I have gotten a lot of requests to tackle this week’s #thereisnospoonfriday topic, the Top 5 Comedies of all time. I geek out just as hard for a good comedy movie as I do for any sci-fi or superhero flick, and thought long and hard about this list. Not unlike a lot of the other lists I have done, picking just 5 to be the best of the best is really tough. There have been so many great comedies over the years, and the genre has really evolved over time. From the early days of slapstick to today’s more reality based comedy films, there is a ton to choose from. Great comedy movies, in my mind, need to be a) incredibly quotable, b) memorable and c) worthy of repeat viewings. If you still laugh even after you know the jokes from the first go around then you definitely have a winner. In coming up with my list, I considered these three criteria as my main factors. As always – this list is according to me, so I welcome your own lists and comments in the feedback section. Here we go (in new reverse countdown format – thanks again to reader suggestions!).
5. Ghostbusters – Incredibly quotable? Check. Memorable? I would most definitely say so. Worthy of repeat viewings? Oh hell yes. I have personally seen this movie more times than I can count. We all know the story, three “scientists” lose their jobs at a University and take up their own business of paranormal investigation. You have three of the all-time greats in their absolute primes here – Murray, Aykroyd and Ramis, plus a very game Ernie Hudson. You have Rick Moranis and Sigourney Weaver in great supporting roles. One liners abound, the effects still hold up today and the number of iconic scenes in this movie are just too many to count. Lines like “We came, we saw, we kicked it’s ass!”, “Yes, I am afraid it’s true – this man has no dick” and “Tell him about the twinkie, Ray” are just some of the classic dialogue. Just a truly superb movie. I am not hopeful about the remake, not because they are casting all women, but because why remake something that was perfect the first time? Hopefully, I will be surprised. Best scene: “I tried to think of the most harmless thing…something that could never, ever possibly destroy us….Mr. Stay Puft!”
4. Anchorman – This one again checks the three criteria boxes with a very large check mark. I have always been a Will Ferrell fan, but this movie is so much more than just him. You have Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and the very underrated David Koechner in their absolutely funniest roles they have done to date. The story of a 1970s news anchor and his news team, this is really just one great scene after great scene, with a little story to keep things moving. From the epic news team street fight scene “Brick killed a guy. Did you throw a trident?” to the hysterical “sex panther” scene “It’s a formidable scent… It stings the nostrils. In a good way” there is really no swings and misses comedy-wise in this movie. My favorite scene is the bear scene at the end, when Baxter, Ron Burgundy’s dog, returns to save the team from impending bear doom. “Fare thee well, Baxter. You shall always be friend of the bears.” Considering YouTube doesn’t have that scene available, I will share the classic fight scene for your laughing pleasure: “I am gonna straight-up murder your ass!”
3. Tommy Boy – Again, this movie check all the three main boxes and then some. I am a massive Chris Farley fan, and this is him at his absolute peak in comedy. This was the movie that really launched him from Saturday Night Live to the next level of stardom. Pairing him with David Spade was a brilliant move – like a modern day Abbott and Costello but with MUCH more physical comedy. The story is simple. Tommy is the son of an Auto Parts company owner. His Dad dies suddenly and Tommy is forced to go on the road to sell some new brake parts to save the company with David Spade as his babysitter. Hilarity ensues – non stop. From the classic “Yankees” scene about masturbating to the “Tommy want wingy” to “Fat guy in a little coat” this was a pure hurricane of comedy in the form of Chris Farley. My favorite scene is the one after Farley and Spade fight on the side of the road and then go to eat at a restaurant. Tommy asks if he has any marks on him after being wailed in the face by a 2×4. “Jesus, what happened to your face?”
2. The Kentucky Fried Movie – I know this one is dating myself, but damn if this isn’t one of the funniest movies ever made. I dare any of you who have not seen this to watch it and not reconsider this as an all timer in comedy. The movie is literally a bunch of short sketches, with one long sketch in between , the hysterical Bruce Lee movie parody “A Fistful of Yen”. I must have seen this movie 20 times and I laugh my ass off every single viewing. This was the “Airplane” and “Naked Gun” humor before those movies ever existed, and made by the same folks who would later go on to make “Airplane”. So many great ones in here, like the porno parody “Catholic High School Girls in Trouble” to the “Daredevil” skit to the “Big Jim Slade” sketch – just one classic after another. For my favorite scene, I am going to go with one from a “Fistful of Yen”, where the evil villain is quizzing his security guards on their failures. “If you were my alarm clock, how would you wake me? I wouldn’t. I’m no ding a ling”
1. Airplane – the single best comedy movie ever made – period. Not only does it check all the boxes with a big emphatic check mark, it is probably the most influential comedy movie ever made – and the funniest too. Leslie Nielsen is a mainstay of this genre, but this where it all began, for him – and the for the whole genre itself. There are so many great scenes in this movie. From the Kareem Abdul Jabbar scene with the kid in the cockpit – “LISTEN, KID! I’ve been hearing that crap ever since I was at UCLA. I’m out there busting my buns every night. Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes” to the “drinking problem” of Ted Stryker to the jive talking “interpreter” – “Hey, you know what they say: see a broad to get dat booty yak ’em…” this is just classic one liner after classic one liner. To pick one scene for sharing is really tough – but I am going to go with this one: “Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue”
So many honorable mentions for this one, including: Get Him to The Greek (very underrated movie), Office Space, Up in Smoke, Animal House, The Hangover, Dumb and Dumber, Shaun of The Dead, Old School, Superbad, The Naked Gun series, Caddyshack, Ace Ventura, This is The End, Vacation (1 +2), Meatballs, Blazing Saddles, Austin Powers, American Pie, South Park the Movie, Team America: World Police, 48 hours, Trading Places, Fletch, Happy Gilmore, Billy Madison, The Blues Brothers, Wayne’s World, Bill & Ted, The History of The World, Top Secret! and so many others I probably forgot to list. There you have it for this week’s entry. Until next time – there is no spoon.