We Got Your Ha Ha's... Right Here
To quote one of the other Editor’s “Lord knows, it’s been a long week!”. And in the spirit of a long week, we came prepared for the weekend. Just for you. Cause we care. No, really. We care. A lot. You see, after a long week of fighting and bustling through the daily bullshit we have to put up with so we can do what we enjoy, sometimes you just need a good laugh. You need to put your feet up on the coffee table, sit back, relax and just laugh ‘til your sides hurt. Because laughter really is the best medicine for when the working week is ailing you.
As such, we, the Editors of FTTW, bring you fodder for a new poll and, hopefully, will make you smile a little bit. Next weeks poll is all about the Best Comedy Movie and here are my picks, followed up almost immediately by Huey’s. Turtle, Michele and Dan will be posting their faves tomorrow. So, let the funny begin!!!
Blazing Saddles – Am I a sucker for old Mel Brooks movies ? Boy, am I ever. Young Frankenstein, The Producers…. Hell, Spaceballs even had about forty five minutes of goodness in it. But there’s something special about Blazing Saddles. And it’s name is Richard Pryor. I’ve been a fan of Richard Pryor since the first time Jonny D and I snuck downstairs with his old man’s copy of SuperNigger and we laughed our asses off. Here, the combination of Mel Brooks zany humor and Pryor’s social commentary really work well together and the end result is a movies with gems like this:
[Lili Von Schtupp offers Bart a gigantic sausage]
Lili Von Shtupp: Would you like another schnitzengruben?
Bart: No, thank you. Fifteen is my limit on schnitzengruben.
Lili Von Shtupp: Well how about a little...
[whispers in his ear]
Bart: [shocked] Baby. I'm not from Havana.
Olson Johnson: All right, we'll give some land to the niggers and the chinks, but we DON'T WANT THE IRISH.
Best. Line. In, A. Movie. Ever.
The Philadelphia Story – It’s been said, by a good many women I’ve dated, that I have a crush on Katherine Hepburn. And to some extent that may be true. I’ve always been taken by women who are witty, striking and mean. Some say it’s a character flaw, but for me, there’s nothing better to keep me on my toes than a woman who’s as quick minded as she is beautiful and who has a mean streak to boot. And that may be one of the reason’s I love this movie so much. I’ve always said that it’s because I love the “Parlour Comedy”. There’s a fantastic, very dynamic, interplay between Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant in this movie that’s two parts animal ferocity and one part familiarity that makes the banter between them seem so effortless and natural. Banter like this:
Dexter: You don't look as well as when I last saw you, Kittredge. Oh, you poor fellow. I know just how you feel...Why, you don't look old enough to get married. Not even the first time. And then you never did. She needs trouble to mature her, Kittredge. Give her lots of it.
George: I'm afraid she can't count on me for that.
Dexter: No, that's too bad. Sometimes, for your own sake, Red, I think you should have stuck to me longer.
Tracy: I thought it was for life, but the nice Judge gave me a full pardon.
Dexter: Aw, that's the old redhead, no bitterness, no recrimination, just a good swift left in the jaw.
And that’s what makes the film such a joy. The whole thing is farfetched and outlandish, but the dialog and comfort level in the cast makes it seem so natural. Also, Cary Grant is on fire because he gets lines like this:
Dexter: I thought all writers drank to excess and beat their wives. You know one time I secretly wanted to be a writer.
Raising Arizona – I’ve stated my unequivocal love for the Coen Brothers here on a good many occasions. But it wasn’t nearly as warranted as it is in this particular case. Sure, Millers Crossing is a rum drenched gangster tale set in the forties that feels more like a documentary than it should. And the Hudsucker Proxy makes me laugh and laugh and laugh, even though I can’t stand Tim Robbins or Jennifer Jason Leigh. But Raising Arizona takes the best parts of the screwball comedy and the best parts of the parlour comedy, lays them all out like a map and then plots the shortest course between there and your funny bone. Hm, that didn’t come out quite right, but the film is hella funny. There are great performances by everyone in the cast, but once again, the writing really shines through. Bits like:
Glen: Say that reminds me, how'd you get that kid so darn fast? Me and Dot went in to adopt on account a' somethin' went wrong with my semen, and they said we had to wait five years for a healthy white baby. I said, "Healthy white baby? Five years? What else you got?" Said they got two Koreans and a negra born with his heart on the outside. It's a crazy world.
H.I.: Someone oughta sell tickets.
Glen: Sure, I'd buy one.
H.I.: What kind of name is Ed for a pretty thing like you?
Ed McDonnough: Short for Edwina. Turn to the right.
H.I.: You’re a flower, you are. Just a little desert flower.
Socio-political commentary, romance and zaniness all rolled up into one. Plus, one of the most daring stunts ever pulled off by a pack of Huggies…. Ever.
Anything by the Marx Brothers – I sat here for a good ten minutes trying to come up with the single funniest scene in a Marx Brothers movie and, for the life of me, I can’t pick just one. The movies need to be viewed as a whole, because a two minute clip doesn’t do any of them justice. You need the wordplay, the banter, even the jokes where nothing is said at all, to flow seamlessly into one another. Because the Marx Brothers isn’t just “How he got into my pajamas, I’ll never know”, it’s the sum of the parts. The punchlines don’t count because another one is thirty seconds away. You don’t fully get the first joke until three jokes later and by then you’re dizzy, reeling under a comedy onslaught many have tried to recreate but none have equaled. The Marx Brothers movies aren’t just entertainment, they’re a test of your comedy endurance, and for those that are quick enough and strong enough, well, then you know the heights of comedy.
So, those are my picks. There's a whole lot of the funny in Huey's column, right off the main page, as well. And T and M and D's column's will be up for you on Sunday morning bright and early. Get your favorites together and tell us about them. --F