lead Actress, Tatiana Maslany and Julianna Marguiles are not there but a bunch of movie actresses are.

August 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPJ

I love that you remember Cloris Leachman in The North Avenue Irregulars! I don't, exactly - but I remember that she had me laughing with glee.

I agree with other commenters that What's Up, Doc?, Clue, and Soapdish are classics in this regard, and I'd throw in Peyton Reed's first two films, Just Friends, The Jerk, and The Cheap Detective and Murder by Death. And surely parts of Auntie Mame belong here too.

There really should be special awards for people like Missi Pyle, Jennifer Coolidge, and the sadly departed Madeline Kahn and Eileen Brennan - actors who can consistently make thousands or millions of people happy.

August 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

Liar Liar and Bruce Almighty are two comedies that hit my funny bone more than they probably should thanks to Jim Carrey's complete commitment to both of them. An all time classic comedy for me is Monty Python's Life of Brian, while Forrest Gump is another that never fails to put a smile on my face and As Good as It Gets nearly always kills me. You could also throw in a lot of Tim Burton movies, but especially his two Batman films. Back to the Future is equally wonderful. And finally the Coens are the masters of comedy really, creating so many hilarious moments throughout such a diverse filmography.

August 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTim Luisi

Rick Moranis and Joan Cusack dancing in My Blue Heaven. Always makes me smile.

August 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBen Nevis

Oh Ellsworth...you're right. I totally forgot about What's Up Doc. Madeline Kahn is sooooo funny in this movie.

August 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBen Nevis

The "Puttin' on the Ritz" scene in Young Frankenstein get me every time.

August 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

My wife and I watch Clue at least once a year.

August 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrian Z

Ghost World and Best in Show. I think the early 00s were a comedy goldmine, even better than the 90s. I

August 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChristine

I will never stop laughing at the dude buying beef jerky in Ghost World, and I don't care who knows it.

August 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChristine

If you have "that" sense of humor (and I do): Beetlejuice, Bettlejuice, BEETLEJUICE! For Sylvia Sidney alone, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Any screwball comedy with Cary Grant, but especially The Awful Truth, Bringing Up Baby and My Favorite Wife.

And more recently: For Your Consideration, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle and There's Something About Mary.

****

"And now: a warning..."
“NOW a warning?”

August 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming!

favorite line:
"Egermency! Please to get from street!"

(I kind've melded that into one sentence)

and Madeline Kahn, any time she's on the screen in Paper Moon.

August 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKen

Yes to all of the above. I laugh a lot still at Pee Wee's Big Adventure. The hardest I ever laughed at the movies was probably Monty Python and The Holy Grail (is that the right title)? I laugh a lot at Annie Hall (so sue me, the jokes are very quotable). I saw There's Something About Mary with my boss and it was very uncomfortable because it was so funny. :-)

August 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Alamitos Beach

Holiday with Kate & Cary!

August 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSanty.C

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