A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post in the NextTribe Film & TV Facebook group: “I have suddenly shifted into a blue mood. Maybe my son’s college graduation is making me nostalgic and I’m feeling anxiety for him and his future. But I’m also losing hope for our society and how we’re dealing with this crisis. Anyhow, not to bore you. I’m looking for movies to make me laugh. I’m having a hard time thinking of any. (Symptom of blue mood?)”
The suggestions started pouring in, hundreds of them. I was delighted and felt lifted just by reading about the comedies NextTribers were recommending. I quickly began to remember my own favorites, that seemed to have escaped me before I asked for help. That very night I watched a movie that one group member had reminded me of: The Heat, with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy.
How cathartic it is to laugh! I’m pledging to laugh at least once per day, no matter what is happening in the world. And with this list–plus a list of comedic TV series that I’ll publish next week–I think I’ve got years of LOLs ahead of me.
Always Be My Maybe Ali Wong, Randall Park. Childhood friends Sasha and Marcus have a falling out and don’t speak for 15 years. But when they meet again, they soon find the old sparks – and maybe some new ones – are there. “It has some hysterical parts in it (like the Keanu Reeves segment),” says NextTriber Diane MacEachern.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding Nia Vardalos, John Corbett. It’s funny, but it’s also notable for Nia Vardalos’s gumption at creating a starring vehicle for herself, one that actually worked.
Peggy Sue Got Married Kathleen Turner, Nicholas Cage. Director Francis Ford Coppola isn’t known for comedy, but with this time-travel jewel he proves he has a light touch.
The Proposal Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds. “It is so funny. And they were perfectly cast together,” says NextTriber Mara Jefferson.
Sleepless in Seattle Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan. A modern classic directed by one of NextTribe’s icons, Nora Ephron. “So sweet and hopeful,” says Carol Ardman.
When Harry Met Sally Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan. The orgasm scene alone makes this one of the best rom-coms ever. Nora Ephron’s writing hit a high.
Bringing Up Baby Cary Grant as a dullard? This beloved slapstick comedy proves Grant can play against type and that he has comic timing. Katharine Hepburn was never so flighty and funny.
Paper Moon Ryan O’Neal, Madeline Kahn. Tatum O’Neal. Bet you’ve forgotten about this gem. NextTriber Michele Shapiro hasn’t: “I love Paper Moon. Ryan and Tatum never disappoint.”
The Producers Gene Wilder, Zero Mostel. Yes, there was a high-profile revival (on Broadway and on the silver screen) at the turn of the century. But Suzan McEnany was emphatic that nothing beats the original for zaniness.
Some Like It Hot Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, Marilyn Monroe. It doesn’t get much better than this. So many mad-cap scenarios; so many funny lines, particularly that very last one.
The Thin Man William Powell, Myrna Loy. This comedy in the guise of a who-dunnit spawned a whole series of crime-fighting flicks by the martini-guzzling Nick and Nora. “So stylish. I guess the secret to a happy marriage is elegant peignoirs, separate beds and highballs at five with no ice,” says NextTriber Melanie Howard.
Young Frankenstein Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman, Madeline Kahn. Mel Brooks really struck a funny bone with this hilarious send up of the horror genre.
A League of Their Own Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Madonna. There’s no crying in baseball. But, thankfully, there’s lots of laughing!
Bull Durham Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins. This sexy sports flick could make anyone love baseball. It’s a home run!
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Steve Martin, Michael Caine. “Anything with Steve Martin,” was a common suggestion from the group. This film about a competition between two con men on the French Riviera rises far above that bar.
My Blue Heaven Steve Martin, Rick Moranis. More Steve Martin love!! This time he’s a former mob boss hiding in the suburbs under a witness protection program. Heaven indeed.
Pink Panther Most votes were for the new ones with, no surprise, Steve Martin, but the original ones with Peter Sellers got some love too. “Our whole family laughed out loud to the two Pink Panther movies with Steve Martin,” said NextTriber Nina Jolly.
Fantastic Mr. Fox Maybe the most perfect Wes Anderson film. That it’s animated, with voicing by George Clooney, Meryl Streep, and of course Bill Murray, simply allows Anderson to be his weirdest and free-est self.
Wallace and Gromit The first of the films about a cheese-loving inventor and his faithful dog was A Grand Day Out. The most recent, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, won an Oscar. “Any of the Wallace and Gromit movies are hysterically funny,” remarks NextTriber Carol Flake Chapman.
Rat Race Cuba Gooding Jr., Whoopi Goldberg. Full-on silliness in the style of It’s a Mad, Mad World. NextTriber Laurie Andreoni says this: “Rat Race is one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen…. about 10 times!”
Zoolander Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson answer the existential question “But why male models?” in the goofiest way possible.
The Raunch Factor
Bridesmaids Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph. There are so many things to love about this flick that proved women can be as bawdily funny as men and made Melissa McCarthy a star. “Bridesmaids always does it for me when I am wanting to watch what I call “stupid movies,” says Brenda Riggs.
Death at a Funeral Chris Rock, Kevin Hart, Danny Glover. “Oh, I know a lot of “Death at a Funeral” is in very bad taste,” said Roger Ebert. “That’s when I laughed the most.”
The Hangover Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zack Galifianakis. A crazy drunken romp in Vegas that feels like the movie that Bridesmaids was riffing on.
This is 40 Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann. One of the few Judd Apatow films that isn’t a complete bro-centric affair “It makes me laugh every time I watch it,” says NextTriber Lori Kangun.
Best in Show Catherine O’Hara, Eugene Levy. Directed by Christopher Guest, who also co-wrote. Maybe the best of Guest’s deadpan comedies. “Always makes me belly laugh,” says NextTriber Dena Moore.
Cold Comfort Farm. Kate Beckinsale, Rufus Sewell. NextTriber Kathleen Clark gives this review: “It’s subtle Brit humor and romance. Some really hilarious scenes!”
The Grand Budapest Hotel Wes Anderson keeps getting better as he gets older. This period piece is filled with his signature eccentric humor and an all-star cast, including Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, and Willem Dafoe, to name just a teeny percentage of big names.
Peanut Butter Falcon Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson. It’s not easy to pull off whacky and heartwarming at the same time. This unconventional buddy film does it.
This is Spinal Tap Rob Reiner, Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer. The original mockumentary has so many delicious moments of foolishness and hubris. As they say in the movie, “Such a fine line between stupid and clever.”
Bernie Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew Matthew McConaughey. In small-town Texas, an affable mortician strikes up a friendship with a wealthy widow; hilarity and, um, death ensue. Maybe because I’ve lived in Texas for almost 30 years, I find this absolutely a scream. My husband and I have watched it many, many times.
The Heat Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy. This duo should be the Dean and Jerry of the 21st Century. It’s hard to choose a best scene, but it probably comes down to Tic Tac vs. Spank in bathroom. “This movie is so funny it makes me snort,” said NextTriber Judy Coyne.
Raising Arizona Nicholas Cage, Holly Hunter. Before the Coen Brothers went truly dark (i.e. No Country for Old Men), they created this bit of light perfection. “When I met my husband he had not seen Raising Arizona,” said NextTriber Brenda Riggs. “I told him he had to watch it and if he didn’t like it, then we were over. True story!”
Its Own Category
Princess Bride Carey Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Robin Wright. This classic from the 80s, which has many fans among NextTribers, defies easy classification. Fairy tale? Check. Rom com? Check. Witty repartee? Check. Silly farce? Check. “One of my all time favorites! `Twoo wuv’!” said Karen Furey.